Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thinking Out Loud

I painted a canvas that is unlike anything I've done previously. I'm not ready to show it yet; sometimes when something is new and thrilling you just need to hold it close to your heart for awhile until you have absorbed all of the lessons it has taught you. Every painting you will paint has a message for you. A wisdom, a teaching to impart. The artist's job is to study that vast mystery and to absorb it. If we are busy being critics we miss the sacred gift. So I am still taking this in; still asking what it is that it has brought into my life that was not there before.

I am a compulsive writer. I have so many notes everywhere that I am deluged - sort of weird and worried for myself that as I get older I will be buried under a sea of words. Dreams, ideas, memories, floating all around me, giving my life shape and meaning. Expressing the joy and wonder of being alive, having a body, being allowed to grow as old as I have grown, to have found the people to love me who do love me and having met all the people that I love. Everywhere I look I see beauty, kindness and loving eyes. Shining souls searching for harmony. How did I come to this amazing place? What am I under this human form? What is my job here and how can I help others find their tranquility? I want everyone to experience the feeling of being loved and finding their inner home.

I have a dream. I hope to sustain it. I know I will not always be this happy or this centered. But this place is attainable and one I can visit often. This place of open love. I hope I do not sound insane. I don't think I'm a savior. I just want the world to be at peace and for each of us to find our place of happiness. For me that means being a creator of things. My paper, pencil, canvas and paint. And glue. And glitter. Pearls and resin, inks and metal. These are my vehicles.I will share.

Another journal page. Standing naked before you would be easier than this. This is all of me.

This is my new favorite toy. Inspiration from the wise guru Randi Feuerhelm-Watts. She gives us everything she's got in these pages; what a labor of love. I am so excited to follow her prompts. She is a great play friend.

Paint, cut, paste, repeat. Die happy.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Artfest 2007

My friend Dawn said that Artfest is 100% about the people and 100% about the art. This is true. You will hear that Artfest changes people's lives. It has changed mine. What follows is a short tour of what went on this past weekend. I will be posting more pictures in the days to come.

This is what my little private dorm room looked like. It is the second time I have stayed in this dorm and it is one of my favorite things about Artfest. You schmooze all day with hundreds of artists and then you retreat to your lair where you can journal and reflect in privacy. I love this.

Breakfast with the nicest people you'll ever meet from all over the world. Liz, Tonia and kellyrae. Every kind of talent sitting at this table; writer, editor, artist. And so much more. Everyone has multiple talents and skills. This is where we all come to share, enthuse, create and inspire. By the end of the first day your brain is reeling with new ideas, friends and projects. It is for joy.

In Susan Lenart Kazmer's class I learned how to make projects out of resined paper. In the picture above we are measuring the two-part resin. We made charms for rings, earrings and bracelets as well as book pages. The finished paper is so beautiful and we can make so many things from it. Susan is a dynamic individual and an excellent teacher. Her fashion sense is a wonder. Yikes, does she rock!

The buzz of Artfest this year centered around a brand new teacher; Misty Mawn. Here she is demonstrating different steps in painting on wood panels. The amazing thing is how each of us produced wonderfully lovely paintings, even artists who did not consider themselves painters or draftsmen. At Show and Tell, that comes at the end of the 3 day retreat, it was obvious that Misty had the ability to enable us to produce astonishing paintings. It filled us with such a feeling of confidence!

The woman of the hour. Thank you, Misty, for sharing your amazing talents with all of us. You are a great teacher. (Misty is teaching at Art & Soul in Portland this October too.)

A photo of Misty's fortunate students. This is at the end of the day. Don't we all look happy and successful? That's how we felt.

The uber-talented Holly Stinnett making some masterpieces in Misty's class.

That evening we strolled down to the beach where Tracy, Teesha and the crew had built a bonfire and where there is a rustic wood cabin where we sat at picnic tables and shared our journals. We wrote, doodled and visited around the toasty wood stove and there was a long bar of libations and snacks for us to enjoy. (beer, wine, s'mores, hot dogs, chips and crackers and more) This was my third year at Artfest but the first time I'd participated in this party and I will never miss it again. I love to share my journals and to admire the journals of others; in the following days I plan to share some of the journal pages I photographed that night. Oh, to die for! So much creativity in one place. (over 500 of us!)

My table at the journaling event.

Diane Trout, diligently doodling away. Susan Cohen to my right. Two wonderful artists.

My third day was encaustic with Patricia Seggenbruch. Above is one of her beautiful pieces. She had 4 wax stations set up for us to play with. She showed us how to transfer images to the wax, to add color, inclusions, to inscribe and much more. I've been doing encaustic for awhile now but she had some new tricks for me. Mmmmmm, love the beeswax that smells like honey as you work.

Color. Everywhere.
I'm sure Heather won't mind if I show you her mermaid tatoo. It is on her hip in case you were wondering (not her butt, ha ha) ... I had not met Heather in person until I came here but she is a great person, artist and now friend and I look forward to buying everything from her that I can. She has a great zine at her site that everyone should subscribe to and she generously gave us each a copy of "Eye Candy", a special publication that she produced just for Artfest. What a wonderful talent.

At vendor night Teesha's mother gave me a gift that has inspired my new mission statement. It is so good and so transformative that I will share it with all of you. She said, "the greatest blessing you can give (to yourself) is to bless another life". That is how Tracy and Teesha (the spirits behind Artfest) live their lives and that is what makes Artfest the miracle it is.

If you were there, I don't have to tell you. If you've ever thought of going, make the effort. I hope to be clanking down the sidewalk with my walker when I'm 100 years old, still coming each year for the love and inspiration.