Sunday, May 31, 2009

Percolating post-Art and Soul - Chapter One "J'arrive"

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I confess I have not blogged since before Art and Soul (late April).

Right, got that out of the way!
My nature is completely against all the rules of successful blogging (rule #1 - post often, #3 be timely, #2 be succinct) and journalism (rule #1 about journalism, be timely). I should know this; my (unused) BA is in journalism. But, I may as well just accept it as "normal" for me. What is this mea culpa about, anyway?

I have to percolate after big events.

Like the Art and Soul retreat, holidays in Europe, and to the mountains, that sort of thing. Not just get my stuff unpacked, catch up on sleep, realize just how messy my house actually is when I don't see it everyday -and can ignore the commode that needs a good dose of SnoBol - kind of stuff. (Isn't it funny how you don't notice the toothpaste collection at the bottom of your sink every time you brush your teeth when you see it several times a day? But it reaches out and smacks you in the guilt when you're away from it for a week...)

No, I mean I have to let all the sights and emotions and thoughts and creative pepper just settle and melange together into a rather rich - ok, congealed - stew before I'm ready to start talking about them. Before I'm ready to start creating again after all the firestorm of inspiration that these types of lifehappenings invoke for me. I even dreamed about it last night - and the word "fungestation" actually was said to me in my dream. I looked it up this morning on Google, and I didn't like the rather distasteful implications that this word apparently has in the internet world - but I think I'll keep that word in my personal lexicon anyway and just have my own meaning.

Fungestation - nurturing happy and art-filled ideas and feelings until they have stewed richly enough that they are ready to be brought into the world. Fungestation is synonymous with "percolation."

Percolation (fungestation) time varies depending on the impact of said event. If I had to estimate it though, I'd say the congealed cassoulet that is my mind after a big creative fandango is ready to serve about four weeks later.

So, I'm thinking I'm about ready to discuss Art and Soul Virginia - which I attended at the end of April, and here we are, May 31. I think I experienced about every emotion that could possibly run through my soul in the course of four days - I was overwhelmed on an hourly basis. I met so many wonderful ladies that I just know I'd be art-sisters with if we didn't live hours, days, continents away from in real life. I had the privilege of studying with gifted and generous teachers. I was the recipient of so much kindness and generosity. I was living in a happy, peaceful, glittering, colorful, all-is-right-in-the-world art village with happy hour and room service.
Oh, and just so you know, I'm a newbie to this, and this was a spur of the moment decision to attend at all kind of trip. Although I've been happily enveloped in the world of mixed media art for about four years, up till this point I had only dreamed of attending one of the big retreats. The idea of taking classes with people who you've only met through their books! Talking with other people who understand the many properties of gesso! Who have as many adhesives as I do! I decided the week before the trip to attend. Dare to dream...
Chapter One - J'arrive

I arrived (already tired from getting up waywayway early to get to the airport for a 7 a.m. flight) in Hampton, VA - beautiful large, dense walls of trees, cool, cloudy skies, and the smell of wildflowers and clover and the sea in the air. So emotionally soothing. Anyway, check in to the Embassy Suites (they have the softest towels!) and who should I see emerging from the elevator - LK Ludwig! Incarnate! I felt a bit gobsmacked at this sighting of Altered Art celebrity (aka - BNA (big name artist) stardusting), and I'd only been at the convention about two minutes. I knew, as though I hadn't known already, that the next few days were going to bring out the embarrasing fangirl in my otherwise sensible 40-something self.

Up to my room, I open the door, and there was my never-before-met (and completely last minute got-lucky-to-get-roomates with) roommate for the next four days - Traci Bunkers (and Juliana Coles, but I didn't meet her till later). Celebrity roommates! (I try to stem verbal diarrhea of babbling on how much I admire Traci's multi-layered paint washes, and instead get my rolling tote of art supplies in the door without stubbing toe on wheels again.)

Right - must act like an adult and put clothes away. Yes, very sensible thing to avoid wrinkles. Clothes go in closet...clothes go on hell, I want to go to the convention NOW!

20 minutes later - off to the Art and Soul check-in. Meet the unflappable Glenny Densem-Moir (who should be nominated for sainthood). Glenny is the memorizer of faces, organizer of the schedules, smoother out of issues, and general chatelaine of the event. As I'd only registered a week before the event, I got my welcome packet upon arrival, and was expecting a few photocopied sheets of instructions and a map of the convention center.

What I got was a lovely (deeply practical!) totebag/backpack in hot pink with Art and Soul emblazoned on it, a beautiful keepsake souvenir book with a 45 record and little "faux records" with all my classes and instructors in the record sleeves, a sheet of Claudine's sticky backed canvas, a tube of Golden brand paint, and some other assorted insundry stuff. Off to make a matchbox shrine (see above) at the Make'n'Take, and a souvenir make-your-own commemorative necklace, and general ogling of the many fine items at the Collage store. The real "Collage" store is in Portland, OR, but they apparenly pack up the magical caravan and bring it to the A&S events. They had stuff that even I didn't recognize. I have an entire drawer of adhesives for every need, that they had stuff I hadn't heard of amazed me.

Chapter Two - Drawing it Out

(sneak preview) - "We all can draw. though we may not expect it, or how we think it should look. We can't draw even a straight line. Well, it's time I show you otherwise, because drawing a straight line has nothing to do with expression. We will not be drawing crumpled bags, shading a box, or any other mechanical drawing exercises taught in art school. You will learn to make your marks in your own strange and beautiful hand. Your drawings will not look like mine, they will look like your own..." (from Juliana Coles' Drawing it Out: An Intro to Expressive Drawing)

As the last time I took a drawing class was in Junior High school, with an art teacher who was either only accepting of the fine arts, or more interested in the cuter girls than me. I never really did get my cones and boxes to look all shaded like boxes are supposed to look.

But really, who wants to draw boxes??

Until next post....


Diane O. said...

Hey Jane,

I didn't realize it when you made a comment on my blog about Traci that you were the same person from this blog. I've been following your blog for a while now. I'm anxious to read the rest of your reports of Art & Soul. It was great fun and can't wait for next year.

Anne said...

Hi, Jane! Sounds like you had a blast! Can't wait to hear more about all the fun! :-)

jo said...

Hi from Kiwi land Jane!

I have been checking your blog since arriving back in NZ two and half weeks ago! I had such a blast at A&S - what an experience! Oh, and way too many margueritas! Lovely meeting you and can't wait for the Harpoon Larry's report to percolate!

You've inspired me to get onto actually creating my own blog rather than talking about it! It is a goal I set myself for this year and I need to get going on it.


...Cindy... said...

I am definitely jealous! Your prose is excellent as well. Can't wait for Chapter 2!

Patti said...

Thanks so much for this wonderful description of your first time at Art & Soul. I'm looking forward to mine, in Portland this fall, and reading your blog is making me LONG for the months to fly by!