A Time At Hambidge (painting during the last grips of winter while in a mountain studio)

March 23, 2017

I was left alone on the side of a hill in a cabin called Fisher Studio. It was a cold two weeks with everything from some snow to a violent thunderstorm that split a tree into many woody spears due to a fiery ribbon of lightning. I loved my time at Hambidge — The sun on my bare feet as I ate my vegetable soup on the porch overlooking the property. I loved the mix of solitude and nature. I loved being able to focus on my work without knowing anyone would interrupt me. I also liked when we could convene for wonderful thoughtful meals and share our experiences with the other artists and writers currently living and creating at Hambidge. It is interesting how quickly a group can bond under the right circumstances and wonderful meals.

I worked mainly on set of paintings for an upcoming solo show at Spalding Nix Fine Art in Atlanta. I feel I was influenced by the Spirit of the Woods— The tree spirits and the unique dark shapes i kept encountering on my walks and in the nature I encountered. All of this made by God the Great Creator but highly mysterious and sometimes bizarre and not to be understood. I did not know exactly what direction my painted creations would take. I believe the woods and the night spirits of the hills spoke to me. Being around artists with other disciplines was very eye-opening as well.

I kept an animal and a bird list. I wrote about each day I was there and the weather around me in a little journal. I stared at the night sky. I was blinded by the darkness of the cold late starry night.

I wished I could have spent a month — which at the onset seemed like eternity.

I am thankful for all of the time I was able to devote to my art and the refreshing of my mind. I hope I will take that new energy and share it with others through my paintings.

– or –

I went to the woods. No one around. At night there was hardly a sound — other than the drip drip of dew on the tin roof. A couple times I thought it must be a bear or at least a raccoon at my door making noises. Nonesuch luck for me — but I did see 7 deer together lots of fresh work by beavers and an up close encounter with an otter.

At night it was dark and there were no lights to be seen. Zero light except for a lamp in my window. I stayed in a nice lit warm-feeling studio but thinking of all the others that stayed there and used the kitchen and the bathroom and slept in the bed and then expecting myself to paint things worthy of such a place.

I walked into North Carolina on a mountain ridge. I got lost and found my way (I don’t think you can ever really be lost) Go downhill, follow a creek, enjoy the nature around you, take a deep cold breath. I went downhill and found an old logging road and a new trail and an unmarked trail and a hollow tree and then I could see the road and soon I was exactly where I was trying to end up from the start.

I planned on not working for a few days. I just wanted to relax and read. But the first day I began painting. It made me happy. Then I would become unhappy with my work. Then later I might be happy again. Then I hid my paintings in the bedroom against the wall and worked on new ones. Don’t look at me.

I took a plastic Santa Claus and a rinky-dink string of Christmas lights to make me feel happy inside— strung them haphazzardly in the window.

Hambidge was a place to work, relax and show reverence. I reserve reverence for special places and things that have happened —Things in history that you are walking over an around on a later date — Civil War battlefields, lost graves, historical spots in old photos and all the important spots you never have heard of. Hambidge made me feel that way. I thought about how long before Mary Hambidge had bought the land, it had been many things. I hoped it had been an Native American camp, along Betty Creek. The beavers tried to tell me. Reverence.

So leave me alone to work and paint. Leave me alone with lost dead haunts. Leave me alone to do my thing. I’ll think and flounder and turn a ring. Leave me alone and I’ll paint it new. Ill make myself feel better— paint for me and you.

– or –

Between cars, down on my knees the hillbilly man a starin’ at me. Writing on the ground with people all around my black marker made a squeaky sound. I left Hambidge and headed home. I liked being by myself but tired of being alone. I miss you.

(Thanks to Mason for making this all happen. 2 +3+2-8=6)


Photo by Dayna Thacker

hambidge-cool-mountain-streams-blackcattips mid-march-snow-at-hambidge-center

Photo by Maria B.

tree-spirits-hambidge Hambidge-spring-house tree-spirits-blackcattips-kyle-brooks-hambidge-center Hambidge-jolly-horse-seamonster-and-billy-mcsmeet-blackcattips
Hambidge-betty-creek-beaver lightning-strike-tree
Hambidge-29 Hambidge-fisher-studio Hambidge-betty-creek-rabun-county

see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks