September 26, 2009

my art escape~ part one...grab a cup of tea...this is a long one and you've been warned

{blondie...the valley ridge greeter}
I've been going to valley ridge art studio for the past three years and sometimes there just
aren't enough words to describe the people or places that fill your heart. when I first started
taking classes there, I was really into mixed media art and now...not so much...but they still let me come and play.
they, being kathy and bill, who have become a big part of my wisconsin life, even though
I'm no longer making art the way I used to.
they have a way of bringing students and instructors together in an environment that nourishes your soul and fills your heart with a creative spark
that you most likely didn't even know you had.
last year I took a class with misty mawn and was blown away by her talent and warm heart, her generosity and patience and her laughter and honesty.
then we were both at squam, in new hampshire last september for an art retreat,
where I didn't take her class, but where I became her friend.
so of course this year, even though I haven't had a paint brush in my hand for months, I took her class and once again was blown away
by her gentleness as she guided all of us into a territory
that I like to refer to as
"scary as hell"
are so incredibly hard to paint and misty makes it looks so easy.
she gives hours and hours of help and praise and ideas and suggestions and demonstrations
many students get it and even perfect it.
I don't.
I didn't get it last year and I still didn't quite get it this year.
don't get me wrong...sure I can paint a face and even draw one, but not one that I love or want to hang on my wall or share with the world.
if you were to get robbed
you would not want me to be your sketch artist
because they would most likely NEVER find him unless his name was tattoed on his face
I have pretty much figured out how to paint backgrounds and add texture and control my color a bit better and make interesting landscape lines and transfer images and love my stabilo pencil
that's enough for me right now.
this is lorraine and right before heading to valley ridge she commented on my blog and I told her I was leaving in a few days to take a class with misty mawn at valley ridge and she wrote back and told me she was too...okay, now this is where the 6 degrees of separation and kevin bacon come into play....I mean really,what are the chances ? she lives in utah and they {lorraine and her friend heidi} flew all the way here just to be in misty's class. now that's impressive since I only had to drive an hour and fifteen minutes. I know, lucky me, right ?
~I also commented and told her she has great hair and wow does she ever~
now let's move on to heather. sweet heather, who was a stranger a year ago and then we were roommates at squam and just like that, a new friendship was made. she sent an email to me awhile back and asked if she could come and stay with me and take misty's class and I was all like "are you kidding me...yes yes yes"
she had also taken a class with misty earlier this year while at artfest and sometimes there are instructors that you just can't get enough of and she wanted more, too. so in she flew from new mexico and off we went to valley ridge to play and learn and laugh until tears poured out of us.
{there's more to heather, but that's in part two}
since our cottage is only 30 minutes from valley ridge
I always stay there while I'm taking my classes.
this time I got to fill the guest bedroom with heather and misty.
we headed out to dinner
after the wine and cheese reception that kathy and bill always have after the first day of classes
to my newest favorite little place to eat in mineral point
cafe 4
we sat outside in the cool and damp fall air
surrounded by twinkle lights and candle light
eating yummy fire baked pizzas
then headed back to the warmth of the cottage
where I prayed we had hot water
{a family friend and praying can actually make a temperamental hot water heater work}

we didn't get a whole lot of sleep
since talking late into the night happens so easily
morning came a little too quickly
we were ready to head back and paint and get messy

our class was a thursday/friday class and misty is now teaching the saturday/sunday class
{I really don't know how she does it}
when she's done teaching
I get a few more days of her friendship and laughter
hopefully a photo shoot if mother nature cooperates
before she leaves
I'm not sure why people think medicine comes in a bottle
I think medicine comes in the form of art
of any kind
of course people
especially girlfriends
part two will arrive shortly
when my mind settles a little bit


  1. I just love your blog.

    And don't worry, my painting would make you look like Picasso.

  2. i was with you every step of the way sounds amazing...i like the medicine bottle thought too!

  3. Your time there sounds so wonderful. Friends and art... and that cute little dog to greet you when you arrived!

    I definitely want to check on some of these art getaways. I'm not an artist but would enjoy trying to be an artist!

    Can't wait to hear Part II!

  4. oh beth it sounds just delightful! i've not taken an art class since 8th grad which was literally decades ago. i hope to be able to attend one of these some day soon.

    your attitude is inspiring!! thanks for sharing.

  5. What a perfect way to spend time, creating with friends. Great for the soul :-)

  6. oh how i would have loved to have taken misty's class with you, beth. would love to gleaned some inspiration from you both!! :)

  7. oh fantastic....I so long for a weekend like this - I'm so happy yours was fantastic. And girls at the cabin, even better.

