After a long wait and unsure circumstances I finally got funding in place to head to Newnan in Georgia, USA! The city of Newnan have established an Artist in Residence Programme headed by their ArtRez Team. The friendship with Ayrshire in Scotland has been going for quite a few years, exchanging singers and musicians in cultural exchanges. I am proud to say I was given the honour of representing Ayrshire as the first artist on the programme as well as the first Scottish artist! I spent nearly 6 weeks in their newly renovated cottage/studio, on Clark Street in Newnan, drawing and painting the town and it's environs.
The Newnanites really know how to treat their guests! I was looked after so well I wanted to move there! It was a wonderful experience and felt right at home in the local art scene. I did a few demo's and talks, not normally my thing, but everyone made me so at ease byt the time I had done a few I was getting into the swing of it.
Newnan has so many wonderful looking homes, thankfully, saved from Civil War destruction due to it's position as a hospital town. This makes the Downtown area especially cinematic! A beautiful place to wander in warm, sunny streets full of trees and colour. There was almost too much to work from so I started doing some straight forward pastel to get to know the town. I usually use pastels in conjunction with other mediumbut somehow it needed to be kept clean with sharp dark shadows. I soon found that this newly found style of drawing/recording went down very well with the locals too. I felt that I wasn't just on this residency to satisfy my own artistic curiosity but to show results that would help to make the Residency Programme popular within the towns folk.
The ArtRez Team organised an end of residency exhibition, which kept me busy working for, at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum and University of West Georgia as well as the studio space. There was a great turn out from the town, they had even asked a local piper to play in my owner. Quite a humbling experience and a trip which will stay with me forever.
Fortunately the artistic community also embraced me being there and I got to know some good people! I have learned a lot from my trip and will share those thought in a seperate post. For now, I'm home in Scotland wishing I was still painting in the sun!