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  • artbyeileen

Artists at Work

So if you’ve ever wanted to watch the creative process, well more specifically my creative process, in action, you should stop by and visit me at my new “job” as an artist in residence at the fun and fabulous restaurant Palette 22 in the Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington, VA. The food is great and the sangria is probably the best I’ve ever had! The restaurant’s motto is “Food. Art. Fun.” And they feature two artist’s work stations where we resident artists “work” shifts, creating art and interacting with the restaurant’s clientele.

Because I’m there at least once a week, I have to figure out, okay, what do I want to work on in public today? When I’m creating or getting ready to create, it’s not really a great spectator sport. I don’t think anyone wants to sit and watch me sort through glass shards to get mosaic ideas or flip through magazines for inspiration about color combinations or patterns I might want to incorporate in my pieces. Or stare at a blank canvas or clean sheet of watercolor paper for that matter. So I have to plan on what types of art that I can do that:

1) are not dangerous or hazardous (as cutting glass or breaking plates/tiles can sometimes be);

2) are not going to create a mess in a place shared with other artists or annoy people close by who are eating and drinking; and

3) can be interrupted if someone wants to ask me about my work (The workstations have signs saying, “Please interrupt the artist!”).

And to top all of this off, I have to deal with my own ADD tendencies, which means that I don’t like to work on any one thing for two long, so I usually have to bring two or three pieces to work on! I joke that I look like a bag lady as I’m walking in since I have usually have a bag for each “masterpiece” that I’m working on…

If you come visit me at the restaurant, you will probably find me singing along to the music, since they play a great mix there. Everything from Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings to the Rolling Stones and from Prince to the Gypsy Kings. (They also play this intriguing version of Hotel California from a fundraising album called Rhythms del Mundo by the Buena Vista Social Club featuring the Killers.)

I’ve been “arting” (as my friend Tracy likes to call it) at the restaurant since March and it’s been a great experience, both to showcase my work and join an interesting group of artists. But I have to admit, there are times when you feel like an animal at the zoo; you can get lost in your work and get really focused, then you have that disconcerting feeling when you realize someone’s been watching you, sometimes from outside the restaurant or sometimes from a nearby table. I usually try to engage them to come over and talk then, as I’m happy to blather on about my process! The next shifts I have scheduled are from 11:30 am to 3:30pm on Tuesday, June 13th; Tuesday, June 20th and Monday, June 26th, so if you are in the area, please stop by and I promise I’ll buy you a drink or a dessert or something! The address is 4053 Campbell Ave, Arlington VA 22206 (right across from the AMC Shirlington) and here’s their website:

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