SIX DAYS AGO, I ARRIVED AT SQUAM ART WORKSHOPS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE.
The woodsy scene there is all kinds of gorgeous — quaint cabins, an unbelievable lake, awesome women everywhere — but there I was with knots in my stomach.
I was there to teach a totally new class — one that involved more movement than painting and more watercolor, ink and pastels than acrylic. Most of my security blankets, comfort zones and feelings of “I got this,” had left the room.
To be honest, this feeling of stepping out beyond the edges of what is known is one I simultaneously resist and crave. There is an aliveness that happens out there in the mystery, but damn, it’s uncomfortable.
It’s also where the magic happens.
When we can’t rely on patterns, habits, and in this case expertise, we are forced to expand — to rise to the occasion, to experiment with new tools and find new ways of communicating our message. There’s kind of no other choice.
Over the course of the six-hour workshop, we touched on many of my creative philosophies, but in new ways.
We experimented with walking meditation, dance, contact improvisation, figure drawing, drawing with our eyes closed, moving with our eyes closed, spilling ink, collaborating, sharing gratitude and resting….yep, resting.
My students did not walk away with large, colorful, multi-layered paintings (as per usual), but they did walk away energized and inspired…with a few really awesome mixed-media paintings to boot.
My greatest hope is that by moving outside of our collective comfort zones, we were all able to stir something awake and walk away with fresh eyes and open hearts.
I know this is what happened to me.