When I was in my third year at the university, pursuing my art degree, my school hosted Jack Tworkov as Artist in Residence. I was not familiar with the title “artist in residence” and knew that Tworkov had recently retired as Chairman of the Art Department at Yale. During the week or so that he visited our campus, he shared with us his current work, and spoke of his years spent with the other Abstract Expressionist painters, and I was amazed to be standing in the presence of such an historic man. In the years since, I have always wondered how it would feel to become an “artist in residence” at a university.
I am about to find out–after a series of negotiations and correspondence of the recent past, I was today informed that I will be Artist in Residence for Texas A&M University Corpus Christi–the “Island University”! This summer, I will be taken by boat to their Laguna Madre Field Station to spend ten days watercoloring en plein air, journaling, blogging, and salt water fly fishing. A one-man show will be scheduled after the residency, and I am available for anything else they wish from me. A plein air watercolor workshop has been suggested, as well as other possibilities.
I was so numbed by the announcement that I hardly remember anything at school after 10:08. When I was free this afternoon, I thought hard about what I could do that would be appropriate for this news. Realizing I had not visited Fort Worth’s Japanese Garden in over a decade, I drove there, arriving at 5:00 and staying till they closed at 7:00. I thought I would immediately find a bench and just sit and write, but I strolled for nearly forty minutes before finally sitting, breathing deeply, journaling, and feeling good feelings.
Usually I would celebrate an announcement like this by throwing a party. So, looking at the waters below me brimming with koi, I decided to stick quarters in the vending machine and dump pellets into the water so they at least could celebrate with me. They seemed happy and grateful. Some of them may have even clapped fins.
Looking at the Japanese bridge made me pause and think of the lovely gardens Claude Monet planted at his residence in Giverny. Too bad the Japanese Garden does not allow paint on the premises. I’ll have to work from a photograph on this one.
Before darkness descended, I did attempt a quick sketch of one of the lovely structures placed in the Garden. I plan to come back and try to capture some of the others as well. This is a marvelous place for reflection and peace.
It’s been a wonderful day. Thank you for sharing it with me.
I paint in order to remember.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.