Saturday, October 3, 2015

Greatest joys and sorrows, all sandwiched around the best of painting times...

Coming Home 
16"x20"x1" framed in gold
oil on gallery wrapped stretched canvas

Dare I say painting time is some of my most fulfilling time. I was just talking with another artist about this. Life goes on for artists though, just like anyone else. Our family has experienced some of it's greatest joys and deepest sorrows this summer, and they just happened to bookend some wonderful painting time for me.  
Earlier this summer, on the last day I was teaching painting in Ireland, my mother-in-law passed away in Atlanta.  My fellow painters were so supportive, and I am so grateful for those heartfelt emotions.  I flew home as planned, but immediately continued my way down to Atlanta for a funeral. 

Mid-summer brought a wonderful new experience for me, an opportunity for which I'm so grateful for. I was an "artist-in-residence" at the CT Audubon Society's Trail Wood property in Hampton, CT for an entire week. I did a collaboration with my writer friend Judy Benson, who is a journalist for The Day paper in New London, CT.  It was an intense week of painting, and much discussion in the evenings about what we both had discovered about Edwin and Nellie Teale (and ourselves in relationship to all that).  We came away with so much more than we had anticipated. What an amazing gift this couple of naturalists left to humanity through sharing this property with the world.

Early September brought one of the happiest times, my daughter Chelsea married her fiance' Ryan in a wonderful ceremony in Virginia. I'm still over the moon about that! Thrilled to have a son in my family now!

The last weekend in September, the volunteers for Trail Wood hosted the "Harvest Moon Festival" on the property to a great crowd.  Four of us presented our work that we did during our residencies - one painter (me), a photographer, and two writers. Since I've only shared these on Facebook, I'll share them here with you now. I'm excited to share the beauty of each day there!! It was so wonderful to rise early each morning, and head right out to paint as the sun crested the trees. Or as the day progressed....and the only interruption was a chipmunk or groundhog to cross my path. Birds would flutter by, or a humming bird zip by to check out who this person was. Any of my hiker friends will totally understand that wonderful feeling of being out in nature...just BE-ing. Listening to the rustle of the trees, the soft breeze blowing tall grasses, the light moving across tree tops in the morning...the clouds changing shapes. Ah, the intense wonder of it all! 

"6PM Glow Under the Catalpa Tree"
12"x12" framed in black with a gold inset, oil on archival panel
So - the house above is Trail Wood, the home where Edwin & Nellie Teale lived for the last half of their lives. He was a naturalist and writer of many books, his Pulitzer Prize winning book "Wandering Through Winter" being one of them. This couple endured the loss of their only son, (aged 19) to World War II. It was two years before they finally discovered what had happened to him, and where he was. They moved from Long Island to this place out in the country. Rather than become embittered with their loss, they remained connected to the world, protected and nurtured it and their relationships. Finally willing this property to the CT Audubon Society for the use of others to enjoy. I feel so lucky to have experienced this time, painting and exploring here; staying in their home, and using his personal library for reference material. 

I highly recommend the residency to other artists and writers, as well as a wonderful place to go for a day hike to all my friends! During all seasons this is a great place to go explore!

I'll share some more about this in the coming days. It was an incredibly productive time, completing 13 paintings while I was there. Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend spending some time in nature!! 

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Blogger Katherine H said...

Lovely, Roxanne!

October 15, 2015 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Roxanne Steed said...

Thanks so much Katherine! I'm grateful you took the time to read my blog post! :-)

October 16, 2015 at 4:58 PM  

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