I am so excited to finally reveal the paintings that I did in Wales! I have a new web page dedicated to the new collection called "Flights of Curiosity" found at http://www.taradeetscreek.com/new-page-1/ . On this page you can see my art and read the stories that were behind the paintings. I still have originals for sale and you can also order prints! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in prices of originals or prints or if you have any questions about the work at all. If you are local to the Akron area, my paintings will be on display at Revival (822 W Market Street, Akron, Oh 44303) through the month of December. Here is one of my paintings entitled "In Her Mind's Eye". Go to my new web page to see the whole collection!
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!
Now that I made it back to the United States from my residency in Wales, I wanted to reflect on my time there. Being back home is great and strange at the same time. I am still jet lagged because only 3 days ago I was in England boarding my plane, but I am hoping to get back on schedule soon. It is so great to be with my husband and 4 boys, but I am also missing Wales and trying to adjust to my life. This residency was an unbelievable experience and opportunity to get me out of my normal environment and into a place full of inspiration and creative freedom. I can't wait for my next residency! Until then...
10 Things I will miss about Wales:
- The incredible nature at my fingertips in any direction
- The slow pace of life in the Corris community
- The simple life with no distractions
- Being able to work on art for extended periods of time on my own schedule
- Being in community with other artists
- Talking to people who are from different countries and learning about the world
- The time and space to think clearly and deeply
- Having a studio attached to my bedroom where I can't escape my paintings
- The scones with clotted cream and jam and also the welsh cakes
- Working on my art when inspiration comes instead of when it can fit it in my schedule
20 Realizations I had in Wales:
- It is confirmed that I want to be a full time working artist
- I will never know what it feels like to be bored because I always have my art
- I was getting a little lazy in my mothering and homemaking because I was more mentally consumed with reaching my artistic goals
- Being authentic in my art is more important to me than making money
- I love my husband and children more than anything in the world
- I love nature more than I thought I did
- There are other artists in the world who think like I do and I need to be around other artists more
- I have been too consumed with social media and the internet and I need to scale back
- It takes very little to just take care of myself without others in my life to take care of
- About 90% of my time at home is used to care for others
- It is so healthy and refreshing to take time to feel like an individual and an artist outside of being a mother and wife
- I love travel and adventure but I don't like figuring out public transportation or carrying heavy rucksacks
- There are things I still have in my brain from growing up in England that are brought to mind through experiences in Great Britain
- I actually do like to cook, but I was just burned out from having to cook so much at home
- I am very introverted when I am consumed with my art, but enjoy interactions with people outside of it
- I am definitely a wanderlust and want to see as much of the world as possible and make connections with people across the globe
- I need very little to be happy
- I want experiences more than material things
- I want to keep doing residencies to use as spring boards for my art and time for refreshment and refocus
- I am want to keep growing in my art and I'm excited to see where the road takes me next!
My last full day in Corris was quite an adventure. I packed up my studio and wanted to take a walk to the Craft Center in Upper Corris. I had read about it before I came to Corris and I thought I would go see what it was all about in person. I had instructions on how to get there from people in the house and it didn't seem that hard to get there. Walk to the end of the road and make a sharp right, then you will get there...
I walked, and walked, and walked. I never saw a sharp right. It felt as though I was on a highway. Cars were flying by me and I had no place to walk besides the road in some parts. I walked in the grass outside of the guard rail when I could. I was very nervous that I was going to get hit, and started to feel nervous that I had also gone the wrong way.
When I came to this waterfall and stream I just knew I had either gone too far or taken a wrong turn so I decided to just turn around and walk back the way I came. Then it started to pour down rain. I was SO GLAD that last minute I decided to throw my backpack on which had my umbrella in it. Rain actually ended up benefitting me because I had a bright yellow umbrella which I waved to oncoming traffic to alert them of my presence on the road! Somehow I felt a surge of confidence as I walked behind the thin yellow fabric. I almost reached the town of Corris when Yuki, the volunteer at Maelor, pulled up in her van and rescued me! She showed me where I made the mistake of veering to the left (which I felt at the time was a straight path) instead of turning right where I should have. She dropped me at the door of the Craft Center and said she would wait a minute until I made sure it was open. Sure enough it was CLOSED FOR THE SEASON!! How ironic! I was so glad she stayed and waited so I didn't have to walk back into town in the rain anymore. What a day. I was gone for hours! We were laughing so hard at my stupidity!
That night we all went out to the pub for dinner at Dolgellau which is a neighboring town. It was so great to have a last hoorah before I left the next day and really made up for the wet wandering I did earlier. The three of us resident artists were joined by Yuki, the volunteer, and Veronica and Mary who are owners and founders of Stiwdio Maelor.
The next morning I took one last walk in the town and said "goodbye" to the local cow who has a huge bellowing "Moo" that I hear from Maelor every day.
