Thursday, August 7, 2014

A fairy tale come true...

Finding time to be a writer--just a writer, not a mother, daughter, grandmother, friend, neighbor--is tough. That's not news to anyone who writes, or paints, or does any other creative endeavor, because being creative seems to be put on the back burner when it comes to our life's "to do" lists.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a two-week residency at the Golden Apple Art Residency on Ripley's Neck in Harrington, Maine. This glorious place, comprised of nine and a half acres of the piney woods of Maine and bordered on one side by the rocky shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean, is devoted to the advancement of the arts in an environment that encourages and celebrates creativity. Each artist (there were four of us, all women) has his/her own private cottage and individual studio (in the bottom floor of the main house). Our meals were all included. Delicious breakfasts and lunches were delivered to the studio commons area and our evening meals were held in the main house. Together, the four artists and our hosts, Shelley and Greg Stevens, ate luscious, regional fare prepared by Shelley, talked, laughed, and formed bonds for life. 

There was one other writer there, Yvonne Navarro of Arizona, who has 22 published books to her credit! The others were artists were Erin Overmeyer, an art teacher from Michigan, who painted beautiful pictures in acrylic of abandoned schools to showcase the downward spiral of neighborhoods and communities when schools close, and Anne Gochenour, Central Michigan University Art Gallery Director, who did gorgeous work in mixed media.

Part of the beautiful landscaping
at Golden Apple Art Residency
The scenery was gorgeous, the environment natural and inspiring, the food delicious, and the company wonderful. While our lifestyles, spiritual and political views, and backgrounds all differed, we respected the opinions of others. At the end of the two weeks, you'd have thought we'd known one another for years. Besides all the pampering I enjoyed, I worked hard. And I mean hard. Our studios were available to us 24 hours a day, and although I wore out long before I even approached the all-nighter stage, I accomplished everything I set out to do. I took over 1500 pictures, added several thousand words to my WIP (and edited the rest of it), and commuted with God--the three goals I set for myself.

But in addition to all the pampering and beautiful surroundings, I also experienced another advantage to getting away from it all. The encouragement and inspiration other like-minded individuals, artists of one kind or another who value creativity, was a shot in the arm. While I know, logically and through social and professional networking, there are others out there who share my passion to write for God, sometimes I feel alone. Apart. Rudderless.

And now I feel refreshed, part of something greater than myself, and anchored. Doesn't get much better than that! Many thanks to my hosts, Shelley and Greg Stevens of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (when they're not in Harrington, Maine). If anyone is interested in applying to the residency, you can find out more at www.goldenapplestudio.com/residency. Believe me, you won't be sorry.
The town landing just down the
shoreline from the residency, where the
lobster boats chug out every morning (early, early morning)
and return every afternoon with their fresh catch. 

View from the shoreline just a few steps
away from my cottage...