Thursday, December 4, 2014

She Matters Art Retreat

I love to paint, but I have been feeling a little lost concerning my art work. I wasn't sure what I wanted it to be or how to take it to the next level. I was feeling kind of stuck. It's hard for me to paint or even think, with little ones climbing all over me and I haven't had much time for me lately. I loved working on those illustrations for my friends book, but have been struggling to work on illustrations because I need a story line to inspire me. 

Lucky for me my husband and best friend Becky gave me the push to attend Christy Tomlinson's She Art Matters Retreat. It was such a gift from my husband that I got to go and I felt like one lucky girl! He knew how much I would love it and it was a dream come true!

Becky and I flew to Utah and drove up to Idaho. It was hard to leave our precious little kiddos, but it was such a fun adventure and I'm so glad we got to do it together.

Day #1

We were tickled pink to arrive and be greeted by a big huge hug from Christy. Her home is so beautiful and we were greeted by so much warmth. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. We had a yummy meal of baked potatoes with all the fixins. 

This was our room for the retreat. It was so beautiful and felt like we were in a fancy hotel! We even had presents waiting for us on the end of the bed. There was a She Matters sweat shirt and pack of essentials for our home away from home. We were so excited!

After changing into some comfy clothes we headed out to the living room for a little welcome chat. Christy shared her story of how she discovered mixed media art and why painting girls means so much to her. She was so open and her story was so heartfelt. It really helped me to see that I'm on my own journey and I'll get there some day. It's ok to not have it all figured out right now. As I pursue the things I'm passionate about in life I'll create my own wonderful, beautiful, messy story. The key is to be happy along the way. Dreams are worth chasing. I need to be grateful for this part of my life now. I love that my kids are little and while it is challenging, it has it's own rewards. Like sweet one year old hugs, a 7 year old who looks up to me, a 5 year old's endless giggles, and a 2 year old who's my best friend. 

We each introduced ourselves and shared why we were there. It was a great way to get to know everyone and to speak from the heart. We also got another fun present, a beautiful sketch book and purse with treats. Chirsty's home is so beautiful. 

Becky and I could hardly sleep because we felt like 2 kids on Christmas morning. We were so excited to get into the studio the next day! Everyone in our group was up bright and early and we all enjoyed an amazing breakfast of homemade crepes and fruit. They have this homemade syrup that is the most amazing thing you've ever tasted. Breakfast was so decadent. While we were eating Christy came and joined us with curlers in her hair. She is just the coolest! She made me feel so at ease and her easy going nature helped us all to relax and fit right in. We were all waiting on the edge of our seats for the time when we got to go into the studio and it was worth the wait. 

Day #2

Isn't it amazing?? Christy's desk is the big red table in front and our seats were at the tables around it. I loved all the inspiration every where you looked. It's decorated beautifully with bright colors and lots of art work. We were greeted by lots of canvases, a sketch book, paint brushes and other fun goodies all at our desks. 

Christy started off by showing us around and then gave us some sketch prompts. Today we were making her flower girls. If you are interested in learning how to make these yourself. You're in luck because she bottled up all this artsy goodness and put it in an online class, She Art Workshop 4. These girls were so fun to learn to make and you can do them so may different ways. I just loved it. 


I loved this sketching exercise, because Christy was teaching us how to be artists ourselves. We were learning the tools we needed to take home and create our own works of art. This is not a "color by number" or "do as I'm doing" kind of class. She shows you how anyone can be an artist. She shows you how to find your own style. 

Then we started sketching faces. I had fun working with raw charcoal. It helped me to loosen up and not fuss over details. 

This is my sketch of the girl I decided to do. She is called a flower girl because of the fun flowers in her hair. I added some feathers for fun. Hello beautiful. 

Then we started adding the layers of paper and paint. Here is Christy showing us the next steps on her canvas. 

We stopped for lunch and had some yummy baked mac and cheese, bacon wrapped water chestnuts (which were soooo good), broccoli bacon salad, and pickled beets from Ben's garden. The food here is amazing. It's all cooked by Christy's awesome husband Ben. Each meal the table is beautifully decorated by Margie Romeny-Aslett. It made me feel so spoiled to be so pampered!

 After lunch we got a tour of the ware house. This is where they store and ship all the stuff from their Scarlet Lime Mixed Media store. It was fun to do a little shopping. Then it was back to the studio. My girl is coming along. 

