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Friday, May 30, 2014

Mermalicious Ramblings

*Note:  I've tried for three days to get this post to post with photos, to no avail. 

I have this habit of seeing something & jumping in head first.  No research.  Just "hey, that looks awesome!"  and poof, I'm signed up!  It's how I became a scrapbook store owner.  It's how I just got a new, old dog.  It's what happened with the Mermalicious class I took over Mother's Day weekend.  In North Carolina.  And an art retreat I signed up for.  In Paris. 

Let me back up.  I was googling mermaids one day last summer & came across an Australian artist named Jane Davenport.  Every single thing she paints I love!  I had been watching her art for months & thought to myself if she ever comes to the US I will have to take her class.  I am not kidding you but in less than an hour I got an email that she was teaching at Donna Downey's studio in North Carolina.  I signed up before I could even take another breath!  After I signed up I went to Jane's site to see what other classes & workshops she offered.  I found that she does retreats in Bali & Paris...oh how I would love to go!  Bali is bad timing for me at work & Paris was sold out.  I had another "oh if that ever opens I will have to take it!" moment & within 1 hour I had an email that said "we've opened up another session in Paris!".  I must admit I hesitated over the Paris class.  I had just signed up for this huge workshop in May...and I want to go to Paris?  What am I thinking?  I talked to my friend Kim & she helped me come to the conclusion that I was crazy if I didn't go...so I signed up!  Eek!

That was in November.  Fast forward 4 months later & I have not created a thing...what was I thinking?  I'm taking Ali Edwards One Little Word class, which is about living your word of the year & creating something each month with your word.  Sometimes it's scrapbooking.  Sometimes journaling.  We even made a vision board...which I procrastinated because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do.  My bright idea was to emulate Jane & make a painting with my word & a girl. 


I went to the Mermalicious class feeling a bit out of my element.  It's been three years since I sold my store & really, I've not done much creative in the time since I left.  I just didn't feel it.  I wanted art to just be a part of who I am, not something I had to practice.  Now I know how the people taking classes at my store felt:  awkward, a bit out of place, wondering if I even had the talent to be there.

Day 1:  I sat at a table with two great gals from Canada.  One is a fashion designer, the other an accountant with incredible artistic talent.  The gal next to me is from Georgia & has the sweetest soul.  I met a few of the other 28 of us, but honestly, there was so much activity it was hard to mingle when you wanted to learn.  I was late to the welcome event due to my flight time, so I arrived after everyone had started.  Awkward!  We quickly made our journals out of hot press watercolor paper & adjourned for the evening.  I had missed dinner so I grabbed a bite to eat at a local fast food chain called Cookout across from the hotel.  Hush puppies with my cajun chicken sandwhich?  Yes, please!

Day 2:  I walked to the shop, only a mile and a half away.  It was such a pretty walk!  


We spent the day learning fun techniques & painting backgrounds in our new journals.  I loved the technique where we spritzed color, applied a dollop of gesso & then another spritz of color on top & blew it around with a straw.  Loved it!  I think it may be on every single page I did.  



Jane taught us how to draw mermaids (I would have been smart to take one of her online courses before this...it would have made it easier).  Then she fixed our mermaids, with love, of course!  I was at the studio from 9 am to 9 pm & ended up drawing mermaid figures until 1 am, trying to get the technique down.



All that dark green is covering up the arms I put in the wrong place...

Day 3:  I decided that today I was not going to be shy.  I was going to ask Jane for a photo.  

I was going to ask her to critique my mermaids (which ended with the whole class getting a lesson in figure drawing...hmmmmm).  I practiced & practiced!  And when she taught us to draw faces, I took notes.  I took photos of each step.  And I practiced some more.  I must have been pretty focused because Donna asked if I was a perfectionist....ok, sometimes I am!  And Joann said I was trying too hard.  But I was there to learn & I wanted to make sure not to forget how to draw them when I got home.



Day 4:  The last day we finished up things in our Mermalicious journals & then had a group share.  Jane sat by my table at brunch & we were able to chit chat a bit, which I loved.  I just find her style & ability to be so amazing it makes me a bit tongue tied.

I saw a huge progression in my art from when I arrived to when I left.  I learned how to make faces like Jane.  Now I need to learn to make them my own.  I have a few more weeks until Paris & in that time I have to bind a couple of art journals out of old books, figure out how to use my supplies & maybe take Jane's I {heart} Drawing class. 


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