We arrived at Montalvo last afternoon, after a one hour drive and a small mix-up in communication regarding the pick-up time. The Montalvo Art Residency is situated in a truly idyllic landscape with individual homes built in a collaborative team-up of artists and architects designing them. Our space is studio 41. Surrounded by trees on all sides with steep winding walkways that wind up the hill, it is a paradise away from urban living with no sounds except that of the birds. The studio/home is large and spacious with an L shaped studio that is the major section of the space along with a bedroom and bathroom and kitchen facility too. After an initial hic-up of some basic management issues that the office immediately took care of, both Surendran and I are on the way to being well settled for the next 30 days......where we can just be two artists, with only our work to focus upon; in this retreat away from our respective routines of Baroda.
The sun streams through the large glass windows of Studio 41 and a variety of birds hop around on the grassy areas that cover the sloping hill upon which the studios are located. There are many tiny lizards that scamper about in and out of burrows in the ground, who appear quite friendly despite me gingerly side stepping them on their attempts to make my acquaintance! The evenings are cold and the mornings slightly chilly; but otherwise it is rather warm through the day. Last evening we were driven to the shops that are a slight distance from the Montalvo Art Centre, to stock up on food and supplies; and so we bought things that we could make quick and easy meals with and fill ourselves on without too much fuss and botheration. I missed Mithun whilst doing the shopping because it brought back memories of the three of us in Noosa Australia in 1999, when Surendran and I were both on a residency there for two months. So smoked salmon and oysters, boxes of sushi and strawberries, assorted olives in herbs and a roast chicken are amongst some of the "groceries" that now nestle in the shelves of our fridge.
Last evening we went for the collective dinner where we met with the other residents of the program. Sitting at this table with a fire to warm us, eating delightful food cooked by Andreas the resident chef, we chatted with the connection of intimacy that only such programs can offer. There is a diversity to the group with musicians and opera script writers, conceptual artists and video artists.....and of course ourselves. The food was sumptuous. On the table was a goat stew, roast beef and a humongous bowl of crisp delicious greens with grated cheese and a pasta with chic peas. The desert was apple crumble that was just straight from culinary heaven!
Today a lot of scrubbing and cleaning and repairing is occurring at studio 41 for us, and so once that gets finished I am going to begin my painting. I believe there is a resident cat who I have yet to meet up with. The electric kettle has been plugged in and basic kitchen essentials are being put in place for us, and the management are very kindly unearthing a radio from their barn for me so that I have a supplement instead of TV, which is unfortunately not available out here. The surrounding acreage has many walking trails and there is a Greek garden that promises to be enticingly tempting to wander through.
So much to do and only 30 days....tick-tock, tick-tock.....my time starts now!