Thursday, June 25, 2020

a different post

Hi Everyone-

I wrote a post this morning, but left it in the draft folder rather than publish it.  It was a bit doom and gloom about the state of the world in 2020.  I will leave it unpublished for now as I don't like being negative.  Instead let's talk about what is going on with the residency.  We are about 9 weeks out from the start of the residency if it starts on 9/1 (sometime in early September is what we know at this point).  We are both working on gathering the items we will specifically need to make our art on the island and making lists of what we'd like to bring.  We will be interviewed on a program on Big Blend Radio on 7/3.  We'll post details and a link when we have them for you.  That is exciting!  We are talking to a magazine about an article and have press releases out all over the place.  Next week I'll be snorkeling with my friend Shawn at Boynton Inlet.  Snorkeling at high tide is great this time of year and I'll get the chance to test out and remember how to use the underwater housings for my camera and phone.  I want to make sure I have everything I need to take advantage of daily snorkeling off of Loggerhead Key and that I capture some amazing footage.

That's it for today.  Inching slowly forward towards the residency.

Loggerhead 2020
Carl Stoveland
for the Flaying Tortuga Brothers

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Week 1 recap

Hi Everyone- 

Well it has been just over a week since we were named the artists in residence at Dry Tortugas.  What has been going on?  In the first few days we put out the first round of press releases and are talking to several outlets about our story.  As the AiRs we have certain requirements we must do before the trip like get insurance for the trip.  We are looking into that.  One of the other things we have to do is complete a series of four FEMA courses and final exams.  it is 2-3 full days of work for each of us.  We are about half way done.  It is safe to say we now know more about incident response frameworks and chain of command than we every thought we'd need to.  It's a national Park residency which means it's government so red tape is to be expected.  It did get me thinking though.  I was awarded three different residencies this year and Shannon two.  Don't get me started on the feast or famine nature of these things.  I'll give my thoughts on getting a leg up when applications / grants and residencies in another post for what my opinion on the matter is worth.  What strikes me as funny about each of the residencies is just how different they are in approach to communication and requirements.  No two residencies are alike.  One of my residencies is at a National Preserve and does not require the same level certification,  That may be due to the remote nature of the Dry Tortugas I guess.  So here is my advice when applying to that residency you really want. If there are posted rules and FAQs read them carefully.  Make sure you are a good fit.  Next when you are accepted and get an offer letter or contact read it carefully as well.  Finally make sure you know who your contact person is and ask questions.  It is easy to make assumptions that may cost you in time or money later.  I have been very fortunate to have had very responsive contact people with all three of my residencies.  Through the NPAF (National Parks Arts Foundation) we have been assigned an artist liaison.  who works with us and can answer most questions with out having to ask the park, but when needed she knows who to ask and get the correct info for us.  In the case of a long remote residency like the Tortugas it is key so you don't bring extra stuff they may already have on site and that you don't inadvertently break any rules.  Neither of us want to have our torches extinguished and be asked to leave the island.  I guess my best advice is communicate, communicate communicate.  It will help make the residency you have waited for pleasant and stress free.  We are quite lucky and have a team at NPAF working with us to help make sure things go swimmingly.  One other piece of advice on this topic.  If you can find past residents of your residency, you'd be amazed at what a google search will turn up. talk to them ask them what they brought that they did not need and also ask what they wish they had brought with them.  They have a different point of view than your hosts and can be extremely helpful.

On another note we have two great podcasts coming up in the next few weeks.  We will be interviewing George Sites, Author of 'The Last Tucker' and who also worked at Dry Tortugas in the late 1960's  we can't wait to hear some of his stories! Then we will have Tanya Ortega, The founder of the NPAF for a chat and to talk about all the great programs and residencies they offer with the National Parks.  If you are thinking of ever applying to an artist residency that will be an episode you want to listen to.  Now back to those FEMA Exams!

Loggerhead 2020
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Friday, June 19, 2020

a highlight from the first year of the Tortuga Brother's journey

Here is a memory from just over a year ago near the beginning of the FTB podcast journey.  We were looking for guests to start the series off with that could talk about residencies and art and photography.  I had met the legendary photographer Clyde Butcher once at his Big Cypress Gallery and been out with his guides in the swamp taking photos four or five times.  So I sent off an email asking for an interview.  Not really expecting a reply,  I had a reply later the same day from Clyde's wife Niki saying he loved the idea and would be happy to take part.  So that next Week Shannon and I packed up the recording gear and headed off to Clydes gallery and darkroom across the state in Venice FL.  Driving past ranches, orange groves and Lake Okeechobee Shannon and I talked about our hopes for the project and what we thought the residency would be like.  We spent a couple of hours recording Clyde that became our first big interview done as a two parter.  Thanks Clyde for getting us rolling on the Tortuga Brother's project.

the Tortuga Brothers with Clyde Butcher in his Venice, FL gallery

There is lot's of administrative work and planning in the next few weeks but we plan to produce more podcast episodes in the weeks to come soon.  We both have our eyes cautiously on the Covid Numbers in Florida.  As the numbers climb again will it put the residency in jeopardy.  We don't know.  Hopefully it might just mean a delay if the Keys are closed down again.  For now we can only do the work and keep our eyes on the prize for September.  After all We'd be the safest two artists in Florida during the residency being that far off the grid.

