Art News by Marita Hewitt

Pick up a copy of the latest Art News magazine to read an article I wrote about my experience at the Vermont Studio Centre, on my 12 week residency earlier this year.

artnews.jpg



VSC (Week Eleven) by Marita Hewitt

IMG_2099

So its my last week here. I've finished the work I intended to, plus a little extra.Excited to finish up here, and move on. Its been amazing, and an experience I know will feed into my work for some time. But I am ready to return to the real world now. Can't believe its over. Gonna miss this place, but can't wait to get home. On my to do list this week highlights include learning how to forge steel, and have a go at life drawing. Been enjoying hiking some mountains recently, and swam in the darkest deepest lake I've ever seen; in great fear/exhileration. Thanks Vermont. Below is my favourite photograph taken at this past weekend's Lamoille County Fair (which was the quintessential rural American experience). Massive thanks again to the Wallace Arts Trust for their support.

VSC (Week Nine) by Marita Hewitt

IMG_1744

Well, I'm on the home stretch. Almost finished the work I had planned to - for the upcoming shows at Corban Estate Arts Centre in September/ October, and Page Blackie Gallery in November. Which means I have a little time at the end for play in the studio. Looking forward to working with a local blacksmith learning how to forge steel, and starting on a set of drawings with the intent to loose control. Playing with ash, and wish I could start on some of the new ceramics ideas I have (but alas shipping porcelain home from here just isn't practical).

New group of residents arrived this month and with it a whole heap of new influences, conversations and curiosities. Visiting artist and writer highlights this month include Sam Lipsyte, Jessica J. Hutchins, Dawn Clements. Lucky me.

So this being my last three weeks here I'm now also ensuring I complete a few more Vermont classic Summer adventures. To do this week: hike Mount Laraway.

IMG_1744

VSC (Week Seven) by Marita Hewitt

I haven't managed to actually leave Johnson for three weeks now. The tight radius of this small town and the repetition of spaces and schedule is both comforting and inducing of a form of cabin fever I am new to. The effect of immersion - obsession and frustration, with great results in the studio. Running has been an effective way to clear the cobwebs and stretch my limbs. I've been running up a giant hill - not like I have a choice of the flat here, being located in the mountains. Turns out the air really is thin at elevation.

Its so weird not having little things to distract me during my working day - no meals to prepare or think about, no washing to hang out, no cat to smooch. Just painting, and more painting. The callous is growing on my brush finger relative to the hours spent gripping and labouring with small handles.

A small classic VHS collection in the VSC communal lounge has provided some excellent evening entertainment lately. Apocalypse  Now is epic. Twin Peaks is keeping me sane, thanks NetFlix.

Small town karaoke at the only bar in town every Saturday night is amusing to say the least, I popped my public karaoke cherry recently. Fun.

Below is a studio shot - this is where I sit 9 hours a day.

Image

VSC (Week Five) by Marita Hewitt

Things are ticking along in the studio nicely. Completed the first of the Incineration Series, a group of five works. Such a luxury to have a massive studio here and be able to see them up and together before exhibition. (I've included a little detail shot for you).

Enjoying exploring more of the surrounding area of northern Vermont, some of it feels very familiar to home now that all the leaves are out in their vibrant lush shades of green. Hills, mountains, farms and rivers, with quaint small towns every few miles. 

Experienced the first changeover - where around 50 residents from May left on the Friday, and around 50 new residents for June arrived on the Sunday. Was eerily quiet that weekend, although the treat of being able to crank the volume in my studio and sing along without disturbance or embarrassment was refreshing. The new group is lovely, making some new buddies and looking forward to the first Open Studio event this coming week. Painter Gordon Moore is the visiting artist this coming week also, so lots happening.

Image

VSC (Week Three) by Marita Hewitt

All settled in now, and managing to keep to my painting schedule of one a week. Studio is slowly becoming more inhabited, although I still miss working amidst the security of my small space and its compact storage at home. We had two visiting artists here last week - Elana Herzog and Enrique Celaya Martinez. Thoroughly enjoyed both their slide talks and studio visits. Was a treat to receive some feedback from them, discuss some new ideas, clarify others and share excitement in regard to this direction. Its been over ten years since I've had a studio visit / critique, was valuable to offer that which otherwise just swirls around endlessly in my mind.

Managed to break away from this small bubble for the weekend and do a bit of exploring in the region with a few fellow residents - a necessity to clear my mind of the repetition. A charming area, with some great photographic moments - both landscape and socio-cultural. Plus had my first dining out experience in a classic mountain lodge where I enjoyed lovely hospitality, an all home made burger with fries, and a local draught IPA. Delicious.

This is another little peak of a detail from my new series -

Image

 

 

 

 

 

Vermont Studio Centre (Week One) by Marita Hewitt

Arrived last Sunday to Johnson, Vermont after a long journey of four flights, and have had my eyes and ears wide open ever since. Being my first residency I didn't know what to expect. My studio is massive  (as in half the size of our whole house at home) in a converted barn with skylights and a view of the garden. Arriving with my few supplies (a water colourist travels light) this space is initially intimidating - urging productivity to put something up on the big white walls. There are over 60 visual artists and writers here, from all over the world, of which I still haven't met every person. The town of Johnson is small and the VSC inhabits almost half of the buildings here operating as studios, houses, lecture hall, yoga studio, meditation hall, dining hall etc etc. It means everything is available within short walking distance, a convenience and simplicity which breeds productivity and thinking.

We've had a resident slide night and a visiting poet reading this week, both of which engaged and excited, got my head nodding and my mouth smiling. Its just the beginning.

Whilst on a 12 week residency here (with the support of Wallace Arts Trust), I plan to produce two large series of five works, in water colour on paper; plus squeeze in some drawing if I can. First week in and I am on track.

This is a sneak peak detail of a new work:

Image

 

 

Image

 

And this was the source of a good chuckle at the laundromat last night.

 

Vermont Studio Centre by Marita Hewitt

As the 1st runner up in the Wallace Awards, I was situated as next in line for a residency if any of the other artists could not attend. Lucky me, (and thanks Julia De Ville) I'm off to the Vermont Studio Centre residency next year in the USA. The residency is a great opportunity to immerse and develop my practice, amidst the company of another 49 international artists, very excited. I'll be away from May till August 2014 and will be exhibiting work from the residency sometime shortly after with a show at Page Blackie Gallery in Wellington.

Here's the link http://www.vermontstudiocenter.org/