Welcome to Part 3 of 3 of The Self-Made Residency Series of articles. Part 1 lists the good, bad and ugly parts of embarking on this adventure. Part 2 outlines decisions you need to make regarding the where, when and how to organize and plan your residency. In this last article, I discuss how I carved out a studio space, what I brought with me, what I wish I brought with me and some of what I did while I was there.
At this point, you’ve put down a deposit on accommodations, you’re a few weeks away from departure and you’re thinking about what to do while you’re there. It’s best to have a loose plan for a few things you might want to work on and allow for some surprises once you get there. I packed mostly portable, water-based art materials and I gave myself the restriction that all I pack for studio must fit in one small box, lest I go berserk and take everything I own. I also restricted my color palette to black, white, red and brown-I may have thrown yellow ochre in as well, but didn’t use it much. I brought my big set of Caran d’ache crayons in case I wanted access to any other colors, but I pretty much stayed within my chosen palette. As I mentioned many times on this blog, hiking is a big part of my travel studio practice, so of course I packed my back pack art materials. (Read this article to see what I take with me in my pack-I’ll be updating this article with fun new portable materials in my next post!) I took a fold out card table in case I needed extra space, but I didn’t end up using it. As it turned out, my cabin came furnished with a kitchen table, a long coffee table and a table out in the sun room, all of which I designated my ‘studio’. I even employed the second bedroom daybed as my drying rack! I also took with me a roll of plastic and covered every table surface, the wall and the floor at my painting table so as not to make a mess with my art making activities. I wished I had taken a few clip on lights-an artist can never have enough light-and I will remember this for next time.
When I got there, it took me a week or so to acclimate and create a daily schedule for myself. I mapped out the parks I wanted to hike, art museums/galleries I wanted to visit and came up with a loose plan for the next 5 weeks. Basically, I hiked, did yoga, wrote and painted en plein air during the early part of the day, then read, meditated and painted in my house studio during the late afternoon and night. (A more detailed article on the work I made during my residency is coming up soon! In the meantime, check out the gallery below for a sneak peek.)
It may sound boring, but I accomplished so much, hiked many miles, painted many landscapes, rested, worked hard, wrote reams, saw some art, started 3 new drawings series, met my first alligator and manatee, chatted with locals, took a tour of secret trails with a park ranger, found many random hearts while hiking, got a natural tan in the middle of winter, fell in love with swamps all over again, ate cookies every night and can’t wait to do it all again next year.
I hope you found this series of articles helpful. If you’re planning your own self made residency or have completed one, please share in the comments where you went—comments are located in the top left side bar by the title of the article. Please enjoy the photos below of my ‘studio’ space and some of the work I made. If you’re interested in seeing more images of my residency, scroll my Instagram feed and check out my story highlights entitled ‘Florida‘. Stay tuned for my next blog post in which I’ll share with you new portable art supplies for your summer travels.