Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In Living Color - Reflections on ArtBliss 2013

Life is never black and white when you dream in living color”-- Terah Cox

Student work - ArtBliss 2013

Stacie Florer gifted me a greeting card with this message along with a pair of her sinuously modern earrings at this year's ArtBliss. Although Stacie and I don't live anywhere near each other, when we re-connect each year at this retreat, it's as though we were sisters who koffee-klatched every day, sharing artsy gossip and new creative discoveries. That's the feeling throughout this vibrant  mixed media/jewelry/metals retreat that Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix have created on the outskirts of Washington, DC.

Stacie Florer earrings
I know that Stacie and I will collaborate on some pieces in the near future-- her designs always get my creative wheels in motion. And that's what an art retreat is all about-- jumpstarting the dusty ideas that have been rattling around your creative attic, languishing because you don't have the time/money/energy/confidence or whatever to bring them alive in full, living color.

I'm an admitted tv junkie and love my sci-fi and action/adventure shows. Even now I'm watching reruns of “Game of Thrones”, in anticipation of next March's season debut. But real excitement is hard to come by these days and too often we zone out in fantasy worlds that do nothing to nurture our creative and spiritual selves.

An art retreat is about creativity and community. It's not a hermit's cell of intense work and reflection, rather a joyful getting-together of like minds and creative interests. It's a place to try new, sometimes scary, methods with the reward of seeing your skills grow and having a classroom of like-minded explorers to root you on when you think you can't do it or will never make that pesky project come together in a coherent and pleasing piece.


So at the end of each day, when I look out over a classroom of workstations covered in chalk dust, spilled paint, used brushes and applicators and polymer clay scraps-- to see happy students who have spent a day discovering new techniques and pushing the boundaries of their imaginations, I know my work is done.

Cindy and Jeanette have already selected a stellar line-up of instructors for next year-- their 5th anniversary event-- including Stacie Florer, Mary Hettsmansperger, and Stephanie Lee. I have been generously included, for which I am very grateful. It's a long trek down to DC but how many opportunities do you get to spend a weekend in living color?
Go to www.artblissworkshops.com to get on the mailing list and be the first to register for next fall's classes. Put the dates on your calendar right now-- September 26-28, 2014.