Mesa Verde National Park Artist in Residence
January 12, 2018
I was chosen and honored to be an Artist in Residence at Mesa Verde in October, 2016. I had just spent a month at Glacier National Park in residence, first at the East side at Two Medicine lake, and the last two weeks at the AIR Cabin on Lake McDonald (as part of the Montana Preservation Alliance, AIR program). I towed my travel trailer from Montana to Colorado in four days in order to check in at Mesa Verde.
The first thing I did while in Mesa Verde was meet with the volunteers who coordinate and provide training. The ruins and cliff dwellings that Mesa Verde protects are vulnerable and guided tours are the norm. In order to be certified in backcountry etiquette, I toured Balcony House with a ranger, and watched a detailed DVD. Balcony House is a large cliff dwelling and is accessed by way of a few ladders and narrow pathways. Here is a short video.
And then I received the news that there was a death in my family. The staff at the park was helpful and allowed me to stay an additional night, I ended my residency after two days, and flew home to New Jersey.
Invited back in 2017 to capture the park in imagery, I was granted a second residency in the fall of 2017. Concerned that my work would be overshadowed by grief, I dove in and fully absorbed the park, the hogan, the fall color, the cliff dwelling and ruins,and cloud shadows. I dedicated my work to my nephew, honoring him and last year's process.
In residency, I arise early, complete some morning rituals, and get going. I chase the light, spend time along the trails and explore the Park throughout the day and into the night. One of the perks of the AIR programs in our Parks is access to sites when visitors have left the park, and tours are completed. I chose to spend a late afternoon at Long House; I discovered while on a tour that the dwelling spoke to me. I was able to make photographs, record time lapse videos and photograph the quiet light.
Long House is located on Wetherill Mesa in the western portion of Mesa Verde National Park. Long House is reached by driving out a 12 mile winding road that follows an historic fire trail for 12 miles.
My muse is the grand and intimate landscape. And as a resident in our parks I record video sequences, time lapse, use my iPhone as a sketchbook, and retire to the studio/hogan for some oil painting too. Mesa Verde National Parks' Artist in Residence program awards artists up to two weeks in the park. For information and application procedures, click here to see my blog.
Here's an example of the oil painting I completed during my residency. The "Knife Edge" is visible along the main road in the park and overlooks the Mancos Valley in Colorado.
I recently completed a dedication to my nephew, a video of my experience when I heard of his passing. Email me for a link.
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