Reflections on Squam Art Workshops Part 1

by jenn on September 24, 2010

in Art,Creativity,Friends,Nature,Travel

Squam Art Workshops Fall 2010

I’m finally getting my Squam post up! I can’t believe more than a week has past since my trip to Boston and New Hampshire. I’ve been exhausted (travel always does that to me), but I have so many fond memories of the retreat. I connected with inspiring women, I dabbled in some new artistic techniques, I savored a yummy yoga class,  I enjoyed the fresh outdoor air, and I loved having delicious food cooked for me everyday (and don’t even get me started on those marvelous macaroons!).

Last year Leah, Mindy, Melba and I attended just the Squam art fair on Saturday night after Leah and I led a workshop together in Boston. We had such fun meeting some of our online buddies in-person and getting a taste of the Squam spirit that Leah and I decided to participate in the whole shebang this year. I’m so glad we did. I’m super inspired by the creative community that convenes there and the whole experience definitely fed my soul.

The experience also gave me some new insights into my creative process. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken an “art” class that focuses on learning techniques. Instead, for almost the past two years I’ve immersed myself in expressive arts and intuitive painting which is all about the process not the product, about the experience not technical skill. As a student and a teacher of intuitive painting, I’ve trained myself to be okay with making “ugly” art. So, it was a bit of a head trip for me at the retreat as I paid more attention to my inner critic wanting things to “look good” and to have “presentable” finished pieces. I know it was all self-imposed pressure and that the atmosphere there is totally supportive. It was just interesting to notice what happens for me when I’m creating for just the sake of being in the creative process versus when I am attached to the outcome. And I suppose both have their places. While I thoroughly enjoy diving into the depths of my crazy intuitive paintings, there is also something quite satisfying about making a beautiful, delicate piece of art to display like I got to do this past weekend.

The first class I took was Layered Lines with Diana Fayt.  I really dug her drawing/painting technique which uses oil pastels, turpenoid, and graphite pencils. It’s quite simple yet creates a super cool effect that almost looks like an etching. My favorite pieces from the weekend were from this course. I’m definitely gonna play with this method a bit more. I even went and got more supplies today so I can continue to dabble.

The next day I took the Open Your Eyes photography class with the lovely Susannah Conway. Photography is a medium I’m not as comfortable with but want to get better at it. Fortunately my hubby is a photographer so I have access to great gear. Now I just gotta learn how to use it more effectively!

In the morning Susannah walked us through lots of great images to inspire us and to teach us composition basics. I could listen to her speak all day – I just love her voice and wisdom!

In the afternoon we went on a photo safari through the woods. Of course we had to stop at the lake to get some shots of the beautiful views.

I had fun getting to know my fellow classmates as we explored and experimented. And it was fascinating to notice how we each saw the world so differently through the lens.

This is one of my favorite shots. Thanks to the lovely Jayne who patiently modeled for us as we all snapped away! I posted more of my pics on Flickr.

On the final day, I took Flora Bowley’s Bloom True painting class. Above is a peek at one of her amazing paintings. It was fascinating to watch her demos and see her magical art come to life before our eyes.

Here’s a shot of my two paintings in progress, but since we only had a half-day class, that’s as far as they got. I had fun being playful AND I noticed in this class especially how much I struggled with process versus product. We started off being very intuitive and free-form but as we started to hone in on where we wanted to take the painting, my inner critic kicked in big time. It was a good reminder to let go and pay attention to where the aliveness is rather than what I think looks good or is the “right” thing. I certainly had fun with blue!

There’s so much more goodness from the weekend. I’ll share a bit more tomorrow. Until then, check out the links to more Squammies’ posts here – you’re sure to be inspired!

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