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Posts Tagged ‘class’

Photo of Devil's Island Sea Caves in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore by Cliff Odendahl.

Devils Island Sea Caves in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Photo by Cliff Odendahl, Copyright 2013

A few months ago I sent a book draft to my editor and wrote a short story for a local writing contest — my first work of fiction since I was a child. I was in the writing groove.

Then, suddenly, somebody close to me died and I suspended my regular activities while I helped take care of other matters. As time passed and I got back on track with other work and activities, I still didn’t write. Of course, the longer you are away from something, the more difficult it is to pick it up again. I doubt I am the first writer to lose my momentum for a period of time.

The spark to write again came from a workshop I attended at Madeline Island School of the Arts last week. I can’t say enough good things about Catherine Watson and Jane O’Reilly, who guided the class in writing personal stories with descriptive detail and emotion, and my fellow participants who supported each other’s efforts and results.

The school itself is a warm and friendly operation, located on an idyllic setting on an island in Lake Superior. My husband, Cliff, was enrolled in another workshop going on at the same time, Craig Blacklock’s photography class. For months I had been telling people that Cliff and I were going to “art camp” together this summer. We shared a cabin at the school, but with wildly divergent schedules we rarely saw each other except for occasional meals. Cliff loved his opportunity to photograph the beauty of the island and the majesty of Lake Superior.

I was on a high, living in a bubble where writing and learning about writing was my focus morning, noon and night. I am motivated to keeping the spark alive at home by writing in my blog and in my work-in-progress book, Realize Your Dreams: Create an Action Plan for Life Transformation, along with a couple other projects.

The creation of art can be a solitary activity. We can all benefit from opportunities to meet with others, expand our perspectives, learn from great teachers, exchange knowledge and share our own personal work with like-minded people. If you are a writer or an artist who could use a spark of your own – seek out a workshop, class, or conference – anything that will stimulate you and your passion for your work.

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Developing my Artistic Style

A few months ago I began keeping an (almost) daily journal – in part to help me develop my creative aspirations. (I was influenced by Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path the Higher Creativity – see my Resources page).  One of the statements I regularly write in my journal – as an affirmation – is, “I believe if I do the quantity, the quality will come and my personal style will develop.”  

By taking a watercolor painting class at White Bear Center for the Arts, I am beginning to see how my style is unique to me.  This painting is my version of the original created by our instructor Lisa Fertig, which she demonstrated painting in class a couple of weeks ago.  Like the water lily picture I posted a couple of days ago, one element of my version is a very bold use of color.  I am still learning how to finesse the color and work with the attributes of watercolor paint! 

I am satisfied with the strong sense of color in my paintings, though.  When I took a watercolor workshop instructed by Jeanne Carbonetti last May, I was wowed by her use of color.  I felt my eyes were open to the possibility that I could move into a more expressionistic style in my own painting.  I am learning that I still have a lot more to learn, but I am moving in that direction!  See “My Artwork” page on this site for my original paintings.

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Watercolor Painting Class

I’m at home – inside looking out at fluffy white snow – the perfect way to spend a January day.  I am enjoying this opportunity to work on my own projects and develop my artistic interests. 

On Monday evenings, I take a watercolor class at White Bear Center for the Arts.  Here is my version of this week’s class project: a painting of a water lily. Our instructor Lisa Fertig creates the original painting, demonstrating how to do it in segments for the class. When she gets to each stopping point, we paint it on our own paper.  I am amazed that although everybody in the class sees the same original, each of us creates our own version which is very different from the others. All are beautiful in their own way!

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