Photo by DJ Pettitt
Three (3), yes THREE FULL DAYS of painting in a beautiful and tranquil setting, sharing the time and space with other amazing creative souls.
If you've been hoping/wishing/wanting to attend an art workshop at An Artful Journey Reatreat one day, this coming opportunity will be your very last chance. February 27 - March 3rd will be the swan song of this amazing venue as beloved organizer Cindy Woods is moving on to pursue other interests. I'm sad for this ending, but happy for you, Cindy, as this is a move you're excited to make. I have no doubt wonderful opportunities await you on the other size of the horizon.
I have had the honor of teaching here at two previous events, this coming one will be my third, and I can honestly say this retreat is one of my VERY favorite events, set in the redwoods of the majestic and peaceful Santa Cruz Mountains, this all inclusive retreat is soulful, intimate, and beautiful in countless ways.
And the wonderful news for you?? There are spots available in my 3 day painting class!! Here is more information on what we'll be doing during our time together.
Cindy has lined up a steller group of instructors I'm thrilled and honored to join, with lots of built in time for socializing and making new art friends over meals and evening activities.
I hope you'll join, it's going to be amazing!!
The holidays... hmmmm. What I have to share seems to swim upstream from the mainstream but I know that I'm not alone in my experiences either.
This time of year more than any other is a time of gentle coaxing, each year I hope will be easier than the last, and I do believe that each one is getting easier as I learn how to be gentle with myself, mining my thoughts often for the dark forces that whisper and would have me believe that I am shackled to the misery and helpless suffering of depression and despondance when it descends on me. Meanwhile, the world celebrates some of the biggest parties of the year. Without me.
Those of you that know me or have followed my blog over the years know my battles with depression, for those of you new here, now you know too. It continues to be a life challenge, especially during the winter months. I have a SAAD light, it helps, but it's not just about the outside light I'm learning, it's a lot about my flickering inside light that just needs much more care and attention right now. My self care takes priority #1, everything else has to take a back seat.
Taking care of myself can mean taking walks outside by the river, being bowled-over-on-the-ground by the majesty of the eagle that tops our cedar tree, listening to the eagles call
Are they talking about salmon?
Allowing myself lots of room to DO nothing, sit, meditate or wile away the hours reading and writing. To let go of the critical voice that wants to constantly remind me that I am behind, or not enough, or not, not, not...
Creating a little something beautiful somewhere in my life, it could be re-arranging a collection of beautiful objects...
*painted box and pottery cups creations of dear friend Misty Mawn*
Spending time in my visual journal, with my canvas, in my kitchen, garden, or sewing room. Painting a self portrait can be theraputic.
Taking small actions during the day that I can feel good about, accomplished about. It doesn't matter how small. For example - sweeping the floor.
Reaching out a little every day to others. An "I love you" or "thank you" or "I so appreciate what you did/do" keeps me connected and grateful.
Finding something that makes me laugh - remembering something funny or watching a comedy (The Long Long Trailer, a movie starring Lucille Ball and Desie Arnez will do it every time).
Remembering what I do have to offer to the world, what are my gifts? Remembering my purpose here, even when I'm on "sabbatical" for a few months or however long it is.
Being grateful, making a list - either mental or on paper - of all that I have to be thankful for...that list is long.
Each and every day I exert a great deal of energy to keep my boat afloat and going the right direction in these storms. But I've also got better maps now and I use them, and the internet lets me stay connected in a way I didn't have before.
And from experience I know now that there will be gifts to see and receive when the sky is again blue and sun bright, gifts that can also be what I have to offer the world.
I honor and claim this story I'm living, each day I create it through my thoughts, my actions, and my sometimes-weak-and-flickering-but-Beloved Light.
Wishing you all the deepest joy and love this holiday season, and into the New Year.
TODAY is the LAST day to register at the early registration price of $48? Tomorrow the price goes to $62.
Do you want to know more about the course? For more information about this online class and to register go here. It's going to be amazing!
Let’s look at the masters that each of the nine artists will be studying under...
The weather dropped into a single digit temperature this weekend, rare for us here in the PNW, brrrrr. We've got the wood stoves going non-stop to keep the house warm.
We unexpectedly lost this lovely tree this fall, walking into the woods one day we found it lying on it's side, huge rootball facing the sky. This was a special tree to me (see the white shell peeking up from beneath it?). I had built an altar under her boughs and we had celebrated next to her under full moons, solstices, and equinoxes. Today, she is burning in our woodstove, keeping us warm. Feeling grateful for the memories I have of this beautiful tree and all she has given us, beauty, companionship, warmth. As I think of her, my heart feels grateful for all the wonders I'm aware of in this day.
I've dropped out of the holiday crush and spend most of my days painting in the studio. Since our Pilgrimage in Paint workshop this fall in San Miguel de Allende, I've been reunited with an old love - painting on plaster. I'm loving the softness of the surface, the porous texture, and particularly the way hard pastels respond to the surface.
Photo courtesy of Paula Fava
And incase you hadn't yet heard, Judy Wise and I already have another painting session in the works for 2014 - this time in beautiful Oaxaca, Mexico. There will once again be painting on plaster, among other media, as it was such a hit! Kathie Vezzani of Bellissima is organizer extraordinare for the event. The spots have been filling up fast, if you're interested in joining our merry band of artists there, check out all the details here.
WIP day 1
Thoughts about painting tugged me awake at 5:35 this morning; I knew I needed to get some words out here before I explode, markers along this labyrinth I'm walking. The thoughts aren't just targeted at this painting, a sawed off door I've propped on my easel, but extend out to my journal pages and all my smaller paintings as well.
