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cill rialaig, kari cahill, and october

In a couple days I will be taking off for Ireland to spend the rest of the month. As mentioned in the previous blog, the origin for this trip was my Arts residency at the Cill Rialaig Project; originally applied for in 2019 and then selected and finally scheduled for 2020. All delayed because of Covid until now. I am now going helter skelter and simply hoping for the best. Ireland officially re-opened on July 19th to U.S. citizens. I have even scrounged a third Covid booster shot (kinda under the radar and with a bit of truth stretching) and had a negative Covid test yesterday just to get me into the country and hopefully back.    

I also discovered that ex-Cill Rialaig resident artist, Kari Cahill, was giving a workshop (foraging and making pigments from natural materials) a few days before the residency was to begin. I rearranged travel, booked her workshop and this is where we’re at. Kari is generously helping me arrange to pick up various “extenders” and enhancing potions for the pigments since my residency will be based on the information I glean from her. The workshop takes place in Sligo about 6 hours north of the Cill Rialaig residency. Kari suggested that as long as I was in that part of the world I should take a day out and go for a “wee” 5 hour drive along the northern coast through Mayo to Galway and see some spectacular scenery complete with small one-lane roads and apparently pretty dicey hairpin curves.   

To make matters even more interesting, I was asked by J/Costello gallery (Hilton Head, SC) to do a 48 x 48 inch commission before I go. Just finished that and fortunately the client seems very pleased. Gallery owner Judith Costello has now had the interesting idea of doing a show when I return based on work produced at Cill Rialaig. Love the idea, but no pressure right? That means the stuff has to be worth looking at in a medium I know nothing about and with all new subject matter. Should be interesting. Judith even has a writer lined up to do an article about the show and work that doesn’t even exist yet.    

In addition, my reliable old Ipad (which I always take to these remote locations) conked out a couple of days ago. Just bought a new “used” Ipad Pro and reconfigured it to the old specs. My wife, Tricia, kindly dedicated a complete day helping me coordinate all the tech stuff and new installs. She really is a genius tech guru (and calm as opposed to my chaos), but in real life a college sociology professor at GSU. We (read Tricia) got the Ipad Pro working beautifully as of this morning. Whew! I really needed that technology to stay in touch with Tricia remotely through ZOOM or email and to store visual information from the trip. 

So if that’s not enough, I decided that while I am gone for most of September, it would be an opportune time to do a little studio redo. I just had a Velox sun tunnel (like a skylight, but cheaper) installed a couple weeks ago that gives off pretty good light to color correct the paintings. My studio is in our converted former two-car garage, complete with asbestos popcorn ceilings. I have wanted the $%*!#? popcorn removed for years and decided NOW is the time. I have hired a trusted all-around contractor to do the removal and clean up the ceilings and retape the joints over the next few weeks (I’ll do the painting when I return). This has meant cleaning up the studio substantially and somehow putting all the clutter out of the way to allow for the ensuing mess. Temporary storage includes stashing stuff inside bathrooms, closets, bedrooms, and dining room. Just finished that an hour ago with a tad bit of chaos.    

Now if this ain’t enough to keep me going, there is a scheduled mid-October four day road trip to Atlanta and Memphis to drop off paintings at my respective galleries in those locations. That means getting all the work (probably 15-20 pieces) prepped, labeled, wrapped, etc so they will fit in a rented SUV. There’s actually more brewing, but my head is spinning enough. The next post will come from Ireland… preferably over a pint at a nifty local pub. 

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