Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Studio Immersion on the Mountain

Who knew I'd find a slice of heaven tucked away in Tennessee? This was my second visit to the volunteer state. Last year I attended an artist residency at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg (right outside of Dollywood) and this year was a 2 week stay at Shakerag. It's a new artist residency program and it's unbelievably organized, well run and attended. It's a gorgeous intimate campus tucked in the mountains, and sprinkled with cutting edge sculptures. I can't say enough good things about it, it's the perfect setting for an art think tank.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study with both Dolph Smith (me pictured with him) and Andy Saftel (he pictured with his hard working painting palette, giving a demo on plaster). Two masters in their field. Dolph is known for his book sculptures and Andy for is layered narrative paintings and sculptures. What a treat to have a week with each of these talented artists. I've been looking forward to this for almost a year.

I spent about 9-12 hours a day in the studio picking up every morsel of wisdom I could from these two. Each class had about 16 talented students, ready to jump in like myself. It amazing how motivated I can be when in an atmosphere surrounded by fellow artists and my art supplies, a studio, no cooking, no to do list, and no distractions (other than for a dip in the local reservoir). If only I could keep up this prolific pace at home... I made 2.5 books and started 11 paintings. WHEW! The other fantastic aspect of working with Dolph and Andy is that in addition to sharing technical techniques they are both willing to share their process for creating and their journey as an artist. I think their insights on these aspects are more helpful when I'm home in my studio and making a go at it alone.


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