We arrived in Thurmont MD at Catoctin Mountain Park yesterday evening. It was pouring raining the whole drive, but when we got here the rain let up enough for us to go on our first exploration hike on Thurmont Vista trail. It’s a quick half mile up to the top of a ridge that overlooks the town of Thurmont far below.
Our first impression was that the forest is an incredible shade of yellow green. I think since the tree trunks were still all dark from the rain, the leaves really jumped out at us as being astoundingly vivid.
We’re excited today to meet with the park rangers and get the lay of the land a little better. I’m looking forward to all the sights and adventures we’ll find in the coming weeks and I’m happy to be sharing them with you. I won’t have regular access to internet, so I can’t promise every day updates, but I will be posting as often as possible, especially to Instagram. So be sure you’re following along @bpanter.
The countdown is now officially less than 1 week and our excitement is about to pop. My 5 year old is most excited, just barely edging me out due to the fact that he does not still have to administer and grade final exams. Still, while these next few days will be especially hectic for me as I close out a semester and prepare for this residency, I feel as though I am preparing for 2 weeks of peace in the woods.
Most of my residencies thus far have felt very busy leading up to them, and even to a degree during them. I think it is such an honor to be selected for these opportunities that I feel a lot of responsibility to pack every moment full. Now, I’m not saying I don’t feel that responsibility now, but I think the smaller scale of Catoctin Mountain Park is going to allow for an easier pace. It is only about 8 square miles of land total, criss crossed with lots of short hiking trails. I think I’m also getting better at pacing myself during these residencies, realizing that it is not a race to see it all, but rather an opportunity for thoughtful work to be made through careful observation. And that is the situation that I make my best art in anyway.
In some other exciting news, I’ve recently published all my residency ebooks to the Amazon Kindle store. So if you’ve got a Fire tablet or the Kindle app on any of your devices, you can purchase a copy. And if you are a part of the Kindle unlimited plan, you can download these for FREE! And of course I plan to create a new book to coincide with this Catoctin residency, so I’m sure that will be added to this list sometime this summer.
Finally, I’ve also been making progress on my prints store through Crated.com. I’ve got about 3/4 of my Acadia images available for purchase and I’m hopeful that I can finish those images up before I leave for Catoctin. And my plan is to go back through all my old residency images and slowly begin making them available for sale as well. So, if you’re interested, check out my crated page and see what work I have available.
I’m not sure how often I will be posting during the residency, but I promise to do as much as possible (no wifi in the cabin). I also plan to be posting to Instagram regularly, so if you don’t already follow me @bpanter, there’s no time like the present.
I got some exciting news this past weekend! Both Melissa and I were accepted as artists in residence at Catoctin Mountain Park this summer. It’s always such a painful waiting game when you apply for things like this, but we got the good news and now we’ve got to start planning because it’s not that far away.
I’m particularly excited about this opportunity because it represents some things that feel familiar and others that will cover new ground. The familiar is the 2 week residency in a wilderness setting. I’m fortunate enough to have done several residencies over the past few years that follow a similar format, and it will be a welcome return of 2 weeks dedicated to nothing but art making.
The new will be the experience of a residency at the State Park level. I’ve had residencies at both Rocky Mountain and Acadia national parks, and I think the smaller scale (and crowds) of the state park will be a refreshing change. And of course there is still a lot about the specifics that I don’t know. We’ll get a cabin in the park for 2 weeks, and there will be at least 1 educational program in there somewhere, but aside from that, there’s still much to be discovered. Exciting times!
One of those things to be learned is much more about what the park has to offer. One interesting thing that I already know is that the presidential retreat Camp David is inside the boundaries of the park. Crazy! Aside from that, lots of a Appalachian goodness to explore, but I’m sure I’ll earn more as we get closer.