Loggerhead 2020
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A little relief

Hey Everyone,

My jaw has been aching since the weekend.  I finally realized it was from the stress of not knowing if we'd get the residency or not.  I have been grinding my teeth at night for about a week!  Maybe now that the selection process is behind us I'll stop grinding my teeth!

One other thing was causing me stress,  From the minute we learned we were going to be the AiR's I knew I had a tough decision to make.  In this incredibly strange year that is 2020 I was selected for 3 different residencies.  I was supposed to go to Chalk Hill in Sonoma Ca. to create from August 4th to the 18th.  The more I thought about it the more I realized less than two weeks between a residency in California and the most remote place in Florida was just not feasible.  I had to cancel the Chalk Hill Residency.  The folks at Chalk Hill were great and were very happy for me about Dry Tortugas.  I plan to apply again at Chalk Hill in 2021 as it is definitely a place I'd like to unplug and create new art for a few weeks.  That is a weight off of my mind.  I'll be able to put all of my focus and energy into the residency with Shannon in the Tortugas.  That was always the brass ring for 2020 and needs to take precedence.

So what are we up to?  It's a bit less frantic.  Shannon is happily back in the studio today.  We sent out press releases yesterday and have already begun to get inquiries.  Which is very exciting!  We were interviewed yesterday for an article in our local hometown paper the Lake Worth Herald.  We do love our little South Florida town and it's newspaper that has been here about as long as the town.  Tomorrow I'll drag Shannon out of the studio for a few hours for our first podcast episode since we found out we are going to the Dry Tortugas.  We'll be on the other side of the microphone this time we will be interviewed by our good friend and Lake Worth Neighbor Mary Lindsey.  That's about all we have to report from Tortugaville today.  Keep following along with us we'll blog right up to the day we leave for Loggerhead Key and start up a month later to share stories of life on the island.

Loggerhead 2020 (I don'r have to say or bust anymore!)
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Next Steps

OK.  We have known about being named the AiRs in Dry Tortugas National Park for about 46 hours.  There is a subtle tectonic shift (ok not so subtle) going on beneath our feet as we move from the application and day-dreaming phase to the planning and operational phase.  first up was getting the word out on social media to our friends and followers and by responding to the avalanche of well wishes.  One well wisher in particular was a fellow finalist who told us after reading the blog and listening to the podcast he was rooting for us.  That was an extremely kind gesture and the one that will stick out for me from yesterday.

Next up the press release had to be written,(or more correctly edited.  More about that in a minute)  While Shannon and I are one hundred percent doing this for the art we will get to create there is an opportunity for us now for more exposure for our work and that is not something to be ignored.  It is part of the business of being an artist nowadays.  The press release was written.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit the correct term is updated and edited.  I was so confident that lightening would strike and we would be the residence on the first try that we wrote the press release in 2019 just a couple weeks after putting our application in.  I came a cross it a few weeks ago and thought wow that was pretty arrogant of me.  I hope I took things down a notch this year.  I have tried to remind myself to enjoy the entire process.  Shannon and I will be on the island before we know it and the month will just fly by.  Anyway the edited press releases have been going out today after Shannon and I put together the list of who to send it to.  We will spend the next few months being project managers making sure all the I's are dotted and T's are crossed.  Thankfully the NPAF and the NPS help with making sure we know what we need to know before we get there.  Now that we actually have the residency and we have been independently day dreaming we need to marry our two visions for residency and the documentary.  So that we can get the absolute most. out of this experience.

Loggerhead 2020!
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers.

PS I enabled mobile view on the layout formatting so it is easier to read on your phone and tablet.  Thanks Wendy!  Let me know if this is helpful.  It looked like a huge improvement.  I can also take it one step further and give the mobile experience a white background with dark text if that will make it even more readable.  Let me know. 


Monday, June 15, 2020

The big day has arrived!

The big day is here!  There are no more pages on the calendar to count down to.  There is nothing left to do except share with you all that we got the call last night!  Shannon and I have been selected as the Artists in Residence at Dry Tortugas National Park for 2020!  There are some thanks that must be given out.  First up to My wife Wendy and Shannon's wife Deana!  Thanks for putting up with your crazy artist husbands and for being so supportive of us applying for and now actually planning to go to this residency.  None of this would be possible without their love and support.  Next up we are sending thanks to the National Park Service, Dry Tortugas National Park and the National Parks Arts Foundation for selecting us for what is sure to be a once in a lifetime experience.  Finally, to our podcasts guests from the first year of the Flying Tortuga Brothers.  Those great conversations encouraged us and kept us inspired to really be all in and fully committed to getting the residency.  Step one of being named the 2020 AiRs gets checked off on the project plan.  Now it is on to the planning stages, lots of lists and finally the actual month of the residency on Loggerhead Key.

