I would be remiss if I didn't mention the person that made it all possible for me to come down, Erin Stover Sickmen. Thank you Erin! And of course, my partner in crime, fellow artist in residence, Michele Van Maurik from Toronto, Canada. Michele was given the house next door and was filled with the same wonder. We would take two steps and say, oh wow, grab our phones and shoot a flower or a gecko that just passed our path. There was a cemetery down the block from us and we'd walk or ride our bikes and watch the iguanas slink around, popping their heads out of tombs and sneaking back in again. All of the graves are above ground due to sea level and the iguanas have made them their homes. They are prehistoric looking and so unlike anything you'd come across on a city street in Chicago.
We ate well, our favorite was 'bien', on Eaton and Frances, right nearby our place. People would wait in a long line just to get some of their Cuban/Caribbean food. We overheard one person saying that it would be their last meal, sort of agree!
There was cast of characters that I met along the way, each one of them touched my heart. Craig Berube-Gray, a former Artist in Residence who moved down with his family to the Keys after his residency. He sculpts these large installations from every day life, like huge popsicles, etc. And Tory, our neighbor on one side, and all of the wonderful young men who lived in the house next door along with their little puppy Ruka and their beautiful cat, Burt Reynolds. Helen Harrison, a fabulous sculptress who lived/worked nearby, creating these stunning pieces all inspired by nature. And last but definitely not least, my friend, Gretchen Mills. Gretchen took my workshop offered by The Studios of Key West. She is a fabulous artist, (was a Marine Biologist at one time) and owns a Yoga Studio in Key West. From the minute that we met you could just tell that we were going to be fast friends. Gretchen is busy teaching her own workshop in India right now for a group of her yoga students.
I am home now, plugging away on a 20" x 20" Black Scratchboard, Keys Trees. It incorporates a few of the different trees that grow throughout Key West. Here is the inspiration and my work in progress.
I sincerely hope that all of you get the chance to visit this magical place.