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Artist in Residence: Tuesday, June 13

Today I had a mid-morning interview for a women’s arts publication on the east coast by fellow artist Elaine Luther. It is hot and sunny, and the air is still. Rather than brave the heat outside, today I finished up the rest of the watercolor journals, sewing a few more blocks and gluing the covers onto the completed text blocks.

Purple and white clover and drifts of oxeye daisies dot the tall grasses behind my cabin. There is no activity at the pavilions – people probably prefer to find some air-conditioned spaces. I love the homeyness of the cabin, and the two fans do a great job of keeping it comfortable. Today will be a read, refresh and reflect sort of day. The slanted light and breezes of late afternoon should lure me outside to draw and take photos.

A visit to the camp store led to an unexpected adventure: while I was buying more ice for the cooler, another campground guest and I struck up a conversation. When I mentioned that I was the artist in residence and would be doing a workshop tomorrow, she said “My friends and I are teachers – please come visit us this evening once we’re unpacked – we’d love to meet you!”

Then I was visited by another guest who had heard of the workshop, but was disappointed that it was already full – were there any cancellations? I said that I didn’t know, but could send them home with more handouts and an extra set of basic watercolor pencils if she and her daughter wanted. She told me that when she moved cross-county from New York, the one box that hadn’t arrived was her box of art supplies. Now she was hoping for a fresh start, so she could continue to share her love of art with her 7-year-old daughter. We talked about the importance of nature and how art was everywhere if you just opened your eyes. Two ladies from Cabin 7 knocked and invited me over for barbecue. I brought a big bottle lemonade because they didn’t take wine, and we spent a portion of the evening chatting over food and birthday cake.

A gentleman walked up to their cabin – someone they didn’t know – and introduced himself as Michael Tabeling, one of the architects at Domokur who designed the buildings at all the Cook County campgrounds! He and his wife were in from Ohio, on a business/pleasure trip and had hoped to see his handiwork now that they were built. My hosts invited them into their beautiful cabin for a look around. He explained a little about the process of design and was very appreciative of the opportunity to meet people who were clearly enjoying themselves there.

The large cabins have heating and air conditioning systems, as well as the same kind of convection fan found in the small cabins, so the large cabins can be used year-round! Needing to get back to my workshop preparation anyway, I offered to show them the small cabin I am using and took a photo of the two of them together. What a lovely day!

Artist in Residence daily blog posts are written by Kathleen Garness. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Photos taken by Kathleen Garness.