I'm not sure I have the words to tell you how I feel there are so many emotions.  We have been working towards this moment for about 15 months.  It is a lot to process that in September Shannon and I will be living and working on a tiny island where the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico meet.  There will be big skies, big storms and nature everywhere.  There will be migratory birds making their way south for the winter,  There will be night skies so dark you can see the Milkyway with the naked eye.  What there won't be is television, internet or cell service.  We will be connected to the National Park Service on Garden Key (Where fort Jefferson is) by radio for daily check ins and weather updates etc.  We do plan to have a satellite  phone for emergencies and weekly calls with Deana and Wendy.  Over the course of the next few days Shannon and I will take turns getting our thoughts down on the blog.  meanwhile there will be a flurry of activity with NPAF and NPS on the list of things we have to do before arriving in September.  There will be some media stuff too so there will be some interviews and the like.  We are looking forward to this next stage of the Flying Tortuga Brothers!  Stick with us and follow our Journey.  New podcast episodes will be coming out soon!

Loggerhead 2020 or Bust!
Carl Stoveland 
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Sunday, June 14, 2020

One day more...

Here we stand just one more day until the announcement of the Artists in Residence for Dry Tortugas National Park in 2020. Today we have Shannon's desert island discs. He could not contain his list to five and did ten.   Honestly five is all but impossible. I found myself throwing great albums overboard.  So like Captain Kirk in Star Trek's Kobayashi Maru exam he changed the parameters.  That is what we do as artists right? We make the world how we see it or how we want it to be.  That said here is Shannon's ten albums.

“ These albums each have, a specific purpose for me. I thought about them long and hard. Nothing here is willy-nilly.  I felt each had to have a cohesiveness from beginning to end. Each had to be an album that I have returned to over and over in my life. I feel each one is a jewel and all inspiring me in their respect ways. 
The albums are in no specific order of importance as I weigh them equally, for they all evoke something different and uniquely powerful in me.” 

1.   James, Laid
2.  Janes Addiction, Nothing Shocking
3.  The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues
4.  The Cowboy Junkies, Caution Horses
5.  Leonard Cohen, More Best of Leonard Cohen
6.  Malcolm McClaren, Paris
7.  Bob Dylan, Blood On the Tracks
8.  Cocteau Twins, Heaven or Las Vegas
9.  Tears for Fears, Elemental
10. Bryan Ferry, Boys and Girls

Shannon Torrence

With mere hours remaining until the announcement I'd like to wish everyone who had a dream of living on a desert island without internet and put together an application good luck!  We are all hoping to get the same shiny brass ring and there is only one.  I am sure whoever the winner is ultimately two things will happen they will have a once in a lifetime adventure and they will make amazing art in a time and place removed from the hurly burly of modern day life.  

I can speak for Shannon and myself and say the process of creating and being the Flying Tortuga Brothers through the blog, podcast and the start of the documentary has been one of the most fun years of our lives.  We want to send out a special shout out of thanks to our podcast guests.  You guys were awesome and really made this a great experience for us.

Loggerhead 2020 or bust!
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Two more days

I had a dream last night.  What if it's a tie?  Let me tell you, that sent me down a rabbit hole of possible tie breakers,  It could be an interview, an essay, a bakeoff or a steel cage death match.  Who knows?  I do know I think about the residency too much.  I can see in my mind what it will be like the first morning we wake up on the island after arriving the the day before and squaring away the living situation.  It's amazing how vividly I see what the days and evenings will be like.  Experiencing the heat and the rain, snorkeling, exploring, painting and photographing.  Documenting the experience and living without the internet.  It's like dreaming of a peach and it being so real you can taste it and feel it's juice running down your arms and chin.  

That has led me to thinking about what I would give up to make this residency happen.  Shannon already did his part in the sacrifice department.  He was awarded another residency this year at a chateau in France for a month that included a driver and a chef.  It was a big get!  When he realized he could not do that residency and Dry Tortugas in the same year.  In poker terms he went all in.  He turned down the Chateau in France for a chance to do the Tortugas with me.  That's how strongly he believes in what we are trying to do.  I have been awarded two other residencies as well.  One in Sonoma, California and one in Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida.  The same goes for me.  as much as I treasure both of those opportunities.  Flying Tortuga Brothers at Loggerhead key is everything.  I would give up my other residencies in a heartbeat if it moved the needle in our favor even 1/10th of 1 percent.  We have felt since we applied last year that we are destined to be the AiRs on Loggerhead Key.  I do know that if preparation and desire to make great art are part of the equation we will be on Loggerhead Key in September.

