Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Silver Falls Retreat with High Schoolers

Last Sunday morning I drove to Silver Falls State Park near Silverton, Oregon to teach a little journaling session with the high school kids I taught encaustic to last March. The park is a magnificent setting for groups and art gatherings. The kids had made tie dyed tee shirts and hand bound books among other fun activities.

The day was slightly damp and cool, as the elevation and time of year typifies. Everything was green and lush with autumn golds just beginning to show in places.

Everyone was ready for my arrival as I got the time wrong and arrived late. We scrambled to make it right and I jumped right into the drill.

I was really tired from my marathon teaching at Art and Soul. From the parties after hours which I cannot resist. All that laughing and catching up. I'm sternly telling myself to slow down.

Coming to the forest though was a meditation to me too and a drinking in of beauty and calm after so much socializing. I took photographs of the trees and colors. Maybe to use in work later.

There are cabins and a dining room that serves meals. Good place for an art retreat for big people, don't you think? The only drawback is that it is at least 2 hours from the nearest airport. Poot!

Here we are at the end of the day. We took pictures for about 15 minutes; some of the guys got tired of smiling. But I assure you we all had fun.

Gentle young spirits, learning, gaining confidence in their strengths, so impressionable and new. They really move me. If I had them in a classroom all year I don't know if I'd be able to let them go without tears. You cannot help but like them a lot.

I urged them to make grunge; to let the emotions and paint fly.

My voice is finally coming back after barking out instructions over the loud music that I loved. The vintage teacher was singing to the tunes she recognized, especially "When I'm 64".

My job was to keep them all moving and not thinking - just letting the moment carry them away.

And look what they did. The little geniuses. Fantastic invention, daring feats, beautiful pages!!

My demo. Yes, I got to paint too.

Don't you love the big enamel trays they use for palettes?

Look closely at some of these pages and see if you can guess how they were done.

Thank you, Shannon, for being such a great art teacher and for having me back again.

Shannon is a one-woman movement who has even gotten Jesse Reno to agree to come in and teach her high school art students.

Wouldn't you love to watch that?

Aren't these kids going to love Jesse?

They deserve the best teachers and all the encouragement we can give them to prepare them for what comes next.

Maybe you know I have a degree in Secondary Education but beyond student teaching have never really held a regular teaching job.

So maybe I'm prejudiced when I say teachers are the greatest. Because educating children is the most important job there is besides growing food.

My priorities are getting simpler all the time.

So thank you, Shannon, for giving me another day with these guys.

I loved every moment of it.

Okay, one funny tatoo story. The picture says it all. The world's oddest tatoo. I suggested continuing the line all over the body and then connecting it at the source on the other end. I guess the tatoo artist couldn't make up her mind. Plus I like the skeletons who seem to be reaching for it.

And before we move on from Art and Soul completely, here is a picture of the two Judy W.'s . I think it's funny that we have similar glasses. (love you, sister)

So I've decided to share a couple of comments from two of the students that tremendously moved me. Matt says, "Judy is sick". That is high praise in case you didn't know. Thank you, Matt!

And this one. This one puts me completely over the top. Bless these precious children, help protect their future, keep them strong and tender-hearted.


katy said...

all i can say is im a little jealous of these kids talents and having you teach them. i still hope you have an online class one day!

katie said...

fabulous work from the students and it looks like everyone is having so much fun - especially you in that photo, love it!

Allegra Smith said...

To give the gift of art is the only tangible way of sharing our spirits. That, and growing heirloom tomatoes.

Anonymous said...

thank you Judy once again for sharing these amazing pictures and art from your wonderful students. Wow, I wish, I wish, I wish I could be a kid again and start a fresh with you as my teacher : ) love each and every one of these and all your pictures from your past, present and I hope many more future classes, such enjoyable and inspiring read(s). Ohh, and I reeeallly like what allegra smith posted about gifts of art +++ growing heirlooom tomatoes, ha : )
Love & Blessings, Sandra in AZ

Chris said...

LOOK at these fabulous photos. Thanks for sharing all of this. It really makes me feel like I'm there. Aren't their canvases great?

You are so generous.

Susan Tuttle said...

You are so in your element!! I am poring over the fabulous work of these youngsters -- unbelievable stuff! And as one of your students said, "Judy you are sick!" -- the highest of compliments -- I couldn't agree more!

Your stenciling class is far out! -- so unique -- love it!

Love the photo of the two Judys -- the same glasses too?!


Candace said...

Wonderful! I am so happy for the kids that they have this op and so do you, too! LOL. Yes to be told you're sick or in my case recently that I was the sh*t... WHAT THE...?? But you're right. High praise... esp from guys!

Wonderful and thanks so much for sharing. (I use those same enamel trays. Haha!)

Dayna Collins said...

Judy, such lucky high school students to have you lead them in art journaling! And at Silver Falls Conference Center! I love their vibrant, bold pages . . .

kelly rae said...

that last comment did me in. we ALL want to be you when we grow up! you are a bright shiny beacon of all that we aspire to be. it's so make me less afraid, too. god, kids are so freakishly wise and compassionate.

the camp said...

such damn talent! oh those faces
with the shading using just a couple colors and shades. you know
i am drooling here in middle earth
and i miss those little round glasses with you behind them.
can you come to my house for a week and we will just hang in the studio and paint and chat.

you are a blessing to all miss judy wise.

liz elayne lamoreux said...

oh my goodness...that last photo brought those spontaneous little tears to my eyes.

what a wonderful experience for these kids! wow. truly amazing...

you are such a gift to this world. (and i am so glad to know you.)

much love,

Shawn Borror said...

judy, i am always moved by your blog and it brightens and sometimes tears me up every time I stop by, you have a spirit that is rare and simple even in it's astonishing beauty...which I think I can say even though you and i have never met in just comes through in your posts. thank you so much for gracing us with your thoughts and art...

Laume said...

My eyes overflow at the beauty of all those kids - both them and the art they create. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Bridget B. said...

Wow, Judy - the work you do with kids is really amazing . . . and I really love the way you encourage people to just let go and make stuff! Sometimes, I get a little caught up in all the technical hoo-ha.

Heather, said...

bless you for bringing art to kids, yeah, you! and yeah me for being a teacher and sneaking art in whenever i can!

Judy said...

Oh my,
What lovely glasses you have!
miss you already!

shebaduhkitty said...

looks like they had a blast... it makes me want to teach a retreat... I only get 45 mins a time so it is hard to really get the kids into a flow.

Kelly said...

whenever you work with kids i get excited, fulfilled, and choked up. but that last kid's note made me blubber. that is the most beautiful, heartfelt, pure big of magic. that kid saw you and loved you for it all and opened up their own vulnerabilities right there in return. you are such a treasure and i think it is beyond dreams that you are working with these wonderful young people. you will surely give them memories to last their whole life and fill them with riches that they will share with many others. you are a blessing, sweet girl.

Ro Bruhn said...

Beautiful work everywhere, glad you met Judy again, how did she cope with all the colour?

angeljoy said...

Wow I wish I could take one of your classes. I might get over my fear of "not doing it right".

Anonymous said...