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Bloggers on assignment

Artist in Residence

by Liz Cadd

Graphic designer and Shropshire (UK) woman, Liz Cadd, has plenty of time to do all of the hectic things in life that one needs to keep going. However, when a North Devon home owner contacted her through MindMyHouse looking for a cat and house sitter for his coastal property, she jumped at the chance to get away for a time. Walking the coastal paths every day and returning to someone else’s home and cat every evening proved to be a great inspiration for this ‘plein air’ artist. Liz says that she ‘got just what I hoped for out of this experience: time slowed down, I painted, and I relaxed.’ See for yourself!

Novice house sitter and aspiring artist finally finds time to paint.

Finding time to paint as an aspiring artist is a constant stuggle, especially when money is tight, but the lottery of house sitting opportunitiesĀ  popping up every other day, made me think that all sorts of artwork might be possible by killing two birds with one stone by house sitting in inspiring locations. Often places that I hadn’t even considered before suddenly became very appealing knowing that I’d have a base to stay and new landscapes to explore without the relative worries of money.

My first house sit in North Devon turned out to be relatively close to the coast. I was approached by a house owner, rather than responding to an ad, as the owner wanted someone interested in the outdoors and countryside. We appeared to be on a similar wavelength and so I agreed to give it a go. I realized that there was an element of trust on both our parts, but after settling in and getting used to where things were, my time was ultimately my own.

As a ‘plein air’ artist, I’m looking to work outdoors on my walks, painting and sketching the scenery and trying to capture the mood of the weather and atmosphere of the landscape. These sketches and paintings are (in my eyes) finished pieces of work and I’d rarely work from them again in a studio back home. The joy for me is painting outdoors, out in the elements whether it’s raining, blowing a gale, or brilliant sunshine, getting it down on paper is what it’s all about. Sometimes they’re cloudy pictures smeared by the rain but that conveys the immediate surroundings I’m in at the time, and that’s what I find exciting when I look back through my work later.

So, without the constraints of time, paintings flowed throughout the next 5 days. Never have I had this amount of time to concentrate soley on painting without distractions before. Every day I explored the coastal footpaths and came home with a sketchbook of paintings as a reminder of my journeys that day.

Evenings were simple and spent spoiling the house owners cat next to the woodburning stove. I got just what I hoped for out of this experience, time slowed down, I painted, and I relaxed.
The house owner returned surprised to see so many paintings of his local area, and delighted in choosing one for his wall. I suppose having a new set of eyes come into your house and live in your environment brings a new perspective to things. For me, I couldn’t have had a better introduction to house sitting and looking forward hopefully to another placement as ‘artist in residence’, wherever that may be.

Liz Cadd

About the author: Liz Cadd

Liz Cadd is a 30-something graphic artist, sculptor and painter who loves to tend her own garden in rural Shropshire, England when not helping to crew yachts or volunteer her time to further others' creative pursuits. Happier in the woods than in the city, Liz found herself lost in the blissful pursuit of her own painting during a short stint minding a cat and coastal home in north Devon. She is seeking other opportunities to become this kind of contented 'artist in residence'!