Getting back to the format of the blog today I am posting my 5 desert island discs of 5 albums I'd bring on the island.  If you are now envisioning the Professor's coconut gramophone from Gilligan's Island then you are right there with me.  It is of course a theoretical exercise as my phone (which is also my backup camera and backup video camera (it has uses even without the internet) has hundreds of albums downloaded to it.  However, for fun here are the five I want to make sure I have with me.  It's a tough but fun game to play to pass the time.  

Carl's 5 Desert Island Discs

Jerry Garcia, Dog Grisman and Tony Rice - The Pizza Tapes
Elvis Costello - My Aim is True
Chet Baker - the Italian Sessions
Nina Simone - High Priestess of Soul
jimmy Buffett -  Changes in Latitudes Changes in Attitudes

The Pizza Tapes kinda covers bluegrass and the dead so was an easy choice for me.  My Aim is true is my favorite rock album.  It was my go to music in high school and college.  I like this album so much it knocked Springsteen's Born to Run out of my top five.  Chet Baker was the coolest of the 1950's LA jazz trumpet guys.  Again, here is another TKO.  He bounced Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain out of the list.  Nina Simone always, always always get's a spot in my top five there is no debating this issue. Finally if you need a sound track for 40 acre island with a lighthouse and two artists you need some Jimmy Buffett!  That's my desert island discs what are your's?  Shannon is still editing his list and I hope to post it tomorrow when we will be 1 day away.

Loggerhead 2020 or bust!
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Friday, June 12, 2020

Three days left

We are down to three days until the announcement of this year's artists in residence in the Dry Tortugas.  I'm still thinking about my desert island discs.  I'll post those on Sunday.  The list is still fluid at this point.  It was a tougher exercise than I thought it would.  Five is not a lot of albums.  I have a feeling I will fee the same way about packing supplies if we get the residency. 

Does anybody out there have a funny residency story to share or been secretly wishing to be an AiR somewhere?  I'd love to hear where you want to go.

Loggerhead or bust!
Carl Stoveland
on belhalf of the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Thursday, June 11, 2020

and then there were four

Four Days and Counting

As the count down continues I feel like Barry Allen (Flash from the my childhood comic books).  I'm buzzing around doing stuff and time is standing still.  It is one of the properties of time when you are waiting I guess.  I realize it's been a while since I talked about where Shannon and I would be staying if we get this residency.  So, here's a bit of a refresher.

Dry Tortugas National park are a chain of 7 small islands totaling a 100 acres.  It is 70 miles west of Key West Florida and 80 north of Cuba.  The Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico meet there.  Loggerhead Key is the largest island at 40 acres.  Loggerhead Key is where we would be staying for a month.  There is a non functioning lighthouse a lighthouse keeper's house and couple of small buildings.  You can walk around the island in 90 minutes.  The lighthouse was built in 1858 and ceased operation in 2015.  around 90,000 people visit the park each year by taking a boat or seaplane to Garden Key where Fort Jefferson is.  There is no direct access to Loggerhead Key so the artists in residence can go days at a time without seeing another human.  they check in with the ranger station on Garden Key once a day by radio.  This residency is not for the faint of heart but more for folks with adventurous spirits.  This is not glamping or art camp.  The artists need to know how to operate the desalination plant for their fresh water and the solar array for the power to the house.  There is no internet or cell service.  We will be getting a satellite phone so we can call back home to our wives (Wendy and Deana) to  check in and chat about the experience a little. 

There have been artist residents on Loggerhead Key every September since 2015, I think.  During the waiting period before announcements it is natural to look at some of the art made by the folks who graced that island before you.  There have been painters, photographers, writers and filmmakers.  So what can we say differently about this wild magical place that others have not already?  This is a question I find myself ruminating on quite a bit.  My first thought is we are the first team that does all those things.  I thought of bringing a harmonica and adding musician to the list, but as I can't play the harmonica and would like to leave the island thirty days later still friends with Shannon I'll leave the blues harp at home.  I keep coming back to how will we make our time on Loggerhead personal?  First the painting we produce.  I'm a huge fan of Shannon's Florida paintings and can't wait to see what he can do with those giant skies, turquoise water and big storms.  I think it will be a milestone for my friend's work and this residency can get him the exposure he needs.  I'll work on watercolor and ink sketches and bigger watercolors.  I'm dying to put QoR's saucy watercolors to the test and see how they shine in a world of jewel tone colors.  I think the biggest mark we will make will be with the documentary.  I have seen a lot of great footage recorded on the island, in the water and at night of the stars.  It all is amazing and we plan to put our spin on that, but we are also turning the cameras inward and exploring what living off the grid and having no internet (and social media) will be like.  I have some ideas about that but the proof will be in the pudding as it were.  We will be armed with cameras and audio recorders most of the time and i'm hoping impromptu and unguarded interviews will be compelling and make others want to make the pilgrimage to this very special place, but not too many.  I like that it is hard to get to and remote and staying on the island is not for everybody.  After all the sea-turtles need a place to nest and the birds need a resting place on their way south in the fall.  Too many sets of footprints on the island  and discarded soda cans would spoil the place.

