I’ve Never Done This Before…


Opportunity Knocks…

Of course, retirement from the day job brings new opportunities that would never have been considered before, right?  Well, this one popped up in the Facebook feed in January from an artist friend who grew up in New Mexico!  He had shared an application for a one month Artist Residency at Bandelier National Monument not that far from Santa Fe and Los Alamos!  My husband and I had visited this National Park on one of my many painting trips to Taos… I looked it up and that was Spring 2006!  We had loved the park and when I showed him the post he encouraged me to apply… Why Not?  ( I’m not sure either of us thought I’d have a chance but what the heck, throw my hat in the ring and see what happens…)

Robyn at Bandelier National Monument 2006

Robyn at Bandelier National Monument in 2006


The Application…

This was all new as I had never applied for a Residency before.  I’d never had to create an actual Artist Resume or draft a formal proposal for a month long art trip!  So off I went, finding awesome templates and following every instruction and request to the “T”!  It was quite the endeavor and very worthwhile, whether my proposal was accepted or not.  The package consisted of a Resume, a 100 character Bio, a 2 page Residency Proposal, and the actual Application Form which I completed and delivered in March with the promise of decision notification in May.

Residency application package

Robyn’s 4-Part Residency Application Package


The Proposal…

Want to see what I proposed?  Here it is unedited!


Nature, wildlife, and exploring their beauty through my art is a labor of love.  A creative “maker” since childhood, I created commissioned pieces in college and enjoyed working with artists I admire over the years.  Beyond exhibitions and artwork sales, I was blessed to create artistically, give public demonstrations, and teach art, all while working full-time as a civilian for the US Navy.  I recently retired after 31 years of Federal Service and am now able to pursue my artistic endeavors full-time.  I have traveled to New Mexico eleven times to study with my art mentors in the Taos area.  I gained appreciation for how different the New Mexican landscape and culture is from my East Coast home; both are beautiful in such different ways.   My visit to Bandelier National Monument is still a favorite memory of New Mexico.  It was impressive how accessible and immersive the experience was, and I’m still struck by the diverse beauty “hiding in plain sight.”


The variety of life and environments within Bandelier National Monument is huge and the cultural heritage rich.  I propose to create paintings, using both physical layering and juxtaposition of multi-faceted imagery, to integrate multiple related characteristics of Bandelier National Monument, including the cultural history, geology, wildlife, and natural habitats.  Creating cohesive “Immersive Glimpses” paintings will pay homage to the natural diversity and cultural heritage footprints of the park.  This unified diversity within the artwork will fulfill my artistic intention to go beyond simple snap shots of park subjects and create paintings providing an immersive and integrated visual experience characterizing Bandelier’s National Monument’s diverse features.   Adding new elements addressing the park’s cultural heritage, passage of time, and ecological features is a fresh challenge I look forward to exploring and incorporating into my art-making during the Residency.

This unified diversity through “Immersive Glimpses” theme will be captured in multiple media.  During the research phase this will include drawings, watercolor studies, and simple collages.  Designs for fully realized paintings will be prepared and selected from to create multi-media paintings using collage and my personally developed Acrylic Layers technique of physically distinct visual layers and organic textures.  This will allow the most effective use of varied media to express each creative intent as I seek to honor the layers of complexity and passage of time evident in the park.   Here are two examples of initial conceptual ideas for fully realized paintings I envision:

  • An under-painting of petroglyphs and / or cavetes veiled and then overlaid by later layers of wildlife and environments resident along the Pueblo Loop Trail. Visual history of earlier layers peeking through as context for later layers.
  • A background landscape of an environmental zone with juxtaposed windows capturing associated wildlife, ecosystem, and historical cultural presence varying both scale (size – zoomed in or out) and form (shape, line, or modeled.)

My intent is to capture and communicate the wonder and beauty of the complex and interdependent ecosystems the historical residents depended on and lived in harmony with.  Deepening viewer’s appreciation of all the park has to offer through these “Immersive Glimpses” paintings is my goal.  Art specific artifacts to be produced and shared during and after the Residency period will include:

  • Residency sketchbook / journal – Capturing ideas, research, intentions, observations, and concept sketches generated throughout the residency period.
  • Artwork studies – Capturing research for new subjects, technique application, and design of larger pieces.
  • Fully Realized Multi-Media Paintings – Goal is to complete a minimum of 2 finished pieces and start additional.



