Weeks 5 & 6 of my residency adventure. Thanks for catching up with me so far
After all that has happened so far, the courage I gained growth and my wonder renewed I realized how much time, or the illusion of it, was picking up the pace. With this, I decided to make sure to go on as many errands and trips to the local villages as possible.
A visit to the town of Troyes (pronounced ‘Tu-Wa’), two village-wide outdoor markets, stopping at the art stores becoming closer to people, conflict and always great food everywhere, in turn, I made sure to be as present as much as possible every day. So one morning as a part of my semi-regular routine I relax on the island that’s in the middle of the pond in front of the chateau. The water was so still I could see the algae form an expansive mossy green forest under the surface.
I take my time here, I sketch in my notebook and on my iPad. I meditate and sing and realize that there’s something about the stillness of this place that really makes me feel the peace in solitude. People who live simply and quietly healing and thriving with their crafts, living with friends, creating a world together and working communally… I was getting a glimpse of what that was like and I felt true contentment.
A few days later the crew takes a trip to Troyes a French city about 1.5 hrs away from Orquevaux. When we arrive and park by a large metal heart sculpture and use it as our meeting super talent watercolor artist & teacher, Tom the new and growing artist, and Maddy the new intern and sketch artist. We see a grandiose church on the way into the square.
Our first stop is to the art store where I picked up some red block printing ink, printing paper, and see other people from our crew buying supplies at the store. We all here this and me tom and Ginette walk around and see a great spot to have lunch, ‘Le Tablier’.
After a filling lunch and sketch walk, we continue to explore the city and find the Church of Joan of Arc! Anywhere I travel I love seeing historic buildings and especially old churches. I am agnostic but I do love high ceilings gorgeous stained glass and masonry work as well as angelic voices. We find another gallery and then end our tour with macaroons and espresso and some kinda red spritzer beer lol.
(Back in Orquevaux)
Gosh, I was ecstatic when I returned to the studio I had, I recycled a few wood panels I found in the supply closet and got to work on a rough draft. First I carved a sparrow to test out my carver with sunbeam designs in the background. The second rough draft involved tracing over a printed pattern design, then carved the design, painted it, screwed it up on the first print haha I took a break and tried a few ways to save it but ended up reviving it on the day three. The prints that came from the saved piece were better than before! (photo below) I really loved who my Some photos of that process are up now on my IG @amaizink_art and more will come as I increase my skills. I also can’t wait to do more of this style of prints to build on my skills and for future commissions.
The itch to explore came again and on one those days, I decided to try out a trail near the chateau. I had been curious about this trail since I always see it from my studio window, It just finished raining and the air was cool, a perfect time to go. I explore this trail and find old ruins of a former chateau a secret door and bright orange slugs and more secret trails.
I took my time here and enjoyed the silence and thought of my time already spent here. I sang softly and drifted into a more meditative space, feeling the roots of trees and noticing the wet trees and the earth slip under my feet, becoming immersed and at peace.
A couple of days later my third piece linoleum piece is started, and I felt like the tutorials I studied and the way I moved the blades were more aligned. I picked a fox because I saw for the first time hanging out in the farm fields.
So here it is in print form!
One of the main reasons I chose to have my residency in September was because I wanted to keep with my personal self-love tradition of being in a new place for each one of my birthdays. I have explored the villages of northern France and marveling over the landscape So chef Marie created a delicious pear creme cake for me for my birthday !! I happen to share this a birthday with a few other people and I know everyone felt extra special having people sing and cheer for their special days.
There's a link to the Chateau Birthday sing-alongs here!
Last Week in France
I take more walks to my studio in the chateau and take the time to appreciate my final walks up the hill. Its open studio in a few hours so I grab my usual breakfast of espresso, water, fruit a hard-boiled egg and couple of buttered croissants and I make sure my studio is set up. I like to decorate and set the mood when I’m in such a happy and vulnerable space. I put on some Lo-fi Chill hop mix, make sure my work is hung up, sealed, complete and my slideshows started of all the digital patterns I have done.
At 4 pm everyone meets downstairs to take the final group shot outside and inside the salon. There are treats and bottles of wine ready for us in the dining room to tour each other’s work. I am one of the first studios and I take the time to explain my process, what I have painted, art pieces I wish to continue. I get many questions and congratulation on what I have accomplished here and as a growing artist.
Next and we move through each studio with gusto falling in love with art over and over again.
Satish Prahbu Art
Alex's landscapes in Oil
Ginette Wang the watercolorist and ink brush creative
Nina Liomela explaining the surrounding area is here influence on her new pieces
We then take a stroll down the hill to the studios in the stables! We first walk in Justin's space and continue on till we finish at Diva Zappa's paper mache installation.
