If you ever get the chance to immerse yourself in a day, a weekend, or better yet a number of days in a creative retreat – go for it! Take classes that push the limits of your creative comfort zone; that aren’t in mediums you are used to working in. Be open to producing work that isn’t a masterpiece, that perhaps you are a little embarrassed to ‘show and tell’ at the end of class. Jump into the spirit of learning, growing, stretching. To do so is exhilarating, humbling, refreshing, stimulating and best of all – feeds the soul and opens up new areas of interest.
I spontaneously leapt into an open spot at Artfest and took some inspiring classes, met some wonderful women and spent 5 days in a beautiful setting.
Here is just a snippet:
L. K. Ludwig – The Poetic Eye (class)
I learned photographic transfers, layering with tissue to create strong paper, colorizing and manipulating wire mesh and so much more. L.K. is a very bright, energetic woman who went through a lot of soul searching before she found her calling in life.
Judy Wise – Photographic Memory (class)
This class was all about encaustic (yippee!) and Judy made it seem so easy. Her artwork is gorgeous and my attempts don’t give the class justice – I learned so much more than you can see. Judy is a cheerful, sparkly, magnetic person – the type you would love as a friend as well as teacher.
Bee Shay – Captive Memory (class)
Bee taught us how to manipulate a photograph to give it a painterly look – you have to peek at her work to really get a feel as to what is possible. Bee is a multi-talented woman with a very restful, serene energy – the perfect teacher and perfect class for the last day. Unfortunately, the only images I brought with me in the right format are not ones I would have chosen had I had time to really prepare and I goofed up the process at the beginning by coating the photo with a solution that was too wet… the image turned a mauvey-magenta. Ugh - I was looking for cool, subtle beach tones. I wanted to tear it off and start over, but Bee guided me in turning the ‘ruined’ piece into one that I like. Best of all, I learned a tremendous amount about how I can paint/draw onto photos to completely alter the feel.
My housemate Diane Havnen-Smith showed me her techniques on how to paint faces – here is what I painted that night, sipping wine and talking with Diane, Annie Lockhart and Dan Carrel all stunning artists and teachers and fascinating people!
A woman at the Bonfire Journaling Party on the Beach showed me some of her amazing doodle art all made with a fat sharpie pen. I wish I had asked her name!!! She inspired me to doodle and pass it on to my kids. If you know who it is that has a journal filled with doodles like the ones I did below, please let me know!!
I met Susan Wooldridge - a poet, author, teacher, dancer, free spirit and beautiful woman.
Lulu, a teacher from Portland OR area and I were on parallel paths and her wild stockings, shoes, apron and hand painted art bag sang with color!
And I saw my dear friend Kathy Taylor Jones who is the only artist at Tommy Bahama that draws concepts by hand - computer designers take her art work, digitalize it and turn it into the printed fabrics that the cloths line is famous for.
A true whirlwind of creativity, beauty and bonding.
On top of all of this, my family joined me for the last couple of days (at the end of the kids’ spring break) – they camped and explored while I took classes and the last day we all explored. We collected beachglass, shells and rocks along the shore under the fort, then scrambled up, around and into the gun batteries. I filled my photo card taking pictures of the old rusty metal doors, and underground passages coated with layers upon layers of paint.
The colors of rust, decay, peeling paint on the gun battery doors at Ft. Warden are an emerging photographer's dream.
Now, I am buckling down to finish my manuscript - please forgive me if I hibernate for awhile. I look forward to communicating with you and seeing all of your blogs when I re-emerge!