Tomorrow I'll be packing up and heading home, so this is my last entry from Weir Farm. Twenty-four days and twelve paintings! Two paintings were sold and the ten remaining are pictured above on the studio wall.
I did a last tour of Weir Pond at dusk; it seemed fitting to walk a trail that I had walked so many times during the past three weeks. I'm sad to be leaving, but I'm also looking forward to getting back home to my family and continuing my artistic journey there. If you managed to read along to this very last entry, thank you for joining me on my journey!
J. Alden Weir's studio was surprisingly dark. He purposely blocked off all the side windows and painted the walls a dark color, so that the large north-facing windows were the only source of light. Here's the reason why: with a north-facing window, the sunlight does not move through the studio at different angles during the day. The north light illuminates the subject matter and the painting in the same cool atmosphere, which allows the artist greater control over color values and contrasts within a painting.
My favorite part of the studio was the ceiling, which was decorated with gold starfish. The starfish were like an old-fashioned version of the fluorescent stars my children had on their bedroom ceiling. Very whimsical!
"Ice on the Pond" is my mixed-media painting of the photograph from Day 19. The under-painting of tissue paper captured the texture of the surrounding trees and the surface of the ice just as it had started to form on Weir Pond.
Sadly, there are not many original paintings of J. Alden at Weir Farm, because following his death his collection went to Brigham Young University, the only institution who would take the collection in its entirety. However, there is an original painting of his daughter inside the lid of his paintbox. For J. Alden Weir, this must have been the equivalent of having a snapshot of his child in his wallet or on his cellphone!
I "lich" the colors and texture of this mixed-media piece! (See the photograph from Day 11.)
Ice has started to form on Weir Pond. I went for a walk at dusk and the surface of the pond looked like delicately etched silver.
Today I applied paper pulp to canvas in an effort to recreate the technique used by David Scanavino in his wall installation at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (see Day 6). Yikes! My paper pulp, which I made from leftover scraps of paper from my other mixed media pieces, looked like oatmeal (to put it politely) and applied to the canvas had the texture of a lumpy rug. I had to go back to the Aldrich Museum to get a closer look at Scanavino's work. It looked like play dough with a beautifully dimpled texture (see above). I'm hoping some magic will occur overnight as my paper pulp dries!
This evening I gave a brief presentation about my residency at the Wilton Public Libary, which had a beautiful facilty (nice lighting!). It was fun to share my experience with the audience and to show the work that I've completed. Many good questions about my painting process and environmental background. Lots of support for my work (one sale and one request for a business card!), including support from my husband who drove down for the presentation. Still more than a week left and I'm looking forward to using every remaining moment!
I once saw an exhibit of Emily Eveleth: gigantic paintings of jelly doughnuts, each of which took up an entire wall. Those were big doughnuts! The piece above is only 24 x 36 inches, but it is the biggest painting I've created so far at Weir Farm. Is the bark bigger than its bite?
Stone walls are plentiful at Weir Farm. Some are substantial and seem taller than the ones I typically see in Groton, MA. Some are tumbledown, because as Robert Frost says, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall." The park service has a whole brochure devoted to the stone walls at Weir Farm, which fall into three categories: thrown walls, laid walls and rubble-filled walls. Thrown walls do not require any experience to build, and because of their lack of stability, required farmers to constantly rebuild them (the kind Frost was talking about in "Mending Wall"). Laid walls are built by masons with quarried stone. Rubble-filled, the most stable, are two laid walls constructed next to each other with the gap in between filled with rubble. Stone walls appear in J. Alden Weir's paintings, but I haven't attempted any (yet!).