I’m heading to Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA next week to attend Artfest. It is the 13th anniversary for Artfest, but my first year participating, and unfortunately, Artfest’s last year of operation. Artfest is 3 days of art workshops, evening events, and mingling with like-minded souls.
Even though I live in nearby Seattle, I don’t know that I would have known anything about Artfest, or met any of the amazing artists that I know now, if it weren’t for an email I received one day that inspired me to be brave…
A few years ago I went to my first art retreat. I’d received a newsletter from artist Mati McDonough that said she was going to be teaching a mixed media art class at An Artful Journey, a retreat down in the mountains of Los Gatos. Mati and I met in a class, years before, back when I still lived in San Francisco. I watched as her art career blossomed; her hard work and success has been a great inspiration for me. When I heard that she was teaching, I felt that it was an invitation that couldn’t be ignored. So I packed my bags, left my kids with the grandparents (Thank you, Mom and Dad!!) and hopped on a plane. At the retreat, Mati was teaching along side Kelly Rae Roberts, who I wasn’t familiar with before the class. Another incredible woman and artist, Kelly Rae has extensive guidance available for anyone interested in turning their art into a career. (Check out her Flying Lessons for art business advice.) Anyway… their class totally rocked. I was blown away by all the creative energy in the class and all the amazing attendees that I met. There were a lot of established artists there. Amazing people! It was like being surrounded by a sea of really friendly art rock stars. I was a bit overwhelmed – and totally hooked.
I returned to An Artful Journey the following year to paint with Jesse Reno. If you ever have a chance to take a class with him – DO IT! Jesse is an incredible, intuitive artist, and storyteller. His teachings have influenced my art quite bit. And I am grateful for that. I enjoyed his class so much, that I am taking it again next week at Artfest in Port Townsend, WA. I will also be taking a class taught by the sweetest girl I know, Mindy Lacefield. I love her work!! If you are attending Artfest, stop by Mindy’s table at the marketplace Friday night and say hi – I’ll be helping her out!
Art retreats are highly addictive. They empower people in amazing ways… being immersed in so much creative energy – people carry it back home with them, harness it, and SOAR! I’ve seen so many fledgling artists really take off, in just the few years since I first met them. With two young children as passengers (or more like co-pilots!), I feel like the wheels are just getting off the runway for me now, but that’s okay. It’s way better than sitting in the airport lobby, just admiring the art from afar.