"...I was born to be lonely, I am best so!"

The poem Danse Russe by William Carlos Williams was with me as I sat alone in the studio, enjoying the silence.  As a creative person I often crave solitude, and even the complicated and conflicted moments of loneliness that solitude brings with it.  That is the emotional space I look for when I paint.  In this sparsely populated country you don't have to wander far to find yourself completely alone in the world, physically anyway.  Not a person, not a car, at least for as far as the eye can see.  Here is the view from a lovely quiet hillside, in a valley protected from the wind, on an unusually clear and sunny day.

IMG_2083I did a few  paintings over the last three days, around 10"x12" or 9"x9" in that range.  I painted the one below from that quiet hillside.  It was a rare treat to sit comfortably outside and paint for a couple of hours, instead of inside the car.

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This is a studio painting:IMG_1905And here, my biggest painting yet, ever.  Really.  It was one of my goals of this residency to push my work to a larger format. It's about 16" x 14", so this is progress.  I'm still tweaking it here and there, but this is what it looks like right now:IMG_1966

Sounding my barbaric... yip?

I am thinking about Walt Whitman, as you can probably guess by the title of this post.  (I posted about the ModPo MOOC recently.) My barbaric yip is taking the form of 6x8 inch mountain studies in acrylic on handmade paper. Small studies, so not quite a Yawp, but still, for me, barbaric.

I used a limited palette, just to keep things from getting completely out of control.  Working in sets of 2, the first painting is based loosely on a photograph or a sketch, and the second painting is based only on the first.  I will probably keep working on them, but for now this is how they look.  I have 2 other sets in progress.

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second one of the set

I had a lot of fun with these today, cozy and warm in the Gullkistan farmhouse while the gale was blowing outside, working at the living room table, reading poetry and painting, relaxed, slow, and steady.

ModPo MOOC

About 6 months ago, before my travel plans were set, I signed up for a MOOC that has been running from UPenn for many years, Al Filreis' Modern & Contemporary Poetry.  I wasn't sure if I would have the focus for this 10 week course during my painting residency, but I am finding, now that it is up and running, that it is a source of enrichment and inspiration.  I have always turned to poetry for that mind-opening sense of  falling into words.  I have never formally studied the reading or the writing of poetry, I just know that I respond to it in a deep way.  So with this course I am finally pinning the tail on the donkey and getting some context.  I love it!  There are 27,000 people all over the world currently following this ModPo MOOC.  Now THAT is some awesome transformational power!   Wiki - main syllabus | Modern & Contemporary American Poetry.