Artist Residency – Montana – Part 2
Flathead Lake Biological Station is located approximately in the middle of the eastern edge of Flathead Lake in Montana. My artist residency there in Montana lasted for five weeks. The first week was spent in quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols at the station. The other artist and I could not meet with staff or use the kitchen in the dining hall during that time.
I had a two room cabin toward the end of the small peninsula that juts out into Yellow Bay.
One room was my bedroom. It had a desk and little kitchenette area that contained a microwave, coffee pot and mini-fridge. The other room was also a bedroom that I used as my studio (see Artist Residency – Montana – Part 1).
The bathroom was in another building a couple of cabins away. If we wanted, we could use the kitchen in the dining hall which was also in another building.
We were there at a time when there weren’t any people in the other cabins. The station often teaches college classes during the summer, as well as other workshops throughout the season. At those times, I imagine the campus is a busier place.
As my (loose) plan was the same as for previous remote residencies, I didn’t have any specific project I was going to work on, except to gather ideas for more work in my Field Studies Series. I choose these remote residencies in natural locations so I can be inspired by what I observe. Looking around, there is always something interesting to find, even though I have no idea what it will be until I get there.
It doesn’t take me long to be inspired by nature. On the very first day, I saw the beautiful multi-colored rocks in the swimming area and became very excited! This was the impetus for the Rock Lines artworks I started.
Over the weeks, the natural beauty of the area provided all kinds of inspiration. I have many photos from which to continue working.
Because of the remote location and the only road next to the station being a highway, I had to drive to several places to do some mountain biking and hiking. (I’ll share those experiences in future posts.) But one thing I could do right on site is kayak!
Boats were available for us to use on the bay side of the peninsula. (Swimming was designated on the other side of the peninsula.) I went kayaking as much as I could. We were not allowed to take the boats out of the bay. But it was big enough to get some exercise and have fun.
We were lucky to have nice weather for the first two weeks. Then, the weather turned cold and snowy. That meant more time in the cozy cabin working on art.
The station was located in bear country and they were doing their foraging in preparation for winter. I was warned before coming and had a can of bear spray and some bells. Personally, I did not see the bears. (Maybe the bell did work, as I carried it everywhere.) But the other artist did see a mama bear and her cubs, as well as a muddy bear print on her car. Some of the staff mentioned they had seen them, too. When I went outside, I was always trying to look around and be aware, so it wasn’t entirely relaxing.
I enjoyed my time at the Flathead Lake Biological Station surrounded by nature. I learned about the lake research. I had access to the plant and animal collections and talking with the scientists. During the residency, I made nine small artworks and I plan to make more.