Sharing with the public through informal encounters, formal art talks, workshops, and demonstrations is a major element of my professional artistic activities I truly enjoy with people of all ages.  Each piece of art has its own creation story which, when shared effectively, de-mystifies the art making process and encourages deeper awareness and appreciation of its inspiration.  Providing clear and simple insight into the creative ideas being expressed, alongside the techniques and methods used, makes the art that much more relatable and memorable to viewers.  This Residency is a perfect opportunity for a multitude of art-based encounters with visitors to deepen and enrich their experience of Bandelier National Monument, during their visit and through cherished memories.

I propose a variety of visitor and public interaction strategies, to be fully coordinated with the Program Coordinator, focused on maximizing opportunities for visitors to be exposed to and appreciate all Bandelier National Monument has to offer through access to the Residency art-making experience, impressions, processes, and results to include:

  • Spontaneous informal encounters throughout the 4 weeks while out sketching and researching the diverse subject matter in the park.
  • A static display for visitors describing my residency theme and intentions, background information, when and where to encounter me during the residency period, and a FAQ handout about me, the residency, and techniques being used.
  • Studio/Public Space Visiting Hours – Minimum twice a week to interact with visitors while working, depending on logistics of where art making will occur.
  • Residency Video-Log / Blog to capture the research, art making, and interaction highlights and impressions to deepen my own and the public’s exposure and experience. Publicly accessible through my Blog.
  • Public Social Media posts with highlights and impressions of Bandelier National Monument and the Residency experience.
  • Scheduled Public Interaction Events during the Residency:
    • Week 1 – Visitor Center Residency Display Set Up (if permitted and appropriate)
    • Week 2 – Watercolor Studies Demonstration
    • Week 3 – Layers Demonstration – both Collage and my Personal Acrylic Layers process
    • Week 4 – Formal Artist Talk and Display to wrap up the residency with overview of my artwork intentions, residency experience, lessons learned, and explanation of finished and in progress work produced during the 4-week period.



This proposal seeks to capitalize on the resources and access to the heritage, wildlife, and ecosystems of the park to create unique integrated visual memorials of “Immersive Glimpses” of key Bandelier National Monument residents and features.  Beyond these artistic intentions, maximizing the opportunities for fun and informative interaction with visitors and the public during and beyond the Residency will expand their awareness and appreciation of the park through the art itself and in the sharing of the creative adventure of the Residency.  The resulting artifacts (e.g., Video-log/Blog, Residency Sketchbook/Journal, Artwork Studies, Social Media Posts, and Demonstration Materials) will also create content for use by the park in public outreach both during and after the Residency.

The personal growth opportunity afforded by the Residency will stretch me through both environment and artistic intention.  The Residency aligns with my current artistic focus on wildlife and natural subjects using an organic layered style.  It offers new layers for me to incorporate into my artwork, especially the concepts of an ecosystem of interrelationships in the natural environment, a place in time, and a place’s heritage.  I am excited to be in a focused, immersive, and interactive environment for an extended duration which I have not had access to before.  It will bring me new inspiration and challenges to launch enthusiastically into this new season as a full-time artist.  This includes gaining additional insights into development of content and environments for helping people of all ages in the community be touched, moved, and inspired by appreciating and making art.

Bandelier National Monument

Photo from Robyn’s 2006 visit on the Pueblo Loop Trail


The News…

I GOT IT!!!!  I was contacted in mid-May and notified that I had been selected for one of the three one-month time frames!  On top of compliments for the proposal, I was also given my choice of which month I wanted to have my Residency… I chose the month of November 2022, that is coming up FAST!

NOW WHAT?!?!?  My energies have shifted to planning and preparations both logistically and artistically.  More about that in upcoming posts… Stay tuned and join me on this discovery journey into totally uncharted artistic territory for me!

Let the Adventures Begin

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