Place on Page: Musings from the Studio

Vermont Studio Center Residency Recap


I just got back from an amazing residency experience at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT.  Well actually I've been home almost a month, but its been really difficult to explain and express what happened up there and what kind of work I produced.  It was my first residency, and although two weeks of secluded painting in the chilly north is a long time, it was also a really short time as most people stay a month or longer.  That said, I worked like the devil was at my heals, produced over 300 drawings (see pile in picture above), finished close to a dozen paintings and started another three before it was over.  I worked in watercolor, oil, acrylic and ink and in the end made strides that would have taken me a year if not for the freedom to create and the group of artists inspiring me everyday.

Oh hey, that's my studio behind me...yeah the huge one next to the river.  

Oh hey, that's my studio behind me...yeah the huge one next to the river.  

To recount this trip I decided to cut the overly self indulgent language and nostalgic, misty eyed reminiscing and simply post about 60 some odd pictures in roughly chronological order.  What you will see is the space I worked, some of the landscape of Johnson, VT and most importantly the work in progress.  As its chronological, you'll get a sense of how I worked, and how the paintings evolved over the two week period.  There are also a few shots of the great pals I made while up there.  I special nod to Hiba Schahbaz, Andrew Fish and Wilhelm Neusser.  Three amazing painters that pushed me and my work in a new direction.   I'll have real images of the paintings on the site soon, but for now this is the best way to see the new work, and there is one final shot of some new work in progress in the studio in Brooklyn.  


Before the pictures though, I'll give a quick recap of how the VSC residency works and what the day to day is like.  Johnson, VT is about 6 hours north of NYC.  The Center takes up what I imagine is the majority of the town.  A cross section of the Main Street and Pearl Street makes up the bulk of it.  And no, there isn't a traffic light, or a stop sign for that matter.  People literally stop driving to let you cross the street.  The main building is the Red Mill, a repurposed mill on a river that served as our dining hall, gallery and lounge area.  Its open 24/7 and its the real heart and soul of the place.  Speaking of dining hall, the food is spectacular and they don't skimp.  Three squares a day, delicious and various and healthy.  I could do a whole post just about the food.  They put you up in a very comfortable old house either on Pearl or Main Street and everything is within two minute walking distance.  There are also studios for writers, which made up a little less than half of the residents, a couple of studio buildings for visual artists, a sculpture building, a yoga studio and a meditation building.  There is also an old church/theatre like structure that was converted into a lecture hall. There are visiting writers, artists and an open studio event as well as resident slide nights and impromptu gatherings like bon fires.  In short: art camp + the single best moment ever in grad school + beautiful landscape and did I mention a meditation building? = Vermont Studio Center.  

Knowing I only had two weeks, I set up a regiment for myself that would allow me to not only produce, but work through ideas all at once.  I did two hours of drawing each morning, broke for lunch and then worked into paintings in the afternoon.  Pictures are posted below. Enjoy!