With four days to go until the announcement every team that submitted an application is having the same day dreams as we are I imagine.  It is a fun way to pass the time while the world around us stands still and we hold our collective breath.

Loggerhead 2020 or bust!
Carl Stoveland
on behalf of the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

5 days to go

Here we are 5 days away from the Dry Tortugas residency AiRs being announced.  If I had one wish at this point it would be that all the finalists be able to get the residency.  I know that is not possible as there is only 1 month a year for the residency, but I wish each of the talented pairs who came up with an idea and sweated bullets over each and every word of the application could get the opportunity.  there is a 16 file limit to the application.  That sounds like a lot right? If you are a one artist team and work in one medium that may be more than you need.  In our case Shannon and I are both artists and between us we are an acrylic painter, a poet, a photographer, a watercolorist, filmmakers and podcasters.  I literally made the choice to not submit any watercolors as part of the package.  That was a tough call, but I think the right one.  I'm sure other teams faced the same decisions.  To our fellow potential artists in residence Shannon and I sincerely say good luck.

After a great phone call about residency stuff last night with a new friend,  Shannon and I sat on my front porch.  It was the first time in many months we have been face to face to talk about the residency.  We practiced social distancing of course, but in person is so much better than phone calls and Zoom at least to me.  For the first time in a while we allowed ourselves to think past the application and selection process and talk about what we would do and gear we might bring to make the documentary.  Rain was falling I could hear it pinging lightly on the palm trees in my front yard.  I imagined it was what the end of a day creating on Loggerhead Key would be like.  Hanging out with my friend and talking about the adventure du Jour.  I've talked a great deal on the blog about not putting the cart before the horse, but last night as we said goodbye and Shannon ambled off in the direction of his house, I thought yes we are ready for this adventure!  If we are selected we will make  it epic and we will take you all along for the ride!  That will be tricky with no internet, but I expect between pre-recorded posts and podcasts and the occasional message in a bottle you will get enough of a taste until we get back and start showing the collection of work we produce.  To my partner in crime and good friend Shannon  Torrence thank you for thinking I was the one person crazy enough to  to join you on an adventure like this and reaching out in time for us to apply for the 2019 residency.  We were not selected for that one but we learned a lot and it made us even more prepared and hungry for this year.

Shannon's paint box set up for a day of painting at the beach

Tortuga Brother Shannon Torrence
He look the part of an artist in residence already!

Loggerhead 2020 or bust!
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga brothers

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

6 days and counting

Do you remember the desert island disc game?  We would play it as kids and teens curating the list of the perfect 5 albums you would take on a desert island.  Who knew this exercise would actually come in handy one day.  Mostly a moot point these days,  As long as your phone has batteries you probably have 100's of albums to choose from.  I do.  It is a fun exercise though and I'll ask that of Shannon today and make that one of the last posts before the AiR's for Dry Tortugas are announced.  It will be fun and not an easy exercise to limit it to 5.  I might be able to narrow it to 5 per genre.  I like a lot more kinds of music than when we used to spend summer afternoons playing this game while we hiked across Schunemunk Mountain to get to a favorite waterfall with a pool.  This memory always makes me think of the movie Stand by Me.  funny the connections we make.  Where was I going before I stopped to think about which Elvis Costello album would get shoehorned into the top 5 and does that mean Echo and the Bunnymen will lose their spot?  My teenage angsty self would be so disappointed.  Oh yeah, back on track I have been exploring what the time between application to this residency and the announcement is like.  For me it's all about lists.  I have a list of art supplies to bring, Cameras to bring, clothing, food, supplies in general, a shot list for documentary.  The list (of lists) goes on and on as they say.  Much like the application I have a project plan on my mac to keep track of it all.

