Spiritual Travel to France: La Source de Provence October 15-23, 2018
Immersion in Sacred Sites, Art, Old Provençal Cuisine and Culture.
A special request journey limited to 7 travelers. Two spaces open.
Registration available until November 27, 2017 only.
There is something inherent in the very earth and light of Provence that attracted spiritual leaders and artists for centuries. This unique program melds the sacred Mary Magdalen sites, energy of the land, hearty old Provençal culture — and the influential art that was born of it. You are invited to enter into a deep appreciation of beauty and the natural rhythms of connection to place, an opportunity to step outside time — and into the legendary mystique of Provence. For information including detailed itinerary and how to register, go here.
Please note: For this special request program, there must be a committed group of travelers in advance of final arrangements. This early registration date requirement is not a mistake. It ensures the program is held in accordance with the advance confirmation needs of the group leader and guides. Deposit required to hold your space. Any questions, please email carla (at) carlawoodyart.com.
A few years ago I began to dabble in oil and cold wax. I learned all I knew through the books and a video by Portland artist Serena Barton. I embarked on exploration at a basic level, not knowing what exactly I was doing. But who does when they’re learning?
Immediately evident to me was a heightened sense of engagement with the piece I was creating. Synesthesia, an overlapping of the senses. I wanted to smear the medium across the board with my hands. Cold wax invites it, even though I know I shouldn’t for safety reasons. It was no longer just color or line but movement. I’m glad I didn’t meet defeat at the start. I was happy about the first few pieces because, with the next couple, I gave up in pure frustration. Clearly, I needed more substance about the landscape than a map can give. Books and videos can only do so much toward knowledge. About that time, I discovered Serena was offering a 10-day art retreat in Tuscany through Lisa Statkus’ Gryphon Art and Travel. I didn’t hesitate to make the commitment. But I had a year to wait…
I anticipated this time of study with expectancy. It was part of my Annual Pause for 2017. Then September came. An unanticipated aspect though was the sense of pilgrimage, somewhat like a much abbreviated version of my Camino walk. No physical trials. But certainly I wrestled with myself until I didn’t. I met myself coming and going, and will admit to nearly walking out and calling it quits after the first few days. I was silent about it, and probably no one noticed my state. Of course, this had absolutely nothing to do with the teacher or venue. Both were stellar. I usually go through a hate-love process with my artwork (which I happily learned many artists do). But this took it to the nth degree. It clearly had to do with the fact I was in completely unknown territory.
Certainly it’s possible to create degrees of realistic artwork with this medium. But most oil and cold wax artists go for abstraction. New ground for me. Add to the mix, until you have a few layers on the substrate, it all looks like a horrible mess.
I have to say something about Serena. She works with pure abandon. In the moment. Picking up this and that to see how it will look. Flinging around paint, paper, incising, mixing in sand…you name it. Completely open to what spontaneity would bring. She would preface a demo by saying, “Let’s see what happens.” And be fine with whatever it brought. No perfection needed. What a relief. Just playing around that led to some beautiful outcomes. I learned a lot from her beyond oil and cold wax.
I began to relax, particularly after a statement was made, somewhere along the way, about the complexity of the medium. But it also offered so much flexibility in approach, I discovered. We worked on multiple pieces at once. Also different for me where I focus solely on one, start to finish. That’s due to the need to have one layer somewhat dry before adding the next. An unscripted movement between works. And it loosened things up so that serendipity happened…and the individual works began to make their statement. Here are a few I created during that September in Tuscany.
I’m someone who tends to integrate what I pick up from different contexts. I thrive on melding what works to produce something new, at least to me. It holds my interest and sense of adventure. So I’ll see where this new learning takes me over these next months…in all ways. Not just art.
I wanted to introduce some ceremonial pieces ⏤ those that could be used for special times or simply to grace an altar. I’d envisioned some special beaded rattles to start. These are made from gourds I purchased up on Hopi, sold to the artisans there for their traditional uses.
The dragonfly rattle is covered in Czech glass beads and has a beautiful iridescent dragonfly piece at the top that shimmers and changes colors depending on how the light hits it. The handle is textured to look like old metal. This particular one now lives across the world. A visitor from China came into The Gallery in Williams and fell in love with it. If you’d like one for yourself, I’m open to taking commissions. Although I can’t promise it would exactly the same, I do have other dragonfly pieces to create a similar rattle.
The blue star rattle is inspired by those stars so brightest in the sky, and the Hopi prophecy of the Blue Star Katsina, the Hopi name for Sirius. It’s said when this star appears in the heavens we are in the times of the Great Purification. Covered in Czech seed beads and turquoise with distressed handle. This piece is currently available at The Gallery in Williams. Inquire by email.