My residency at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, Colorado has been complete for over a month at this point. I find it pretty incredible how quickly time is passing now that I’m not in the valley of plenty. While there, time didn’t seem to move at all and now it seems to be moving faster than ever.
Since the end of April I’ve lived in Fort Collins for several weeks, returned to Paonia and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. (More on that later.) Now I’m on my way to Vegas to meet up with a friend from Elsewhere, another artist resident who fell in love with the same valley.
What I loved most about my time at Elsewhere was the way I seemed to stumble across all the people who I needed to meet. Each person was an absolute delight to be around and I am grateful to have them in my life. I know I’m not the only one in Paonia who believes that you meet the right people at the right time, but in this particular corner of the universe I think that that power is somehow amplified. I found these connections to be much more valuable than the work I completed in the studio.
When I arrived at the residency I had a project goal in mind, but as in most residencies that project changed in the best way possible. I was able to experiment with my style and create pieces with touches of art nouveau. It ended up being a three piece series that I moved through quite slowly. It wasn’t until the last two weeks that I pumped out some more serious work.
It was after a trip to Canyonlands and Arches National Park in Moab, Utah I was inspired by a landscape that was entirely new to me. I decided then that the rest of my journey would focus on visiting as many national parks and public lands as possible. The series created after my first Moab experiences are simple back and white illustrations with gold leaf accents. After spending almost two months devoted to watercolor and gouache, it felt great to go back to ink work.
Then, just like that, my time at Elsewhere was over and I had to leave. But I didn’t. Paonia stole my heart and I found a way to stay there for the next week to meet the next set of residents before visiting more friends on the Front Range. It was in Fort Collins that I had time to reflect on my time spent in the Valley. I’m not sure if it was the shock of being back in a town with a population over 1400, or if I was suddenly hit with a stroke of creativity. It was probably a combination of the two that lead me to create six paintings in two weeks. The fastest I’ve ever been able to produce a body of work.
These paintings (the Florals listed on my illustration page) are like nothing I’ve done in the past and are the beginning of many new projects. So I have to thank Paonia and it’s wildflowers for all the inspiration and sense of home.
I can’t wait to return in July to be a fill in goat farmer for a dear friend.
Stay tuned for a briefing on my time spent at Havasu Falls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon! What an exciting adventure, I can’t wait to share it with you!