Sunday, October 5, 2008

Art & Soul 2008 Portland

I've been visual journalling for more than 15 years now and in all that time I have only taken one class which actually was even earlier than that, stamp carving. There were four people there, me, the two friends I came with and the instructor. It was a valuable class and I still carve stamps now and then. I've wanted to attend Art & Soul and ArtFest for years now and the closest I got was going to Vendor night two years ago with Bree. It's always been a problem with the timing, the money, or the distance. Another barrier for me is that I can find the information somewhere else, or figure it out myself.

In the meantime, I have joined PDX Visual Journaling Group led by Donna Bauermiller. Donna is very very gifted. Not only can she show you her growth as an artist, she is willing to. And she is one of the most natural encouragers I have ever encountered. In any meeting she will draw you out and find out things I would never think to ask. She also has a great sense of humor. I love this woman. And I have really come to love the class experience.

So, I decided I wanted to go this year to at least one class, but when the classes opened I didn't have the money and then it was too late. But someone dropped the class I wanted to take and I made it. So yesterday I took the workshop Book of the Night by Juliana Coles. Was it worth it? Yes. It takes me at least a day to determine how I feel about something, a book, a movie, and in this case, the class. I chose it because I like dark themes. I expected it to be emotionally draining. It wasn't. It was draining, I felt absolutely exhausted by the end of the class. I was quite happy to be done.

On reflection, the class isn't complete yet. There are exercises to be done yet which are in the workshop book we were given. And I've thought of a couple of my own. The other thing this class has shown me is that I need to take more classes. Not so much on theme levels as on technique levels. I found painting with acrylic to be very seductive. I don't particularly want to produce art on canvas, but I do want to know more about composition, balance, and when to quit! Or when not to. And improve my drawing skills, which I have been working on on my own. And maybe get in a bit of writing with Susan Wooldridge.

Another benefit was the swaps. I prepared 35 (gave one away at work) little packets. I knew I wouldn't finish 35 of anything, so I sorted through most of my stockpiles and whenever I found 35 of something, I put one in each bag. Eventually they filled an entire totebag. My co-inhabitant was adamant that I should return with an empty bag. I made about a dozen swaps and gave the rest away. It was well worth it. On every level. :)

And there were the benefits of interaction with the other women at our table. It was delightful. And going to the vendor sale and running into so many familiar faces? Priceless. I can't wait for next year, so I'd better start stowing some $$. I have a lone sock somewhere....