The Importance of Place

Episode 226 · October 22nd, 2022 · 38 mins 50 secs

About this Episode

The influence of specific locations on creative work is important among many kinds of artists, from plein aire painters to site-specific sculptors. On today’s podcast, Rebecca talks about the ways responding to certain places has impacted her own abstract work over the years, and specifically how this has evolved in recent years since her move to New Mexico. We hope that her thoughts invite contemplation of your own influences from both your home environment and your travels.

Two aspects of place that influence abstract imagery are familiarity and novelty, an intriguing duality. Familiarity leads to visual language based on repeated observations, repeated experiences, and getting to know a place beyond initial impressions. Knowing a place deeply leads to an integrated approach of emotions and visual observations and can be a very satisfying way to experience your everyday life. Treating your home environment as a rich source of ideas enhances your everyday life and sense of gratitude.

Although you can experience the aspect of novelty anywhere if you pay attention, including in your home territory, it plays into your work in a different way that can be very stimulating and can lead to ideas outside of your everyday realm. The sense of what you see and experience being unfamiliar and strange keeps you curious, reflective, and attentive. This happens especially during travel in other countries. You need special awareness to navigate this unfamiliar territory.

Interpreting a sense of place in your work in a meaningful way can evolve over time, especially when you work from your home environment, as you engage in the process of noticing and understanding the subtleties of your home location. What you know and love about a place has a natural way of becoming embedded and central to your work. But even when responding to an unfamiliar place, connecting your experiences to what is already present in your work is a good way to approach it in an integrated manner. And if your current location is not supporting your work in ways that you want, if you are able seek out a different lcoation for travel, a residency, or even a new home, it is something to consider.

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What's new at Cold Wax Academy?
Rebecca and Jerry have just launched their Fall quarter of live, online sessions with a special focus this time on member participation, plus informative sessions on a variety of other topics such as photographing your art work and using Procreate. This month also marks the beginning of Cold Wax Academy's 3rd year of teaching sessions, meaning that the member library now has over 80 recordings and other instructional documents available for members. To access this wealth of information and to take part in upcoming live sessions, please visit the membership page at and sign up for one of the two levels of membership available.

Please visit for more information.

Also-- stay tuned for information coming soon about Rebecca and Jerry's newest project, Espacio, dedicated to providing beautiful living and working spaces for artists and writers. Espacio's first offering is Casa Clavel, a modern, fully equipped house opening this September in the beautiful cultural city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. You can learn more and make a reservation by emailing [email protected]. A dedicated Espacio website is coming soon!

Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience with Cold Wax Academy:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."

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