This is not the time to stay at home, but to go out and give yourself to the garden. –Rumi
We have all had the experience of needing to step back from our work– to get a fresh perspective, and I am thinking again how valuable it is to be around art and artists– and discovering new artists. I have been on a retreat at St Meinrad Archabbey. When I first arrived I felt I was in the story "Beauty and the Beast", when she wakes to find herself alone in a castle, and the table is adorned with fresh flowers, a large bowl of fruit and a fine bottle of pinot noir. The "guest house" has porches all around, looking out to the woods. The reason I am here is by invitation of Brother Martin, the artist in residence– and my need for some solitude.
I did not know I would be surrounded by art, as well as beauty. In my guest house there are paintings by Igor Koutsenko– who I have just discovered, https://www.facebook.com/igor.koutsenko and by Brother Martin Erspamer. Martin's studio is filled with sculpture, paintings, prints, medieval wax seals, rubbings, and books from Europe, India and the States– including some early figurative work from Sister Corita. He has drawers full of his drawings for book illustrations, and designs for stained glass windows. HIs ceramics studio has luscious vases, platters and bowls, along with a large kiln he is building himself. Martin's job at the monastery includes creating beauty, and he displays the work of many fine artists, old and new.
But it's also the setting, and the conversations about art with Martin that are igniting my imagination. It is wonderful to spend time in someone else's studio! I intentionally did not bring paintings to work on, just my sketchbooks for ideas–
It is spring, what are you doing to renew your fire for your work?