Friday, August 8, 2014

A bite of the Golden Apple...

For two weeks last month, I was in a creative paradise.


I ate delicious, homemade, regional specialties at the communal dinner each night (with breakfast and lunch brought down to our studios' common area earlier in the day). I slept in my private, cozy cottage, complete with a mini kitchen and ocean view. I enjoyed the companionship and camaraderie of like-minded, professional artists and writers (four of us in all) who were all there to work--and work hard. One other, like me, was an author. The other two were artists--one painted in acrylics and the other in mixed media. They were all lovely people (all women, as it turned out) and while we enjoyed one another's company, we also respected the privacy of our individual studios and the priceless opportunity we had to work for those precious two weeks far from our other jobs and the pressing responsibilities found in the everyday world.


I was at the Golden Apple Art Residency in Harrington, Maine, located on nine and a half acres of thick pine forest and fringed by the rocky coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Early each weekday morning, lobster boats motored their way to the lobster pots, one of which (the Mandy T.) brought home lobsters for an authentic lobster boil prepared by our hostess and co-owner of the Golden Apple, Shelley Newman Stevens. Her meals are legendary and nutritious, though you'd never guess they were good for you judging by their decadent tastiness. Her hostess skills are surpassed only by her artistic credits. Her own work is shown around the country (and even featured on an Australian television documentary). She attended Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she earned both her undergraduate and Master of Fine Arts degrees. After that, she worked at KCAD as an admissions officer, then as an art professor at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan--all that, an active studio in their Mt. Pleasant home, and administrating the Golden Apple. My head hurts just thinking about her schedule.


Greg, her husband and successful businessman in his own right, works tirelessly on the grounds and does all sorts of maintenance work, as well as lobster runs to pick out the best from the day's catch for their guests. While we were there, he was cutting up two dozen trees felled by the unexpected and thoughtlessly uninvited Hurricane Arthur just before the residency began. Even with the loss of so many trees, the loss was negligible when compared to the number of others populating their acreage. The boulder-studded grounds, though natural, are manicured just enough to provide easy access for those of us who wanted to visit the shoreline, a short walk from the back of the main building which housed the studios and their beautiful home.


My goals were three-fold: I wanted to work on my current novel, take photographs, and get closer to God. I was successful. I wrote thousands of words and reached the 3/4 point in my manuscript, took over 1500 photos, many of which will find themselves in my blogs and other printed material, and spent time praising and talking to God while sitting in His glorious creation.


If you or anyone you know is a working professional in the arts and would like to apply for a residency at Golden Apple, you can visit www.goldenapplestudio.com and click on the residency tab. For more insight into the overall experience, check out the comments of previous residents. This once-in-a-lifetime experience not only allowed me the opportunity to work exclusively on my current projects, but introduced me to five wonderful artists--Yvonne, Erin, Anne, Shelley, and Greg. I won't forget my friendships and I won't ever be able to duplicate my experiences.


Thank you, Shelley and Greg. The Golden Apple Art Residency was a fairytale come true.


The beautiful entrance to the
Golden Apple Art Residency in Harrington, Maine...
Delicious meals, great conversation, and lots of laughter
were served up at this dining table...
Incredible view from the grounds of the Golden Apple...





Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee (formerly Anchorage, Alaska). She specializes in inspirational and humorous books for both children and adults. Her children's adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, is available in both print and digital versions on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other bookselling sites. Her Road's End series, comprised of Misstep, Faux Pas, and Misjudge will be published by OakTara Publishing shortly. She is currently working on the first novel of a new series.

Deborah enjoys photography, gardening, rock collecting, reading, and being a grandmother to five handsome grandsons (Dustin, Hunter, Cannon, Tyler, and Adam) and one beautiful granddaughter, Molly.








4 comments:

Patti Shene said...

Oh, wow, this looks like a wonderful place to get away, relax, get some work done, and spend some quality time with God. Maybe someday...

Thanks so much for sharing about this beautiful place, Deborah!

Dare To Bloom said...

This sounds fabulous, Deborah. You have succeeded in having a marvelous, productive time, as well as inciting envy (and longing) in every writer among us! Thanks for sharing.

Gail Kittleson

Deborah D. Harper said...

Thank you, Gail and Patti... it is indeed a beautiful place to go and I'm so blessed to have been able to go. Lifelong memories :-)

Blessings,
Deb

Liz Flaherty said...

This looks wonderful!