Sunday, September 12, 2021

My last post from Guadalupe Mountains National Park

(Above:  Selfie with the Guadalupe Mountains National Park Sign which is located alongside Highway 62/180. Click on any image to enlarge.)

Although I am writing this post on Sunday evening and not leaving Guadalupe Mountains National Park until dawn on Friday, this will be my last blog post as the park's artist-in-residence.   Why?  Well ... STEVE IS COMING!  I'm very excited that this opportunity allowed my husband to visit.  He's flying into El Paso on Tuesday.  We will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary (which is technically today!) over the next few days.  I plan on taking Steve to the park's sand dunes, Frijole Ranch, and over the Smith Spring Trail.  If he's willing (and it isn't too hot on Wednesday afternoon), we might even hike to Devils Hall.  We also have Thursday reservations for nearby Carlsbad Caverns and plan on seeing the evening bat flight.  (I've already gone to see the half-million bats leave the natural opening at Carlsbad Caverns, and this morning, I went to see them return! Absolutely AMAZING!)  Steve and I will leave here for an overnight in Marfa, Texas where we also have reservations to see quite a bit of the artwork on permanent display.

(Above:  The old highway at dawn.)

So tomorrow will be my "wrap up" day.  It will also be a time to properly clean the provided studio apartment.  Having been a Girl Scout, I live by their motto to always leave a place cleaner than found.  I've had a wonderful and inspirational time here.  I've met some lovely people, gave a Power Point presentation to the Carlsbad Rotary Club, familiarized myself with my new laptop, hiked a lot, presented my Clothesline Project over Labor Day weekend, volunteered to pick up trash along the highway, seen a wild javelin and deer and two rattlesnakes and a Texas hare, and so much more.  

I adore art residencies for many reasons, not the least of which is the chance to live for a month following a lifestyle that was not the one I picked.  At home, I'm a married "city girl" who works behind a custom picture framing sales counter, someone who answers the phone, goes to art events and an art house movie theater, walks to Starbucks, and is never more than a block from a busy intersection.  Yet, for the last month, I've been on my own in a sparsely populated, desert landscape, without a paying job, away from unsolicited telephone calls, and living in a rural setting under Milky Way nights and within sight of a designated wilderness area inside a National Park.  This is indeed a different sort of life, a true blessing. 


(Above:  Roadside memorials along the old highway ... and within Guadalupe Mountains National Park.)

I've also intentionally stayed on Eastern Standard Time.  It has allowed me to hike on trails before the intense afternoon heat.  I've seen the sunrise most mornings (and I've been up and about before dawn every day whether I've seen the sun rise of not!)  Never before have I been so in tune to shifting light, the position and phases of the moon, changing seasons, wind, the noises of night, and other, every day natural occurrences.  All these things happen at home but I never notice. 

This month has been a time to reflect on prehistoric events that shaped the mountains, on the native populations who visited the natural springs, the early settlers to this region, and the changes to the environment over time ... including the replacement of the old highway ... which is often right beside the 1860 stage coach route.  Walking along the old highway is like stepping back into history.  I've found myself thinking about the both the past and the future all at once.  This is truly how my creative spirit is inspired and revitalized.


(Above:  My makeshift work table inside the provided studio apartment.)

During this month, I've also been working on several artistic projects.  I've constructed thirteen new In Box Series pieces.  I positioned a plank of wood found in my studio apartment on top of my own ironing board and the back of a chair.  I've also stitched a new series called Sue Goes to the Protest, using a collection of vintage Sun Bonnet Sue quilt blocks.  A hand-stitched portrait commission is nearly complete too.  All these things need further work and will be finished when I'm back home.  Yet, I've also been thinking about the artwork that I will create as my donation to Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  I have a year to complete and ship it.  Ideas are plentiful for this!  

(Above:  Two of the Park's mules getting new horseshoes.)

After all, inspiration is everywhere!  All I have to do is open my eyes.  I was fascinated by the specialized horseshoe nails and the giant rasps used by the farrier when reshoeing the Park's mule team.

As a fiber artist, texture is everywhere too ... even these hairy tarantulas!  There are so many possibilities for my donation, a more-than-fair exchange for this amazing month.


Christine said...

Congratulations to you both!
This has been a wonderful time for you, I hope Steve realises he is meeting up with a 'new' woman. Enjoy your time together, safe journeying home and see you back at the framers.

Robbie said...

What an awesome opportunity for you! Enjoy the anniversary time with hubby!!!

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

That's a magnificent happening (40 years) to finish this art residency and that Steve and you will be able to celebrate together away from your home base. Congratulations the anniversary but also the art residency that took your away from your city life.

Ann Scott said...

Thank you for sharing and recapping your time at your art residency and Guadalupe Mountain National Park. So much inspiration and beauty in nature. Happy anniversary, I don't know too many other couples who have celebrated so many years and experienced so much together.