Thursday, April 29, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Final Installment

Day 23:
  • seriously wyoming...why is your wind always so angry?
  • wine and cake for lynn's birthday!
  • after dinner we hoofed it to the visual arts' studios for an open studio extravaganza followed by a hike to the composer's studio to listen to readings from the poets and writer and music from the composer. ping-pong tournament before bed and i fell asleep knowing my supplies will be boxed and well on their way to az before the day ends tomorrow.

Day 24:

  • i'm waiting for my lunch to be delivered to my studio for the last time. soon someone will be by to pick up my boxes of supplies. i feel terribly sad at the thought of leaving but i look forward to getting back to reality and beginning the next chapter.
  • wipe those tears - we're going out with a bang! tonight the whole crew will invade the occidental for a final hoedown. peace out wyoming!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Installment 10

Day 20:
  • so it's official. i love the west. living in texas & arizona, time spent in new mexico, colorado, california, washington, and now this experience in wyoming solidifies this fact. now it is on to explore the east side of the states. no plans as of yet but east coast, i will see you in the near future!
  • finished the 5th and final painting and wrapped up the watercolor postcard project. (now showing in a mail box near you). a mini adventure during my last few days here would be grand.

Day 21:

  • got to go with ruthie on an errand which allowed for a photo shoot of several precariously placed stuffed geese. (pics to follow).

Day 22:

  • beginning to organize the studio for packing.
  • took a nice long walk w/lynn (who happened to find some killer turkey feathers). she also made me an insanely beautiful beaded bracelet. adore it - man, i'll miss you lynn!
  • entries are becoming lame. sorry to bore.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Installment 9

Day 18:
  • wicked shitty weather today.
  • finished a third painting. have 4 more days to finish the last 2
  • we had cocktails and dinner with all of the ucross jurors and the main man, raymond. not only is raymond the founder of the apache corporation, he is also the founder of ucross. he smokes a pipe and drinks whiskey. he is the reason we are all here. thank you raymond.
  • note to self: when i am in the company of artists and/or art-related people, i'm always the largest in size. in most other environments i find i am average in stature.

Day 19:

  • tremendously beautiful outside. i am under the impression that wyoming is bi-polar and not presently under any medication. i thought texas weather was unpredictable.
  • feather collection: 8
  • finished 4th painting.
  • what are the chances of there being another artist residency not 10 min. from ucross? the odds are excellent. it is called jentel. one of our residents is friends with one of their residents which lead to an invitation to a bbq. the people were amazing and the property is absolutely beautiful. had a fantastic time.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Installment 8

Day 16:

  • played hookie from communal dinner. took a hot bath, did laundry, and set up a little studio in my room and worked on watercolor postcards instead. ahhhhhhh.
  • after some careful research, we realized that we totally saw a marmot on the ranch trip. google it. they're awesome.

Day 17:

  • one of the members of "the dream team" departs tomorrow so the four of us went into sheridan for our last lunch together. before we bolt to the occidental for some banjo action we must attend cocktail hour followed by dinner with the ucross visual art juror. capped off the evening with a bout of whiskey ping-pong. the social calendar if full for the next 3 days. how am i supposed to get any work done around here?
  • the combination of pending doom of my not to far away departure from ucross mixed with the exhilaration of coming home makes for a conflicting state of mind.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Installment 7

Day 14:
  • finished my first painting today. the other 4 are in various stages of development and i am really hoping to have them finished before i leave. the series is called beauty and the butterfly. each painting has an endangered or vulnerable vulture (cape, egyptian, lappet-faced & white-headed vultures, and a california condor) admiring a monarch butterfly. i've started several drawing to go w/the series as well.
  • the new residents arrived today. the visual studios and the depot (where i sleep) are full again. the newbies are fresh and excited. it was odd to sit next to them during dinner as they asked the same questions i had asked only 2 weeks ago. tomorrow they will wake early and as they set up their studios they'll delight in this amazing environment. for some reason i found their enthusiasm exhausting.
  • after dinner i went back to the studio and worked for a couple of hrs. i'm beat and in need of a shower.

Day 15:

  • productive day. finished a second painting. moved the stop painting date to the 27th which gives me 7 more days to work on the painting series.
  • totally fed baby cows today!!! milly, tilly, lilly, and rusty (average age is one month) were abandoned by their mamas and have to be bottle fed twice a day. by the end of the feeding i was covered in baby cow slobber and loved it.
  • finished the evening at buck's cabin: whiskey ping-pong, explored an abandoned building across the road, and watched a movie. looking forward to tomorrow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Installment 6

