I returned from my residency at La Napoule Art Foundation with a full mind and a heavy but grateful heart. The time I spent there was incredible, both personally and artistically, leaving me with much to mull over and memories that I hope I will hold forever. Before I arrived I presumed that it couldn’t possibly be as good as it looked in pictures, that they were clearly putting their best foot for forward, as we all do. In fact, this turned out to be quite the opposite. The location is second to none, a blissful mix of small locale with grandness on the edge of the Bay of Cannes. All that is needed is close by and the brighter lights of bigger places are only a short train ride away.
The Château de la Napoule, where the LNAF is based, is a surreal joy of mystical gothic and other worldly sculpture in an ancient place. From my studio there I got a significant amount of work done on my work in progress, Attrition. I mostly worked on edits and ensuring that the story flowed overall, highlighting problematic areas and other things that need to be rectified. Once that was done I was able to proceed with making these edits and changes to the latest draft. This was a large amount of work and it came forth fairly easily, at least by my standards. Undoubtedly, being at La Napoule markedly improved this process. This is exactly the point of residencies- to work on your art and be removed from the everyday. La Napoule holds a certain magic that is summed through the collective mind of its residents and staff, who all contribute in untold ways to what takes place there. The only sorrow was my departure, and even though it remains fresh in my mind, I question did such a wonderful thing ever take place at all.
Thankfully I spent a few days in Nice before my return to Dublin and it cushioned my return. Once the plane landed reality did not take long to kick in. I got home late, and while I was delighted to be reunited with Cody (he was less enthused I must admit), I arrived back into the chaos of moving house. I gave myself some breathing space for the weekend but after that it was full steam ahead. Clearing out every press in every room. Bags of clothes and boxes of god-knows-what sent to charity shops. Loads of rubbish and an old mattress to the recycling centre. Then the packing started. Box after box of every imaginable item. Things I never needed. Things I never used. Dare I admit, a few boxes still unpacked from when I moved here over 8 years ago! It continues still, and it feels never evening right now. Not to mention getting the furniture ready. The moving date itself has be annoyingly changed a few times, each time adding more stress to an already volatile process.
The ache of leaving is also present. As much as I’m looking forward to being in my new home, I will miss this one in many ways. It’s been a turbulent time in my life but even tough times can be a little be hard to say goodbye to. The reality is that most situations aren’t all good or bad, they’re a muddle of both that often leaves us wondering. I just want it all done and dusted at this stage and to be settled in the new house. At least it’ll all be completed before Christmas. Eeek – I hadn’t event thought of Christmas!
November ends with me being very busy but also extremely thankful of my time at La Napoule. I’ve still a bit to do with Attrition and I don’t want to spend another year working on it but I’m a lot closer a definitive The End than I was a month ago. If you’re an artist of any discipline I can’t recommend the LNAF residency enough. Feel free to contact me if you’ve any questions about it! It’s magic, waiting to be cast.