The Application Process
I spent the last two years applying to the National Parks Artist in Residence Programs. The application processes are thorough and the competition is intense. Most of the residencies last two to six weeks, and are designed to give established artists an opportunity to concentrate on a portfolio of images with little interruptions and a break from daily life, and to “give back” to the Parks through a public event each week.
The selection as an Artist In Residence at Crater Lake National Park is one of the big thrills of my life. I have photographed along the Umpqua and Rogue Rivers in Oregon, exploring waterfalls and lush forests, but to be given a solid two weeks to work in and around the Park is a real treat. I will also escort visitors on a walk to demonstrate seeing and recording water, flows and movement. And will present a slide show of my inspiration and techniques.
It’s important to get thick-skinned with when applying for exhibitions and residencies and as an artist, over the years, I certainly have learned not to take a “rejection” personally. There is a lot involved in a jury choosing one artist over another, and since many of us applying are established artists, it’s important to be a good fit, whether at a gallery or residency.
Travel to Oregon
The Crater Lake residency is coming up fast. The application was submitted in February, and I heard from the Education Coordinator in March. I’m scheduled to leave Durango on about April 19, drive west to Lake Powell and the Paria Canyons, and spend a few days in Zion National Park too. I scheduled the Zion Trip before I was offered the Crater Lake Residency so although it is along my route to Oregon, if I feel a “push” I may skip it. I love the drive up Hwy. 395 in California, so I will set up my route to follow the Eastern Sierras and take about 5 days to get from Zion to Oregon. I’m due at Crater Lake on May 1st and will be there for two weeks of a residency followed by a week of play, art, play, photography, play. I hope to “pick the brains” of the Rangers to get the scoop on their favorite hikes and viewpoints.
It’s the journey, not the destination
In planning for a road trip, one of the first things I do is look at a map and explore some possible routes and see how much mileage I want to drive each day when towing my Saturn travel trailer, versus driving my jeep. I usually only want to tow about 250 miles a day and so I set up a compass on a map to see how far I can comfortably drive. It looks like a doable pace for this trip is to take about five days to get to Oregon from Zion.
This journey will take me through some of the most beautiful places in the West from Durango to Lake Powell from Lake Powell to Zion perhaps an overnight at Valley of fire State Park then drive the Eastern Sierras. I follow Wheeling It blog and Nina and Paul love the Alabama hills and I’d like to spend the night or two there. This trip is a mix of going with the flow a bit as well as a destination drive.
I really have a blast when planning my adventures and road trips. I can choose to tow my Sunline travel trailer up to Oregon and I may choose to leave it there. That option gives me a reason to go back to Oregon in the fall to go get it. (Do I really need a reason!)
The thing is that when I leave Crater Lake National Park I have about 15 days to drive East because my next Artist Residency is in Acadia national Park in Maine in June. I don’t treasure towing on the freeways across the country, as I tend to “white knuckle” passing 18 wheelers. I am leaning towards safely storing my trailer.
Ask for help
At this time I’m recruiting some friends to meet me along the way and caravan for a few days or travel for a few days taking turns driving. I had hip replacement surgery on March 25 and gave myself a month to recover, and I’m devoted to the PT involved in being flexible and being able to drive. But 4,000 miles across the country from Crater Lake to Acadia is a long drive. I think I can do it in about 15 days. I need to be in Acadia by June 5 and, frankly, the road trip from Oregon to someplace beautiful Idaho to an overnight at the Grand Tetons and then on to someplace beautiful South Dakota is pretty enticing to me.
I set up a rough map on Google with ideas for exploration and a bit of pedal to the metal driving too. In some ways I’m tempted to take my camper all the way across the country but I’m really thinking that it’s best for me to just load up my sweet ride (Jeep Grand Cherokee) and go ahead and make some time. My comfortable towing speed is about 58 mph and I can do 75mph in my jeep.
What Inspires Me
I have been planning, dreaming and scheming about this time in my life for many years. In July, I retired from a sweet job working as a graphic artist for a corporation, and I’m a retired teacher. When I moved out West from New Jersey in 1995, I built a terrific, fun, business, teaching photography and darkroom skills; private and group lessons. My career spanned the last twenty years and continues to fulfill me. I take folks on photo adventures all around the Southwest and teach them how to properly use their digital cameras and develop their vision.
I am driven, and at this point I am teaching a few hours a week, privately, and teaching Photo Workshops about 5 times a year (this fall I am leading a group of Road Scholars around the Southwest). I am learning to paint with oils and love to set up my pochade in the field and have fun. I find that my life, although very balanced, is sometimes so full that I treasure the Artist Residencies in order to devote long periods of time in beautiful places to make art. It’s amazing to me that the National Parks’ Service understands the need for art in the Parks and gives artists the gift of time and access.
Next applications: Joshua Tree National Park, Zion National Park, Denali