Meet Odell Park Artist in Residence Marla Lesage

Category: arts 113

Writer and illustrator Marla Lesage will be in residence at Odell Park from August 6-16.  

Matt Carter
Image by Marla Lesage

In May of this year the City of Fredericton announced a new artist in residence series at Odell Park. Starting in July, a number of artists from different backgrounds have setup temporary studios in both the park’s lodge and at the Fredericton Botanic Garden to create new work inspired by the trails, the wildlife and the greenery around them.

To date, the series has hosted members of the Fredericton-based Fibre Arts Network for a one week residency followed by painter Matt Watkins and sculptor Melissa Kennedy, each in residence for two weeks.

From August 6-16, writer and illustrator Marla Lesage will make the park’s lodge her creative home.

“I’m looking forward to my time at Odell Park,” said Lesage. “Because I have school-aged children, summers are busier and it is harder to find the time to set aside for my creative endeavours. Rather than my residency being about completing a special project, it is about creating the time and space to continue with my current works-in-progress, perhaps finally start on some projects I’ve been thinking about for a while, and connecting with the community.”

Lesage is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and has had her work published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Skipping Stones Magazine. Her debut picture book Pirate, Year Round was released in February through Acorn Press.

Lesage is hoping her residency at Odell Park will serve both as an opportunity to accomplish a few on-going projects and get a few new ones off the ground.

“I’ve made a list of things I’d like to accomplish, mainly things that require long periods of uninterrupted time,” she said. “Stretches of uninterrupted time seems nearly impossible to find during the summer. I’ve already planned an illustration sample that I will paint during the residency. I plan to start a graphic novel script that’s been on my mind for some time. I’ll be doing a bit more research over the long weekend into the story’s setting and genre so that I’m ready to sit down write when I get to the park. I’m also hoping to put the final touches on a couple of picture book dummies so that I can send them out for consideration. It is hard to predict exactly when a story will be completely ready but I’m confident that these two in particular just need a tiny bit of polishing which can be done while I’m at Odell.”

During her residency, Lesage’s work space will be open to the public from 1-5 p.m. Monday to Friday. She will also be hosting a drop-in watercolour painting workshop on Friday, August 9, from 12:30 – 2 p.m. and will conclude her time at the park with a family friendly comic making workshop on Friday, August 16, from 12:30 – 2 p.m. (register for comic-making workshop at culture@fredericton.ca by August 14).

“I think the most exciting part [of this residency] will be having two weeks to write and draw and paint in one of the most relaxing stress-free environments,” said Lesage. “When I think of Odell Park, I think of quiet relaxation, which is funny because most of my time in Odell Park was either as a child or playing on the playground with my own children. And I always think about what it felt like to visit the park when I was young. Because I write for children, being able to write someplace that immediately makes me think of my own childhood is an added bonus!”

Learn more about Marla Lesage’s work at marlalesage.com

Upcoming Odell Park Residencies:

Timothy Jones and Justin Sappier—August 19–23, 26–30

Upcoming Artists at the Fredericton Botanic Garden Resource Centre:

Kathleen Bunin—August 19–23, 26–30

 

 

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