This was my fourth year at Artfest and the first year for me to teach there. As usual it is hard to try to describe the experience. It is all at once overwhelming, emotional, deeply joyful and fulfilling. For 3 days we shared classrooms and dabbled in mixed media under a number of skilled teachers. We don't have to work or worry or do anything except sleep in wee cots in a former army barracks and be in a community of like minded creatives. It is a time away from the normal concerns of daily life; a time to be free to dream, share and play.
There is lots of this going on as friends come together for the first time after forming friendships over the internet. Angels touching angels in person. Holding so much joy that it spills over everywhere. Having gratitude for finding ourselves in a sacred place together in the flesh.
There is this; the old and evocative buildings that have witnessed so many years and souls passing through them. All of it situated on the waterway under the laughing seagulls and lapping waves. There are trails to walk, bonfires to stare into, crisp sunrises to greet with happy anticipation.
Artfest is also this; gifts and trades and inspiration from friends. Giving tangible proof to each other when we return home that it wasn't all just a dream.
Artfest is a car glued all over with toys and strange artifacts. As though a whole cast of wonderfully odd characters have come to the same place to celebrate color and creativity and silliness. This is the place to be your silly self. You will not be judged. You are among friends.
Artfest is making something that looks like this; something strange and compelling that expresses perfectly the imagination of the maker and the human spirit.
It is a stack of drawings like this one by Karen O'Brien who sat next to me in Sas Colby's class. Karen was also a teacher here although I dont think either of us knew it when we chose to sit beside each other in the classroom.
This is what it feels like in the classroom with a handful of other students as we work side by side on our projects and receive encouragement and direction from the experienced teachers. It's all very homey and comforting. Teesha sets the tone and it is a little miracle what she has created here.
This little baby has lots of arms. Better to hug you tight. Whoops! She's kind of weird too but a good kind of weird.
Love the old windows with the wavy glass. Shutters snapping away as we try to capture the moment.
Another classroom scene. This was the floorcloth class that met in the Blue Room on Saturday.
Beauty before me. May I present Alex Shur, a most amazing woman from Minneapolis. I spent a couple of hours last night reading every single post since its inception of her blog. Her paintings and writing is stunning; her life story would make a movie. It just reminds me again that we are incredible creatures; each one of us precious, unique, beloved and brilliant. I've urged Alex to submit a teaching proposal for next year. Wouldn't you love to study with this master of color and poetry? I thought so.
I'll be writing about my classes soon but I'm hoping more students will send me photographs to share. In the photo above is Alex, me and Katie who bunked in the cubicle next door to mine. We got caught up on all the latest news and had a party going on most of the time. She taught this year also and had a fabulous booth display on vendor night.
While I'm waiting for photos from my friends of the night we admired Judy Wilkenfeld's book (hint-hint), I'll share one photograph from the Waxy Layers class. This encaustic collage was created by Lorien Wendt and I love the feeling of quiet peace that it radiates. I'll try to post each day for awhile until I get all the Artfest news out. I am floating on a cloud of memories and inspiration; I'd better get into the studio now and make some work of my own.