Hello from Studio Valentine in the snowy Albertan woods. I’ve been working in here since about twelve, having taken the morning off to do a wash and more excitingly visit the old hot springs a few kilometers away. It seems so much is within walking distance of the Banff Centre. Hard to keep my eye on the computer screen with all this outside.
Mmm, smell that morning-fresh sulphur!
The springs were discovered by accident by two brothers, and I believe it was the making of the area. You can’t swim in the waters here – though there is a museum which was closed, where I think you can go into the caves from which they spring. To take a dip, I’ll have to head to the modern facilities near the Banff Springs Hotel. For another day. Back to the studio!
Here it is. Just the right size and with everything I could need to spend my days within. I admit the piano is a little bit wasted on me – as the Russians say, I’ve been ‘hit on the ear by a bear’ – tone deaf. I have a little kitchenette off to the left, with a fridge for my cold drinks, a coffee maker and cupboard space for snacks. There’s even a toilet, so the woods will not be put to use in that way.
Today I sat watching a deer a few meters off sitting in a warm spot it had made in the snow, and then later a squirrel up a sapling pine, eating a nut of some sort as if it was a corn on the cob. In between times, there was the drift of old snow down from the branches to watch, and folk to chat with as they stopped by. Nevertheless, another 1,000 words came to my fingers. I have to say, the Banff Centre is incredible, and though it couldn’t be replicated in the same way, I dream that one day Scotland might have something close to it. It’s not just the studios, but the whole set of buildings, places to work alone and with other artists, space to think and breathe, and the generosity and organisation skills of the people who make it happen.
I’m off to dinner, and then an event showcasing the best of the Mountain Festival that’s been running over the past couple of days. More tomorrow, whatever it brings.