Sunday, October 08, 2006
Artists of Art and Soul
This week has been a blur of classes at Art and Soul here in Portland and visiting with my great house guest, Carla. Here we are together at Vendor Night at Carla's table. It is always so stimulating to be with the artists who travel from all over the world to gather at these art retreats. My head has been bursting with new ideas, new friends and fresh perspectives on my own place in the larger picture. I almost didn't sit down to write this morning because in this state of mind I'm not sure I can make sense of it yet so I will just introduce some of the artists themselves and then maybe over time the trends and possibilities will sort themselves out. It is heaven hanging out with these enthusiastic women. Ladies, we rock!
Check out the fabulous Ms. Susan Lenart Kazmer in her fresh-from-Paris girdle with the real bones and steel plates and garters and netted skirt. We all laughed in pretend shock at the "underwear" and agreed that only someone like Susan could pull this off. Lesley Riley is on Susan's right and Ramona Ashman is off to the left, presumably taking a picture for her blog too. This was during set-up and before the public had come in so there was time for some schmoozing and fun.
The reason I was able to be behind the scenes at this event is because Laurie Mika asked me to be her helper during the set-up. Laurie is an immensely popular teacher and I just hope she keeps teaching long enough for me to take one of her classes. She has thrilling new projects in the works that I'll let her announce and it was fun hearing about her artistic journey through stages of being an abstract painter, clothing maker, ceramic artist and finally the tile boxes and altars that she is making today. I think many of us who have been at this awhile have similar backgrounds where we have tried many mediums and evolved artistically to where we find ourselves today. We are curious, restless and driven.
Claudine Hellmuth is one of the most popular teachers at these events and the first one I heard about when I learned about art retreats. She is personable, friendly, and her work is just like she is in so many ways. I love her sense of color and line and her funny way of presenting her characters in her collage-paintings. Rumor has it that she wants to take time off from teaching to actually create more; that is the perennial conundrum that we artists face - balancing our time between business, actually creating, family and inner renewal. I think talking about these issues when we do get together is usually reassuring. We usually agree that the balance is always lurching to one side and then the other. And maybe it always will.
I finally got to meet the multi-talented DJ Pettit at this show. Her table was right behind Laurie's so it was a super place to study her fabulous work and get to know a little about her. She designed the logo/banner for this year's Art and Soul and she sells so many tasty items that you will just have to go to her website to see them all. I just know she is a wonderful teacher by talking to her. She prefers smaller classes so she can interact and help each student. She is humble and caring. And her work sings with color and joy.
Finally we have Misty Mawn, the ultra-talented neophyte who leaves us wanting more. I have watched her work and her confidence grow for the past couple of years and it has been a joy to observe. Her dreamy-faced muses are so captivating and mysterious. They remind me of the dewy maidens that I imagine haunted foggy landscapes and castles in the middle ages. Eternally young and hopeful with all of life before them, suspended in that one breathless moment before their lives begin to unfold. That is where I imagine Misty is too with her hands and arms full of the daily cares and demands of her family, full of hope and talent, anticipating what might be coming in her life.
There were so many other artists I could and should be writing about but this is all I can handle for now. The energy in the room last night was so beautiful and loving; I just have to say thank you one more time to every person who I came in contact with. I saw angels; everyone being encouraging and happy and trusting. A little miracle to hold tightly and forever.