I spent my final morning sweeping the downstairs floor nostalgically, watching dust motes float and murmuring, “I love you’s” to Tomato the cat, the sole permanent resident of the magical realistic realm that is Elsewhere Studios. I drove away in bright Colorado light with a feeling of strength. I had done what I had come to do; I worked hard, wrote 8 new songs, practiced a helluvalot of piano, explored new mediums, danced, and engaged with the community. The question churning in me before my arrival was “Can I honor my desire to produce a certain amount of work while whilst letting go of that expectation in order to reinvigorate and re-authenticate the journey and process of art?” I had been intensely focused on the professional side of “making it” as a musician but felt I had forgotten the magic that making art for its own sake was. My first few days were dedicated to finding a real piano to play. The organic vibration of a piano is an incomparable conduit for magic. Following a lead from a friend, I investigated a building behind the Trading Post, the local co-op, which as it turned out, housed the most beautiful piano in town. Through a labor of love, I transformed the room into a beautiful practice space, dance studio, and, eventually, into a concert hall.
For the first two weeks, I drew, painted, or collaged a self -portrait every day. Chelsea Rowe (www.chelseamrowe.com), a fellow resident, gave me a helpful figure drawing lesson and I stood before my reflection in the window of my studio at night, accomplishing the first accurate drawing of my torso. Karen Good introduced me to throwing clay and making bowls on the potter’s wheel. I am thrilled to have finally connected with my namesake medium. I discovered wheel- throwing to be an embodied, meditative art form, and perhaps more than that, a practice. I wrote a poem called “Child of the Times” which when I returned home, I found out was published in Gonzo Today. Here’s the link:
I wrote and recorded these eight songs:
This painting is the result of three-quarters meditative absorption and on quarter crazy/fun mania:
This painting arrived as an almost complete image from my psyche. It is a collage of my fascination with funeral pyres, the imagined journey of death, transformation and reflection on a close friend who took his life. Today, while looking at it hanging in my hall, I see emptiness. I see my own battle with death wishes and mental suffering being honored and moved through. The kindness and talent of the Paonia community and the vortex of Northfork Valley cannot go unmentioned. The list of generous, interesting and inspiring people is too long to list. Let it suffice to say that although this visitor suspects she witnessed only a glimmer of its bejeweled nature, she has unshakeable confidence that Paonia is a rare gem. I give thanks to have been held in the graces of the Elsewhere muses. Winter turned to spring and the doors of my creative psyche were blown open, letting light into a dark room. To stay up-to- date with my music and creations, and to watch video clips of my final performance, please go to my website www.clayhamilton.org