I had the opportunity to spend two weeks at the Golden Apple Artist Residency this summer on the beautiful coast of Maine about an hour south of New Brunswick Canada. I had been invited by Shelly Stevens who runs her enchanted program with husband Greg Stevens to apply and I'm so glad that I did. They were generous in giving me a scholarship which brought the cost down enough to begin to make plans on how I could come up with the rest of the money I would need to make it happen. I was able to raise the rest of the money needed through a GoFund Me campaign which reached its goal in the first week and then went $800 over in the following week. (I started to get the idea that this was an adventure I needed to take.) This was my first artist residency of my career and even though I had an idea of what it might be like, the actual experience took me far beyond my expectations.
It was significant for me to be removed from my home turf and placed into a brand new environment that helped me to think differently and perhaps work differently. Sitting on a giant slab of granite looking into the bay littered with lobster boats and buoys I couldn't help but think how different this all was from Lake Michigan. At one point I noticed a little crab the size of silver dollar in a small tidal pool. I scooped him up onto the dry rock and immediately he rose up high on his little crab legs with his pinchers held high as if he was saying "You want a piece of this?" I actually starting laughing out loud which I'm pretty sure was insulting because he skittered of sideways back into the dark recess of his hid out.
I had ordered $600 of art materials from Dick Blick having them sent directly to the Golden Apple address including eight wooden panels. I got all of these panels started and was developing them all together going from one to the other as the days went by. I was able to make a lot of progress this way. When I needed a break I would go for walks on the grounds often ending up sitting along the shore of the bay just kind of being there in a mindful sort of way. Our meals were all provided for us and the food was delicious and super healthy. There were three other artists at the residency with me and we often fell into good conversations (and plenty of laughing our heads off) eating our meals together on the back patio looking out onto the bay.
With out question one of the most impactful aspects of this artist residency was the experience of working alongside of three very talented and highly motivated artists. As the days progressed we became more and more comfortable with each other, letting more of our selves be revealed. As we got to know each other we learned from each other. We inspired each other and even though we have gone back to our separate lives we know share a foundation to build on. I look forward to how these different personalities and points of view will go on to influence my work over this fall and winter as I continue my work in the studio.
Speaking of relationships, there were 91 people who contributed to my GoFundMe campaign with donations between $200 and $10. I would not have been able to have the experience I had if it were not for the generosity of these donors several of who chose to remain anonymous. I remain very grateful to these people and humbled by their example. It is experiences like this remind me of the value of being surrounded by good people.