Today I am focusing on one list and that is cameras to bring.  How do I get redundancy for all the things I need for 30 days to do the work I want without needing a cargo container to carry it all?  I want to be able to take photos, underwater, at night of the milky-way, movies, Infrared photos and on film.  and so on.  This is the trip of a lifetime and I don't want to miss a shot or not get the footage I want to tell the story in our documentary.  Sand, heat, rain and saltwater mean I need backups for everything.  I know this is a cart before the horse exercise as we still need to be named the artists in residence before any of this means anything, but I want to be prepared.  Let's start with the backup.  There is one piece of equipment that is actually good enough in a pinch to handle many of the photographic jobs except maybe not the dark sky photos, but we are going to try that too.  That piece of equipment is my IPhone11 pro.  I have had the phone a few months now and even used it to film the intro scene in the trailer we submitted with the application.  It has knocked my socks off with its images and footage so it with the addition of an underwater housing for it the IPhone (even without phone service or internet will be invaluable and its size and convenience may even mean it will take a starring roll.  Next up My Canon 5D MII is a great choice.  it is still a great camera but a bit on the old side so I won't be afraid to use it.  My infrared camera is also a canon so they can share lenses so that makes for a nice tidy setup.  I want to shoot film.  Is wanting to shoot film a good enough reason to bring 2 more cameras and 40 rolls of film that I have to keep out of the heat?  I don't know?  Then If I bring film cameras that's a whole different list and debate.  I'd like to shoot some film.  Maybe make that just one camera a 6x7 rangefinder or the super wide angle Hasselblad?  It takes me done a rocky road because then I want a backup.  If I choose my Pentax 645 N then I have all the lenses I need with me to bring my Pentax 645 digital camera.  That is the one I took out west camping last summer.  It's a circular argument.  I don't know the answer and ask me tomorrow I'll have different ideas.

Now onto what watercolor paper to bring..... One thing I do know is my paints.  I recently switched to QoR watercolors by Golden Artist Colors.  They are amazing and will be the paints I bring.  So that's one thing I can cross off my list. 

Loggerhead 2020 or bust!
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Monday, June 8, 2020

7 days and counting

Here we stand just a week away from the AiRs for Dry Tortugas National Park being announced.  Shannon and I created the Flying Tortuga Brothers for the application in the hopes that we will be chosen to spend a month off the grid in September making art on Loggerhead Key.  It has been a partnership since before the Tortuga Brothers came into existence.  We applied for the 2019 residency and did not get selected.  Right at that moment we decided to commit ourselves to being the AiRs in 2020.  Even a world wide pandemic won't stop us.  To mark the one week point I am spotlighting in this post my partner in crime and fellow Flying Tortuga Brother, Shannon Torrence.  Here is a current painting and one of his glorious poems.  I am hoping to get to watch him create more of both in September.

The Bait Caster (Detail)
2020 Shannon Torrence

The Dotted Shade of Long Key

He had been friends, when he was younger than I, 
to a gentleman who was mentored by Pearl Zane Grey.

The writer, who was one of the first visitors to Long Key fish camp
in 1908.
They had Barracuda for dinner by lantern light.
Walked the white strip of sand when they were not fishing.
“It wasn’t all so serious what they spoke about, but some of it was.”

Those evenings, the ocean was a flash of tarpon silver, under the full moon.

“Now you have to understand Shannon,” said Don, a man
who would come to give me the best advice of my life.

“Everyone who has come down the peninsula, has done so with a purpose. 
What was to be, the American Riviera, that really hasn’t panned out.”

Flagler Came for his legacy.
Audubon, found it for the birds.
Capone, for bootleg liquor. 
He lifted his sweating glass of vodka, ice, and cranberry 
from the driftwood and bamboo bar.

“Time to exercise the slippery slope”
a clause he had invented for himself, having been a very successful 
civil rights attorney.

He calls to the barmaid, Megan!
 He looks like Hemingway to me, not as he did when representing the Pueblo and Navaho nations.  A string of trout at his side,
clad in a buckskin fringed jacket.

I see him now, smelling like a day fishing the salt flats.
Talking old Florida and philosophy, 
with Jim Harrison and Richard Brautigan.

Swinging in the cool afternoon shade of a Key West porch, 
in the mid 70’s.
Whist all could touch one another.
Whilst all was still possible.
Florida at their feet.
Still then a mystical place.

I never stood a chance being a native.
Balmy summer nights.
Walking through screen doors, into Gilded Age Kitchen.
Blessed by the threadbare hands of fate.
My experiences like the dotted shade of coconut palms 
on Long Key, during the grueling summer days.

For Donald Mason                        SST 2019

Sunday, June 7, 2020

About a week to go


Here we are 8 days before the AiRs (artists in residence) for Dry Tortugas National Park in 2020 are announced!  Actually if you are one of the people reading this you probably already know this as I have been posting nearly daily since we sent the application in.  The reality is it is more for me  than for you.  I hope you are enjoying this glimpse into the nerve wracking time period between application and announcement, but in reality it is therapy for me to talk about what I am thinking about.  I've done the bulk of these posts with input from Shannon because  even though we live half a mile from each other we and our wives have taken social distancing and self quarantining seriously.  This is smart but has also put a magnifying glass to my little hamster on a wheel brain while we wait out the process.  I feel really good about our application, but given enough time it is natural to think about what you might have changed or said or not said in the application.  We are saving our next podcast for after announcements, but are working hard to keep the FTB social media current.  Daily blog posts and updates to our personal and the FTB instagram mostly.  Of all the things Shannon and I have chatted about over the past 15 months we have put into the project there is one thing we have not discussed.  What will we do if not selected.  I can't answer that for sure.  Like I said we have not discussed it.  I don't think we are superstitious, it's just that the idea has literally not crossed our minds.  It's also not that we are cocky about it.  We have a goal and we are trying to drive right to and through the goal.  Anyway that is what's going through my head this morning.  One thing about being home for the last few months is I have had a great deal of time to paint and explore new mediums to be incorporated in the residency.  For instance I am doing a lot of sketching with fountain pen.  I have been taking classes on urban sketching, watercolor, figures and acrylic.  I have been pretty prolific actually and have enough for a nice show at some point.  I painted this ink and watercolor sketch yesterday of Grand Central Station in NY.

