Monday, December 31, 2012

Let's Wrap It Up!

Well, what better time to finally get around to wrapping up October's Portland Art & Soul than the last day of 2012... right? As many of you know, I practically went right from the event to a hospital bed where I had gastric bypass surgery done. However, I did not want to "bypass" talking about our amazing new venue and what a great time it was. So here goes...

The Red Lion Hotel located right on the Columbia River was just a spectacularly inspirational location. I mean... imagine having this view to begin your day! Fire in the sky... mountains in the background... surrounded by water... ahhhhhhh. I can just feel my body relaxing just remembering this! The hotel staff were the epitome of hospitality, and the food was great. And there were lots of great restaurants and shopping all within walking distance.

The classrooms were spacious with floor-to-ceiling windows — many having views of the river — letting in the natural light. Perfect for making art! And it was really nice to have all the classrooms in one location, inside the hotel. No more waking up to catch a shuttle. Woohoo!

But the things that define Art & Soul did not change. We still had an amazing and diverse selection of classes for all levels of attendees. Whether you like to be meticulous in your craft, like Suzanne McNeill's class where you get to carefully and thoughtfully Zentangle on a gourd...

...or maybe you like to throw caution to the wind... create a mess... and actually be the mess, like the students in Jesse Reno's classes! There was definitely something for everybody.

And our teachers. I just cannot say enough about them. They are all amazingly talented individuals who have been hand picked for our retreats. Some have been with us for a very long time and others are visionaries on the cutting edge of today's newest techniques. But all of them take the time to give our students individual attention on projects, gently guide them every step of the way, and they even double as psychologists!

You see... sometimes, going outside our comfort zone in art makes those pesky little insecurities come up. But our instructors are all so good at helping you not only discover a new technique... but also helping you feel comfortable with who you are and how you express yourself. It's actually pretty amazing to see these connections — between your art and your soul, as well as those between teacher and student — take place!

And then there was Vendor Night! It's always a feast for the senses... and the credit cards! I kind of like to do a once-over and then go back to pick up my favorite finished pieces and supplies. But there's always those one or two items I must buy on-the-spot, for fear someone else will like it as much as I. But really the level of jewelry, collage, assemblage, dolls, as well as the amazingly unique ephemera, findings and antiques that the instructors and other vendors bring to this night make it a most delightful shopping experience for attendees and the general public!

Art & Soul Portland was the first major art event that I made happen. It's like my first born. And although it has grown up a lot over the years, and gone through some changes, and even had some growing pains... I love my baby.... and all of you that make it happen. All my attendees... my instructors.. my helpers... the local vendors... the on-site store owners... the hotel staff... and on and on and on. I couldn't do Portland — or any other venue — without all of you. And now that this year is coming to a close, I'm getting a little teary eyed as I think about all that I have to be grateful for.

Have a Happy and Creative New Year! See you in Twenty-thirteen!


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