Sunday, July 14, 2013

Andre's Garden...and living in the moment/thoughts on workshops!

8"x10" oil on linen mounted on archival panel

For more information or to purchase, click here.

Ah, living in the moment. How often do we truly do this?  I am back home in New England, though I'm sure I've left part of me behind in France....and I've definitely brought back part of France with me, too (in addition to a couple extra pounds).  

I got to practice the little bit of French that I remember (which is probably more like 'Franglish') and was treated so kindly. I've met a new gardening friend in the village of Frayssinet, Andre, a neighbor of our hosts - and I got to paint in his garden! So many varieties of roses, salvia, plum trees, oh the list goes on and on. He very proudly showed off a very interesting German rose, which was violet in color, and fragrant; rare for a hybrid.  

I'm determined to return to this beautiful part of France next year, and get some intense practice in the language before I go! Time to start looking into that right now!

So I've been home over a week or two now. Had a house full of company, spent time doing touristy fun things here in Mystic, CT and now that the house is empty again, am back to my paints.  Every day since I left France, the whole experience has been on my mind.

During our last dinner together in Frayssinet, I asked one of my new painter friends, "So, how will you do things differently once you get back home?" She thought I meant just painting technique-wise....but this trip was much more all-encompassing than that. Every day our senses were filled with beauty. Simple loving gestures like fresh flowers on the table at meals, a house full of art and color, literature and art books to peruse, gardens to wander, meals that delighted the eyes as well as the taste buds, and wonderful companions to share it all with! I've seriously spent a lot of time in the last two weeks thinking about how lovely it was to share all that! 

*****One of the habits I've wanted to return to was watercolor sketching, yet another reason for my interest in this workshop.  So -  yes, I will be sharing some watercolor postcards from our trip! Share this with a friend as well to help me grow my following!  If you sign up for my blog(or if you've already signed up & receiving my blog posts to your email), I'll be choosing two recipients from my blog followers each Friday for the next 3 Fridays to receive one of my watercolor postcards from France! 

So - for fellow artists that have asked about my workshop experience on this trip. I can honestly say that this was the BEST WORKSHOP I've had in the last 15 to 20 years that I've been taking workshops. Dreama Tolle Perry is so well prepared - which means YOU as the attendee will be prepared, and have what you need to learn. She's also POSITIVE, which is exactly what I needed at this point on my art journey.  Her students were 16 already pretty accomplished artists - all having their own styles. And not that any of us intend to become a "Dreama knockoff'- but her technique of transparent underpainting really provides such a glow. I've tinkered with various underpaintings (and no underpaintings) over the last several years.  So I'm excited to see how I end up integrating this into my work.  I can see why her workshops fill up a year in advance - and many of her workshop attendees are returns.

So there might not be history and religion on each of her workshops, (this on a side trip into the village church with our host)...

But you can count on having meals that are a visual and culinary feast! 

Great demos of techniques from this Parisian (Kentucky) with a great sense of humor, gentle wisdom and much encouragement.  Each day after I watched a demo, I'd tackle a new quest/focus on 'just one thing' to get around the learning curve. So each day felt like a success in taking on small learnable tasks - just one at a time. Each day I'd add one more task, so my the end of the workshop I had integrated several new techniques that I've been wanting to bring into my current work.  Now this is really getting FUN! 

Bringing some sketching back into my work habits with Loki the kitten looking on....

Loki wondering why art 'assistants' don't paint?!

Some of the "Purple Beret Society" goofing off, waiting for our official mug shot!

And a very grateful me....appreciating all that Dreama shares with her workshop classes! 

So if you are considering a workshop in your artistic future, my best advice is to "notice what you notice", paintings that really make you 'draw in a breath' and stop and be wowed over it.  That's when I really feel the need to seek out what that painter is doing and see if there's some method of that that I want to integrate into my work. (This is your clue- sign up for their workshops and find out how they do what they do!).  And then paint, paint, paint to see what gels in your working methods! Taking a class is never "one-stop-shopping" - at least not for me. It's more of an evolution. Like relationships grow, so does our relationship with our work. And that's what makes it exciting to go to work everyday! Aren't we lucky to be artists?!  

I do hope you'll continue to follow along on my blog as I share more of these new techniques and how I end up integrating them into my current work. Every thing we learn is a process. And that process is one grand journey. Bon voyage!

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Blogger Nancy Standlee said...

Excellent post

July 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Roxanne Steed said...

Thanks so much Nancy! I feel like you were along for the journey- you've put together an amazing watercolor journal of our experience! I truly do 'wish you were there'- you'd have loved it!!! Hope I get to meet you in person one day!

July 15, 2013 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger Julie Ford Oliver said...

Your post was such a delight to read. Thanks for taking the time to share it all. I am green with envy that you are lucky enough to afford a trip and workshop in France with the incomparable Dreama no less. Will look forward to seeing the new painting techniques. Andre's Garden is beautiful

July 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Roxanne Steed said...

Thanks Julie! I am indeed pinching myself now & then...(did that wonderfulness really happen?). It was truthfully, the trip of a lifetime - and certainly the best workshop I've ever attended. Dreama is truly empowering!...and Andre' was delightful!

July 15, 2013 at 2:27 PM  

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