Monday, May 2, 2011

My Art and Soul Retreat

A wonderful weekend experience!

Well I am so excited about my experience that I TRULY don't know where to begin!  It is so wonderful to come home after these art times and have a renewed feeling of joy, of creativity, of renewed strength in myself and in my work as an artist.  That is how I feel right now!!  I want to get those feelings into words, before life has a way of pushing those feelings down and pressing on ahead!  I guess what I am feeling in an artistic high and I have tried to savor every moment of my Art and Soul opportunity!

First of all, I am lucky, it was located in Hampton, Virginia just forty minutes away from my home in Virginia Beach!!  I signed up for one class in October last year and thought, yea I will go and take a class for the day, that was my original intent. My girlfriend Toni and I were going to take a wonderful handmade book class together.  I let her choose the class we were going to take, just being with her would be the best part of the experience. Time well spent creating with my sister girlfriend.  We decided to spend the night and enjoy the entire retreat experience.

After completing Misty Mawn's Stretching Within E Course, I knew that she was teaching in Art and Soul.  I found that most of her classes were already filled, apparently they go quick!  Yet, her Friday all day class, Painted Papers, had ONE spot left!  Talk about a serendipity moment and something being intended for just me!!! I signed up and was so excited when the ad for the class said SOLD OUT, I truly did get the last spot in the class with Misty and I knew that chair was intended for me!  So I knew immediately that this Art and Soul had turned into more than just a day class in Hampton!  I am here to share that it was not a disappointment at all.

So it truly was a long wait from October/November to now when the time actually came to attend the retreat, I thought it would never get here.  I am convinced that we experience what we are supposed to at the exact time we need it.  That is how it was for me this weekend.  I had an incredibly difficult week at work, so having the day off from the work week and heading to an art retreat was exactly what I needed to replenish and refill my creative soul.

Waking up very early and actually watching the ROYAL WEDDING was the beginning of a very special day!  I had no idea what truly lied ahead for me, it was a day filled with anticipation.

Misty's class was wonderful . . . at each table was an envelope filled with all kinds of goodies for our painted papers class.  As you can see I have a small ORB sitting on the envelope.  My good friend Riva Weinstein created several for me, she makes them out of recycled soy milk cartons and her ORBS go everywhere. She loves us to take ongoing pictures of where her creations are, so of course I sent her a message via phone on Friday to let her know where her ORB was that day!  She had brought three of hers to Squam by the Sea, and I was intrigued about them.  After seeing her during my New York trip recently, her creations appeared at my door, priority mail!  

Misty did painting demos and more demos, I just love watching her.  She is an amazing artist, yet extremely private, never bringing attention to herself.  She taught us so much and I came home with 18 pieces of hand painted papers for my collection.  I learned new techniques and actually got to watch her in action.  I can't wait for her book to come out, Unfurling, in June.

A sampling of my Painted Pages (Not sure which is my favorite)

My book class
More from the book class

Trying image transfer (I can use this for so many things)

Day Two was another wonderful class . . . I took "Sewn in & Tied Too" . . . and made a small book from start to finish.  This is the class my friend Toni and I signed up to take together.  I was slightly intimidated because I was totally out of my creative zone on this one!  We took it step by step, process by process and by the end of the class, I had completed an amazing little book filled with stamping, unusual pages and I was so happy with the results.  Our teacher Gaye Medbury was very talented and she showed us all of her secrets and techniques to complete our books. I enjoyed reaching my creative brain a little and grew in my confidence just a little bit more.  My friend Toni was loving just letting loose and we both had a wonderful time together.  It is wonderful when you can look next to somebody in a class and see that it is your girlfriend; it enhances the class experience all the more!  We were both in the zone and it was such a fun day together.

My brain is already thinking about the next little book I want to create and I want to incorporate some of my painted papers from my first class, into my little books.  I came home with so much excitement and enthusiasm; I couldn't wait to show my husband all of my work, and he patiently and lovingly looked at every little thing, including all my bought treasures from the market! I bought inks, antique papers from France, unusual and very old envelopes and stamps, art stuff and more art stuff!  I can use all of these wonderful things in my collage pieces. The market and store was a wonderful treat to see and browse in between workshops. 

Now I have saved the best part for last, reconnection with friends and meeting new friends.  This artistic community is amazing.  I saw people that I didn't think would be there, ran into longtime old friends, spent quality time with special people, ran into my artistic friend from high school, saw patients of mine who were there (wearing my amazing eyeglasses).  I was in connection heaven!  I even shared a lunch table with my friend Shelly, who was a co-owner of mine in Blue Skies Gallery, over eight years ago. She had moved to Colorado and came back to see her father and attend Art and Soul. We happened to share a table with two other ladies we didn't know, trying to save time, we were getting to know someone new and get back to class on time. We knew we knew each other and finally  made the connection . . . catching up over lunch was amazing! Again another serendipity moment.

I was able to spend beautiful time with my Squam girlfriend Mindy Lacefield of Tim's Sally and I met a new friend that was attending with her Danielle Fraser of Her Painted Word.  I have loved these ladies work for quiet some time and even have their badges on my blog to share their amazing work with others.  Danielle and I participated in Misty Mawn's e-course together, but had never met in person.  When meeting her for the first time Friday night, I didn't realize who she was until she gave me her card and I recognized it was the same photo as the badge on my blog. She was traveling to Art and Soul with my sweet friend Mindy.  I get goose bumps just talking about it with you!!!  Yet again, another serendipity moment.  I was also able to meet Jesse Reno, who was sitting there relaxing with Mindy and Danielle.  He was teaching a class the next day. I had heard Juliette Crane speak of her experience in his painting class.  Wow . . . connections!  Can you hear my excitement through my written words?

So here we are . . . loving each other and enjoying each other's company!  I am so blessed to have met so many amazing creative friends who are beautiful inside and out!

I know I have only touched on the highlights of my weekend, it is something I just can't put into words.  Art and Soul comes yearly and I know I can't wait to attend next year! Being able to paint, to create, to be with myself and I, to spend time with creative friends discussing our art work, where we create, what we like to create, sharing techniques with each other is priceless.  Learning from the best of the best and getting to spend a full day with them goes beyond being able to measure its worth.  I also recognize that this weekend was a gift.

Art revives . . Art restores . . Art rebuilds the broken spirit . . Art connects . . Art touches deep within (if you allow it to) . . Art is beautiful . . Art is meditative . . Art is love . . Art is friendship . . Art is growth . . Art is fun . . Art is letting go and just playing . . Art is pushing ourselves way past what is comfortable . . Art is feeling


  1. Sounds like you had a great time! I love that you saw someone from Blue Skies - very cool. Good job with the pictures as well :)

  2. WOW...what fun! Your painting play is beautiful, Donna! Loved hearing/seeing about your great time. I've been wanting to take part in something like that. :o)


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