An artist residency is meant to give the artist uninterrupted time in a space (in this case, nature) to really soak it all in and be inspired to create some amazing art. I recently had the incredible opportunity to begin my artist residency with the Wyo State Parks at Curt Gowdy, just outside my hometown of Cheyenne.
This picturesque park, nestled in the heart of the wild landscapes and rock formations long left behind by the glaciers that formed them, provided the perfect setting for me to immerse myself in the creative process while sharing meaningful moments with my daughter. From bopping along the Stone Temple Trail to encountering wildlife and cozying up during afternoon rain showers, every moment of this residency was a lesson in the beauty of art and nature coming together.
Going offline with nature.
As a contemporary artist, I've always sought inspiration from the natural world around me. However, the first stop of my artist residency added some new brainwaves to that connection. Curt Gowdy, known for its amazing trails, serene lakes, and diverse flora and fauna, offered a fresh perspective on the natural beauty I have lived with for the better part of 15 years. The opportunity to step away from the daily grind of life in Cheyenne and immerse myself in this oasis of tranquility was truly something to cherish.
Hike the unexpected.
One of the highlights of my residency leg at Curt Gowdy was absolutely hiking Stone Temple Trail. This under-appreciated trail winds through the park's rocky terrain, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. But it wasn't just the scenery that turned my head. The trail was bursting with a vibrant bouquet of wildflowers and snaked through aspen groves just waiting to bloom with color in the fall, each such a story about the park's rich biodiversity. As my daughter and I navigated the trail, we couldn't help but stop and soak in the intricate designs and colors of these delicate petals and bark. The experience was a reminder that art isn't only on the canvas; it's absolutely everywhere, waiting to be discovered.
That wildlife though.
Nature has a way of surprising us, and Curt Gowdy was no exception. During our hikes, my daughter and I had the privilege of sharing moments with the park's resident wildlife. A particularly warm-and-fuzzy encounter was with a deer friend, its graceful presence reminding us of the delicate balance that exists between humans and the creatures that inhabit these spaces, in addition to the notion that we are guests in their space. These encounters became a source of inspiration, finding their way into my creative work in unexpected ways.
Dance (or art) in the rain.
A sudden evening rain shower threatened to squash the vibe, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Seeking refuge under a canopy of trees, my daughter and I grabbed the opportunity to engage in some impromptu arting. With raindrops gently pattering on the leaves above us, we sketched and painted. The rain, far from hindering our artistic endeavors, became an integral part of the experience, infusing our work with a sense of spontaneity and magic.
My artist residency leg at Curt Gowdy State Park marked the beginning of a life-changing journey. The park's serene landscapes, captivating trails, and the chance to share these moments with my daughter underscored the power of nature to inspire and nurture creativity. From the vibrant wildflowers to the unexpected rain showers, every aspect of this experience became a brushstroke in the canvas of my artistic journey. As I continue my residency, I'm reminded that art is not just what we create—it's the emotions, connections, and memories we share with the world around us.