Only 10 days to go here at Ondarte and although I am very happy with the results (8 paintings in 6 weeks), it will be bittersweet to leave this special place. I would have to attribute this successful residency experience to Alec von Bargen and Maribel Bianchi (founder and director) to creating such a wonderful atmosphere in which to produce. In an earlier blog "Paradise Found!" I knew it would be a wonderful experience and I was right!
An open house at the end of July was proof of the support of the locals - all very excited to have a new cultural centre in town, but Ondarte has already made its mark and it is expected that most of the Mayan Riviera will be attending the next event on August 27.
Working in oils also has it's benefits! I have the excuse of having to wait for the paint to dry in order to transport my paintings, so I have the opportunity to see some more of this wonderful country and am heading off to Chiapas, then back for the exhibition.
Adaptability can be good for the soul and one’s work. I have just completed 4 weeks at the Ondarte Residency in Akumal Mexico and several new paintings with a welcome return to figurative work.
It’s easy for us to play it safe, but then what’s the point of making safe art? I highly recommend a residency experience for those of you who are looking for a way to move forward in your work. When you put yourself in a position of vulnerability; a totally new environment; surrounded by a group of new individuals/artists that you live, eat and work with on a daily level; in a foreign country with a foreign language and sometimes unfamiliar customs; and faced 24 hours with your self and your work … you will surface changed in one or many ways. This can be very beneficial for your work especially. It gives the artist a chance to explore, experiment with new methods and ideas, and the benefit is a new group of friends and contacts from other parts of the world.
I also recommend staying as long as you can in order to get into a new body of work… this takes time even when you have al the time in the world for your work. Of course there are distractions, especially here in Mexico, but they will have to wait until the end of the month. For now, happy and busy and working toward a strong start to a whole new direction – for the better! Viva Ondarte and residencies in general!
One year ago today I said goodbye to my friends at MIRA (Martignano International Artist Residency) in Italy having spent 2 months there. And here I am …three weeks into my next residency at the new Ondarte International Artist Residency in Akumal, Mexico and have already completed 4 paintings in preparation for an exhibition with my fellow artists on the 23rd of July. The night was fantastic and it seemed the whole town turned out to see our work and there was a lot to see! There must have been 300 people and wihout a doubt this will probably be a regular monthly cultural highlight for Akumal - perhaps even the entire Mayan Riviera once word gets around!
Last week we were invited for an additional artist talk for the locals and were pleased that so many attended that also. The town seems very supportive of this new residency and of the visiting international artists bringing exciting ideas to this beautiful part of the world! The work is pouring out of all of us. This must be attributed to the comfortable and exotic surroundings and the particular mix of artists. We jump on our bikes when we need a break from work and ride into town, head for the beach (we’re anxiously awaiting all the turtle nests in the area to erupt), or grab a long cold drink and sit by the turqoise waters. There’s also a lagoon behind Ondarte perfect for snorkelling! This is an artist’s paradise if you are into residencies!
I have returned to figurative work and am very happy with the new series that deals with expressing alter egos or enhanced emotional connections through the use of reflections in the surface of the water. I am very fortunate that not only is there a pool on the grounds, but that my fellow artists are always willing to model for me!
The weather has been perfect (perhaps a bit hot but that just helps with the excuse for a quick dip and more photos) and I am so glad that I am here for another month. A new group joins us today and the anticipation is high with what will be produced here this month! Stay tuned for updates or visit Ondarte Residency on Facebook! Also visit my site cathrynmcewen.com to view my latest work! Hasta Luego!