Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blessed Solstice, Yuletide Greetings, and Happy New Year!

Holiday Greetings to everyone out there!

I hope you are all enjoying the festivities that accompany this time of year. Things have gotten quite hectic, but wonderful, on this end, and I plan to take a teeny hiatus from blogging until the start of the New Year. While I am away from blogging, I will be shoveling snow, preparing for guests, spreading cheer, and partaking of all kinds of delicious confections and gut-busting fare. Once those next three days are out of the way - It is on to other events!

I begin an MFA program in January, so will spend time finishing up the studio organization and ordering of supplies. We are also in the process of moving my husband into his new writing study. We'll be catching-up with friends from near and far, and hopefully spending a few work days with my father adding more trim work in the new addition. School break is short, and once I return to work, I'll be hanging the student art show at the downtown library followed by a public artist reception. The student artwork is amazing this year!.

I should be back to blogging in about two and a half weeks, with copious updates on my progression in the MFA program.

I wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First Full Day in the New Studio

Worked in the new studio all day planning for a five month long sculptural project

Today I write from the new studio space. I admit that it has been a slow process moving myself in here, not only physically, but psychologically. The space is wide open, scarce in decoration, and so pristine. What if I don't create a masterpiece? What if I mess up this gorgeous new bamboo floor? What if...what if...what if....

I came in here about 10:00 a.m this morning, lugging from storage my old drafting table that has not been used in well over a dozen years. I spent the first two hours cleaning dirt and clay from the legging, then sweeping the floor, and washing windows. Methodically, I was preparing myself for the work ahead. In my mind whirled possible ideas for my first MFA class proposal.

Now that six hours has passed, I don't want to leave. The ambiance is extremely conducive to creativity. The drafting table is placed in front of an eight foot wide sliding glass door, from which I watched two eagles and a hawk soar overhead today. I spent time (nearly nodding off!) reclining on the futon in the little nook, wrapped in a comforter, smelling the candle scents of warm apple pie and sugar cookies, and listening to the "spa" channel on satellite radio. I time thumbed through art books and sketched possible ideas for a five month-long concentration in a series of my choosing.

I am excited to begin working on my Master of Fine Arts. I was accepted into the new low residency program at Heartwood College of Art, in Kennebunk, Maine. It is the first program of its kind in the state (and only one of two MFA programs for visual arts in Maine) that will allow me to keep my full time teaching schedule as well as be a student.

It's interesting to be a student again. I finished my fine arts degree in 1993, then my teaching program in 1999. Now I am back at it, thrilled with the possibilities. However, I was less than thrilled when I received my first assignment. I reacted EXACTLY the way some of my own students react when I assign them a project. I thought "twenty six sculptures in five months? I am trying to get away from mass production!"

I am the type of person who translates things literally in my mind, and often, I get a visual and get fixated on that one idea. I doubt that makes much sense to anyone but me, but there it is. I became a complainy whiny student. I found immense humor in this, and a better understanding of my own students. Then I thought, what lesson would there be in this for me, and what would I expect of my own students?

So, I let my mind open and wander and think of the positives. It is a meditative process to concentrate so intently on one object. Also, it teaches me to focus, and if you know me personally, you know that I can become quite scattered with a million things going on at once, multi-tasking, hopping from idea to idea, medium to medium.

I also needed to remind myself that I am artist, and interpretation is quite individual. So, how I approach my one subject twenty-six times may not be the literal translation that another might have. The final topic I decided upon and the final presentation of it is not at all what I was expecting of myself. It is a completely different path than I expected to take when I first started planning three or more weeks ago. And already, I am sensing the possibilities for growth in my own work. Perhaps the bulk of that growth has already occurred, just in my being able to apporach the project from a different perspective and to find its inherent value.

I won't share all the details just yet. First the proposal needs to be accepted, then I need to get into the studio and feel my way around it. There may lie still a learning curve or two for me. But expect an update in May when the project is complete...or perhaps...transitioning to a new phase.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Downeast Winter Wonderland

our yard, first snow of the season: a magical fieldscape

dad's productive visit:the picture window in new studio trimmed

I had been been waiting with great anticipation the first snow of the season. Sometimes I see it in October, though it doesn't stick around long, usually just a dusting to incite all the excitement that goes along with thoughts of a snow day from school, holidays, and cozy creative hibernation. This season however, Mother Nature made me wait extra long. We are one week into December, admittedly still autumn according to calendar, but it seems kinda late. I must say, though, that I am not at all disappointed with the result. The storm was forecasted "a mini nor'easter", and yahoo weather flashed a bright red "WINTER STORM WARNING" that just made the excitement of first snow all the more thrilling.

It's not like I am an avid outdoor winter sports enthusiast. I did cross country ski when younger, and have thought of picking it up once again, but I am one who complains about shoveling, and no matter how many layers of wool I am buried 'neath, there is always some part of me that seems to be cold. Still, winter is a magical time and a season that I look forward to.

I like the darkness. Others complain when the clocks are turned back and suddenly it is pitch black at 4:30 p.m. Not me. I welcome it. And I love the mornings as well. There is no stillness as deep as the early morning dark hours of winter, when the moonlight is cast over a freshly blanketed field, shadows of animal tracks visible, and the heat of a lit fire feels so comforting knowing it is well below freezing on the other side of that pane of glass.

We were all a scurry Saturday in prep for the big storm. The barn needed to be cleared enough for the car to park under cover, and deck furniture needed to be sheltered or tipped on its side. The wreaths were finally hung then Yule tree bought, delivered, and decorated. While Chris and I went about completing these tasks, my father from central Maine was hammering away in the new studio space, trimming out windows.

The only thing that would have made the first storm more perfect would be if I was in the new studio working away on my art. Winter time is the best time for creative reflection. I have an idea, though, that I will have plenty of opportunity for that in the coming months.

Afterall, the weatherman already said that it looks like snow again on Wednesday.... "a real coastal hugger."

Forget the sugar plums....I have visions of a snow day dancing in my head!