The painting shown here is Hermitage Wall
, 46"x30" oil and wax on panel. I took the photo during my residency in Catalonia at the Centre d'Art I Natura
(CAN) just a year ago, inside an abandoned, ancient hermitage church near the village. I feel the connection between the two images mostly in the contrast between stark geometry and organic textures and colors.
That residency in Catalonia has been on my mind a lot as the season turns, and as I get ready to exhibit some of the paintings that have evolved since then. When I was there, painting, hiking around, absorbing all I could, I was simply there
--it was my reality. Although I wondered about the impact it would have on my work at home, I could only speculate--it was too soon to know. A year later, I see more clearly how the experience translated into new directions.
The paintings I did while at CAN contain the seeds of many different ideas. It was a time of taking in all I could, responding, experimenting. A year later,the aspects of that environment with the most personal meaning for me have filtered through and revealed themselves in my work--the intensely textured surfaces of old walls and lichen covered slate, and the paths used for centuries through the mountainside and from one tiny village to another. I find symbolic meaning in them, which provides creative energy and momentum. These ideas have moved away from being specifically "about" my experiences at CAN and now have a broader sweep. I find myself noticing rugged, eroded surfaces everywhere, and seeing them as metaphors for time passing.
When I talk to other artists about my time CAN, I end up urging them to go there if at all possible--or to some other residency place--the location itself has a huge impact of course. We all have out individual preferences and places that call to us, landscapes or cities with which we believe we'd resonate. I'll say it again to those of you who read my blog--please, if you haven't already done so, think about traveling for the sake of your work. Besides an amazing experience, it's an investment that continues to feed your work for a long time after you return.