Artist Residencies Complete :: Four Seasons

August 13, 2014  •  2 Comments

July found me back at The Milkweed Mercantile At Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village for my final of four artist residencies.  I arrived with an already always feeling of sadness.  My creative immersion was coming to an end. I wasn't handling the emotions around that very well. I was struck deeply with how much "looking forward to"  I had vested myself in.  With the residencies soon to be behind me, what would I creatively have to to artistically anticipate? 

It was very easy to immerse and be distracted from my sadness by my summer residency. The visuals around me were blasting with abundance. I personally have never seen such lush, ripe and/ or plentiful gardens. Having known the Dancinc Rabbit landscape from my seasons past, I felt like i was somehow part of summers birth.  Impressive and very beautiful.

Much of my summer photography expression found itself in the kitchen of The Milkweed Mercantile.  That Alline, aka Mrs Milkweed, was canning and making jam each and every day, as were most of the members of Dancing Rabbit.  Since I have no personal relationship to harvesting food I've actually grown, at least at the level that these folks do, I found the process a delight to capture. Some of my image work will be the banners for a booth of Mrs Milkweed's line of products at the St Louis Botanical Garden "Best Of Missouri Market and More" Show ( a juried gig) come October, and potentially in a book authored by Alline that talks not about making jam, but utilizing jam in things.  Can one say "grill cheese" with jam?  

I found myself at the Critters Farm a LOT  ...I think again my lack of experience with farm animals had me feel compelled, add the fact that both Mae and Ben were very encouraging of my work and presence, plus as a place it seemed to always have something going on. I mean who can resist baby ducks, and chicks, and kittens. OH MY!


My kids recently shared that they thought I'd do well in New York city,  I said really ?  Did they know that I have fantasies of owning chickens and a goat or two?? I mean really don't they understand who I really am?  I digress.

The other thing that was ever present during this residency was how full everyone's day was. The place was hopping with activity, visitors, guests, work exchangers and more. The season was seriously happening.   What I give credit to, those of who live and example life on this eco-village thing, is the openness in which they share their lives and the mission of the village as a whole. Truth be that is what they signed on for, yet the reality sometimes has members giving up some or all of their privacy or having to endure the same questions over and over about the way they live and do things. I personally find that very admirable and patient!

Concert by Kristen Graves at The CasaConcert by Kristen Graves at The Casa

Kristen Graves concert in La Casa 

All told my final portfolio's for my four residencies totaled over 6500 images. I can imagine that I took at least 10,000 - if not more,  I abbreviated the experience on my FB page to a mere 1600.  This of course would be my most comprehensive collection of images I've taken within one theme.  I find myself a little emotionally attached at the moment.  I am not sure if that happens to other artists/photographers. I don't quite know how to really evaluate what it is I've done.

At my summer residency I took a collection of names that agreed to offer feedback. Once the season has calmed down a bit Alline and I will have a completion call about my residencies and my images.  What I am hoping for is a sense of usefulness for the collection and that those viewing them experience a specific artists signature.   I am not sure I can offer that commentary alone. I know that as an artist I feel a tremendous pride about my work.

I will report back on the feedback I acquire.

To close this rather lengthy commentary.  

While I was a stranger in a different land at Dancing Rabbit, I didn't want to say strange land because I really have not ever felt that about DR. I felt more at home, accepted and useful than I have in a very long time.  All I can say is thank you for being what and who you are!! I feel an especially tremendous gratitude to Alline And Kurt, owners of The Milkweed Mercantile who are some of the most generous, big hearted and dynamic people ever.

If they hadn't accepted my application for residency I would not have had to write this epic post sharing the tale about it all!!








Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan
That sunflower my dear is YOUR sunflower just outside the porch!! AND I think it is like the most amazing sunflower image ever. it's true how many memories are in these images. I will have you know many of my friends crave your baked goods after viewing my photographs. I admit the perks of tasting all of that was definite plus of my residency!!!
Wow! So beautifully summed up - can't wait for things to calm down a bit so we can sit back and take a look at the whole shebang. It is such a delight to look back and remember so many moments spent with you (and then eating the food as soon as it was photographed!) PS - that final sunflower bud is especially luscious!
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Photography = a never ending opportunity to capture visual celebrations. 


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