I have also been reading up on Dry Tortugas.  It was discovered by Ponce de Leon and named Las Tortugas for the many sea-turtles he saw there.  Dry was added later when they realized there is no fresh water on the 7 islands that make up the Tortugas.  It is a bird lovers paradise as so many species stop there on the way south for the winter due to its strategic location.  Garden Key has the largest masonry (brick) building in the Northern Hemisphere.  The fort built for its strategic location on the edge of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.  It was used for a time as a prison and housed Dr Samuel Mudd famous for setting John Wilkes Booth's leg after he shot President Lincoln.  There is a lot of history to be learned about this fascinating place.  Ernest Hemingway and several friends were stranded at Fort Jefferson for two weeks once on a fishing trip gone awry.

Thanks for taking the time to follow our journey this year it has been a blast and one we hope continues onto and beyond Loggerhead Key!

Loggerhead 2020 or Bust!
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers.

Friday, June 5, 2020

From the studio


Well here we are 10 days out from the announcement of which pair of artists get to spend September on Loggerhead Key.  I feel a bit like Charlie Bucket waiting for the announcement of the Wonka golden ticket.
What are we doing?  Well since there is not much we can do to affect the outcome of the decision at this point it is back to the studio for both of us.

Shannon Torrence
"in the Mix"
6x6" acrylic

Shannon has been working away on his Florida scenes in acrylic.  Thanks to Instagram some  have been selling before they are even dry.

Carl Stoveland
"Publix Lake Worth Beach"
9x16" watercolor and fountain pen

I have been on a bit of an architectural kick lately painting interesting buildings in watercolor after drawing them with a fountain pen.

For both of us keeping busy is the key.  Self quarantining has been a drag to be sure, but with Florida's numbers on the rise after the partial reopening I think it is the wise course.  The upside is more studio time.  The downside is sometimes the outside world gets in through the news and social media and the desire to paint can get zapped.  We continue working and chatting most days about what a month on Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas will be like.

Loggerhead 2020 or Bust!
Carl Stoveland
writing for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Thursday, June 4, 2020

11 Days to go. Less than a dozen! I'll take it!

Hi Everyone - 

Carl here again.  11 days left until the NPAF announces which lucky team of two artists will be spending the month of September on Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas!  What an amazing adventure it will be for whoever that team is.  I keep going back to what Kelly Clark from the National Park Service said on the podcast about the silence and the overwhelming feeling of just how small a part of the cosmos we are.  I think both Shannon and I want to capture and express that feeling Kelly describes in paint, photos, video, sound recording and poems.  It just makes me feel happy and centered to think about what Kelly was talking about.  In these hi tech, whiz bang, stressed out and troubled times it sounds like the perfect cure for modern life blues.

Loggerhead 2020 or bust.
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

12 days out

Every project plan has milestones.  These events that must happen before anything else can happen.  Our last milestone was getting the application submitted, apart from the movie trailer being corrupted in upload and a nervous couple hours to confirm the new file arrived ok there really is not much to do until the next milestone which is the National Parks Arts Foundation announcing this year's AiRs for Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas.  It's a lot like the go  - no go of a NASA launch.  So we wait.  We are an even dozen days away from knowing.  Time has slowed down to a crawl between Covid 19 and the responses to George Floyd's murder it puts one artist residency in harsh perspective.  That said art is how I make my way and process the world so it looms large in my thoughts.  It's funny that I am writing the blog,  Shannon is a poet and most definitely better suited to writing than I am.  I will have to ask him for a poem on the waiting time we can share with you.  Since I am the one writing you get the world through my eyes for now.  How do I pass the time?  I work.  I have been painting a lot since all of this stated.  Shannon has too.  He has been prolific in his Florida paintings and has other projects cooking on the easel as well.  I like to think about what I'll work on if we get the residency.  I spend too much time doing that, but faced with the outside world it is a pleasant enough distraction.  One of the things I think about as a photographer is how do I show off this gem of a 40 acre isolated island in a way other photographers and AiR's have not.  Over 30 days a lot of the same photos get taken with each residency.  One thing I will do is photograph the island with an infrared camera. it will show off different looks and colors as well as stark black and white.  Here is a photo of Bahia Honda in the Keys shot with my infrared camera.  It will help me tell the story in a slightly different way.

