Elida is well known for her art, women and wine classes that she teaches in her hometown of Camas, WA, as well as in Italy, Spain and Greece. I'm thrilled to have her come teach in my hometown of Bainbridge Island late this summer. It is a beautiful time of year here in the Pacific Northwest and we have lots of fun things planned. If you're familiar with Elida, than you know you're in store for making some great art, drinking wine and lots and lots of laughs.
All the details and registration coming! Stay tuned.
The first Nurture Your Creative Seed retreat was so, so good. Good for the soul as well as good for all things creative. Connections were made by kindred spirits. We shared stories, laughter, as well as a few tears. And by the end, we walked away friends.
I'm savoring all the goodness that was a part of this weekend, as well as seeing a dream come to fruition. Major lessoned learned on that front! I'm working on finding the right words that will give the magic of the retreat justice. Stay tuned for more pictures and more stories of the goodness as it unfolds.
"Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected."
A few years back, I boarded a bus on my way to Brave Girl's camp in Idaho. I sat in my seat, nervous and excited for the adventure that lied ahead. As I stared out the window looking at the beautiful scenery, I kept hearing this gal laughing in the back. She was having a great time meeting a new friend and enjoying the ride. Turns out this girl was Jeanne Oliver and she ended up being my roomie for the duration of camp. And the laughing never stopped! But besides having an awesome sense of humor, she is also genuinely kind, honest, smart and enormously talented. She is a gal who truly walks her talk and I admire that so much about her. I am thrilled and honored that she will be teaching at my first retreat. I have taken a couple of her online classes and I just love her down to earth, easy to follow, method of teaching. Please enjoy this interview with the lovely Jeanne Oliver.
How long have you been making art and how has your work evolved over time?
I guess I have been making art since I was a little girl. The ways I expressed art and creativity has taken on many different forms...but I was always making art. It has evolved as I have. The more I know myself, trust my instincts, listen to my heart and believe I have a story to share...the story appears.
What does being an artist mean for you?
It means making your world beautiful whether it is with flowers on the table, music coming from your instrument, paint on your hands, a handmade meal on the table, words spilling off a piece of paper...whatever YOU have that is beautiful that needs to get out...and you let it out.
Where do you get your inspiration? Friends, walks, the Bible, poetry, movies, magazines, museums, art stores....everywhere. I keep a journal with me at all times so I can capture those little creative ideas and thoughts that would otherwise slip away.
You teach both online and in person workshops.Tell me a little bit about what you like best about each type of class. Online just opens the whole world up to me. It allows me to connect with people from across the globe and individuals that speak a different language than me. It is incredible. It also gives people the confidence to try something that may seem a little scary at first from the comfort of their home. Once they realize that it isn't scary then I get the most beautiful emails because they didn't realize what was inside of them.
Teaching in person gives me the time and luxury of connecting with individuals personally. I get one on one time or face time. We get to play off one another and connect that way. I love watching how different people create, what their method is, the colors they choose and how they work through their creative process. I love when you watch someone create something incredible that they didn't even know they could do.
How would you describe your teaching style? Very relaxed. Mistakes make the best art and I don't think there is a right or wrong way to make art. I like to share about myself and my journey, I share techniques and tools that I use over and over and I believe that getting your hands dirty is the best method to making art. I love to laugh and I always hope that my times teaching are full of joy.
What inspired you to start teaching?
Being asked:-) I didn't go looking for it but I am so thrilled that I get to connect with women and men this way. I only accept 3-4 teaching positions a year because my children are still young. I feel that it makes each retreat such a special time for me too because I don't have the opportunity to do it all of the time.
What advice would you give to someone who doesn't feel like they are creative? We ALL have creativity in us. It may look different than your best friend or sister...but you have it. Creativity takes practice. Sometimes people can get frustrated with themselves because they can't produce a masterpiece right away. They give up before they even have given themselves a chance. When my children first began piano in first grade they didn't know the notes, theory, how to read music etc. Now my 7th grader can play so beautifully that I can't believe I get to listen to his music each day. Practice! Give yourself a chance.
Can you share with us one of your favorite quotes? I could give you 100 but here are a few...
