Artfest …. a strange creative life interlude

For a few years now I have listened to my friends Violette and Sandra rave about Teesha Moore‘s art retreats…. but just not quite getting it. Trades… whatever… really?, it’s that exciting to receive a little creative tidbit or business card from other Artists. I actually had no interest.

Last summer they brought it up again insisting I had to go and experience it for myself. So I booked the day they started accepting bookings (Sep 1, 2011), cancelled a couple months later only to have Teesha’s hubby Tracy contact me and convince me that I really needed to come join the fun. I was more than a little apprehensive. No accommodation yet confirmed, plus I am more than a bit the opposite of an extrovert (Those of you that ‘know’ me, know this).

In about Feb Teesha emails me that she has found me a room, Yeah! … but my stomach starts to turn none the less. Nobody I know is going. There will be over 500 strangers in a strange place, shared bathrooms, communal eating at large round tables, etc. Yikes!

The event date gets closer and closer, hubby is stressed about money….. should I just cancel and be done with it? But I had quite a few great commission jobs over the Winter, which paid my way for this adventure… and that is what it will be, one way or another. Time to jump in with both feet! Plus, is this not what I want to make happen here on the west coast of beautiful BC Canada?

I pack the car, take my son to school, make sure the fridge is stocked for my family, get in the car and finally head for the Canada/USA border. After about 40 mins in line, I then get hauled in by the customs guards with my artwork. They ask a lot of questions, take my art & passport and have me go sit and wait while they determine that I am telling the truth that I will not be selling my artwork in the USA. Thank goodness…. back to my car with artwork in tow and away I go.

Three hours later, I arrive at Fort Worden (Port Townsend, WA) in time to check in and receive my room key. I venture off to find my room in dorm 225 (hoping I have waterview.. as some rooms do) only to be snubbed in the first 5 mins (lol) for being in the wrong wing of the dorm. I find my room, take a few pics and then sit on my lil ole bed while I listen to long lost Artfest friends greet eachother in the hallway. After a couple of minutes of listening, I have an internal pep talk with my introvert self, stand up, walk out into the hallway and introduce myself to a lovely Mother and Daughter duo … who just happen to be fellow Canadians.

Tammy, Linda and Linda’s sister welcome me to Artfest and introduce me to their wonderful friends from years past (Tristan, Shannon and Regina). They are now a permanent part of my Artist family. They give me a crash course in how everything runs and we are already sharing a few laughs. I join them for most of my meals over the next 4 days and share a few drinks (lol).

Day 1 is Michelle Allen‘s clay figure class. What a joy she is + the fact that I have been envisioning Miss Mindy sitting at my table for the past month…..and where does she end up sitting? At my table (lol). What a blast + I think I founded a few more kindred spirits, which I hope to be in contact with for a very long time.

Day 2 is Miss Mindy‘s Vaudeville drawing class. Love¬† love love,…… but so very frustrated with myself. I am almost overwhelmed with the same feelings of lack luster… ‘why can’t I just do this, damn it?’ feeling I felt 10 years ago in my one month crash course of animation. I ended up focusing on learning her colouring techniques and resolve to practice her drawing form at a later date. Breathe….. feeling much better now. Mindy had a fab collection of 20′s and 30′s music playing in the background while we created. She is just so much fun!

Day 3 is Sunny Carhavlo‘s Story Pieces class. Wow, now that is a class that just flowed for me! I did struggle a bit with colour, as we were using a brand of paint I was not used to, but now only ever want to use. Golden fluid acrylics…….oh my new looooove! After having pushed my own artistic boundaries the past two days, I was very comfortable in this class. Sunny, herself, for lack of a better description is a true ray of creative sunshine.

It has been a long time since I have laughed that much, met so many fabulous people, were given so many unique little lovable gifts (trades). FYI: I brought 180 trades with me and was only left with about 40 when I returned home.

While living for today, I still cannot help but wonder why I waited so long to go, but am over joyed that I did. For that, I thank my dear friends Sandra Tice & Violette Clark along with all my wonderful new Artsy friends. Here are some of my favorite pics that I took (see below), plus CLICK HERE for some great group shots taken on our last late night of creative craziness.

Much love

Keep smiling and creating,  Nicci