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Hamilton Residency 7: mark the trail

It seems to go like this: three or four intense 12-hour days working with huge wave of images connections paint insight epiphany, then a long day – like today – of disorientation.

I think the undertow is strong. It feels like being pulled backwards, so I can go over things again, integrate what they mean. This way, if someone asks me, I’ll be able to articulate what’s at play.

Feels like a dance.


Roaring like a Snowdragon lady out there since first light, later spitting hard rain on a sharp east wind, splatter on the window louder than the beeping of backing-up-trucks next door. Shoes not boots so wet socks for the first hour. Printer pooched mid-page while working on a reference photo I need to draw from. Two hours cajoling him according to online hp instructions then a trip through foot-high road slush to get a new printer, since apparently five human years is 120 in printer time, and old faithful is not worth another $80 for a new print head.

Another hour or so of tech-drain before I get a good reference print out of New Printer, by which time my reference point has migrated into the recycling bin, as they do when they’re not caught and used immediately.

Pavement 1, Feb12

Drawing board now but my heart’s not in it. I’m tech-tired and caught in a small, humbling moment of grief: I loved that old printer. We lived through a lot together; he printed many many cello choir parts, many journal articles (2-sided), without complaint.

I look at the painting I thought I’d be finished today and decide that I wrecked it last night just before I went home. It’s probably not true, but it needs a new solution now, so drawing board.


It’s Tuesday, says the calendar, nod goes my head and up again to build the next strategic plan. Two weeks until show time at the Residency Artists’ Talk on Feb 26 (6:30pm). I’m looking at four of seven planned pieces, fully aware that they represent a tunnel I’m about to enter.

I asked someone last week whether it was a bad sign that I’ve written the talk before the pieces are done. Apparently not – it’s the reverse, she said. I agree. The paintings themselves feel like improvisations around my understanding of what I’m doing here and why I’m doing it. As they continue to emerge my understanding deepens – like a dance.

Music emerges into an understanding of ‘moment’, too.  A piece of cello music I’ve been playing for thirty years is always a variation of itself, reflected in and by the context of it’s sounding- Courante from Bach suite I, on a murky Tuesday in Hamilton, after my old hp friend signed himself off into the land of recycled parts.

What a layering of things that is!  JS Bach and Hewlett Packard, accompanied by the spitting, hissing Snowdragon Lady outside.



I always have ten people with me now; I begin to understand that I always will have this particular ten. I’m aware that increasingly I yearn for a gathering of us over a slow meal, perhaps, or on a walk together through old trees. I wonder at the levels of curiosity we each carry – how they would ebb and flow, rise and find rest through conversation fragments and simple gestures, how we would weave ourselves into a fabric if we were all in this room together, painting one another, laughing and listening.

I write notes to them through the day. Curiosities – about connections between them. I’m not quite ready to send these, yet. Which is strange, but I trust the process as it unfolds.

I think about kind mirrors and critical mirrors. I wonder if our internal mirrors are always stronger than the external ones.


Composite sketch for Pavement II, who dances differently. We approach one another in earnest on Valentine’s day.

More to come, from the tunnel…





1 thought on “Hamilton Residency 7: mark the trail

  1. Ooh how I love how you write, Keira! I really really mean this. Often I re read what you write here in your blog( thank-you). Your parents must savour what you say, and how you say it, too.

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