A Personal Essay by past Fellow Elizabeth Flood in WBUR’s Cognoscenti

June 4, 2024
Early morning solitude on a beach on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Photo: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Provincetown, MA

For two weeks in July 2023, I lived off the grid in a dune shack on the Cape Cod National Seashore for an artist residency supported by the Peaked Hill Trust and The Fine Arts Work Center. I planned to make paintings of the surrounding dunes and ocean on a nocturnal schedule. I’d begin at sunset each night, and work until dawn.

By day, my painting practice is a watchful one. I look out and see things coming from far away. But by night, when the visual world breaks down, all my senses are on high alert, and I paint my way through disorienting territory. Night painting challenges the capacity of my body to adapt, creating a kind of trust exercise between the land, my senses and the work. The absence of visual information makes space for a deeply emotional and physical encounter. That’s the liminal space I hoped to sink into while night painting in the dunes.

Read the full article in WBUR’s Cognoscenti here.

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