last week i spent a few days on the beautiful outer banks of north carolina and attended my third art retreat there. this was a year i expected to go without the space and grace of a creative kindred gathering, but the stars aligned and a few of my work classes were cancelled during the week of serendipity. i couldn't attend the full time of the retreat, but i fully lived two days of love and creativity and stayed offsite in a lovely and peaceful home.*
i spent one day writing in a circle led by two remarkable women, amy and maya, the founders of food for the soul train. the writing exercises were powerful and we all brought our courage and love when it was time to share our words. i loved that the deep intensity of the writing was lightened by humor woven throughout, an egg-in-spoon relay race on the lawn, writing in the sand and making tiny books, maya-and-amy-style.
my second day was spent soaking up the goodness of artist alena hennessy. the way alena welcomed us and created a warm and gentle space was so lovely and inspiring. when i attended my very first art retreat in 2009, the painting class i signed up for was the scariest thing on my schedule. five years later, thanks to many talented and gracious teachers, painting is where i feel most myself.
as always, words seem a bit hollow when trying to describe retreat time. so i will let photographs tell the story.
some serendipity loveliness:
amy and maya.
my wind-whipped dress finishing my sand sentence for me.
letting the ocean take the words.
making tiny books.
brilliant songbird chelsea making her tiny book.
these words, spoken by maya.
beautiful, soulful alena at work.
one of my paintings (photo by alena).
tiny b, serendipitied.
nags head being perfect in october.
a morning mandala meditation that turned into the sacred blue heart of seaglass mary, created with bits from dawn's collection, with the help of a purring muse.
at serendipity if you wander too long on the beach at sunset and the colorful houses start to look the same in the dimming light, you can always find your way back.
listen for the laughter.
look for the twinkle lights.
other moments (of so many) i want to remember:
- creating with lavi, sharing space with her in both classes.
- the time in painting class when we were all absorbed in our own work, the ocean roaring outside the doors, and we spontaneously began singing along to mumford and son.
- holly's radiant face beneath her woodland crown.
- chelsea's song about her parents' marriage.
- the vibrant orange butterfly that just appeared over stevie's head while she was talking about transformation.
- jen lee and tim manley and the art of friendship.
- the relatively sedate atlantic ocean, behaving like my wild pacific.
- jessica. we connected briefly at serendipity 2011, had a facebook friendship for three years and it was like we completely knew each other, like we've been friends for years. i love it when that happens.
- that this is what happens in this far flung community of kindreds: we share physical space for brief moments, each year if we are lucky, but once connected, we share heart space forever.
previous outer banks art retreat love here, here, here and here (last two are squam-by-the-sea).
*this was the first time i stayed offsite during a retreat (almost always a registration option) and i noticed how this supported my introverted self even if i still missed some of the togetherness and new-friend-making that comes from staying in the retreat houses. i'm pulling together a future blog post with some observations and tips for introverts while art retreating. i know the large-groupness of it all can be a challenge and that some introverts might avoid the experience altogether, which is truly a loss for all of us.