My whole life I have wanted to live somewhere other than New York and Rhode Island. But it hasn't happened... yet. This summer I decided to just pack up my supplies, rent an Airbnb, get on a plane, stay for 3 weeks, and see what happens. It was a wonderful change of pace.
I spent my time on Vashon Island which is a ferry ride from Seattle. This was my view from the deck of my house and from the work table I set up in front of a big glass window. Different, yes!
The first day I was nervous. I had a stomach ache because of it, but as I adjusted to the situation I felt myself relaxing. It just so happened that a few jobs got delayed which meant I really had time to explore the island, see new things and play around with painting. I've been wandering the roads and the beach, collecting wildflowers and rocks and seeds... so many little bits that inspire me. My eyes are open wider.
There are really nice houses there, cute cottages, gardens that are out of this world, and amazing views. I took lots of pictures so I can refer to them later for reference. I also have done a lot of plein air painting which I don't get to do very often.
I painted many loose, slightly abstracted watercolors in a cheap sketchbook just to get going. For me, if I work in a very quick way, without regard for the final outcome, I can find new ideas and directions. Even here I still have times where I have no idea what I want to paint, what is inspiring me. But I took a walk along the beach, or a hike in the woods. Or go to a cute cafe and sit for tea. These small mindful things are so necessary to the creative process and sometimes in the business of everyday life I forget to take time for myself.
Also, I've met the most wonderful, warm, kind people here! And been invited over to so many incredible homes. With all the stuff going on in the world right now it's such a pleasure to turn off the news and just enjoy simple, beautiful, generous humanity. Best, Jennifer