Crawford County Art Council Art Retreat

As a member of the Crawford County Art Council, I was invited to attend an art retreat organized by the council at Camp Michael last Thursday.  Of course, I have yet to turn down any art retreat that is presented to me, so I didn’t hesitate to take them up on the invitation.

I had no idea that Camp Michael even existed and was a little unsure of what this cabin in the woods would be like.  I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  It is definitely a woodsy cabin, but it is beautiful.  Just look at this cozy little area near the fireplace!

Art Council retreat Nov 14 fireplace

The goal of the day was to learn different techniques that we could use in our art journals that we would make that day.

Art Council retreat Nov 14 setup

We started the morning off with a meditative nature walk, guided by council member and amazing photographer Marcheta.  She gave us pointers on things to look for and take pictures of on our walk to place in our art journals.  We focused on things like patterns, texture and contrast in our photos.  I was only able to snap a few photos on my cell phone camera before my phone died.  In this photo, I was focusing on pattern.

Art Council retreat Nov 14 walk pattern

And in this one, I was going for an urban feel.

Art Council retreat Nov 14 walk urban

I couldn’t help but take a picture of this one-eyed tree.

Art Council retreat Nov 14 walk tree eye

After our walk, we did some journaling about our experience and would allow space in the journals to print and insert our photos at a later date.

Sandy introduced us to the Gelli Plate, which is AWESOME!  The Gelli Plate is so fool proof, I’m not sure if you can go wrong.  Just roll your colors on to the plate, add some designs with stamps, stencils or found objects, lay your paper down on the plate and transfer your design.  It’s that easy.  We used the Gelli Plate to add backgrounds to our journal pages, as well as printing on to deli paper to later collage into our journals.  Some objects found during our nature walk even made it on to the Gelli Plate 🙂

After lunch, we did a few creative writing exercises with Rachel, which were amazing.  We would write a word, two words and the last time we wrote a sentence, on a sheet of paper and then passed it to our neighbor.  Once everyone added to your paper, you finished the last word, words or sentence.  You wouldn’t believe how cohesive we were as a group.  Each paper sounded like it was written by the same person.  It was a great exercise and I really enjoyed it.  We finished by writing a short story or a portion of a story.  Some were very personal stories, some were very humorous stories and some, well, were a little morbid and dark (that would be mine) 😉  But they were all fantastic stories if I do say so myself.

I gave a quick demo on how to collage different types of papers and images, as well as deli paper that was used on the Gelli Plate, into an art journal.  I also discussed ways to use old photos or images into our journals by scanning the original image and adhering the copy into your journal with matte medium.  We added texture to the journal pages with paint, stamps, ink and found objects, then created a title for the page by writing some text.

Next up was Beverly.  She showed us some of her art journals, which were beautiful.  Spray inks, stencils and stamps were some of the items that she used in her demonstration.  Beverly also has a wonderful collection of stamped tissue paper and other little embellishments that she shared with us.  I love it when everyone plays well together and shares their supplies 🙂

We played in our journals for most of the afternoon and evening.  Everyone even contributed a little piece of their artwork on to one another’s pages.  The evening ended with a soothing and meditative drum circle, led by Beverly.

Art Council retreat Nov 14 drum circle

Each person had some type of drum or other instrument and contributed to the circle.  At times, we would just listen to Beverly play and sing 🙂

Art Council retreat Nov 14

I was so sad to see the evening come to an end.  These women were such a joy to be around and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.  I can’t wait for the next one!!!