Monday, November 2, 2015

Virginia Beach Wrap Up!

Well... we wrapped up the year with Art & Soul Virginia Beach... and I just can't help but think how blessed I am to still be doing these events after all these years. I got a little nostalgic at our most recent retreat and started to reflect a little bit about what a great time we have at every individual event. So here's me waxing nostalgic about Virginia Beach...

Virginia Beach just gets better and better.  It is so delightful to return to a warm & cozy hotel with employees who remember us with a smile.  They almost anticipate what we may need before we do!  That is one advantage in staying at the same location each year. Virginia Beach has its own charm and even though we were in the midst of a storm, it was wonderful to see happy and talented faces each day.  Our attendees continue to amaze me with their creative energy and ideas.  And the camaraderie of pajama parties and impromptu gatherings warms my heart.

The Amazing Julie Haymaker Thompson!

If we were an art bootcamp (as some have called us in the past, lol), we'd have lots of "decorated" Sergeants that we consider our long-time teachers. We are blessed to have a selection of “faculty” with us at each event. These incredible instructors continue to offer new and innovative techniques attracting beginners and die-hard attendees alike. They have made a commitment to teach and I can always count on them — a very special attribute for our retreats. Our new instructors round out the retreat experience by offering something new.  This makes them very special and exciting in our program as we strive to offer all types of mixed media throughout all of our events.

At our retreats, we have plenty of special events, pop up parties, demos, vendor night frenzies and other activities of note. As much as we all love to create... we also love to play, be silly and let off some steam. After all, we're on playcation! And in true Art & Soul form, two of our attendees — Julie Armstrong and Sandy Lupton — organized a Pajama Party. It was a hoot and we have decided to make it an annual event.  There was lots of fun, revelry, laughter... and hey... I think even some art was created! 

Students from Gina Rossi Armfeld's No Excuses Watercolor Class

As for me, I have some favorite things as the event organizer. Having the opportunity to meet up with and catch up with old friends is always wonderful. I feel like I have so much "family" at these events. My other favorite love is watching new people find the joy and empowerment of Art & Soul. When people who had the courage enough to push their boundaries come out of the classrooms at the end of the day with giant smiles on their faces, well... that just makes my heart go pitter-patter.

A student's project from Jean VanBrederode's Family Jewels workshop

And we have even more excitement in store for our 2016 events! We're bringing in new instructors to delight and entice our mixed media crowd. We're creating confirmation packets again – one of my long-time passions. We've got a brand new Midwest location with our Minneapolis event! And, of course, we're finding NEW attendees and getting them hooked on the mixed media bug.

So thanks to everyone who makes this all possible... my right-hand chicks, our teachers, the adventurous students, our on-site store and staff, vendor night artists, the hotel crew, and everyone else. Together we've made something pretty special... and we've made it last. We must be doing something right!


photos courtesy of Jean VanBrederode, Julie Armstrong, Gina Rossi Armfeld. 


  1. Loved, loved Virginia Beach. The hotel and staff were wonderful. The art tribe as there in full force. Always wonderful to be with old and new friends. And so much amazing art was made!

  2. I would love to take credit for the PJ party, but it wasn't me! I had a blast! Can't wait til next year!! Sandy

    1. Well how funny is that, Sandy! We're all one tribe so we just spread the credit around. ;o)


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