The workshop: "Bloom True! Let go. Be Bold. Unfold". Flora and her assistant Rachael Rice, really did a beautiful job of creating an inviting and contained space for our group of 16 women to paint, play, be bold, and trust our intuition. I'm not even going to attempt to encapsulate the entire experience here - just a few highlights: One of the biggest novelties and challenges for me was the introduction of collaborative painting - where we were split into dyads or duets as Flora likes to call them, and we worked on a couple of large canvases with assigned partners. Whoa! Talk about control issues getting activated! The challenges were all good, in my opinion, as they provided information on areas where I may need to let go and allow the process to unfold, and to trust more in this whole creative/intuitive painting process. The upper middle picture (see below) is the beginning of the collaborative painting experience. We actually painted on each and every canvas in the class, a la musical chairs or perhaps more aptly-like a form of dance with lively music providing an ambience, we would step to the left - paint a little, step to the left again - paint a little and repeat until we had made our way full-circle back to where we started from! Each canvas "dance" presented us with an opportunity to look and respond intuitively with our paint-loaded foam brushes, or just using our paint-loaded fingers - allowing the spirit to move us! Speaking of music, dance breaks and stretching/movement breaks were also incorporated into the days - and a quick glance at Flora's favourite play-list makes her feel even more like a kindred soul. The women in the class were each amazing. The sharing, the stories, the tears, the laughter, the kinship, (the piggy back rides!) - the relief of being heard and seen. My joy in getting to know more people from my "tribe" of creatives and seekers of art making and community. I highly recommend this kind of workshop, and would especially recommend taking part in a workshop given by Flora.
The canvas on the far upper right (see below) is the earlier stages of a canvas that I'm still working on from the workshop. Before painting on the second day, Flora had us go out in to the streets of Port Townsend to sketch for about a half hour - something that I've always wanted to do there, but always felt a little too self-conscious to do by myself...it was great! The fan shape in the painting is actually derived from an architectural detail of one of the buildings on the main street (Water Street). I sketched it because I liked it, and wasn't sure when or how it may or may not figure into a painting - but I'm so glad that it did! I am definitely going to incorporate this way of working into my work more and more.
The painting is still in progress and I plan to finish it in my studio this weekend...STUDIO!! As I was pulling into my driveway on Sunday night, a little ragged after driving through a thunder and lightning storm en-route home from Port Townsend - my phone pinged with a message from Suzanne Northcott asking me if I'd be interested in renting her studio with another woman Wendy Neilson . I'd just asked Suzanne a couple of weeks ago if she knew of anything to rent in our area. YES!! So, here I go. I'm renting this sweet little studio in Fort Langley. It's called "the Garden Studio" as it faces onto a back garden - PERFECT! I am thrilled. In the spirit of ordinary courage - I plan to be bold, be brave - and let things bloom away. The studio itself is on a local art studio tour map, so my paintings will be on show too.
"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because that is what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~ Howard Thurman