Monday, June 23, 2014

Arriving at Anderson Ranch

I left home yesterday, midmorning, after having breakfast with my husband and packing up my stuff. I think I might have put half of my art cabinet into the backseat of my van in hopes that I will have whatever I might need once inspiration strikes at my workshop.

All of this illness has made me feel like I have been robbed of some of the best parts of summer. I had so many big plans, some of which, I've had to give up on. I look at the veggie beds in our back yard, noting every day that the only things going there right now are a lot of weeds, some volunteer sunflowers, horseradish and mint. By the time I am back home, it will almost be July and I am not sure whether it is worth planting veggies so late. I had wanted to have the basement cleaned up and two paintings finished.

However, as I arrived at Anderson Ranch, that all melted away. You see, Anderson Ranch is in Snowmass, near Aspen, and the gardens still look like late spring here. As I drove up, parked and then walked to my dorm from that main registration building, I began to experience an odd sensation. As I took in the peonies that are as of yet still tight balls of beautiful, deeply colored petals, I had a sense of their eager anticipation. I got to stand by the tiny lilac bush as breathe in their heady fragrance. The blue Columbine stand erect and smart, fresh and ready to take on the world. The Lupines hold glossy globes of raindrop from the recent, brief storm. It made me feel like I had not missed the beginning of summer; it was like getting a gift of time back. All of this also made me realize that I measure time by the plants in gardens; this is an unexpected gift from Eleanor, my beloved mother-in-law who died five or six years ago.

I got my self settled into my room (the same on I had last time) and then relaxed on the green. The first evening's meal of lasagna, Caesar salad, broccoli rabe and homemade chocolates was lovely. We sat with our classes and got to know each other a bit. I am taking the Encaustics class with Mia, the owner of Two Hands Paperie.

After dinner I took in two visiting artist lectures.
Michael Kreuger was the first to speak. He works in colored pencil and lithographs. He started with a great image that he recently finished that featured George Washington with a shopping cart and chain. Did you know that George Washington was addicted to shopping? When he died he left behind a ton of clothes and over 300,000 bottles of wine. Michael also was part of making a film about Drop City, an artists commune in Trinidad in the 1960's. It was fun to learn about that and see the animations he added to the film.

One by Sam Chung who certainly made me think about ceramics in a new and different way. I will be sure to walk through the classes he is instructing to see what people made in his class.

I spent the quiet of the evening drawing in my small sketchbook, relieved to find that I could get my head in a creative, artistic space. Sometimes when I am at home, there are so many things that I need to complete, or get done, that I cannot always clear my brain enough to relax, focus and draw.

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