Friday, October 31, 2008

Menucha and the Gorge

I love fall - the colors of the season so bright they almost hurt your eyes. The crisp, cold mornings with a fairy dusting of frost across the lawn and the smell of wood smoke as folks fire up their fireplaces and wood stoves. I don't even mind raking leaves, as long as I get a chance to play in the leaf piles.

Once again, I returned to a weekend at Menucha - nestled in the forested hillside above the Columbia River, it is the perfect place to rest, recoup and make art. This retreat was special as we were allowed to bring guests and several talented artists joined us for the weekend. We stayed at Creevy complex this time which afforded us a much larger workplace, warmed by a fireplace and the company of good friends. The Gorge was spectaculary beautiful, decked in all it's fall glory - gold and orange and green against a sapphire blue sky made quiet walks on the grounds a breathtaking event. The weather cooperated, a miracle at this time of year here and we had clear skies without rain for the weekend. On the last day, a high wind came out of the east, bringing warmer weather and the music of trees as they swayed together in harmony; the leaves falling and gathering in every nook and cranny.

Cradled in the midst of the forest is a labyrinth built this year with a rock mosaic at its center. I was lucky enough to walk the labyrinth at one of the rare times I could do so alone. The walk is meant to be meditative and as you pace the maze, your mind calms and all things seem possible, if only for that short time.

At the edge of the property is a stunning view of the Gorge and the Crown Vista house - built during the Depression, it was just recently renovated and is worth a trip to see - as far you could see down the Gorge, the shores were lined with fall colors, contrasting sharply with the deep blue of the river. As I sat and enjoyed the Columbia vista, I was treated to the sight of a woodpecker flying across the sky directly in front of me and Stellar's Jays squabbling over the chestnuts that littered the ground. Deer grazed the grounds and squirrels seemed to be in every tree.

My 8 X 8 challenge was "Field Notes" for October, so before leaving, I stopped to sketch the vista, as well as a chestnut, pine cone and leaves, - memories I can take out and snuggle into during the grey, wet weather ahead.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Art and Soul

Thank you, thank you to all my wonderful students in my classes!! I so appreciate you taking my classes and even hanging in there when the lights went out!! I have always been blessed with great students, but this year was exceptional. Please forgive me for not posting my thanks sooner but I have been exhausted since A&S ended and trying to catch up with all my deadlines I set aside to get ready for my classes.

I took four classes myself during the week: felting with Gayle Crossman Moore, Copper Enameling with Richard Salley, Dream Pouch from Donna Crispin and Be Still my Beating Heart from Lisa Kaus. All four classes were great taught by instructors who were adept at teaching their subject and generous with their materials and time. I would recommend taking classes from all of them and I was so pleased with what I created in class.

Lisa Kaus' Be Still My Beating Heart (except I failed to follow instructions and created a pumpkin cat instead...)

Dream Pouch from Donna Crispin's class

It seems incredible that you wait with grand anticipation all year for Art and Soul to arrive, but when it does, that week goes so quickly and you never seem to get the time to chat with old friends and get to know new friends better. And now another year of waiting.....I am already looking forward to seeing you all again! May your year be filled with art and peaceful journeys and may your muse always be with you.