On retreat at Bundanon Trust

I have the privilege of being an artist in residence at the Bundanon Trust for three weeks!  Gifted by the late artist Arthur Boyd and his wife Yvonne, Bundanon Trust consists of three properties along the Shoalhaven River just north of Nowra.  The trust includes the Boyd homestead, Arthur Boyd's studio, the artist in residence complex, the education centre designed by Glen Murcott, administrative buildings and extensive land with some walking trails.  The homestead and Arthur Boyd's studio is open on Sundays with tours available.  If you have never been here, it is well worth a visit.  There is always something wonderful happening here.  Check it out at https://www.bundanon.com.au

I am settling in to life here which is delightfully quiet with a spacious, light filled studio and comfortable living arrangements.  I have decided to work on painting, drawing and some works on paper at the same time.  The blessing of being here is multifaceted.  Because of its isolation and setting in the bush, I am able to work all day and at night without interruption.  This allows for momentum to grow.  I also walk in the bush looking, listening and allowing my mind to wander aimlessly.  There are up to six artists on site so at times there are opportunities to see what other artists are doing.  Last night the dancers Emily Bowman and Josef Lehrer invited friends and residents to a performance of contact improvisation.  Dancers, writers, musicians and all sorts of artists are in residence so there is an opportunity to see and discuss ideas across disciplines.

I find myself working from life and enjoying the formal concerns of drawing and painting - line, shape, colour and tone.  Last night at the dance performance Emily and Josef commented afterwards that their primary concern while dancing was formal rather than emotional or conceptual.  However,  at the conclusion of the piece the audience saw story lines and had emotional responses. 

As an artist I wonder, if we are present and sensitive to the formal concerns of our craft, will the emotional, conceptual and spiritual aspects of our work be intact despite us rather than because of us?  What do you think?