So, Mahala and I are picked up at the bus stop by Steinunn, who is the force behind the residencies at Baer. It was Steinunn who started them about six years ago. She co-designed the building we five artists stay in and makes it all happen for us. Remarkable:
This is our common room where we meet, talk, show each other our websites, have a coffee or breakfast. What's it like out there, through that door? I thought you'd never ask:
This is what it looked like as we arrived, still raining and cloudy. We learned that what looks like an island out there is actually connected by a rock causeway and is called "The Cape".
Here's what it looks like in better conditions:
If I turn the camera around 180 degrees this is what I see:
That's the common room in the front, then the five separate artist studios along the rest of the building. My studio looks like this:
with its own bedroom and bathroom. Yes, this is good, very very good. This place is called the Baer Art Center and it is about the most beautiful place I've ever been. Actually, it's a little overwhelming, to be truthful. I am writing this a couple of days after arriving as it was all a little too much. I've calmed down some since then and feel like I am coping with being in this place somewhat better but it is still hard to grasp how completely stupendously gorgeous it is:
All these pictures made from right here, about 50 feet from where my studio is. Easy. Just point the camera and go "click". OMG! You know how intimidating that is? I mean what the hell can I do that compares to this place, just what it is? I found myself, that first day, close to tears in dismay while on the edge of laughter at my good fortune. Strange state of mind, probably at least partially due to jet lag and disorientation.
So, where do I go from here, my readers? I am not exactly sure. If you were following this blog last winter when I was in San Diego, I faced a desert of different proportions. Back then, I was struggling to find something to grab onto photographically in the middle of a very large city (San Diego). Here I am way out on the fringe, at the northern edge of the country up close to the arctic circle that is an island of only 300,000 people, with a short walk down to the edge of the North Sea at a fjord. As I fix breakfast or sit with one of the four other residents I look out at:
Whether or not this can turn into a place photographically rich for me is still unknown but I have to ask you: how cool is that?
My friend Lia Rothstein was here on a residency last year. Lia lives in Vermont and was the owner of Photo Stop Gallery for many years in White River Junction. She asked me to please not plague her with how good it is as she misses it very much and longs to come back. But I am writing here to a larger cause as the place is simply unbelievable!
While I struggle with what to do I am planning a lateral move and that is to share with you the work of the other artists that are here.
Mahala Magins will be first, a young Australian painter of really exceptional abilities.(Mahala's website)