Day 11: town trip!!
  • for the occasion i put on a little makeup and my jacket without paint stains. i'm tired of looking like a total dirtbag.
  • it's goin' home time for 5 of the residents. we dropped them off at the airport on our way to the "big city" (sheridan, wy). i got supplies to last the next 2 weeks: a $3 sweatshirt, thermal long sleeve, a few art supplies, a bar of soap, and 2 bottles of wine & a bottle of whiskey (a girl needs variety).
  • we paid a visit to king's saddlery & museum where mixed among the countless saddles and saddle accoutrements was a 2-headed stuffed calf. sweet.
  • critter sightings: 2 sandhill cranes, 2 black-billed magpies, buffalo (housed in sheridan city park), and 1 jack russel terrier chasing 1 squirrel.
  • worked for a couple of hrs. in the studio after dinner and then whiskey ping-pong at buck's cabin. i thought i had exhausted finding new treasures at buck's but we found a few stacks of undiscovered photos. we are piecing together what we think is buck's life. from what we can tell, he is the bee's knees when it comes to character.
  • 5 new arrivals will infest our solitude on monday, until then there are only 4 of us on the property this weekend. we have made plans to have a saturday night out on the town. sheridan, we come!!!

Day 12:

  • i was excited to see i had received the envelope i have been waiting for this morning. robbie mailed the digital camera usb cord and flash drive that i left behind. after reading his sweet note, i searched the package for the goods but there were no goods to be found. upon inspecting the envelope it became obvious that somewhere between phoenix and ucross is my usb cord and f-drive. there are gaping slits on either side of the poor ole envelope. damn. amazon+rush shipment=needed goods (hopefully). my postcard project depends on this delivery.
  • the four of us went into sheridan for dinner and a movie. to our surprise, historical downtown sheridan has a ton of art which we explored. great to hang out.

Day 13:

  • the weather is fantastic. warm & calm enough to open all of the windows in the studio.
  • after dinner, the 4 of us headed towards the living room to enjoy the last bit of solitude before the new residents arrive tomorrow. we lounged on the couches and told stories by candlelight. story subjects include: favorite experiences while living in costa rica, a drug dealer shake-down in new york, becoming lost on an isolated hike in mexico, and i told the ole train derailment story. best night to date.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Installment 5

Day 9:
  • a 3 hr. ranch tour took the place of my afternoon walk. it was stellar. critters we saw: antelope, an osprey, wild turkey, a blue heron nesting colony, prairie dogs, western meadowlarks, white-tailed deer, a red-tailed hawk, and 2 st. bernards (belonging to ruthie, our fearless guide/residency manager). geography and history lessons were sprinkled throughout the trip. these lessons were spurred on by the sightings of a petrified tree, 200 yr.old tee pee circles, and an abandoned town. there was lots of talk about coal. we even visited a dang quilt shop in the microscopic town of clearmont. oh, and i totally scored a prairie dog skull.
  • after dinner myself and 2 other visual artists opened our studios and shared our work with the other residents. we also had the pleasure of listening to 2 of the writers read some of their work. fantastic experience.
  • brain activity overload. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Day 10:

  • as i was sitting on the patio of my studio, i had to laugh at how ridiculously beautiful it was outside. wyoming doesn't mess around.
  • since being at ucross i have received 2 rejection notices for residencies i had applied for. you would think that being here would lessen the sting. it does not.
  • 3 other residents and i went back to the occidental for a beer and another bluegrass hoedown. we were approached by one of the musicians, "you all must be from ucross" he said. "are we that obvious?", i asked. to which he replied, "yes". we had heard of the legend of an old-timer named "whitey" and to our delight we got to meet him. he is 90 some odd yrs old and a dancing machine. he asks all of the ladies to dance and dance he did. i along with the 2 other lady residents politely turned him down for a dance. he leaned into me and said, "i came only half dressed. i forgot my false teeth and glasses." he then turned to the only male resident, mike, and kindly asked if he would care to dance. mike declined. most likely he could not see mike's beard without his glasses but we all like to think that ole whitey is just very open-minded.
The Occidental Hotel Saloon
Buffalo, WY

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Installment 4

Day 6:
  • saw 2 deer standing where I had been not 15 min. ago. i got teary-eyed watching them make their way across the same stream that i had been trying to find a way to cross.
  • have come to the realization that if harm came to any of us, we would most likely have to be treated by a veterinarian.
  • i'am here to produce art, but absorbing this experience as a whole is just as important.

Day 7:

  • wishing it weren't so gray outdoors. it is making me feel gray.
  • on my afternoon walk a bald eagle flew directly overhead.
  • first weekend at ucross. the offices were closed. the 7 other residents and myself had to fend for ourselves. did not know that this property could become more secluded. i was mistaken. note to self: next town trip...more whiskey.

