I received word early June that I have been accepted to an Arts Residency at Foundation OBRAS (Centre for Art and Science) in Evoramonte, Portugal, for October 2017. I am extremely pleased by the prospects of the residency, but a little nervous at the same time. As you might imagine, it is completely out of my comfort zone including language, food, and culture. This also makes it the supreme adventure.
The setting for OBRAS is very rural and in a large “quinta” that houses apartments and five studios. The building has been rehabbed but has a historic background going back hundreds of years. There are several large marble quarries nearby, prehistoric monoliths, and various ruins and quaint nearby towns. For my purposes all this is visually captivating. So much so, that I am trying to imagine what to do with the visual information from the surroundings that can be incorporated into my existing work.. Because I am long distance in a rural setting, I will not have the “crutch” of my ordinary daily tools. I.e., specific paints, grinders, chisels, brushes, panels, etc. This will force me to start anew and with a different frame of mind. I have considered only working in black and white (simple paints) and applications with found objects, sticks, leaves, etc. Another approach might be to deal with only watercolors which are easily transportable.
I had the luxury of doing a previous residency at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Wyoming in 2015. I developed a working schedule that included early breakfast at 5 am, and then a daily trek with camera in hand as the sun came up. This usually lasted about an hour or so. I always came back invigorated by the surroundings and filled with ideas. Worked hard until noon, then nap, then more relaxed work until dinner. I suspect this same routine will serve me well in Portugal. Hopefully there will be more work on-site as well. I am trying to go into this with as open a mind as possible, but yet do not want to waste time floundering. TBD.
The last interesting (at least for me) tidbit is food. We are responsible for our own food and also participate in a communal dinner twice a week. I am not the best, cook, but get by with basics. Shopping for food in Portugal could be really fun or difficult, depending on how you look at it. I have no concerns for my daily meals, but cooking for a others twice a week might be taxing. The real benefits of a residency (aside from new surroundings) is meeting new people from different disciplines and cultures.
In doing research for the area, the surroundings look unique and so interesting with the mix of Arabic and Roman influences. It is in the heart of the wine region and cork production. Needless to say I will post more pictures, especially on Instagram as this journey progresses.
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