Sunday, April 18, 2010

Australia! Part Seven: Students, Art and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Each day, I traipsed down this set of stairs with my class supplies and materials. At night, I sat at the end of the stairs - the best place I found for WiFi reception. No matter where you were in the building, there was a killer view of the surrounding forest and birdwatching was at a premium, with cockatoos, ducks, crimson rosellas and kookaburras commonly flying by.

My next class was Mixed Media Portraits. The class was filled with students bent on having fun and we laughed, joked and told stories as we worked through the class. The object of the class was not to turn out a face using a formula, but to create a one -of-a-kind face filled with character and emotion. We did warm up contour drawings and then moved ahead to draw a face upside down on printed paper to "fool" the brain into having no preconceived ideas of how a face was to look. After learning the basics of drawing a face, we moved on to create a face using the six colors of the rainbow rather than flesh - cool colors for shadows and warm for highlights. This was when the faces became truly interesting. A last portrait was created using all that had been learned in the class. Everyone created the most brilliant art, don't you think?

After an evening of show and tell, another scrumptious meal and a good night's sleep, I headed for my third class, Secret Garden Journaling. What a great group of ladies I had in this class!! I felt so blessed for the students I had throughout the retreat. All there to have a good time and all willing not only to learn but to share their own knowledge with others during the class.

After a day of journaling techniques, shared stories and an Australian geography and history class for me, here is some of the great work produced in class. I am amazed, but not surprised, by the incredible talent these students had. Many of them teachers or working artists in their own right, the art they produced was impressive.

This was an amazing class and I learned as much from the students as I taught to the class and you could not ask for better company than the ladies in this class. But now it was time for another great dinner and a bit of Trivia. I was a bit nervous in this competition. I knew very little about Australian trivia. But the questions were from general knowledge and our team of four started out well...two Americans (Leslie and me) and two Australians (Sonja and Fiona), but we were always just short one question it seemed and we missed out on the great prizes divvied up to the winners. And Lucy, I will forevermore remember that ebony is not just wood, but a dense, dark wood....Thanks so much for being in the tough spot of scorer.

Laurie Mika and sister, Leslie

Laurie and I

Bevlea, Laurie, Eva and ?

Seet Lucy scoring the trivia answers.

Bevlea asking the hard questions.

Eva, me and Jen Crossley
All too soon it was time to go back to our rooms and pack. Tomorrow is our last day of class and we needed to be checked out of our room by 9 AM.

Karin and Dawn
Eliza and Robyn
It was hard to believe it was time for my last class, Dolls for Big Girls. I could not believe it was time for the retreat to be over, when it seemed it had just started. And what a great class it turned out to be with much laughter as we created and put together our dolls. Unfortunately, before we could properly paint and cloth our creations, it was already time to be out of our classroom and no photos were taken of our creations. It was incredibly sad to be saying goodbye to everyone, but I know we have the best intentions of staying in touch, because the one thing I know, is that I am coming back to this country again one day and have a longer look. Though I have only been here a short time, I have felt at home here from the moment I stepped off the plane.



Kelsey and Maryse

Nick, Dawn and Kelsey
Thank you, Bevlea, for having me over to teach and taking a chance on someone you did not know. Thank you, Eva, for housing me, feeding me and dragging me around the country side (especially the opportunity shops and bird haunts) and for being as wonderful and down to earth as you are. Thank you everyone for your warm welcome, shared laughter, good humor and warmth. Thank you for the presents and most of all, for the friendship you offered a complete stranger, making me feel welcome in a strange land. You are all amazing and I had the experience of a lifetime. See you all again one of these days. XOXO Jan


Queen Of Toys said...

Oh Jan we all loved you and would have you back in a heart beat. You are a fantastic teacher and a really lovely person, keep creating and be happy.

Jen Crossley said...

Jan you were never a stranger your gentle nature and awesome smile touched us all,we were so lucky to have you here in Australia such a great talented lady.
We will meet again of that Im sure,it might be sitting at the bottom of a stair well even LOL

Eva said...

Simply said ... you were SIMPLY THE BEST Jan - and - much loved by all your students! We were very fortunate to have you as a tutor at CSR 2010. And I was the fortunate individual for having you as my guest - and - now friend! Thank YOU!

Looking forward to having you back in the 'Land of Aus'! You will always have a bed in my home - any time! And ... I'm up for more 'outings' too (LUCY - Please Note: ... being the fabulous driver that I am - lol)!

Eva :-)

lisa_crofts said...

Wow Jan what a wonderful blog and how funny to see the pictures of the staircase where I first met family and I going to Melbourne again in June so your info and photos have been a fantastic help especially the news that the sanctuary has a real live platypus..seeing a living platypus is very high on my to do list and I cant wait to go to the sanctuary thanks for the hot tip..I was not surprised to see you were a skilled photographer,your photos are amazing... my husband is about to buy himself a digital SLR do you have any recommendations...cant wait to see more of your blog Jan I am so glad you enjoyed Australia yours has been the best write up from a visiting artist that i have ever read... I am so sorry I missed out on doing a class with you...Oh well hopefully one day I will meet you again

Ro Bruhn said...

I do hope you get to come back again Jan and that I get to spend more time with you. It was wonderful to meet you and to read your fabulous account of our fair land.

Lucy said...

It was such a pleasure to have you here in Oz for CSR.
It was very brave of you to fill in for Judy.
You made the classes your own & I know your students thoroughly enjoyed your teaching.
Hopefully, we will get to meet again some day.
Love & Hugs Lucy

Paula McNamee said...

Jan, I'm so glad that you had wonderful experiences in Australia with your new friends and classes.

steph b said...

Wow Jan, what a trip you had, your not kidding, the students had the most amazing journals. What a neat land to have all those birds flying wild, paradise.
Thanks for sharing

Tory Brokenshire said...

Jan, I have memories to keep and think about my whole life, it sounds like this trip is one of yours.

Anonymous said...

Jan, I have enjoyed reading every post about your trip. I am so happy that you were able to go and offer up your creative talent to the classes! Lenall