Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Deep Red Woods, 2007, Oil on Panel, 18x24

I think my posts may be a bit sporadic for the next few weeks. I am overwhelmed with work right now, which is feeling slightly painful. I really wanted to be taking a break before I go to Vermont, but instead I am actually starting some new paintings today, which, hopefully I will be able to finish and get shipped out before next Friday. I love that a number of my galleries need more paintings, but I am also concerned that I will arrive in Vermont burned out. Probably the change in environment and focus will deter that, but who knows?

And the the whole residency thing is really on my mind a lot now. I am worried about being homesick, missing my kids, my husband and my own bathroom (will be sharing one there). I am concerned about socializing so much more than I am used to and what if no one wants to sit with me at dinner? Do I really have to just go and sit next to someone I don't know? Oh the pressure! Stuff like that takes me right back to that torture known as middle school every time. Note to self: Grow up!


Yesterday, I did a blog search and came across two blogs (one here and one here. written by artists who are currently at the Vermont Studio Center. These blogs, in addition to what Kesha has told me have given me a pretty good idea about what to expect. So in addition to being nervous, I am also incredibly excited and can't wait to get there and get started.

I am taking my own pillow along though. That will help.


Lisa Call said...

Good choice on the pillow. I take my pillow everywhere I go.

Linda Blondheim said...

Best of luck on your trip.

Have you found any companies who manufacture pre gessoed panels that you like? I have a cabinet maker who cuts panels for me but he won't gesso them. I hate doing it myself.
Linda Blondheim

Casey Klahn said...

We go with you in heart, Tracy. That will be a crowd, BTW.

Will you be able to blog while you're there? I hope so. Even candids of the center, etc., will be appreciated.

Karen Jacobs said...

A similar experience for me (years ago) changed me and my art forever. Just being and working with peers on a professional level helps you reach for as much as you can hold... you'll be amazed at all you can do, never mind bathrooms and such.

Unknown said...

I don't think you will be burned out even if you work before feverishly.
A new environment, new people will surely do their part on you.
It will be very interesting for me to follow your adventure and I really hope you will find some time to write about your new experience.
I have thought about applying for an artist's residence but I am not sure whether this would bring a greater advantage for me personally than being on a holiday somewhere with sketchbook, canvas, paints and pencils because this is something I would need - working in a very relaxed manner without any duties. So I am really eager to get to know whether it will have an impact on YOUR work. I think the best thing is not to expect too much and let things happen.

Good luck and have fun!

Tracy Helgeson said...

Lisa, yeah, i take mine with me too, usually. i love my pillow.

Thanks, Linda, and the only kind of pre gessoed board I ever found was gessobord. There is also another brand but I can think of the name offhand. The art supply catalogs usually carry it. They are both hardboard, though not birch.

Thansk, Casey, how sweet! I am hoping to write a short post each day while I am there, but all of that depends on whether I can get our old laptop to work. I will take a lot of pictures, but again, not sure if I will be able to download them onto said laptop. I am terribly stupid about computers, so if there is even the slightest glitch, I won't be able to do either things. If I can't post, I will, write a post each day and put them up when I get back.

Karen, I am looking forward to the peer feedback about my work, it's just the social stuff I worry about:) Glad you had such a great experience!

Thanks Petra. I have tried to take some time at home or on vacation to experiment but alas, I need a bit more structure (pressure?) and fewer distractions, which is why I decided to go for this. said...

Hi Tracy, I'm so glad that you found our blog! I look forward to seeing what YOU do up here, I promise that you will get here, relax and feel refreshed and ready to go. It is such an amazing experience, just to have the time to paint and think without the distractions of cooking, working, cleaning, etc. And it is a good idea that you are bringing your pillow. I miss my own.

I wish that we could be here next month when you come, A. so that we could meet in person, and B. so that we could sit with you at meal time! The best part is that everybody is in the same boat. I think that Blake and I were the only people that knew each other when we got here. It surely was middle school all over again.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Danielle, so nice to get a comment from you! And how nice to know that I almost have someone to sit with at dinner when I get there!!

And thanks for reminding me that everyone else will be feeling the same way. Well, except for the cool kids:)

Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

I can't wait to see the impact of this residency on your work.. and you'll the the coolest kid there, don't worry!

Blake said...


I really enjoy your work! You're going to do some amazing stuff at VSC. And after the first two days of get-to-know-you-type questions, everyone settles in and gets really comfortable with each other. And everybody is so encouraging up here it really keeps you inspired on those days when you don't really feel like you have it. We leave next Friday, and I'm jealous that you still have the whole experience in front of you. Enjoy it and I can't wait to see what you do with your time up here.



Kesha Bruce said...


Just so you know, everyone arrives at VCS burned-out and freaked-out. I actually arrived a little drunk from a party in Brooklyn the nigth before, and I was fine!

By week 2 you'll be right as rain eventhough you will definitely miss your kids and your hubby.

About socializing: You can be as social or non-social as you like. Thats what's so nice about VSC. Just do whatever the hell you like doing. Also--everyone ends up sitting next to people they don't know because the dining room isn't really that big.

Don't worry. People will like you. Jeez!

Linda Blondheim said...

Thanks for the info Tracey. Best of luck with the trip.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Blake! Thanks for visiting! I appreciate hearing about what to expect, it really helps me feel better. It is too bad we all missed each other.

Kesha, I know things will be ok and that maybe a few people will like me:) I just need to worry about it for a bit first!

gary rith said...

Yeah, don't forget your blankey and your teddy, and try to sneak the hubby into your suitcase too.

Christine DeCamp said...

I love "Deep Red Woods"! Enjoy your time in Vermont--lucky you!I have always wanted to do something like that........maybe someday. I know you will do some incredible work there.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Always take the pillow and the comfy blankie :D
This painting is luminosity to the max.
I'll check back and see how you like the residency. I'd love to do something like that.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Gary, ha! I am actually taking along a nice warm blanket, but the hubby has to stay home. Someone has to herd the kids:)

Thanks Christine, I couldn't even consider doing something like this until recently. You'll do it when the time is right.

Hi Mary, Thanks for visiting! And I like hearing luminous, thanks. I am sure I will be endlessly talking about this residency for the next few months, you'll all be sick of it:)