I also said "hello" to some rams in a tractor who passed by. I stood and thought to myself, "This is Wales." I had to say goodbye to everything. I went into each room in Maelor and thought of memories in each one. Endings are so hard, but I was so excited to see my family as well which lessened the sting. I have missed them so much!
I will have one last blog post for my residency that will tie it all up in a bow. But until then, here are some detail shots of the last painting that I did in Wales.
This last week we had two new resident artists come to stay. The girl on the left is Michelle Loa Kum Cheung and the girl on the right is Jessica Raby.
Jessica is currently getting her MA in Aberystwyth and is studying film. She collects things from nature and isolates outside of their natural environment to film and photograph. This is her in her studio filming a flower she picked around the area while here.
Michelle is a painter and uses a unique technique where she burns into wood and uses oil paint to paint around and inside her burnt drawings. Right now she is doing a commission for a restaurant which is a tetraptych (painting that has four parts). Go to Michellelkc.com to see more of her work.
And there is me. I focus mainly on using a combination of acrylic paints and colored pencils on canvas. I have been enjoying exploring this mixed media technique more and more and have enjoyed focusing on people as my subjects. Since I have been in Wales I have been using Welsh folklore to tell stories in my paintings and I have had so much fun trying my hand at allegorical paintings!
This week we decided it would be fun to do a critique with each other in our studios. I haven't done a critique since college and it was so fun to be a part of something like this again! First we gathered in the attic and watched what Jessica had filmed so far on the projector.
We loved the flower that she had filmed slowly spinning as it hung from her studio ceiling. The light created beautiful shadows on it and I loved how mesmerizing it was to watch. She talked about her work and we also took a look at some of her past films. She appreciated our input and used it to help her plan out her direction for the rest of her stay here. If you want to see more of her work go to www.jess-raby.com.
Next we looked at what Michelle had painted so far on her panels and she talked about her process and how she got into pyrography. She talked about what kind of subjects she paints and how she is drawn to landscapes but likes to play with scale in her paintings in a surrealistic way.
The time came for my critique. I talked about my different paintings that I have painted in Wales and how I incorporated Welsh folklore into them. We talked about some of the commonalities that the paintings have with each other and the parts of the paintings that worked better than others.
Discussing art with each other was so fun and we all benefitted so much from our discussions. Here are a few more detail shots from another painting I did.
I feel slightly exhausted from painting so much these last 3 weeks. It has been like a marathon and I feel like I need a break from my paintbrush for a little bit which feels really weird coming from my mouth! I feel like 3 weeks was the perfect amount of time to be on a residency. I could have pushed myself to do more art if I was staying longer, but I feel like I am ready to go home and see my family. Yesterday I took a break from painting and did a little sight seeing. First stop was Machynlleth again to go to the shoe shop where they design and hand craft their shoes. They actually custom make the shoes for you to fit your feet! The shoes were so amazing and I wanted many of them, but the ones I wanted the most were, of course, the most expensive ones in the store. They were made with rabbit fur and cost a whopping $600, so obviously I didn't order any. The designer and owner said that these shoes are meant to last a lifetime which I love. Maybe some day!
I stopped at the train station to buy my ticket for my journey to Birmingham and after I bought my ticket I walked back into the center of town. On my way down the hill I realized that the last time I did this walk was the first day I got here and stepped off the train. I remembered how I felt while I was walking. Exhausted, sore, excited, in awe that I was actually in Wales! I remember taking in everything for the first time and now it seemed almost normal! I walked past this pub which was my first stop after I arrived when I had the fish and chips. Then my eyes started welling up. I got a lump in my throat as I realized that my time was drawing to an end here and thinking about my adventure that I have had here. A tear trickled down my face and I had to take the moment to reflect and say goodbye. I am so grateful that God gave me this amazing experience and I am so sad that I have to leave this part of the world that I love so much!
I pulled myself together and Yuki and I drove to a nearby local mountain that is smaller than Snowdon but still pretty big called Cadair Idris. This palatial tree was at the entrance to greet me.
The journey to the base of the mountain was a beautiful experience in itself! There was beautiful streams and loads of mossy everything.
The views on the way up were incredible and we walked up hundreds of rock steps and pathways weaving all the way up.
I loved this awesome slate bridge over the stream. We sat and took a break and caught our breath here and watched the water flow down in front of us.
As we got closer to our destination there were more expanses of land in sight. Every direction I looked in was absolutely breathtaking.
Then we finally arrived and it was so calm and quiet. The mountain was so beautiful from all angles and the lake in the center of it was so placid.
And we found more red mushrooms! There is no short supply of fungus here.
And of course there were more sheep...
It was an amazing three hour hike and I am so glad I got to experience more of God's creation and the Welsh landscape. I have really gained a new appreciation for nature since I've been here and I can't wait to do more exploring when I get home!