Nature Loves Courage. This is the sign painted on the community garden building at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, CO. I passed this sign every day - took several pictures of it during my month long artist residency in June 2017. Bold red cursive words floating on a strong blue background stripe that stretched across a white painted brick wall. It’s like two lover’s names carved into a tree. I kept envisioning what Nature looked like and what Courage’s voice sounded like. Nature looks like the beautiful North Fork Valley. Courage sounds like the dynamic engaged community. I like to think Nature and Courage built Elsewhere Studios so they could grow community. As you walk past the sign, you see the garden, an old building, piles of compost, bikes for use, stacks of wood, work tables, coils of hose, a large ceramic wall filled with pieces of tile and the big green building that houses the studios. You hear the funky beat of tunes from the shop and see people working. The environment dares you to grow. To pick up something, think about something, look at something. And grow.
In this environment, I grew my project Solitude of Selfie a visual revision of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 19th century speech,Solitude of Self. This poetic musing considers self in relation to family, community, country. Using a blend of drawing and cyanotype, compositions are a game of quasi feminist paper dolls that have been washed with history at the speed of a spin cycle.
While conducting Solar Powered Painting Workshops with groups from Solar Energy International, High Country News, Citizens for a Healthy Community, Bike Co-op and Elsewhere Studios, I grew my understanding of the lovely community that was grown by Nature and Courage.