Day 20 - Thursday 4 August 2016

A lazy day and artists from Montana

After a huge couple of days in Northern Arizona and Utah I planned for today to be a bit of rest day and to take stock of it all a little. I particularly felt the need to rest my dodgy lower back and body and a little, sleep in (although that didnít really happen) and plan for the rest of the week.

I woke at 6.30, had a light breakfast then settled in to do some writing, catching up on my blog, typing up the notes I wrote whilst sitting in the Grand Canyon, trawling through photos, thinking about the impact of this trip on my PhD, installing software to rid the computer of malware annoyances, planning the next few days of activities (lots of trekking mostly, but where will I go?) and summarizing for myself what Iíd been up to over the past week. This doesnít sound like much but it took most of the day, although I did twice walk into Sedona, the first time to go back to the hot chilli store and chat with the Californian dude behind the counter who told me his quite sad recent life story. He let me try some gnarly hot sauces and I bought myself two jars. The next stop was down to the arts centre, a quick hello to Eric who introduced me to 4 of the 9 Montana artists in residence who he is also hosting, and who were busily working away in one of the studios. I briefly met Souheir, an Egyptian-American artist who, it was planned, was coming around to Charlotte and Hassan's for dinner tonight along with her husband John (born in England, moved to South Australia at age 4, before moving to the US shortly after high school).

I kept on the move, walked back up the main street of Sedona, purchased myself a book about the vortexes of the area and headed back to the casita. Some more writing and image stuff before I thought to myself perhaps I should take a little gift over for dinner tonight so I walked back into Sedona and to a tiny mini-market store and purchased 2 packets of German made dried waffles dipped in chocolate. Perfect. Once again I was back at the casita (I really wasnít up for any driving today hence the walking).

A few more hours of writing etc., before it was 6.30 and time for dinner. Just as I went next door John and Souheir arrived. We sat outside on the patio mostly chatting about art. It would seem that John and Souheir have their own residency program in New Mexico and Venice, Italy, called Art & Soul Residencies and Retreats for Artists. John had been academic for many many years and has recently retired, recently completed building a studio for himself and explained that heís currently working on numerous projects that had he'd sidelined over the years. We talked much about Venice, in particular Tintoretto. John was exceedingly knowledgeable on this subject much to my reserved delight. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with John about art, pedagogy, the system (University system) and being an artist. It all made a lot of sense.

A heavily inspired Persian dinner was served and the conversation continued to flow about: art (of course); Alaska (John taught print and drawing for many years in Alaska and some of his adventurous tails were extraordinary); Iran Egypt and Persian culture with a smattering of Australian and American; growing up within these different cultures; the madness that is the upcoming American election; and, a whole bunch of other stuff. They were a fascinating bunch of artists (well they always are arenít they) and of course the hosts, Charlotte and Hassan, were awesome. By 11 the party was over and I was off to bed. Today was a pleasant day thinking through my own adventures, hearing stories from others about their adventures, and planning my own upcoming adventures for the last 4-5 days here in the US.