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Day 4: Artist Residency at The Hide

Day 4

Thursday 29th March

Photo: Late afternoon sun sweeps the field on the walk home.

I wake up sensing the need to go gently. I make a cup of rooibos and journal in bed, a stream of consciousness processing the depths of the day before. Forgiveness arises on the page. I head to the mat and move through it until stillness finds me in meditation. I curl up on the sofa for most of the morning. The sun flashes in the garden before waves of rain begin.

The afternoon is spent writing and reading. The brush feels too loaded to pick up today. A moment of calm outside inspires me to pull on my walking boots and raincoat and head to the ridge. It’s about 20 minutes before the rain hurtles down, freezing into hailstones that pelt my sodden legs and I wish I’d brought proper gloves instead of fingerless ones. I nestle my phone in between my scarf and hood to call my brother, Tom. 

I stalk the rest of the ridge until I’m back outside The Hide again but our conversation is still in the thicket of artistic practice and I know there’s much more to be learnt from Tom’s creative insights. I head down a side road that I’ve been curious to follow - on maps it looks like a dead end. The rain starts to clear and a muntjac ambles across my path, a few meters ahead. I say to Tom, “It reminds me of home”

At the end of the road, appears a woodland alive with lolling wild garlic and three footpaths in different directions. As Tom and I trade creative reflections I take each route: left until I have to turn back on myself, right which doesn’t take me far, and straight ahead into a warren of pathways. As we reflect on the fears of artmaking I’m aware I haven’t been keeping track of my direction, winding further in and down and around these weaving pathways. I breathe into trust and follow my feet. I wind higher and higher until trees start to look familiar and I arrive at the crossroads. I trace the sideroad back to The Hide and the low sun shines magnificently over the adjoining field, alighting the auburn grasses so much so my fingers itch to touch them. Tom reminds me that I’m exactly where I need to be, wandering/wondering with the muntjac in the woods. I take a sprig of overwintered seed heads to add to my studio shelf, a portal to this place of trust and belonging.

In the evening I tune in to a live watercolour demo of plein air artist Sebestian Thommen. I make a note to try his technique of sweeping sunbeams through trees with tissue and spritzing trees with water to create more volume. I listen to soul music and celebrate as I locate the final edge puzzle piece I swore must’ve been lost.


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