July 7 to July 13, Grant-Related Activities

This week, inspired by my recent home office renovation, I decided to make some improvements to my studio. Several years ago I received a Professional Development Individual Artist's Grant from Pinellas County Cultural Affairs Department to assist with the conversion of my garage into a studio. I put in insulation, sheetrock walls (painted white), track lights, storage bins and shelving, a ceiling fan and air conditioning and I removed the garage doors, replacing them with glass doors. That was completed in 2008. Over the years my studio has become cluttered--a major decluttering and face lift was needed. I started with the exterior: trimming the overgrown creeper and repotting the  cacti that outgrew their pots many months ago. Slowly I'm tackling the interior, dealing with things like a large stack of slides (remember those?) and books that I'll never read again, while continuing to work periodically on the Terra Firma series of mixed media paintings.

Plans for my trip to India's Sanskriti Foundation in December are coalescing. I was delighted to learn that I've saved up almost enough miles on my credit card to fly me from Tampa to Mumbai, from Mumbai to Delhi and back to Tampa. I've continued to communicate with friends of friends in India who are in a position to assist me with various aspects of my residency and research. I'm also exploring the possibility of applying for a Fulbright to India next year so I can continue work on my evolving Sanctuary installation. (I've been warned that time has a different meaning in India than in the U.S. and I fear that in two weeks I may only scratch the surface of the concepts I'm working with: water pollution East and West, specifically water pollution as it relates to Florida's springs and New Delhi's Yamuna River.) 

As for my regular teaching schedule, that was lighter this past week since the Morean Arts Center schedules a week off between each six-week course in the event of inclement weather causing a class cancellation in which case a make-up class would be necessary. So no Tuesday evening class, however, I made art, as usual, with young patients at All Children's Hospital and older patients at St Anthony's Hospital and on Thursday morning I taught a painting class in my studio. 

The painting retreat that I'm planning to lead at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, next summer is coming together a lot more slowly than my trip to India. Sometimes it feels like New Mexico is on another planet, not simply another time zone. When I lived there we joked that the New Mexican mantra was "mañana, mañana."  However, I'm still optimistic that it will happen.

It was a joy, on Saturday evening, to see the work of several of my loyal students at the Morean Arts Center during the opening of the Members' Show.  I too have a piece, from the Terra Firma  series, in the show. I was delighted to learn that one of my students, Tricia Tierney Moses, won Honorable Mention for a painting created in my class. Visit me on FaceBook to see images of our work: http://www.facebook.com/rosemarieprins 

Another of my students, Barbara Poore, wrote the following for her recent class reunion: "Imagine yourself in a studio filled with twenty talented painters all working diligently at their easels as jazz plays softly in the background. You've been in the zone all evening, painting a large watercolor, not thinking of the wrinkles in your neck, or the fact that you are seventy and have leaped into the unknown by taking this class. The paint flows unconsciously from your brush, guided by some external creative power. Suddenly your instructor is hovering beside you. Despite her tiny size and her stylish dark bob she is formidable, immigrating from South Africa to make huge abstract paintings that evoke the dark days of apartheid, using wood, metal, soil, scraps of paper, paints and hot wax. She regards your painting, 'Hmmmmmm.' Very gently she points out that the part you've spent all evening working on is much more saturated with color than other parts of the painting. It clashes. Oh no! You've ruined the painting! Watercolor is such an exacting medium because it dries instantly. 'Take it to the sink,' she says. 'Let the water run over the whole area and scrub it off...' You're horrified, but it works..."  

But, I digress, back to St Petersburg's Second Saturday Art Walk. After leaving the Morean I headed, together with another of my students, to the Studio@620 for the closing reception of their Members Only Art Show, 2016, in which I also had a piece, this time a collage entitled Winter's Dance. From there we headed to Creative Clay on Central Avenue. Creative Clay, an arts organization that works with people with disabilities, is the umbrella organization for Creative Care, the arts in healthcare program that I have worked with since 2009. As usual, there was some enchanting art on their walls, very reasonably priced (one of my companions was delighted with her purchase). From Creative Clay we moved on to ARTicles gallery to view the intriguing wall sculptures, made primarily with found wood and plaster, of Justin Rabideau.

Also, this past week, I went with an Eckerd College colleague to see the exhibition Phantom Bodies, at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. We spent hours exploring the exhibition, carefully reading and then discussing the wall text next to each work, glad that we read the text for Bill Viola's compelling video after we had seen the work. Reading the wall text first would have eliminated the crucial surprise element. It is an exhibition well worth seeing. Photography is not allowed, so we had to content ourselves with taking photographs in the Ringling Museum grounds.  

Over the past week I continued submitting proposals to several curators and gallerists, still seeking a broader audience for my work.  This seems to happen in spurts--at times I've had work in several galleries in various states within a short period, at others there's a dry spell--a time for regrouping and reassessing.  And to keep on keeping on making art.

Sadly for me my assistant Amanda Staunko-- a real trooper--left for Seattle this past week. So now I am in search of another part-time office and studio assistant.