  8. i SO agree with your last comment! for me, medicine comes through art. and choice. but mostly art. that could be a whole other post for another day. but i so agree with you!

    i'm so glad that you're able to go to these things and explore. i just told andrew that i wanted to take an art class because i kind of liked painting this weekend. i looked at the squam stuff and it looked so interesting. you're interesting. and i like how you're always doing. that inspires me.

  9. What a wonderful experience you are having!!! It sounds absolutely heavenly- down to the twinkle lights and pizza! Enjoy!

  10. I'm living vicariously through your words. Just kidding, but seriously this is great stuff. I really like your photo of all the paintings on the wall. It must be amazing to just get away and take art classes for a weekend. I'm so jealous. No, I'm not jealous, I'm happy and excited for you. I just wish I could find one of these art retreats or something like it nearby where I live. I took an art class in 8th grade. That was in 1978 and I would love to be able to find a creative anything inside of me.

    Can't wait for part 2. I love it.

  11. Elizabeth MacCrellish has a bumper sticker that read "Art Saves Lives" - and that is so true ! What magic !!!! I have a feeling that one day it will be my turn to head out Wisconsin way to play the time away ! Looks like you and your pals really soaked it up well.
    Can't wait to hear part 2 !

  12. this sound like such fun! so glad you had a wonderful time.

  13. That is what my dad (he's an artist) says too...that faces are HARD! They must be...the tiny little subtleties that make each of us unique, how on earth do you draw that?

    When I first discovered blogs, Misty's was one of the first I started reading...long long before I started my own. Long before I even considered that I might be able to write on a blog of my own. She was wonderful...I will have to go and visit her blog again. It's been a while. How wonderful that you know her and are able to take her classes!


  14. Hi Beth instead of tea I grabbed myself some coffee hope that fine with you too. Love to read about and get myself into your life...And it seems you've just had the most wonderful time. But which one is your painting????

  15. Yeah for art retreats! I'm going to have to move that up on my list of "must dos" after reading this and all the other recent posts about squam. There is something magical about a group of people in one room with the same goal. Looking forward to seeing more about this.

  16. Beth, there's not a person with less artistic ability than me, but I enjoyed every word of this post. I do excel at eating and think I could be a Cafe 4 in Mineral Point in a couple of hours. I even checked out their website. Delicious food that's healthy. Imagine that!

  17. Sounds fabulous...
    Any place with a cute dog like that is OK with me.
    And the art - amazing.

  18. FIrst, I was roaring because the thought of you doing police sketches just tickled me! But when you said the part about medicine and the bottle -- well, that got me where I live. Sometimes I think the reason I am so tightly wrapped is because I don't have the combination of time/energy/motivation and creative camraderie to turn that into medicine! Bravo, my friend! I absolutely cannot wait for part 2.

  19. Oh, I wanted wanted to hear about this. My friend, I love your passions and the way that you always follow your heart. You inspire me. Daily.

  20. you are the bestest! i so adore you & am so grateful for your friendship. thank you for everything & for taking my class, it was so nice having you there with me! xoxoxooxoxox

  21. you are the bestest! i so adore you & am so grateful for your friendship. thank you for everything & for taking my class, it was so nice having you there with me! xoxoxooxoxox

  22. "I'm not sure why people think medicine comes in a bottle ... I think medicine comes in the form of art of any kind and of course people"
    Wow, love, love, love those words and what fun to see some pictures from your experience. It all sounds so lovely. Jealous? Me? Yep.

  23. The art work that was produced from this class looks excellent to me. I don't think I could produce that sort of quality after a year of learning.

    The friendship you have with theses girls sounds very special.

  24. I just saw you at Misty's (blog). And now I find she was at your cabin. You must have had such fun!

  25. Dear Beth you are a sweet spirit. Thank you so much for your kindness. I was so happy to meet you at VR. I hope we can meet again sometime soon. You are a lovely person. What a lucky girl you were to be able to spend so much time with Misty- what a lovely soul she is too!

  26. Sounds like so much fun - yay for you!


  27. WOW! What a wonderful retreat! I would love to attend someday. Sounds like you had a lot of fun and laughs.
    Art and girlfriends...what could be better?

  28. Wow, really loved this post! and your blog too. Wish I was there with you.
    I am such a big believer in the healing properties of Art.

  29. what a grand time it was! thank you again for being such a fabulous hostess. it was truly pampering to be in such care! words can't say enough! xoxo


**I love reading the comments you leave, as they make me feel like we're sitting in my kitchen, having a cup of tea, discussing life and wondering where all the time has gone ...beth