Taratories Blog

Residency to Revival Video

I am so excited about this blog post because it includes a video made by my talented friend Hannah Nitz!  She compiled different clips from my video footage from my 3 week artist residency in Wales along with some clips from here in Akron.  It also shows some sneak peaks of my art that I did there!  I hope you enjoy it!

"There is no shadow of turning"

Back in April I was on the internet and came across an advertisement for an Artist in Residency program in Florida.  The term "Artist in Residency" was one that I had heard before, but I had never really learned about what it was.  When I clicked for more information on this residency I just fell in love with the whole concept.  Every residency is different although each one grants the artist anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years a studio to work in.  Some require workshops, lectures, performances, etc. from the artist during their stay there, but some just offer solitude to work on their art.  There are such a wide range of residencies from some that have no fees, to ones that charge rent, etc. to others that give artists a stipend to use for travel and living expenses.  

I am at a stage in my art career where I am needing a solid chunk of time to develop my work.  My life is so chaotic and full of the noise that comes with raising four boys.  I have a hard time getting the space to hear my thoughts or to find my voice as a visual artist.  I have a lot of inspiration but what I am seeking to find is really who I am as an artist.  A residency seems like the perfect place to find the margin necessary to create, away from noisy life and instead surrounded by nature and serene beauty.  Working in solitude yet around other artists seems like a perfect recipe to make the art that I long to create.  I thrive in these types of environments and come alive. 

This residency is a month away from family, and with all my responsibilities I never thought it would be possible to do something like that.  But the thought of it kept nudging me and keeping me awake at night.  I sheepishly brought it up to my husband to get his thoughts on a residency and his first reaction was "Go for it!  I want you to follow your dreams!"  "Are you kidding me?!"  I thought to myself.  Without question he was willing to do whatever it would take for me to do something like this. My mouth dropped open and I didn't even know what to say.  I started getting that shaky feeling that you get when you are in a moment of disbelief and excitement.  All I can remember in that moment was how I felt my heart filled up with an even greater love for my sacrificial, honorable husband who I don't deserve.  

Without delay I got on the computer to begin the process of applying.  It was an extensive application where I had to submit images of my work, resume, references, an explanation of why I would like this residency, what I would want to accomplish during this residency, and a detailed explanation of a workshop that I would hold for their art center.  "Submit your application."  Click.  Then I had to wait, and wait.  I kept picturing me in that studio with palm trees outside my window.  A light breeze bringing tranquil and clear thoughts and direction to me.  Waking up early in the morning to draw and paint and just think. I thought of the people I would meet and the artists I would get to know there.  My mind wouldn't stop.  It is so hard not to let your thoughts run away with you and dream.  I opened my mailbox on Tuesday and it explained that I had not gotten the residency.  My heart sank to the floor.  I was speechless and had to process what I had just read.  

I was disappointed to say the least, but I truly believed that God had a plan.  Maybe this wasn't the best time in my life to do something like this.  Maybe this wasn't the right residency, and maybe a residency wouldn't be for me.  I was singing the song "Great is Thy Faithfulness" (an old hymn that has always been one of my favorites) to my son as I lay him down for a nap after I got the news and the words were just dancing all around me.  I was hearing them in a way where I felt as though God was my echo.  I left his room and looked up the lyrics... 

"Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassion's, they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!"

"There is no shadow of turning with Thee."  God didn't have His back turned toward me, he was right there being His ever present, unchanging self.  "Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow", "Morning by morning new mercies I see" - words that gave me encouragement and hope that God was there and knows what is best for me.  After a cry, a sleeve of Oreos, and a long nap, I woke up and sat up in my bed.  When I had read the email, my first feelings were hurt, rejection, and the thought "maybe I should just not do anything or try at all." I put my feet on the floor and told myself that I wasn't going to give up that easy and that I had to keep putting one foot in front of the other. So I did.  

The next day, I decided I would go and check out what other residencies were out there.  I spent over 3 hours scrolling and clicking through all of the tons of residencies out there.  It is harder than you would think finding a residency that is a good fit.  It had to be the right length, low budget, painter friendly residency, etc.  I found a few that seem to fit the bill.  I sent out one request to get an application for a residency in Northern Wales.  I was emailed back the next day with the news that there was one opening left for 2016 and it was in October.  I was looking for October or November!  She said that they would asses my application immediately.  Immediately it was, because I sent it in yesterday and got an email back today saying that my application was reviewed by their committee and that they would like to offer me a 3 week residency starting in October!!  I couldn't believe my eyes!

As I read over the information about the residency and location, etc.  I found that I would be taking a train in from Birmingham which is where I grew up!!  I moved to the United States when I was 10 years old and I have never been back to visit.  I have always dreamed of going back to where I lived in England and it seemed to me that God ordained this year to be the year for me to do it!  I realize now that God had a better plan for me.  One that I could never have imagined or dreamed of.  I am so beyond thankful to God and overwhelmed at the way that He is blessing me, and now I see that the disappointment I had was God's way of charting my course in a different direction.  Now I begin dreaming up what I will create when I am at Stiwdio Maelor in Corris, Wales.  I can't wait to see what I can do with 3 weeks of uninterrupted time in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  When I was a child I sat on a mountain nearby this village, and I can't wait to sit on it again!!