Last semester I was selected to participate in an artist residency at the Terra Foundation for American Art Europe in France! The New York Academy nominated eight students and one professor to travel to Giverny for this incredible opportunity. Jean-Pierre Roy, Jacobs Hicks, Ivy Hickam, Robert Plater, Daniel Bilodeau, Valentina Stanislavskaia, Gaetanne Lavoie, Adam Carnes and I arrived in Paris a week early to do some research. We visited the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, the Musee D'Orsay and a few contemporary art galleries. We also fit in some tourist stuff- like picnics at the Eiffel Tower, shopping at the Sennelier store, waiting in line and eventually getting to see the catacombs, partying at the Sacre Coeur, flea marketing, etc. After all that inspiration, we knew it was time to get to work.
When we all arrived in Giverny, we were greeted by our guide Miranda. She was extremely knowledgable with an absolutely delightful personality. Immediately the group was very taken with the place. We all arrived feeling very, very grateful.
The town, with less than 500 residents, was full of charm and covered in flowers. We had extremely comfortable living situations as well as generously sized studios (equipped with an apple orchard!). A chef prepared our dinner and dessert and delivered it daily. We all met for lunch everyday, which was provided by the Impressionist Museum cafe. When we weren't in the studio working, we were taking day trips to new landscapes, exploring surrounding towns by bike, or plein-air painting.
One of the coolest experiences from Giverny was Monet's house and gardens. It was gorgeous, but crowds of tourists filled it everyday. As a courtesy, they closed it to the public one evening, and allowed us entry so that we could paint peacefully.
We formed friendships and bonds that otherwise might not have happened. We learned so much about each other's work as well as our own. And we got to see how this place had changed our work. It's a short period of time that none of us will forget. I cannot thank the Academy and the Terra Foundation enough for the opportunity.