After a whole day of creating in the studio, we went back to the house for dinner. We started with a blue cheese wedge salad with bacon and koolaid pickled onions. Then we had roast beef with red potatoes, grilled carrots and Ben's homemade biscuits. It was delicious! It felt like eating at nice restaurant for every meal!

I was feeling very full from a wonderful day of creating and wonderful food, when I came back to my room after dinner. We had these wonderful goodies on our beds, a beautiful homemade necklace and chocolate! What more could a girl ask for? I really love the theme, "She Matters." It was so good to remember that I matter. My dreams and hopes, my wishes and fears, just little old me, imperfections and all. I matter. 

After dinner we have free time to do whatever we want. Of course I headed back to the art studio to play and hangout. It is so amazing that the art studio is open to us 24/7. Everything we need is right at our finger tips- amazing food, the entire art studio, a warm bed to rest in, it's all right there. I worked into the night on my flower girl and finished her up. I love her. She's a representation of me. I wanted her to be modern and a little edgy. I wrote, "Believe in Yourself" on the side to remind me to believe in my abilities and my journey. 

Day #3

This breakfast was my favorite. It was absolutely perfect. We had a homemade German pancake with sausage and an amazing fruit salad. It was the perfect combo of hearty and sweet. There also was some more of the amazing syrup to add on top. It was so good, I was dipping my fruit in it too! 

I had to wear my gorgeous necklace from last night today. I love it. 

Then we headed back to the studio to start our second class, Quilt Girls. We started by creating a fun beautiful background. I picked a paper pad from the Lucky Charm collection by Dear Lizzy. It's one of my favorites. 

After creating the background, we went back to sketching girls. Christy would demo and then we would come up with our own ideas. I love that we were encouraged to make it our own.

This is the sketch I decided to go with. 

Then we took a break for lunch. It had started to snow outside. Lunch was delicious. It was chicken salad sandwiches on a crescent with beef wrapped asparagus, and a yummy spinach salad with raspberries, almonds and oranges. I liked our little tissue paper "junque" bow over our silver wear. 

 After lunch we headed back to the studio to continue working on our girls. It was so fun to be in the studio listening to the crackling fire, painting away while it snowed outside. It was so cozy and warm. 

When we all got good an hungry we headed back to the house for dinner. I adored this table setting. It was one of my favorites. It was so perfect for an art retreat. I love how bright and colorful it was and we each even got a paint brush on our plates. For dinner we had super yummy BBQ meatloaf with candied carrots and homemade corn roasted cornbread. Yum. 

We found a few more goodies on our bed. Handmade stamped leather bracelets by Christy and vintage earrings from her daughter Allie. I was so excited to get these!!

Day #4

Today was a fun day on the town. We hopped in the car and headed to a local burger place for yummy burgers and fries. Then we went to downtown Idaho Falls to hit some local shops and antique stores. 

It was really fun to get out and check out some local places. It was really snowing while we were shopping. There were big huge snowflakes!

After shopping we came back to the studio to finish our quilt girls. The snow was magical and fun. It was really special for the girls from warmer climates who don't get to see snow very often. 

This is the walk to the art studio, our happy place. 

The art studio is full of every kind of amazing artsy goodness and we had access to it all. I was excited to try out a geli plate, which I've never done and play with some new colored pencil technics. 

Isn't this dreamy? or is it just me? lol. 

Friday night Ben cooked the most amazing dutch oven dinner. It was amazing. This table setting and dinner were my favorite! I loved this rustic setting and I loved the shutter on the table! For dinner we had ribs, chicken thighs, cheesy potatoes, grilled brussel sprouts (which I loved!!), and homemade bread. Then we topped it all off with peach cobbler! It was delicious! 

That night we headed back to the studio to paint and I added the finishing touches to my girl. She some how ended up with pink hair. I tried to fight it and gave her a few different hair styles, but in the end she just needed this cute hot pink pixie hair. She is so different from other girls I have done and I just love her!

After dinner on the last night we gathered in the living room and took this group shot of all the lovely ladies and one of our prized pieces of art work. Then Christy gave us each one last gift. This one was my favorite one of all. 

She gave us this collection of prints and cards of her art work. It was such a meaningful gift to me because it was like Christy was giving us a piece of her heart. I felt like the luckiest girl to get to experience this amazing retreat. 

I am so happy to have made amazing new friendships and to continue on my creative journey. I'm so grateful to Christy's whole family and their hospitality. I'm grateful to my husband and my mom and their wonderful support. It was amazing. I feel totally inspired to go paint some more. I loved it!