Since January 17th, I have been participating in VALA’s Artist in Residence program. It’s a modified residency, but it’s an interesting project. Every Saturday, from 11am to 2pm, I go to the VALA Art Center, set up my painting supplies and work on my paintings. I also have several pieces showing in the gallery.
At first, I was a little nervous about the arrangement. I was used to painting in my studio, with no interruptions (aside from family
members) and loving the solitude. Now, at VALA, I’m working with other painters, as well as visitors who come in to the gallery space. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the interruptions, nor the painting in public.
The first day, I anxiously set up my work space and introduced myself to my neighbor, Gwen Maxwell-Williams. Gwen makes these amazing contemporary abstract quilts. I remember admiring her quilts at the Redmond Farmer’s Market last summer. Gwen smiled and told me a little about herself. We talked for a few minutes, and I went back to my work.
A few minutes passed, and I heard Gwen say something. ‘Excuse me?’ I asked. ‘I need a man’ she replied. Hmmm… I didn’t quite know how to respond to that.
Gwen repeated: ‘I need a man’. I looked over at her and smiled, thinking that it might be hard for her to find what she was looking for way in the back of the VALA space. She continued: ‘I need to bring my sewing machine in here, and I need help carrying it in here, it’s heavy. I need a man!’. We both started laughing.
As I’ve continued the residency over the last 4 weeks, I’m settling in to the new rhythm. I find that I enjoy meeting other artists from the area as well as talking with our visitors. I’ve seen many families with children, and it’s great to see parents encouraging their children to look at art.
Now my comfort zone is just a little bit bigger. VALA, thank you for the opportunity. The program ends soon, February 21st. Please stop by if you get the chance.