Justin and his mosaic and glass art
Unfortunately, I forgot her name but she was this wonderful old Argentinian woman who spoke only French and Spanish. Veronika the asst. director of the Chateau helped us out by translating her work about the indigenous people of Argentina.
Diva Zappa (yes Frank Zappas daughter and really dope intuitive spiritual lady) did a large paper machete piece about connecting beyond borders and walls
Terri’s first time creating a large scale piece in her abstract style , it was a great accomplishment and very emotional moment for her. We were all there to support !
It's BBQ night! Chef Marie and the crew grilled up a feast for us after all the hard work from our studio time. There was still plenty of wine left from the open studio tours so that made the giddiness go up lol
Our last supper was one of the favorite recipes of the group the artichoke dinner! No actual pictures but Ginette drew and inspirational piece to symbolize our last meal!!
During “the last supper” emotions ran high and tears flowed as everyone took there turns talking about what they have learned and experiences they had and relationships they intend to keep with one another. People talked about opening up more realizing that they are a creative even though the paint their whole lives trying to figure it out. Some painted for the first time found new ways of expressing them selves and found out how to relax and live in a new country. The next day everyone packed up their studios shipped off their packages back to their homes and left a few at a time to catch their trains and flights.
Thank you to the dozens of new people I have met on this journey! I am grateful for time spent with you and wish the you the most fulfilling times, playful moments, support thru difficult times and the will and curiosity to keep making art in mind blowing ways not just for that next art show but for you and your dreams !
Last night in Paris
kim and I were roommates in the village house so do to a slight delay in my train ticket we decide to bunk together and hang out with Satish and Kims Parisian friend Victoria , she was an expat working as a freelancer in Paris. I forget the area we were in and I need to bug Satish for the rest of the photos but we went out to eat a crepe restaurant, walked around the busy night life, saw some very cool architecture and found some hip young bars to have a candle lit drink in.
The next morning I spend time going over a client email waiting in the airport for the flight back to New York then flight to Sacramento.
I will never forget this experience of being in Europe for the first time! One of the first things I noticed were all the African/Black people in France I loved seeing the representation and how integrated we are yet beautiful individual in different countries, I would not have an issue finding someone to braid my hair as there were salons and African restaurants all over the place! I loved spending time with my old friend Tim and Rhiann, they were so sweet and met me at the airport and we explored Paris for the first time together, what a serendipitous moments of finally getting to see him overseas. My time in France was pivotal in finding a way thru and a way to to relax and start anew in my creative journey, I have had so much support and love from family and friends all over the country! I put my all into this trip and discovered more about my self and my purpose on this artsy journey I’m taking. I want to share this with people even more and build a huge community around Amaizink Art....so now I will tell you this big surprise.
The next chapter....
Before I left for France me and some friends were working on a proposal for a land project out in Oregon, grant it we didn’t get it so we decided to keep the momentum and set out to start our own , so while I was in France 🇫🇷 and catching up thru early morning conference calls and emails. We were approved for a 20 acres of land on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state! So as of the end of October and less than a month returning from Europe I will be moving there as a apart of a new life long project.
I know it will be hard but I have consistently met challenges in my life and conquered them, or found a way to co exist and work together. My years in the conservation corps made me fall in love with Northern California and sustainability of the earth and it’s precious ecosystems, my analytical and grounded mental strength will help me problem solve and keep a level head in hard times, my time in construction field as an electrical apprentice and data com person will help me apply those skills as well as tool knowledge to maintain the land and help with any problems that arise safely and tactfully.
my time in France living, working, cooking and creating together with people from all over the world will translate beautiful when I created a POC and their comrades artist residency in the woods.
my love of gardening and growing food and Farm volunteering I have done in the past plays a big part and I am happy to be getting back into it for the long term.
my time diving into spirituality, meditation and crystal healing from trauma, false friendships, pain and navigating anxiety and PTSD will expand my giving and empathetic nature to do my part in providing restorative and healing spaces for everyone who comes to the land.
once events begin and workshops dates set and more tiny houses are built and we collectively agree on a good time frame , we will open it too everyone interested in getting away from the mundane, reconnect with themselves in a tranquil and private environment, leave more about who they are and how to be stewards of nature , coexists with like minded anti racist anti fascist and gender affirming queer spaces . We all have things to learn but I have confidence we are creating the world we wish to see when we come together to create, express and heal together.
this project will take a long time but I will be blogging as consistently as I can here on website and releasing new artwork and progress on my tiny print shop on my New TikTok, on Instagram and my NEW Patreon Page! I would love your support on Patreon as I have moved being The horrible work environment I was in into my calling as a fulltime creative! Your help on my Patreon will help me with pay for supplies, survival, food to eat, creating a garden and building this world for all of us.
Click here for my Patreon Page
i am eternally grateful for every moment that has lead me here and every moment after toward the world we will create in Washington!