Friday, May 28, 2010

Ah, Sweet Virginia...

I felt so fortunate to be returning to Hampton Art and Soul for my fourth visit. Each time I am here, I find more and more to love about this area. Friendly people, beautiful scenery and an abundance of history make this one of my favorite destinations and this trip only enhanced my deep regard for this beautiful state.

My journey began in Portland, Oregon, where I caught what was supposed to be a non-stop flight to Norfolk, Virginia, with a "short" stop at Midway in Chicago, Illinois. After an uneventful (but full to the brim flight), I watched with interest as we landed in Chicago at sunset, with the Great Lakes in the distance, I yearned for an opportunity to take a casual trip some day where i could stop and explore every nook and cranny of the country as I crossed.

As we stood up to stretch after landing, the flight attendant suddenly announced we would be changing planes after all and would need to deboard and hurry to our new gate...but "not to worry", the gate was right next door... Always remember, when you are in a strange part of the country to have you distances defined. Because right next door was a full terminal away and we ran to catch our new flight...but not before I stopped to visit with the Blues Brothers, lounging on a bench along the way.

Around midnight, we arrived in Norfolk, collected our baggage, rented a mini-van and headed for Hampton, longing for a chance to stretch our legs and get some rest. But since I am teaching in the morning, I know I have to take the time to unpack my bags and hurry off to sleep, excited to know I will be meeting my students in just a few hours and looking forward to a day spent creating art with like-minded women. It took only a moment to be fast asleep.

My first class of the day was an encaustic class. I was blessed with a classful of talented women that were there to have a good time while learnng a new skill. We hurried to create collages we could cover with wax and add a multitude of surface decoration. The time flew while we waxed, foiled, stamped, carved and embedded objects in the wax. After lunch, we covered the wax with shellac and burned off the alcohol with a lighter leaving amazing designs in the underlying wax. Everyone left with amazing art!!

Once class was over, there was food, drink and comradery at the hotel where everyone had a chance to say hello, exchange trades and make new friends. But, deep into jet lag and sleep deprivation, I head to my room for a good night's sleep.

The following day I'm off to teach watercolor to a talented group of women full of laughter and stories to tell. After basic instruction, in how to work in this challenging medium and add a bit of pizzaz with special effects, look what these women created!!

That night, I was off to teach my Faces and Figures class. Learning how to create individual faces and bodies can be a challenge, but these ladies mastered it with ease! I think this class was the most fun of all with laughter and stories abounding.

Two full days of making new friends, creating art and sharing techniques. A little bit of heaven on earth, if you ask me. I am deeply appreciative to all of my students for choosing to take one of my classes and making it possible for me to travel, teach and make art, my three favorite activities on earth. I thank you from my heart for for your generousity in sharing your stories, your laughter and your own techniques with me! I could not do it without you!
Be sure to watch for my next entries and I will take you on a trip through Williamsburg and Chincoteague Island and the Eastern Shores of Virginia!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I work in an environment where, if one's not careful, we begin to judge others by their appearance or a mistake made in an off moment or, for some, in an attempt to step up on the backs of others to look better themselves. So many folks go through life waiting for a moment to shine in the sun and never experience a feeling of belonging to the warp and weft of life. And so many folks have made mistakes and gone down crooked paths and beg for a chance to find their way home, but we are reluctant to change our first impressions of who they are. We are afraid of what we don't know or what appears to be strange.

The gallery I am a member of is located in an area of town where colorful, off-beat and downtrodden folks tend to hang out. They wander the streets aimlessly, some holding complete conversations with themselves...some wrapped up so tightly that no light shines within their face. On Sunday, while working my monthly shift, I thought I would make an effort to engage these folks from the front door as they passed. I was rewarded with toothless grins, cautious nods and short conversations. But mostly I was rewarded with gratitude that someone had paid attention to the fact they existed.

I helped a guy tattooed all over and dressed in leathers take a photograph of his friend who had entered a doodle on our doodle wall contest. I listened while a man told me all about how he had lost thirty pounds just by exercising, because he sure hadn't stopped smoking or drinking or eating, and he never would, by golly. Then he told me an off-color joke, grinned and walked away whistling. I admired sweet dogs and listened to stories as they walked by my door. All folks that I would normally pass with a brief smile and go my own way.

And at the end of the day, I found a smile on my face and peace in knowing that we are all traveling this life road together. We share the same ups and downs. Some of us have a few more bumps in the road and take some wrong turns, but in the end we are all human. And why not take a moment to share a bit of time and a listening ear to a stranger....we can all benefit from sharing what we gather on our individual journeys.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

New Show

Just a note to let you all know I'm still out here and creating art. I'm hard at work getting ready for Hampton, VA Art and Soul! I leave just two short weeks from today and still so much to do!! I'll be teaching a full day watercolor and a full day encaustic class, in addition to my new two evening class, Faces and Figures. So looking forward to seeing everyone again and this year I will absolutely visit the ponies of Chincoteague Island!
The above is the postcard for a showing of my photography in a lovely gallery in Battleground, WA located at 203 South Parkway Ave, just one block south of Main St. The show will last through June and then be rotated through local businesses for viewing. I am very excited as photography, more than any other medium I work in, represents my spirit and soul in art. Stay tuned as my next showing will be of the photos gathered in Australia.
Such a tumultuous year for me and I can honestly say that art has got me through the darkest winter I've ever had and brought me new friends and adventures and a new path in life. I hope it brings the same to all of you. Art truly saves lives!