Varnot — @ Weir Farm Art Center December 2010

i am too cold to write in my black book diary and so it is easier to write on my laptop because it provides warmth from the bottom of the computer and in so writing on my computer I feel compelled to share with you my “diary.” It is 5:15 pm and it is very cold and dark and I do not want to be outside. December. That being said, I like it here at Weir Farm. There is an absolute contrast in temperature, color, and light between being here in August verse being here in December.

The studio, with the winter landscape beyond the grand windows and the cathedral ceiling, feels cold. I have been tempted to move the watercolor work into the farm house or build a fireplace in the studio. I haven’t done either. This week at 9 am a red tailed hawk kept me company.

I am happy there is a 1/2″ of snow on the ground.

I am spending all of my studio efforts on projects that remind me of winter-mat mylar tree cut outs, plaster sacks with white eggs, light watercolor impressions. I haven’t pulled out one drinking straw!

I went up north to Sheffield, MA, in the Berkshires, to get some white hydrocal – a type of hard plaster. I am reinvesting time into an egg project I started up in Canada and reinventing it through my “hollow egg sacks.” I pour plaster into snack sized ziplock bags. As the plaster is hardening I sink 1-3 whole hollowed chicken eggshells into the setting plaster. I have about 100 of these now, and have yet to make a pour-fect sack. I am struggling with:
a. the quality of the plaster
b. air bubbles in plaster
c. mixing the plaster
d. breathing the plaster
e, f, g, etc.

For one, I don’t really enjoy the plaster process but find it necessary. I REALLY don’t. And then I am upsetted (not a real word but best to describe how I feel) by the end results. I hollow these eggs and submit them to the hardening plaster, to get some not so perfect outcome?

See, the problem is that I am pouring the plaster into a mold that is flexible (ziplock bag) and that the open part of the mold is the most visually important part because this is where the viewer looks, and this is the part that needs to look perfect but which shows the most imperfections because it is where the bubbles surface and there is nothing pressing against it to make it smooth.

This place in Sheffield is one of the only places that has this hydrocal plaster in the east. The drive was so pretty. It is a very typically quaint New England landscape (with hordes of over priced antique shops).

Inevitably, in December, I gravitate towards wanting to cook, sleep, buy gifts for people, celebrate inside with people, and do other forms of things that resemble hibernation (read in bed for hours, be in bed for hours, etc.).

Unfortunately, my conditioning makes me feel bad when I am not:
a. making art
b. making more art
c. making even more art
d. not running

So, I am trying to strike a balance. A nap here, a little studio work there. Shopping here, running in the frigid cold there.

Speaking of running. I have had to go to NYC every weekend while at Weir Farm to finish my nyc marathon qualifying races (two qualifying races and my plus one volunteer race where I was a bike marshall). I have now finished my 9 plus one qualifying races and will run the 2011 nyc marathon!

that’s about it for now but it felt important. thank you.

Annie Varnot