The Fine Art of Preparation

This is a special update for my Art Patrons who may be wondering what is on my mind. Being a good planner is a great skill for artists. Since I had a long stint as a CEO of a small company, I am glad to have this skill in my tool box.

My upcoming solo show will be at the museum at PALCCO in Guadalajara in February 2022. Although I still have 15 months, I know that this time will go by quickly and I want to be sure that I finish all the work planned for the show. You can read more about this show in one of my blogs: Part-1:Break A Leg

Sandra and I met this week to discuss what pieces we want to make for the show and created a calendar  to see how we should prioritize this work. It was a little overwhelming.  But it’s better to put it all down on paper and face reality rather than live with free floating anxiety! 

Our projects fell into 3 categories:


Wall pieces


Our Planning Wall Chart

One thing that became immediately clear is that we need to start on some of the sculpture projects right now, which will pull us away from the wall work we are currently doing. For example, we plan to do a much larger installation of the Broken installation. This will require producing a large edition of new plates, bowls and cups

Full image of Broken Installation
Detail Image of Broken Installation

I am behind on drawing the images that we will need for these and need to carve out drawing time over the next 2 months. Our goal is to have drafts of all the new ceramics by early January. We work with a family owned factory, El Palomar, in Tlaquepaque and there is an artist on their team, Patricia, who hand draws each of our ceramic items. (see video below)

Personally, I hate working under pressure. This schedule will allow me to start drawing again in a relaxed way. Sandra can begin to develop the new designs once I feed her the drawings. And we should have a set of work to give to Palomar the first week of January. Our guess is that they will be working on our project for the next 4 – 5 months. This way, everyone gets the lead time they need and we will have all the components of the installation months in advance of the exhibition.

Once we have this project underway, we can turn our attention to other sculptures on our checklist. I’ll be telling you more about them in the coming weeks.

Looking back on 2016 France Residency

Since it was fall and a bit chilly, there were no other residents. We each had a private bedroom and also a writing or drawing studio. We settled into a rhythm of working most of the day, taking rambles through the beautiful countryside in the late afternoon and making a communal dinner with our Residency Director, Michelle Dominique Anderson. 

Exactly 4 years ago I started my Residency at La Porte Peinte Centre Pour les Arts in the tiny medieval village of Noyers-sur-Serein, France bordered by the Serein River. This picturesque village is 2 hours south east of Paris (by high speed train) in the middle of Burgundy country. Fortunately I had studied French in high school and amazingly it all came galloping back. The other resident was a writer named Amy Williams from Charlotte, North Carolina and we forged a lifelong friendship during our three weeks in Noyers.

When I was getting ready and excited for this first trip to France, my husband asked me what I was going to eat since I don’t eat bread, cheese, wine or chocolate, all staples of the French diet. Twice a week there was a farmer’s market in the square and we could get all kinds of local vegetables including the famous French mushrooms. There was also fish, fresh and smoked as well as charcuterie, so I ate like a queen…well maybe a duchess!

I hadn’t been to a residency for many years and I spent this one researching endangered birds and drawing them. By the end of three weeks, I had a portfolio of 18 new drawings that became the basis for many silk screens and ceramics that I have been using ever since.

In the morning, I often started my day at a local café, where I was greeted by “Bonjour Cobra” from some of the creative locals that have settled in Noyers. I met potters, a leather artist, yoga teacher and other painters. Although there are hundreds of these little villages across France, Noyers seems to have attracted a population of artists and thinkers.

Everything about the residency was inspiring: the massive stone architecture, the late fall flowers, fields dotted with cows and horses, trails through the woods and always the food. We even went to a movement class twice a week. 

(click on any image to view in slideshow)

f you have not yet gone to a residency, I encourage you to apply to one. There are several organizations dedicated to sharing residency information. My favorite is the Alliance for Artist Communities where you can search for residencies by location. Some are free, some pay a stipend and many charge a modest fee.

Art and writing residencies offer uninterrupted time to create and think and they often provide the chance to meet new friends and colleagues who can also generate professional opportunities. Some residencies serve meals, some are large communities and some are tiny. I will be attending a very competitive one-person residency in July 2021 called Hypatia-in-the-Woods located in Shelton, WA in the Pacific Northwest of the US.

I also run a residency program in Chapala, Mexico called 360 Xochi Quetzal, which attracts artists, writers and performers from around the world. Check us out:


My residency at La Porte Peinte was an unforgettable experience which will reverberate for many years through my art and art practice.

La Porte Peinte Centre Pours les Arts: 


Instagram: @laportepeinte

Facebook: @laportepeinte

Previous blog about the France drawings:

Residency Resources:  based in Europe; many great residency listings based in the US with international listings  3 deadlines a year year round personal residencies

Amy Jane Williams:

Personal FB:

Compassionate therapy FB:

Wanda Petunia for Self Care: