The Value of an Artist Residency

I am over half way through my residency at Bundanon Trust.  I have three paintings and a drawing underway.   I take long, daily walks through the bush, cook soups and roasted vegetables and sleep well.  I have had lots of time to reflect, appreciate the beauty around me and be totally absorbed in solving the visual problems I have set myself.

One of the questions I find myself asking is "What makes an artist residency at Bundanon Trust so precious?"  Here is my best answer at the present time.  When I come to Bundanon Trust, I put my life on hold.  I tell people I am away and I do not schedule anything during this time.  Besides looking at my emails daily and checking the news and weather a bit, I do not spend much time on the internet.  I do this so that I will have no distractions or interuptions and it allows me total freedom during my residency to do whatever feels right.  When I have a whole day free, I follow my own, innate rhythm.  I have a balanced day that includes optimal sleep, exercise, good food and time to paint and/or draw; I am relaxed, fully absorbed and the time whizzes by.  

In addition to having time and freedom, solitude offers many gifts.  The first is quiet.  The silence allows my nervous system to deeply relax and I hear, smell and see what is around me.  My mind starts to listen rather than to babble away endlessly.  My body relaxes.  The second is I get answers to my questions.  They come while I am bush walking, sitting on the top of the ridge or working in my studio.  They come at their own will in their own time when I am least expecting them.  The third is self-connection.  I welcome my feelings, sensations and needs with curiosity.  I see what is important to me and how to make changes in my life that reflect these priorities.  And lastly is joy.  In this spaciousness, I have found pure delight while listening to the silence in the middle of the night, looking at the glistening sunlight reflected on the bark of trees, devouring a bowl of homemade, hot vegetable soup in the morning sunshine or successfully working out a painting composition.

It may seem odd that I have not writing exclusively about making art.  The quiet, freedom and joy are all connected to painting and drawing.  I see clearly in my paintings and drawings,  I make spaces to inhabit, explore and wander through.  I keep coming back to this motif because these spaces I create are precious to me.  They convey my deep feeling of connection to life.

The value of an artist residency at Bundanon Trust is the spaciousness and nurturing it offers; it is an environment in which creativity thrives. 

So my question to you is "what nurtures your creative life?"