WIP day 2
I'm interested to recognize that I've gone for months without writing here, most months actually, only occasionally stepped out when I've had an announcement to share.
But this...these questions-with-no-answers, they are burning in me now as I stand in my studio painting and still hours later when I'm lying in bed when I should be sleeping. I'm grappling to express the core of it here but swim circles around it.
Half of me wants unrefined, raw, abstract. The other half wants a hint of something representational to cling to. I tell myself it's "refining", but is the painting better for it?
There is a part of me that longs to linger in rough and unhewn
And another part of me that needs to wipe out much of what I see, yearning for that simple kernel of truth
(I know one can one get that in a painting, I've seen it and felt it)
So this is the path I travel these days, paint brush in hand, my head overflows with questions while my curious spirit propells me forward... my heart longs for answers but all I can do is paint.
I'm thrilled to be part of Jeanne Oliver's upcoming online class entitled Studying Under the Masters; Becoming an Apprentice. Staring on January 7th, this nine week online course will focus on 9 Masters from the perspective of 9 working artists. Each week one of us will spotlight an artist and we will study them in depth, bringing you history, techniques, and inspiration through our live videos. I won't tell you who the other artists have chosen , but we'll be focusing on Marc Chagall during my week session.
There is a lost art of studying the works of others to find your own style. All of the "masters" were first apprentices. The apprentice sat beside the "masters", listening to their process, paintbrush in hand, mixing paint, creating strokes that told a story, and stirred their creative spirit. Have you ever taken an online course, gone to a retreat, purchased an art technique book and were taught an artist's techniques and mediums? Have you ever been worried about what is your style and what is "their" style? Have you ever been afraid to create art that was inspired by another artist? This course is for you!
Join nine artists as we become the “apprentice”. Through discussion and technique videos, each artist will share their week with a “master”. You’ll learn who their “master” artist studied under, who influenced their work and what techniques and mediums they used. An integral part of the artistic process was to “copy” the master artist. In this course, you will watch as these artists "copy" the works of another artist. They will share what techniques they learned and what they learned about their own creative process.
You will then learn as they create art in their own style incorporating the techniques and/or medium of their chosen artist. My hope is that you will leave this course with freedom in your creativity. Freedom to pull from everything around you that inspires you and how to incorporate it into your art. The confidence to realize that nothing is new under the sun and how to build upon others that have come before you.
*This is a nine week course
*Over 60 discussion and technique videos
*Supply lists and prompts
*Weekly live chats on this site
Stephanie Lee, Katie Kendrick, Kate Thompson, Christy Tomlinson, Junelle Jacobsen, Danielle Donaldson, Teresa Sheeley, Jenny Wentworth and Jeanne Oliver
* Earlybird registration opens NOW. The cost for this course is $48 for earlybird registration and $62 after that. Use the paypal button below to secure your place in what is sure to be a unique and amazing class!
Two weeks ago, I was here in this magical place, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
The experience surpassed any dreams or expectations I arrived with; everything was fresh, a surprise. I want to share a few highlights spread out over the next couple posts.
I partnered with Judy Wise (left) to teach two sessions of Pilgimage in Paint, Rebecca Brooks (right) our hostess for this amazing adventure, who has been leading groups of people to San Miguel for the past 7 years. They both have posted lots of photos of the trip and I encourage you to visit their blogs as well.
I could never tire of this daily view and it was on my route to purchase fresh coconut water from a old woman who set up a cart up the street. The freshest juice I've ever had, I probably purchased from her a dozen times over the course of my 3 week stay here.
Wandering the courtyard at Belles Artes, San Miguel's premier school for the arts, located in an old convent.
An artist at work there
A fiesta at Casa Carmen the first night, welcomed all the participants with delicious authentic foods, live music, and dancing
my very favorite coffee shop. last time I was in San Miguel I stuffed 5 pounds of coffee in my suitcase to bring back with me. This time both my bags were at 49 pounds so I had to just enjoy it while I was there.
the Pilgrims sketching
faces I would see daily
a favorite of the locals and one that became our favorite as well. They are known for their ginger margaritas
it was exciting to witness this beautiful wedding procession; there was a wedding in the zocalo (town square) every Saturday we were there, sometimes more than one
working on projects in the courtyard
the first group of pilgrims; I love these women.
I gave three of my brushes a haircut
Then I began drawing with charcoal to find myself
smudging and shading before I dragged the gesso
by brush and finger
Looking at the black and whites in my life
What am I holding on to? What in my stories is "me"?
Swirling amidst the judgements
all black and white and gray
I find shards of cerelean blue with hints of faded cranberry
These are me, too.
It's only been a week since returning from my road trip down to Big Sur, California, where I gathered with 20 soulful women at Esalen Institue for a Shamanic Painting workshop lead by the one and only Pixie Campbell. I have so much I want to share about my experience, so full of beauty and transformation, and I promise I will come back to it later this week in a follow up post.
Roots: a base or support, an essential part or element; the basic core, a primary source; an origin, the condition of belonging to a particular place or people
"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."
--Thich Nhat Hanh
Wings: to cause or enable to fly or speed swiftly along, to pass over or through, to carry or transport by or as if by flying
This lovely creature sat on my fingers for a brief time, I marvel at the wings, the nicks and tears tell a story and makes them all the more endearing.
Okay. I am beyond excited to announce this event, one very special to my heart. A teaching collaboration between four close friends, a dream hatched in a noodle house in Port Townsend a few years back, now manifesting into reality with the help of our friends (you know who you are, thank you for helping make this dream come true).
Three days of classes - one day with each instructor, Misty Mawn, Judy Wise, and Katie Kendrick, and an evening class with Stephanie Lee that includes dinner.
I told you it was pretty exciting! Go here to get all the juicy details!