Failure happens all of the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it. -Mia Hamm
I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. -E.E. Cummings
Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. -Michelangelo
Thank you so much Jeanne for sharing with us. I truly can't wait to see you, oh so soon!
If you'd like to join Jeane Oliver, Mindy Lacefield and myself for a long weekend of creating, connecting, discovering and sharing, we'd love to have you! But don't wait..... Just a handful of spots are available.
A few years ago I had the privilege of meeting Mindy at an art retreat. I was instantly drawn to her big smile and adorable style. We created a lovely bond during the course of the retreat and had great conversations over a glass of wine at night along with the other gals. I so thankful that our paths crossed and I'm over the moon excited that she'll be teaching at my very first retreat!
I asked Mindy if she would share some insights with us regarding her art and her teaching style. She graciously accepted.
How long have you been making art and how has your work evolved over time?
I started painting in 2006. Wow, has it already been 7 years?!
I had an epiphany when I saw the full moon over the Atlantic after driving back from a wine tasting in Santa Barbara wine country.....that I wanted to start painting. When I came home, I couldn't help but paint that beautiful moon that was etched in my memory. I look back at it now and it seems so amateur, but I keep that painting to remind myself of those humble beginnings. I always tell people to go back to my older work to see how I've evolved. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/timssally/sets/72157600457334817/)
What does being an artist mean for you
I seriously think everyone is an artist....or can be. I think you only have to insert love, passion and the desire to create. Once that happens, it is inevitable .....you set aside fear and put your brush to canvas.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my childhood. The nostalgia of simpler times. The neon colors. Finding the beauty among the chaos. And choosing to illuminate those tiny moments of pure bliss from the everyday occurrences.
You teach both online and in person workshops. Tell me a little bit about what you like best about each type of class.
I love teaching online because I'm able to reach folks from all over the world. We can come together in a virtual classroom to support each other and offer encouraging words. The support to fellow students has absolutely been wondrous to witness. The artwork inspires me right back. Teaching in person offers me the ability to meet my students face-to-face. To see the emotion in their eyes when they make a discovery that they didn't know they possessed is just about the most magical thing I think I've ever seen.
How would you describe your teaching style?
My teaching style is loose, free-flowing, and intuitive. I like to tell my students to leave your brain at the door. Over-thinking is not allowed. I encourage them to paint quickly without much thought. If you worry about the outcome you tend to become frozen or blocked. And if you love the process of painting you will want to do it all the time. The actual process is all about building up layers of symbols, words, color, marks. And its all about creating from the heart of a child. To hold a pencil like a child and scribble till your hearts content!!
What inspired you to start teaching?
I didn't ever set out on this journey to teach. I wanted to paint the way I wanted to paint, that was all.
I was a student at another art retreat and someone came up to me and asked me if they could sit by me and watch me paint during our free time. As she looked on I began giving her simple instructions on how I paint a face and what how color can be used in achieving depth and dimension within the face. She then went and painted her own girl in my style. I was then forever hooked!
What advice would you give to someone who doesn't feel like they are creative?
I think we are all creative. Human beings were made like their Creator. We were designed to be a creative thinking being. I feel if you can set fear aside and possess the desire and willingness to learn (yes, you can learn to draw. I did) then there is nothing stopping you. I hear all the time that people don't think they have the God-given talent to draw, paint, knit, or play the piano. But it can be learned. There is no secret potion that you can drink that will instantly make you a great painter. But there is passion. There is persistence. And there is getting in the studio every day. Yes, it is work. But if you LOVE painting, then you will want to put in the work. You can't not. It becomes a part of your soul that you can no longer live without. All you have to do is set aside fear and make those beautiful mistakes. Because herein lies the magic!
Can you share with us one of your favorite quotes?
I have a few......
"It took me 4 years to learn to paint like Raphael and a lifetime to paint like a child." - Pablo Picasso
“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.” ~Neil Gaiman
“All art requires courage.” ~Anne Tucker
“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” - Nietzsche
Thank you so much for your time Mindy! I can't wait to spend some good quality time with you, painting, laughing and connecting!
I hope you'll consider joining us for the Nurture Your Creative Seed retreat! Please see the retreat page for more information and find out how you can sign up to be a part of this special weekend. Shine on! Serena