"Arcola Moment" is a special piece for me. It's a piece I did to prepare for a painting demo I was to do down at Arcola Mills on the St Croix on June 20 of this past month. It is not new for me to paint the river. The more I paint it the more drawn I become to it's ever changing dynamics. And it's not unlike me to paint the same spot again and again. The more I paint one spot the more challenging it becomes to me. I am always completely amazed at the ever changing moments one place can hold. It's mysterious and challenging to me to document these moments with paint. It is NEVER the 'same place'. That's the beauty as I see it. We've had quite dramatic and frequent changing effects with the fluctuation of water levels this past month, so I painted it, several times! This piece was the first of several I did of this 'opening' on the river.
The White Pine Festival is a week long event that features some of the countries finest musians and poets, and for the first time ever, they added a visual artist to the mix, me. Some of the featured artists were the Miro Quartet, Skip James, Roger Bonair-Agard, Marie Howe, and Cynthia Gustavson. It was SUCH a treat to spend time with these amazingly talented and passionate people! Quite the rich experience! Pretty Good Company, huh?! It was refreshing to know, as artists, we're all after the same thing. We study the ones who did it well, we pass on selflessly what we know, we honor the classics, we strive for authenticity of our craft and we continue to have faith that we will do it better tomorrow.
As we all know, painting is not exactly a 'performing art' like some of the other lovely forms of art, even though watching a painter paint, is one of my favorite things to do. My part of this event was to do a 'plein air' painting demonstration of the St Croix River from Arcola Mills, a place I frequently paint near my home. The public could purchase tickets to watch a painting from start to finish with time for some 'art talk' afterwards. Besides doing demos for my classes, I have not ever had an audience when painting before, I was a bit nervous. I had to remind myself I was just painting, I do it every day. Once I started the painting, I was just painting and it went very well. The energy from the people was amazing. I had to keep reminding them to breath. I could feel them holding their breaths waiting for the next stroke. Pretty neat.
So, this is the first of several of this particular opening on the river. More to come. . . . . .