Day 8:

  • cabin fever setting in. for the love of god gray sky - hit the bricks! i cannot promise that i won't commandeer a vehicle. i am in desperate need of a high speed joy ride under a big blue sky.
  • afternoon walk: 1) thank you baby jesus for the robin's egg blue sky (no need to steal a not so cool that you needed tornado strength winds to blow the gray skies all to hell. that vicious wind is where head colds come from. 2) scarf became mangled on barbed wire fencing during landscape photo shoot - brief panic...but came out unscathed.
  • i can honestly say that i work everyday until i'm empty. the evenings have taken on a lonely, somber feel. i've been off the property once in ten days. sooooo looking forward to the town trip friday.
  • going to see if i can round up the troops after dinner tonight to join me in a buck's cabin photo shoot/exploration. did i mention there are 4 real-life elephant feet in buck's basement?
  • buck's cabin photo shoot. check.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Installment 3

Day 4:
  • 89% sure I just saw a bald eagle from my studio window.
  • on my afternoon walk I saw: 2 pheasants, the same 2 geese from yesterday laying in tall crunchy grass that matched their feathers, and heard 1 woodpecker.
  • my feather collection is up to 3.
  • i'am socially awkward when it comes to exchanging dinner time pleasantries.
  • on the way back to my room, in the pitch black darkness, the dew on the grass caught my flashlight beam making it look as if the ground had been sprinkled with silvery glitter.

Day 5:

  • took the highway route to the studio this morning. encountered an escaped cow. she did not want her picture taken and i was sure she was going to attack and/or kill me. luckily 2 ranch hands intervened just in time.
  • 2 words: whiskey. ping-pong. this event took place at buck's cabin. i will be doing a photo shoot of said cabin in the days to come. just to get a glimpse into the heavenly status of this place i leave you with this...on the wall there is a photograph of a badger sitting at a bar with a can of budweiser and smoking a cig.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings: Installment 2

Day 3:

  • saw one fox, 4 mallards, 2 canadian geese, and smelled one skunk on my afternoon walk
  • lynn, the composer of the group, referred to the deer droppings that cover every square inch of the property as "land mines" which I thought was pretty clever.
  • i made a special request to the chef to not include cookies in my lunch anymore. yeah...she makes a different kind of cookie(s) every week day. she said it wasn't the first time someone has made that request.
  • the phone rang during dinner making me realize that I hadn't heard that noise in 3 days. awesome.
  • some of my fellow residents and i went to buffalo, wy. to see a bluegrass band playing a gig in a beautiful historic hotel called the occidental. items of note: killer handle bar mustache, banjo, slide guitar, 10 gallon hat. did i mention banjo?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Exhausted Ramblings

So, since I can't show you pics, I thought I would share the last string of random ramblings that go through my soggy brain at the end of the day.

Day 1:

16 hrs ago I was in the desert wearing flipflops and I could honestly say that I hadn't ridden a bike in a decade. I just returned from a terrifyingly delightful experience which consisted of me barreling down a pitch black country highway in Wyoming on a bicycle. At least it had stopped snowing.

Day 2:

2 days with no television, internet, beer, or much human contact other than the 6pm communal dinner and I don't say much. when walking the half mile from my room to my studio this morning I felt pretty again. all bundled up in layers of sweaters, my favorite black and grey scarf, and my hiking boots that walked me to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. my backpack carries very important stuff; flashlight, ipod, camera, flipflops (I change my shoes when I get to my studio like Mr. Rogers would do). I consider it to be my briefcase. I feel like I am on my way to really accomplish something. best commute ever.

I am Here!

Well I am here and it is beyond fantastic. Snow fell the entire day of my arrival and I loved every snowflake. The town of Ucross is truly out in the middle of nowhere (population 25 - no joke) so unfortunately wireless connection is extremely limited. So it really doesn't matter that I forgot the connection to download photos to my laptop. After my first day here I realized how valuable this time at Ucross is and how fast it will go by. So I want to spent every waking moment in my studio. I took a pic with my phone and thought if you saw it you would understand. I'll share lots of photos when I get back home.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Get on with it already!

The butterflies in my stomach are already in high gear with anticipation of my upcoming journey to Wyoming. My eyes are so hungry to see what I will be surrounded by for the next month. To feed this hunger I googled images of Wyoming...then Clearmont, Wyoming...then Ucross Foundation - that's where I hit the motherload.

I came across Lapsus Linguae, the blog of J.R. Carpenter. How is this relevant to the stretch of life that I’m livin’ at the moment, you ask? Well, only because it chronicles Ms. Carpenter’s stay at Ucross as a fiction writer in 2008. I just spent the past hour reading this tid bit of greatness and the butterflies just took it up a notch.

I embark on my Wyoming experience in 3 days but in celebration of this being my last day at the ole 9:00-5:00er, I’ve decided to start my adventure….right…about…NOW! So, let’s go ahead and get on with it already.

Adventure #1: finish packing. It will be in the 40’s with a possible chance of snow when I arrive – pack accordingly. (Having lived in the desert for the past 6 yrs makes this especially challenging.)

Here are a few Ucross images I found:

(photo from Detroit Symphony Orchestra's webpage)

(photo from J.R. Carpenter's blog)

(photo from J.R. Carpenter's blog)

(photo from Ucross alumni, Manil Suri's website)

Holy god, I think I need to sit down.