 We are also making a documentary film.  We want to showcase the beauty of the Dry Tortugas of course but there have been filmmakers there before.  No matter how good the imagery there needs to be a story.  That is where we put our twist.  the movie follows two artist through the application process all the way to the last day of the residency and behind to explore what being off the grid and cut off from social media will do to their work.

Those are my first ideas.  We will of course paint, write, record podcast episodes, snorkel, explore and photograph the night sky.  I think 30 days off the grid in the beautiful yet harsh climate would fly right by.

Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

13 Days out


According to the countdown clock on my phone announcements for Dry Tortugas are 13 days away!  My thoughts for the last two days have been more on the outside world wha's going on in my country.  It is tough to watch what is going on and not be affected by it.  

Thinking about the possibility of a Dry Tortugas Residency in September is helping me take my mind off of current events for a spell.  I saw Shannon the other day socially distance maintained of course.  we talked about what a day on the island might look like.  For Shannon he hopes to be up early and to fish on most days where it is allowed.  He hopes to augment the protein we bring to the island this way.  After fishing he will paint and then when the sun is at its worst get a shady spot near or in the house to write.  We will likely have our big meal in the afternoon.  After dinner more painting either out on the island or inside from the day's sketches.  My days will involve a little of following Shannon around getting footage for the documentary as well as photography and watercolor.  I expect evenings to be the big interview portion of the film where we will meet up and chat about the day's events.  I will also take advantage of the fact that Dry Tortugas have some of the darkest skies anywhere.  Milkyway photography will be high on my list during the new moon from say the 14th to 20th of September.   I will paint as well as journal too.  We should be able to produce a lot of great work and sketches while on the island.  With no internet I have decided not to bring a laptop and just make sure I bring plenty of memory cards.  We won't be able to get images out to social media or do live podcasts since we will be off the grid.  We may be on Garden Key once or twice at Fort Jefferson to give Q&As.  We might then be able to send a few pictures up from our phones but I'm not counting on it.  We will pre-record 4 interviews for the podcast and schedule them for while we are gone.  This of course all hinges on us being the team selected for the residency.  Speaking of the podcast.  We are on a little break right now until the announcements.  If we are selected we will jump right back in with new content and keep going right through and after the residency.  Depending on schedules you will get one or both of us in new episodes every couple of weeks.  Assuming for a minute we get the residency we would have a year to produce the documentary and enter it in film festivals etc.  I'd love to continue the podcast for that entire year to share our experiences of course and speak with more artist residencies from the National Parks and beyond.

I'm planning on getting out to Big Cypress National Preserve this week with my camera.  I'd like to explore loop road and  get a sense of places I want to spend time when I finally get to have my covid rescheduled residency there in November.

Loggerhead 202 or Bust
Carl Stoveland 
for the 
Flying Tortuga Brothers

Monday, June 1, 2020

Today's daydream... The gear edition.

Hi Everyone

Well, I'm thinking about the Tortugas residency yet again.  Today my thoughts turn to what art gear I need to bring if we are selected.  Here is where I envy Shannon a bit.  Painter and poet.  Gear wise he can probably make a pretty complete list in a five minutes.  I'm carefully thinking about Film cameras.  They are a total luxury on this trip and may make no real sense, but I'm a photographer down to my socks and I started in the film world.  I'd love to bring one of my 120 film camera but that also means bringing lenses and about 40 rolls of film.  May or may not make it to the final list.  Im also a digital photographer, audio guy, podcaster, a filmmaker, a painter and will be doing a sketch journal.  How to have the best quality stuff and for all that and redundancies within practical weight limits is like a game of Jenga.  pull out one piece and nothing works.  It's a puzzle but one I'm happy to wrestle with now. The list is currently in the form of a wish list by category.  I don't need to make any new purchases, at least I don't think so.  But I need to figure out how to get things there.  Not to mention one more pair of hands to operate the camera and mics during interviews would be great!  That said  Shannon and I are pretty creative and the video from the iPhone 11 is good enough for a lot of the B roll stuff so we'll enjoy the challenge of making it authentic and natural while keeping the gear to a minimum.  I'm going to work on this for a couple of days and report back.  There are too many unknowns at this point that only get answered if we are selected for the residency when we actually start talking to the National Park Service folks at Dry Tortugas.

Also, I'm affected by the events in the outside world and it weighs on my mind as one art residency in the face of the injustice in the world and protests seems pretty insignificant.  I'm trying to think of how we can add that to the topics that get into the documentary.  I think most evenings in the house I'll record most of our discussions and just see what we come up with.  Maybe it will take being on an island with no internet for 30 days to see the world clearly.  Surely that is within the scope of what we are trying to capture.  Anyway I'll report back in a few days as we get closer to the Dry Tortugas announcement and we have a clearer idea of the future of the project.

Loggerhead 2020 or Bust,

Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers.