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February Director's Journal

February 13, 2020

                     Watercolor by artist and 2020 plein air Sitka instructor Satoko Motouji

"Time has a funny way of moving for me," Program Manager Tamara Jennings shared yesterday in morning conversation, reflecting on her first half-year with Sitka. "I hear people describe a sense of time speeding past or slipping away, but for me it moves slowly."

Ah, this must be how she does it, I realized, a chalkboard image of baby Einstein in a spaceship whizzing though my brain at something approaching lightspeed. The faster Tamara goes, the slower time gets. Since joining Sitka, I've marveled at her calming grace and time-bending efficiency with equal awe.

Thanks to Tamara's velocity and the Theory of Relativity, Sitka's 2020 workshop season is available for preview on our website now, posted a full month earlier than last year to aid with summer planning. She's also opened the instructor application portal early for 2021workshop proposals. Our Fall/Spring 2020/2021 residency application portal is open now too.

The curious relationship between natural serenity and personal productivity is central to residency experiences at Sitka, as practitioners sidestep imposed rhythms and come to this secluded space to move themselves and their work forward at their own pace. A virtual postcard from interdisciplinary artist Genevieve Robertson arrived today. During her stay, she spent a lot of time outside and produced a prolific amount of work. Robertson's solo show, Looking Through a Hole In the Earth, including works created at Sitka this fall, opens at the Burnaby Art Gallery in British Columbia in February.

Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius meditated in his ancient Roman journal, "If you seek tranquility, do less," and then noted to himself, "Not nothing, less. Do only the essential." I imagine Marcus Aurelius and Sitka writer-in-residence Maxim Loskatoffdonning raingear and enjoying a Cascade Head walk together. Loskutoff, whose debut collection of short stories, Come West and See, took shape at Sitka, returned this fall for another dose of quiet creation, finishing work on his first novel, Ruthie Fear, which is forthcoming from W.W. Norton. This week Loskutoff shared this reflection:

"My favorite moment at Sitka this winter was walking out to the head at sunset on the solstice and seeing a lone bull elk silhouetted on the very tip above the ocean. The heavy gray sky broke open into a wash of violet and pink behind him, and he raised his head, as if he'd been waiting for this moment all year. I felt the same: grateful that a calendar's-worth of work and joy and struggle had brought me to this extraordinary place."

He's a good writer.

Whether you join us for a plein air workshop, or apply to teach at Sitka for the first time, or return to write your next opus in residence, the Sitka stars are aligned now. My colleagues and I look forward to a luxuriously slow year of fiber-art-meets-astrophysics, inventing new ways to stretch the fabric of space-time for everyone who visits Sitka.


Alison Dennis

Executive Director


                        Watercolor by artist and 2020 plein air Sitka instructor Satoko Motouji