In a little over a week I am heading for an artist residency called Cill Rialaig, on the coast of County Kerry in Ireland. There is no website for the residency, but if you're interested in learning more, a Google search will tun up various blogs by people who have stayed there, both visual artists and writers. There is also a facebook page (click here
) and information about applying for a residency here
. I took the photo above when my husband and I stopped by last year on our travels...I say 'stopped by" but really it was more like "managed to find the place after lots of driving around on remote roads and speaking with several very friendly people whose directions were nonetheless quite vague and confusing." This beautiful and dramatic location by the sea is not exactly on anyone's main route--a huge part of its appeal.
The Cill Rialaig Project purposefully does not include internet or other contemporary conveniences (besides simple kitchen facilities, basic plumbing and a peat-burning stove) in the 18th century restored stone cottages that serve as homes and studios, so that the artists and writers can enjoy the pure experience of the setting and the landscape. I look forward to three weeks of simple living, focused on work, hikes, and getting to know the other artists in residence. I already know I will enjoy my time with one of those--my good friend, Ontario artist Janice Mason Steeves
who will be there at the same time as I. We were together last fall at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in County Monaghan, and in the year since have exchanged countless emails and a visit, and discovered true kinship in our approaches to art and life. We plant to meet in Killarney and rent a car to get to Cill Rialaig (braving those Irish roads!) With the car on hand, we may perhaps take a few day trips--around the Ring of Kerry, the famous coastal route around the Kerry peninsula--or to Killarney National Park, both pictured below in photos taken by me on last year's trip.
At Cill Rialaig I plan to work in water-based mixed media, responding intuitively to the landscape in a spontaneous, expressive way. I don't expect to do highly developed work there--I'll save that for when I get home. From previous experience I know that the paintings I do then will unfold under the influence of the residency for months afterward, and that's when the more intensely worked, layered expression will take place. The paintings below are exmples of the kind of quick painting I expect to do at Cill Rialaig (see this blog post for a more in-depth explanation.)
This will be my forth residency overseas; in 2013 I have two more scheduled, one in the US, near Atlanta, Georgia in March (AIR Serenbe) and one at Ballinglen Arts Foundation in County Mayo, Ireland in October/November. Obviously I believe in the value of these experiences for my work, and I urge other artists to consider them as possibilities. Res Artis is a website with information about artist residencies worldwide. There are a number of excellent residencies in the US, including in our National Parks (see individual park websites for information) as well as in many other countries. Residencies do not have to be expensive--some charge the artists, some do not, and some even provide a stipend. Even those that charge tend to be a bargain compared to spending an equal amount of time abroad in a hotel or renting an apartment.
Blogging may be infrequent between now and my return to the US in mid-November. I expect that an occasional trip to town for groceries will include finding wi-fi to check email, and perhaps write a quick blog post--but for the most part I'll be offline for three weeks.