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Blooms and Brushes: A Year-Long Journey at The Acres Flower Farm

Introduction: Artist's Residencies: they're like artistic adventures, a dedicated time and space to let creativity flourish. They've been a cornerstone of the art world for ages, providing artists with unique environments to immerse themselves in their craft. I once applied for a residency in a healthcare facility, but Bradford in the early '90s didn't quite call my name. Since then, the dream of participating in a residency has lingered in the back of my mind, patiently waiting for the right moment. A Blossoming Idea: In 2022, I had the pleasure of chatting with local artist Amanda Gardner, fresh off her own residency journey. She'd conducted her residency right at home, delving into research, reading, and creating. As she shared her experiences, a light bulb switched on in my mind. I knew exactly where I wanted to embark on my own residency. The Flower-Filled Epiphany: In 2021, I had approached a local flower grower to source blooms for a significant still-life commission. My client had specific preferences, ruling out lilies, natives, and dahlias. The offerings from supermarkets didn't quite inspire me, and my budget didn't stretch to a florist. So, I ventured to the flower farm and was utterly captivated. Cultivating Creativity: Following my revelation, I reconnected with the farm, proposing the idea of an artist's residency. The farm's owner had recently acquired a local florist, and our meeting there was serendipitous. I outlined the concept, and she enthusiastically embraced it. And so, my residency at The Acres in Upper Camp Mountain commenced on May 15, 2023. A Year on The Acres: Over the course of this year, I aim to engage with the farm's cycles of growth, harvest, renewal, and replanting. It's a dance of nature's rhythms that I'll observe, respond to, and record in my work. A Canvas of Seasons: Two months in, the summer heat has dissipated, making way for a new chapter at The Acres. My days are filled with drawings, hundreds of photographs, moments with the farm's canine companions, and strokes of paint on canvas. The place has woven its way into my heart, and I relish every moment spent there. Capturing the Essence: My work will explore the concept of 'genius loci' - the spirit of a place. Through my art, I'll document the unique essence of The Acres over the course of the year. Exhibiting the Journey: In November, we're planning a mid-residency exhibition, a sneak peek into this artistic odyssey. And come May 2024, a final showcase will feature large-scale paintings alongside my sketchbooks, notes, drawings, photographs, and original prints. This residency is more than just creating art; it's a deep dive into the soul of The Acres, a journey I'm thrilled to share with you all. Stay tuned for more updates and glimpses into this blossoming adventure! 🌸

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