Invisible lobster boats moor in the foggy bay. At four am sharp the sound of engines rumble through my cottage windows at the Golden Apple Studio in Harrington, Maine. Morning fog blurs the line between ocean shore and water. There is so much movement that I can not see, so much activity that occurs atop the water and beneath it. As the fog lifts in the bay, colors and forms take shape; the florescent pink buoys and vermilion orange fishing boats magically appear along with yellow lobster cages, golden rockweed, weathered planks and wind beaten-wharf sheds.
I was recently invited by Cross Gate Gallery to be an artist in residence at Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington,Kentucky. Jewel-toned jockey silks decorated with diamonds and stripes flashed past spectators of competing costumes and fancy derby hats. Though the spring races brought many bidders, I preferred to watch the 5:00am morning track workouts. Gigantic thoroughbreds walking and trotting the dark track with a cloud of warm air rising from their nostrils. I found the stables and the tenderness of the groomers to be my main source of inspiration; the hands behind the winning horse. In contrast, there is also a childhood innocence to drawing horses; a whimsy, a fantasy, a story of rainbows and sunny skies. I wanted to capture both of these narratives in my Lexington series. For those who have never been to Lexington, you will be surprised to find that white fences have been replaced by black curved fencing, red barns now a rich chocolate brown. These two equestrian symbols stand out against the spring greens and rolling pastureland.
The lure of Mackinac Island begins with the ferry ride across Lake Huron. Upon arrival porters bicycle my belongings to the historic coast guard station, where I will reside as artist in residence with the Michigan State Historic Parks. The hooves of stately horses clop along the streets and charming carriages with dangling tassels and striped yellow canopies cross my path. I am struck by the brightness everywhere-the sun reflecting on freshly painted churches, the expansive white fort, the impressive and colorful Victorian homes, and the breadth of the historic Grand Hotel perched high upon a hill. Purity resides as I bicycle along the outer and inner loop of the island. The natural arch rock and beautiful pines sweep by, the narrow paths rolling through the landscape. Yellow umbrellas dot the teal sky.
I find that traveling abroad brings me the greatest inspiration for new colors and compositions. However, during this pandemic I have come to peace with finding my inspiration within my own backyard. Having to forgo a fall residency to Switzerland, I decided to embrace the boundaries that Covid has brought to my life. Though these limitations and hardships seem very small compared to the despair of so many, I have tried to be attentive to this time and what it may be speaking to me. I granted myself two weeks of artistic freedom to experiment with new color, jewel-toned inks, and a new visual language to express the variety of feelings and forms that surround me right now. Dark Hollow Rd. is a dirt road off our gravel street. “No Trespassing” signs hang from rotten hemlocks. Howls of threatening dogs and occasional gunshots echo across the valley. But even in this darkened place there is a tender hollow; a small shelter, a silent place, a sweetness of hallowed ground. Brown briars yield to violet hue, vibrant green leaves fade to splendid gold and rust, strings of soft cotton puffs crawl down thorny, thistle branches. I believe grace can be found in the gloomiest places, light in the darkest corners, and life even amid the dying.