Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kansas City in Full Swing!

Well, we're at the glorious Elms Hotel and Spa in Excelsior Springs, MO and our mixed media art retreat is in full swing! There is something about this hotel that is difficult to explain unless you experience it in person. You immediatley feel welcomed and embraced. And its not the staff — it is the HOTEL. And its EXACTLY what Art & Soul is all about.

Classes are in progress and students are busy making, making, making. Just check out this Steampunk Airship Chime from one of Erin Keck's students. Too cool!

And here are some of Erin's students getting their etch on... in her Shoe Cobbler's Journal workshop. They hand crafted some amazing books!

This adorable lounging feline is the class sample for Doris Arndt's Here Kitty Kitty workshop. Can't wait to see the colorful creations her students come up with.

And speaking of colorful, I'm so proud of our very own Cathy Taylor, shown her at her book signing...

Her new book, Pigments of Your Imagination is hot off the press, and chock full of ideas for using Alcohol Inks in your art. It really is stunning!

So that's just a sneak peek at what we've been up to. There's a whole lot more going on. If you're in the area, stop on by and we'll fit you into a class!

© photos courtesy of Jean Van Brederode

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Let's Play on the Bay!

Art & Soul Virginia Beach... ahhhh... what can we say? Talk about creative inspiration! What better to inspire your creativity and need for a relaxing getaway with like-minded souls, than with Mother Nature herself!

All of our venues are special in their own way, but along the sandy shores of the Chesapeake Bay, the views are gorgeous from sunup to sundown...

And everywhere in-between! Every room at the Virginia Beach Resort has a view of the shoreline.

And each one has gorgeous full-length windows that let in the sunlight... just begging you to pull out that class project and play some more!

The classrooms are spacious enough to spread out and enjoy your workshops!

And at the end of the day, the waves are calling to your little toesies.

And did we mention the comfortable rooms, the amazing restaurant and bar, and the friendly staff who puts up with our creative messes and treats us like royalty?

September 28 - October 4, 2015
Virginia Beach Resort Hotel

So come join us for an amazingly inspiring mixed media art retreat, in an amazingly inspiring location. Let's play on the bay! For more information and to register for our Virginia event, visit our website

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Help Us Find Our 2016 Theme! We Want Your Suggestions!

Puttin On The Ritz, 2012

We're deep in the middle of our 2015 retreats, but it's never too early to start contemplating what theme to do for next year's events! We usually unveil our choice — along with a spectacular logo — a few months before the start of the actual season. Just to get you excited and thinking about how you can play around with the theme for trades, book swaps, fashion, accessories and more. Even many of our teachers will submit classes for the year that have the theme incorporated into the project. Such fun!

So we want you to come up some ideas for us, and we're going to pick from your suggestions!

What makes a good theme? Well, lets see... I'll start by sharing with you some of the ways we'll use that theme...
Rock & Roll, 2009

• the Art & Soul logo for that year
• on tee shirts, aprons and such
• our program/your class passes
• for contests
• decorations and signage
• the opening night party

How else does our theme get used?
• for trades
• book swaps
• dressing up
• journaling fun
• demos
• midnight pajama parties
• on-site store DIY
• class projects

....and so much more!

So what else makes a good theme? It's something that can be utilized in all these ways. It's fun and interesting. It's inspirational for our mixed media crowd. It conjures up multiple ideas at the same time. And the images that would make you think of the theme are plentiful.

Into the Garden, 2011
Some of our past themes include Flights of Fancy, Orient Express, On Safari, Into the Garden, Wonderland, Rock and Roll, Cirque du Soul, and a few others that go way back. But now we want your ideas.

So go ahead... tell us what you'd like to see as our theme for 2016. I know that you'll come up with some great ideas! There will probably be so many imaginative ones that we may even use your suggestions for 2017... and 2018... and 2019... and 2020....

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Teacher Spotlight... Helen Garcia!

This is just one of Helen Garcia's amazing projects from the amazing workshops she'll be teaching at our Kansas City, MO Art & Soul Retreat! We got to experience this class — Crinkly Iridescent Vestiges Quilt — in Portland and it was... amazing!  This paper quilt is loaded with colorful crinkly textures. The paint and ink flowed into the crevices giving the papers a wonderful aged look. Students got to experiment with this special watermedia batik-like technique on Masa rice paper. They used an acrylic ink technique to make marks and paint with watercolor, letting the colors blend and fuse together naturally. Simply stunning!

Helen Shafer Garcia is a painter, mixed media artist and award winning illustrator. Her whimsical style shows a love for living creatively with a studio filled to the brim with found objects! She’s currently working with watercolor, pastel and mixed media creating contemporary images on paper along with a series of Icon folklore triptychs with wood, watermedia and found object construction.

For the past 20 years, Helen’s watercolor illustrations have graced the cover brochures, garden articles and advertisements of numerous International resorts and magazines. Awards include four San Diego Press Club First Place Awards of Excellence in Illustration for San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine. Helen holds a BA degree in Fine Arts and currently teaches college level Watercolor and Acrylic painting, Book Arts, and Pastel.

Here's a sneak peek of what Helen will be teaching at our 2015 Kansas City retreat, which is just around the corner I might add!

Tuesday Evening, April 28

Wednesday Evening, April 29

Thursday, April 30

Friday, May 1

Such colorful and graphic workshops Helen has to offer! So why not come play with us and make something beautiful?

Mixed Media Art Retreat
April 27 - May 1, 2015
The Elms Hotel & Spa
Excelsior Springs, Missouri

For more information on Art & Soul or to register for any of our events, visit us at

See you soon!