Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter Interrupted--Adventures in Art

Friday I returned from Laure Ferlita’s artist’s beach holiday, Winter Interrupted. Along with a suitcase full of dirty laundry and sand in my shoes, I came home with new friends, new sketches and great memories. Eight of us spent four days sharpening our sketching-on-location skills at various places in the St. Petersburg, FL, area. Each day we had a new destination: John’s Pass, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the beach itself, and Sunken Gardens. Laure offered instruction and demos, then turned us loose to sketch. Most of us had never met in person, but had taken online classes together and/or connected through our private class blog. It didn’t take us long to bond, and we ended up spending a good deal of our free time together, too.

Where we stayed
Some general observations on this adventure:

Sharing benefits everyone. One of my favorite things was when we shared our sketchbooks after each session. Each person’s take was different—even when two people sketched the same thing, the results were different—the hand of the artist in action. One day we also shared all the items in our sketching kits—so much fun to see each person’s favorite pencil/pen/sketchbook/palette, and we all jotted down tools we want to get our hands on.

Physical therapy for Winter the dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
“Bad sketching days” happen. I had one when I felt overwhelmed and just “off.” I didn’t like any of my sketches, but I made myself sketch anyway. The next day was better, and I can always go back and sketch from photos if I want a better representation of what we saw that day.

John's Pass
I love sketching palm trees! I added them to several pages, even when they weren’t part of the lesson.

Palm tree practice--my favorite is the one in the middle
Sketching in ink can be fun. My mechanical pencil ran out of lead at Sunken Gardens and I was forced to sketch with a pen—something Laure encourages but I hadn’t yet tried this trip. I’m not confident in my drawing skills and the pencil served as a security blanket. And you know what? I had the most fun sketching that day, and that page is my favorite page from the trip. (I can hear Laure laughing from across town.)

Sunken Gardens
Art instruction is great, but being inspired by fellow artists is even better. Each woman on the trip had something besides her art to bring to the group. I came away energized and eager to make my life even better than it already is. Getaways like this help us to pay more attention to our own wants and needs, and to open up to new people in a way we wouldn’t during our normal, everyday interactions with others. (Thank you Laure, Cheryl, Claire, Clare, Patti, Susan and Terry!)

Our collected sketchbooks
I’m still working on my pages—and will be for a while—so I can draw out the pleasure of the experience. I’m grateful to have had the chance to escape my everyday routine and add some art adventure to my life!

When was your last getaway? Are you planning one soon?

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13 comments:

Laure Ferlita said...

Great post!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thanks! Kinda wish we were still there...

Laure Ferlita said...

Love the palm trees! Nice to see your work. Yeah, I kinda wish the same.

Cheryl Gebhart said...

Me too! Thanks to you too Kathy.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thanks, Laure, and you're welcome Cheryl! We'll just have to do this again soon.

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Oh Kathy, how wonderfully nourishing, your artistic retreat!! Your palm trees look so alive & lively. I guess accepting "bad sketching days" is as important as enjoying the good ones! I haven't been away in awhile & will have to think about that.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Rita--it was a great retreat, and I came back recharged. Hope you get the chance to recharge, too, whether or not you go away somewhere to do it.

Debbie Nolan said...

Oh Kathy - what a wonderful experience - so glad you got to go. I am sure you made memories that will last a life time too. Thanks for sharing your photos and I love your sketch in ink. Take care.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Debbie: Thank you. It was wonderful. The whole group bonded almost immediately, and we feel like we got so much more than art instruction!

Clare said...

Kathy, would you mind if I use your sunken garden photo as a reference for a sketch in my book? Yes, we did bond almost immediately. It was one of the highlights of my life. One of those things I have fantasized about for years and the dream was truly made Real!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Clare--Yes, please feel free to use my photo. I'm so glad you felt as I did that we all bonded so quickly. Hope you're staying warm!

Claire M said...

I loved our adventure and I loved reading your relection on it. As a bonus I shared it with my mom and she thoroughly enjoyed getting a 'peek' into our experience. ;-)

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Claire--It was so wonderful, wasn't it? Glad you were able to share with your mom, too.