Artist in Residence Adventure ~

Stage 7: Seeds of Inspiration & Ideas to Pursue…



Finding, Storing, & Planting “Seeds”…

As you can imagine, I started collecting inspiration and ideas from the day I arrived in the park.  Besides the innumerable photographs I have been taking, the first thing I started to capture was a list of words which express my impressions, reactions, and park characteristics.  The second has been reviewing all I’m seeing and experiencing and identifying what I’m most drawn to and excited by.  The third is a list of the ideas that have begun to germinate in response this this amazing place and experience!  Keeping these lists allows me to capture new entries when they occur to me and for the documented “seeds” to percolate and develop.  I believe I have only scratched the surface with some of these initial impressions and ideas so this residency is truly PLANTING seeds for future art-making far beyond what I can produce while here!



This “Word Brainstorm” started out with just a few words.  Each day or so, I’ve added words based on what impacted me most.  Sometimes I inadvertently repeat the words which means they are “heavy hitters”!  I began to categorize and group them into either Park Features & Characteristics, My Reaction & Response, and Historical & Geographical.  I plan to continue adding to the list for the remainder of the Residency and as I have time to process the whole experience and all I will be exposed to.  This list will help inform the intentions for the resulting body of work I’ve begun during the residency and beyond!


Drawn To & Excited By…

So what have I been most drawn to and excited by in the vast variety of things I am seeing and doing?  WOW!  That is a tough one to narrow down!  Here is a first attempt to articulate what is specifically and regularly inspiring to me:

  • Any and all wildlife sign and sightings
  • The glow of the low afternoon sunlight on the rim of the North canyon wall
  • The muted colors of the canyon in shadows
  • The glowing reflected light on things from the North wall
  • The dramatic rock formations
  • VISTAs – the vast expanses as well as getting oriented and recognizing surrounding mountains
  • The evidence of the ancient pueblo people through the ruins, cavates, and petroglyphs

… and I could go on!  Here are a few more glimpses…



There are too many ideas already bouncing around in my head to capture them all here discretely!  They typically morph, merge, and spawn others over time.  I will share some that keep percolating to the top so far:

  • Themes:  Then & Now, Persistent & Fleeting
  • Elements:  Symbols I Resonate With (Spirals, wildlife), Textures, color combinations
  • Integrations:  Wildlife and their environments
  • Non-Objective Responses (colors, light, textures, timelessness)


Public Interaction ~ Well Received!

This particular National Park Residency does not require a piece of artwork be donated.  In this case, my interaction with the Public to amplify their experience of Bandelier is my commitment.  As I’m soaking in the place and the adventures of my explorations, I have scheduled public interaction activities on every Saturday and Sunday of November.  This will be the third weekend as Artist in Residence and I have a demonstration inside the Visitors Center (due to COLD Temperatures!) on Saturday and another Live Painting On the Trail session on Sunday!


Layering Techniques Demonstration ~

The Second public art demonstration focused on the two approaches I use in my physically layered, multi-media artwork:  My Acrylic Layers technique and Collage.  I prepared a process sheet for both approaches from under-painting through the various stages to a resolved painting.  I had fun orchestrating my display in the space the gift shop had temporarily operated out of for the first two weeks of November!  Both process sheets were on an easel which made it easy to explain my processes to interested visitors in a just a few minutes.  On the table I had my work area, my Art Journal for folks to flip through, all of the hand-made papers I had made including the stamps I made inspired by petroglyphs in the Park which I used to create patterns on a few of the sheets.


Acrylic Layers Demo ~

The demonstration piece I started for the Acrylic Layers portion of the demonstration started with a bright yellow and orange under-painting I had made with extra paint left over from making the hand-made papers!



Collage Demo ~

The collage demonstration piece I started on top of a bright blue under-painting I had also made with extra paint left over from making the hand-made papers!  I used two photos of the interior of the larger Cavate which is accessible to visitors to create a Cavate Interior scene.


I had several interested visitors stop by and chat about what I was up to during this Residency and about my art-making processes.  They seemed to really enjoy seeing the process steps at a glance as well as all of the hand-made materials and tools!


Live Paint out #4

I decided to set up at the bench alcove just prior to the Tyuonyi Pueblo Village ruins on the Pueblo Loop Trail.  There is a dip in the North wall of the canyon with interesting rock formations that caught my eye for my first painting and I could rotate a few degrees and get a second painting of my favorite outcropping!  My earliest visitor was Al, a National Park Volunteer who used to be a Park Ranger at Bandelier!  We had the nicest chat and he showed me a petroglyph of a sun symbol and kangaroo rat above it that I had not previously seen high on the canyon wall.  The carver must have been lowered from the top somehow to access this particular rock face!  My Park Ranger friend Jerome came by shortly after and provided amplification that this sun symbol petroglyph lines up with the wall of the pueblo ruins on the solstice!  How cool is that!  For my second piece, I rotated counter clock-wise 90 degrees and did ONE MORE view of my favorite outcropping!  It was a lovely day and I had a blast pointing that petroglyph out to several other visitors who came by!  People really enjoyed seeing the painting happening live on site and I even had some selfie requests!


Next time I’ll share about my visit to Tsankawi, my big creative push initiating several paintings in the studio, and my final live public paint out on the main trail!


If you’re interested in the other Bandelier Artist in Residence ~ Adventure  posts, here are the links so you can enjoy the full story!

  1. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 1:  Travel & Acclimation…”
  2. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 2:  Arrival at My New Home…”
  3. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 3:  Explore & Initial Game Plan…”
  4. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 4:  Field Trip to Valles Caldera…”
  5. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 5:  Studio Days & Exploration…”
  6. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 6:  Wider Explorations…”
  7. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 7:  Seeds of Inspiration & Ideas to Pursue…”
  8. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 8:  Focus for Final Push…”
  9. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ The Artwork…”
  10. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 9:  Wrap it Up…”
  11. “Artist in Residence Adventure ~ Stage 10:  Decompression Begins…”

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