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    Saturday, October 01, 2022

    Friends & Neighbors: Mystic couple collaborate on new book

    Writer Ron Steed and his wife, artist Roxanne Steed.

    Mystic residents Roxanne and Ron Steed just returned from an intensive Artist Residency at Chateau Orquevaux, France, where they collaborated on a book together.

    “Being an Artist-in-Residence in France was one of the most transformative experiences I have ever had for my art,” Roxanne said. “We were there for the entire month of July, with a diverse mix of other artists; painters, writers, dancers, filmmakers and musicians from Denmark, Canada, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and The United States.”

    Chateau Orquevaux offers two-week and full-month residencies from spring through fall. Founder Ziggy Attias and Artist Residency Director Beulah van Rensburg took on this project in the hopes of creating a community and home for artists of all mediums, backgrounds, and stages in their journey. The international residency has grown remarkably over the years and has hosted artists from over 85 countries. Only about 15% of applicants are invited to attend.

    “Focal Points in France” aims to combine Roxanne’s beautiful watercolor paintings with Ron’s lyrical prose. They named the book for the focal point in her paintings, the part that draws the eye to the point of greatest contrast between light and shadow, and the place of greatest detail and clarity.

    “The metaphor of the focal point, is that practices that bring more peace are also the places with the greatest contrast between peace and violence today, and are points of clarity,” Ron said. “We are also hoping that the themes of the book would emerge as we worked, one focal point at a time … and they did!”

    Watercolor painting by Roxanne Steed of artist Alexandra Schmeling working at Chateau Orquevaux, France.

    “Our practice is wonderful,” said Roxanne. “Each day we find a subject to paint and talk about what I see in the scene, and Ron discusses what seems to be unfolding for him.” Ron said “It takes a couple hours together, but we somehow manage to finish about the same time, and the results have been great!”

    Both mentioned that their work matured and transformed as time when on, Roxanne finding some very compelling watercolor techniques, and Ron’s prose becoming more lyrical and poetic.

    They completed the draft of the book while in France and are now editing for publication. They hope the book will be out sometime in the next year.

    You can read the entire series on Medium at

    https://medium.com/@ronaldsteed. Each section includes a watercolor by Roxanne and a haiku and meditation written by Ron.

    Roxanne Steed is an artist, instructor, and mentor in watercolor, specializing in oil and watercolor-journal paintings in New England and Europe. She was the illustrator for writer Judy Benson on 'Nature Meditations in Word and Watercolor', published last year. Her website is RoxanneSteed.com

    The Rev. Ron Steed serves as an Episcopal Deacon in Southeast Connecticut and has served the New London Homeless Hospitality Center in a variety of ways. He is the author of ‘5-Minute Devotions for Dad: A Christian Parenting Book for Strength and Calm’. He writes haiku and lyrical prose that he hopes will help others put the head and heart in right-relation.

    Friends & Neighbors is a regular feature. To submit email times@theday.com.

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