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Monday, June 01, 2009

Art in the Gorge

Every spring and fall, a group of artists from the Portland Art Collective gather for a weekend at the Menucha retreat located on the rim of the Columbia River Gorge to enjoy the company of good friends and creating art into the wee hours of the night. I try never to miss these magical weekends filled with fun, laughter and the sharing of art techniques. This weekend was no exception.

The retreat itself inspires art through its beautiful scenery and rustic accomodations. Each night we were treated to stunning sunsets over the river below us. There are paths that wind through the forest everywhere you look and birds and wildlife abound.

There are stone steps that lead to secluded garden areas that wrap around you like a cozy blanket while the fragrance of flowers and deep cedar forests fill your senses with wonder and longing for a world without the trappings of civilization. Even if you do not believe in magic, you will expect a fairy or two to greet you on the path.

In the center of the complex is a stone labyrinth, secluded in a circle of trees bordered by roses. As you walk the labyrinth the world slows down and a sense of peace comes over you. After you travel the maze to the center, you are treated to a beautiful mosaic created with different colored stones.

In the forest surrounding the labyrinth, is a series of ceramic sculptures haphazardly placed here and there, as if left by an ancient civilization for us to discover and wonder about.

And the flowers.....everywhere there were flowers of every color, shape and size that filled the air with an explosion of color and fragrance that left no doubt that spring had finally arrived after a long, hard winter.


And, of course, I could not leave out the bird life that filled the air with song and the whoosh of air through feathers. Goldfinches, Downey woodpeckers, robins, towhees, swallows and jays combined with the usual suspects: crows, grackles and starlings. And in the distance, raptors rode the lazy thermals rising from the river.

Who could not want to create art in a setting like this? Surrounded by good friends and fellow artists whose company is like a healing elixer and whose art is always incredible and inspiring!! All too soon the weekend was over and I had to head back home. But while I was there, I finished my last two assignments for my Nature Gathered group, Elements and the Heavens. Be sure to take a peak, and while you are there, explore the art of all the artists who are participating in this challenge. Our show is coming up in August at the Sixth Street Gallery in Vancouver, WA. I am counting the days until fall, when we will return again.

1 comment:

tory said...

Jan,Oh my that was beautiful you are quite the writer and what wonderful photos,it makes me want jump in the car and go back!