Artist Residencies in America's Parks


Phil Krzeminski

Phil Krzeminski, Dune Trial View #1, 6 1/2 x 9 3/4 in.


Phil Krzeminski participated in the 1996 Artist-in-Residency program at Sleeping Bear and was surprised with the success he had immediately following his residency. "Since I already had some of my paintings there (Leland, Michigan)," he said, " it seemed like a good idea to have the 'debut' , so to speak, of my residency paintings there also. What occurred was a real surprise for me as 20 out of 27 pieces sold within two weeks. I have been painting 'seriously' for some eight years now and I have been exhibiting for the last three years. As far as painting goes then, my career is really just starting."

Phil Krzeminski, Poplars #2, 6 x 9 in.



Thoughts of the Sleeping Bear

by Philip T. Krzeminski


It was late afternoon, September 29, 1996, when I arrived in Empire, Michigan. Stopping at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore headquarters, I picked up the key to my temporary home and studio. In May of 1996, I had applied for and was lucky enough to receive an artistic residency; so here I was, coaxing my stuffed, Escort wagon up the long, steep hill, heading south out of Empire a few miles, to Norcronk Road. Over the next twenty one days I would travel widely throughout this magnificent park, as an official,"Artist in Residence".

Phil Krzeminski, Autumn Cacophony, 7 1/4 x 9 in.


I have always loved the "natural" world. Now I had the opportunity to live and work in what to me is one of the most beautiful places in Michigan. The first few days found me close at home, walking and relaxing the corporate and "citied" muscles and minds; breathing deeper and looking deeper; watching not only the places, but also the weather; keeping track of the rhythms and waiting: waiting for the entrance into the "mood" that I knew existed within me, the mood necessary to bring interpretation to the everyday and to put those feelings on paper with my chosen medium: soft pastel.

For me, a large part of the residency experience, is this relationship to a dimension of time unfamiliar in the everyday world. It is an organic process, like the dropping of ripe pears in my "new" yard; the rushings through branches, then thumps on the earth that were suddenly, loudly: audible. Or the quick, clean flashes of bluebirds, clearing my eyes to this other dream. Coyote calls and eagle cries and leaves that over the three weeks became warmer and warmer until one evening at sunset, I stood mesmerized by the blaze of maples smothered into silence by the pure joy of their own colors.

My hope at this point is that I portrayed my vision honestly. That there, amongst the forests and dunes and winds and waters and colors and smells of this special part of northern Michigan; I was able to translate and refine the interior and exterior into a special whole.

Phil Krzeminski, Along Norcronk Road #1, 6 x 15 1/2 in.


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