March 19, 2011

Cultivate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

print available here

This week’s challenge over on Illustration Friday is “Cultivate.” Growing beauty begins with cultivating sturdy roots. This means putting in some hard work and dealing with rainy days. Growth happens before the actual flowers bloom.  And that’s not to say that everything “planted” around here blooms, but I believe if you plant enough seeds eventually you’re going to be rewarded with flowers.

March 18, 2011

2011 Vegas Art & Soul

I’m finally back. And no I haven’t been in Vegas for an entire month, except maybe in spirit. Me and two of my very favorite Chicagoland girlfriends met up at the Green Valley Ranch resort for four days of fun and creativity at Art & Soul. Sure there was the art part, but even better was spending time with these two. Also ranking high on the list: The $4.99 all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet; Monday night’s Meatballs-n-Martinis (no kidding); Shopping (Anthropologie was right outside the door!); Early morning workouts at the spa’s beautiful facility; and laughing so hard/loud the resort needed to call the room to make sure we were okay (eh hem.) Then there was the debut of Claire (pix on right) and I on a ginormous stage for Rock Star karaoke which included a little Joan Jett with a LIVE band, strobe lights, smoke and an enthusiastic audience. Thank goodness Heather can’t figure out how to load the video she shot of that debacle. And “unfortunately” I don’t have karaoke photos, but here at least is the art part…

A Fluid Romance taught by Kari McKnight went over a wide range of techniques I experimented with in the painting above. The painting itself is a tribute to my grandparents loaded with meaning and memories.

While I wasn’t sure if Steampunk was going to rock my world, I have to say that I found the class fascinating. Brenda Mattson taught us the history of the Steampunk movement and  turned us loose on boxes containing thousands of inner vintage watch workings and other time pieces to incorporate into our jewelry making. I really got into it. Two more pieces to follow…

A steampunk flower and…

a more modern take using the backs of the timepieces. Check out the gorgeous colors.

Lisa Kaus took us on a color journey in Color My World. I composed a personal piece with a “D” for Daley and a flower for each of my kiddos. I had brought along some samples of their handwriting to personalize each flower.

Last but not least, Musical Cats and Dogs taught by Julie Haymaker Thompson was one of my favorite classes. I made the music box above featuring a little dog at a party. The box appropriately plays “Happy Birthday.” When my kindergartner saw this she proclaimed it was all she wanted for her upcoming birthday. No toys, nothing else, but the music box. Her wish was granted several days ago when she turned six. My youngest celebrated with her music box and a cake made especially for the budding artist she is (Cake post soon!)

If you’ve ever considered an art retreat, let me highly recommend. As an artist, it’s so important to step out of your box and learn different techniques. Making what you learn your own will add new dimension to your work.

If you’re not completely convinced, I was reading Town & Country the other night and stumbled upon this by a physician/nutrionist: “Age 40 marks the onset of decline in areas of memory and learning, but by learning something new in middle age, we encourage brain growth and stop brain decline. Things like traveling to a new place, learning a language or taking a continuing education class keep the brain young.” So there.  And if art isn’t your thing, consider travel (when you can) along with classes that interest you. After all, we have to keep our wits right?!


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