Saturday, August 13, 2011

Art Unraveled

It has been a very busy summer, and I am finally finding time (on vacation no less) to share some of our adventures in Phoenix at Art Unraveled.

Dave and I spent the week between our trip to Cincinnati to shoot photos for the new book and our trip to Phoenix working in my studio completing art and making artist prints to sell. We shipped three boxes of supplies and artwork to Phoenix and had two boxes of books shipped from the publisher.

We arrived in Phoenix on the first day of Art Unraveled, and checked into the hotel. We had a great view of the golf course and the mountains from our window. I was taken aback by the landscape around Phoenix. I had never been in the desert before and to see such flat land with mountains just popping out was a bit strange - as was the brown. I'm used to hills, grass, and tall trees. The desert felt alien to me.

That evening we took part in the Meet the Artist Event, and participated in answering questions from some of the participants of the event. Several of the questions brought up some good debate and good discussion, and I mulled over several during the week. I will share my thoughts on those at a later time.

We taught three workshops during our week there. We had a nice space with a lot of natural light, and since our classes were small, everyone was able to spread out. All three went especially well, and I think that most of the participants appreciated our approach which I gather is a bit different from what many of them are used to. We focus on process and not product sharing a bunch of concepts and techniques allowing the participants to experiment and to play. The six hour format was great, and we were able to cram a lot into the time. We had three participants that took all three of our classes. It's exciting when someone is really into what you do.

We had the opportunity to work on our own things, and I especially enjoyed the Identity Mapping activity we did in our second workshop, and I laid the foundation of a few really good pages and ideas.

One night we were part of the book signing where we participated in a discussion about inspiration and signed books. We got to meet several other authors - people we had known from their books and blogs. I felt like I was meeting celebrities for these were some big names in the journaling and mixed-media world - Michael deMeng, Traci  Bautista, Pam Carriker, and others. It was great to meet these folks in person. 

We were able to see some of the sights on our one free day. Dave's godmother Peggy lives in Phoenix and played tour guide for us. She drove us into the downtown area and then out to see the Cardinals' stadium where we had lunch at a nearby restaurant. She then drove us out into the desert, and once again I was fascinated by the landscape. It's just so different then Virginia.

We were part of the Shopping Extravaganza the following day where we met and talked to a lot of great people. We had the opportunity to sell work, prints, and books, and we made a lot of contacts. Next year we need to remember to bring an actual mailing list for people to sign and business cards.

We participated in the Artist Showdown our final night in Phoenix where each artist had to select from a bunch of random materials and create with them. The actual piece that I made is the small canvas in the lower left of the above image, but I couldn't help spilling over onto the kraft paper covering the table.

It was a great first art retreat experience. We met a lot of wonderful people and had a chance to relax by the pool, see the sights, and mix and mingle with fellow artists. We definitely want to do it in the future, and we will be submitting proposals soon.