Thursday, January 26, 2012

Monday at the Women's Journaling Alpine Retreat

The Monday morn began crisp and grey, but following the delicious-ness of Chef Izzy’s fresh lemon-blueberry scones, fresh fruit & steaming scrambled eggs, we were bright-eyed and ready to work. We’d skipped our mornin’ yoga because of moisture & chill. Following presentations from both Jean & I on our viewpoints and process of journaling, we all dug into our first hands-on assignment, “Words with Molding Paste”.

Under Jean’s direction, suggesting we select a word to illustrate in conjunction with two various types of molding paste. One is the “Soft” version, and the other a more “Coarse” paste. These pastes adhere to paper and create an interesting absorbent medium. Here you see my page “harmony”. I played with the two pastes, in my mind thinking the two would start out separate and contrary, but come together (bottom right) in ‘harmony’. Using our trusty dictionary, I detailed the definition of harmony and playing with various pigments and wax crayons attempted to “flow” into a glowing concert. If you look closely, you’ll see the word “h-a-r-m-o-n-y” carved into the paste medium and lettered in black. I have to admit my favorite part of the entire experiment was JudiKins, “MicaGloss-Metalli Effects Ink-Chocolate”. The dark granulation coupled with the coppery sparkle “made” my page.

After Izzy's "scrumpous" lunch (Arugula, celery heart leaf, chive, shallot and almond salad with strawberry balsamic viniagrette), we ventured more into the world of watercolor. With a loose suggestion of painting an image that represented “you”, each individual participant, conjured up a sort of “self-portrait”. This took on many meanings, some were idealized by their relationship to animals, special relationships, etc, – and – we were to interpret our feelings in that portrait. We could include fabric, found objects, anything we visualized as an accurate expression of our feelings.

Intitally, I began cutting out fabric to use in the dark values. As I progressed with my watercolor and wax crayon self-portrait - I was so pleased with the quick painting, I couldn't cover it with the fabric. So, just to honor the original idea, I glued on the fabric - it definately captures part of my ole' "hippie" generation personality :)

With evening upon us, we are treated to another savor meal. Izzy has crafted up Whole wheat pesto pasta with herb-infused cherry tomatoes and braised kale. Then, she topped it off with this elegant Challah bread . . . to die for. Round and very siatiated, we relax into comfy women's conversations . . . then, slumber.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunday at the 2011 Women's Retreat ~ September 11th

Sunday morn, we all were up early, anxious to be ready and have everything in order for the arriving participants. But the "giving nature" of our precious Chef, Izzy Leas, began to show as she requested she make us breakfast this morning (even tho her commitment to prepare food for us didn't begn until that evening). The warming sun streamed across out breakfast table ~ and so the day began!

Jean and I, your Tandem-Teachers, spent much of the day in preparation. With the moist ground we went in search of a

dry spot to do our morning yoga. In our travels around the edge of the lake we discovered the lovely outcropping where the previous day’s wedding had taken place. Scattered across the ground we saw the rose and lily petals from the celebration.

Of course, they went into my journal (this lily petal was allowed to dry overnight, painted with matte medium on both sides to preserve it and then, again with matte medium, painted down to my journal page). The afternoon was hustling to get the second cabin, the Sequoia, open, furniture removed and then set up with six working stations

(tables and lights we’d brought along) for us artists. Oh my, realizing what we’d forgotten and also,getting all the lights plugged into old cabin electrical receptacles was a challenge. But, TAH-DAH, by 3pm we were all set up for the next mornings processes (here it is in use!).

As everyone arrived to fill out our retreat places, we all introduced, chattered and, the final glue to stick us together, gathered to eat a fabulous "Welcome Dinner" of Summer bean, mushroom and squash Ragu. Think we are having a great time?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Start to My 2011 Women's Journaling Alpine Retreat

September 10th began with an early rising for me. Up at 4am to finalize packing in the car and head out on my eight-hour trek from Southern Oregon to reach my beautiful Lake Alpine Resort destination. As I neared Angels Camp, California, the excitement amplified. I began receiving phone calls from our Culinary Coordinator, Izzy, and my tandem teacher, Jean Warren, all of whom were en route too.

It was a brisk, autumn day when I pulled into the bustling resort parking lot. I remembered the resort owner, Gigi, had spoken of a wedding taking place that very afternoon and that celebration added joy and frivolity to the scene. Izzy had already arrived and was unpacking all our fresh, lush food into the kitchen. Shortly, Jean and Kitty, one of our retreat participants, arrived, anxious to get settled. Once landed in our places, thoughts of a warm meal began to tease us. Down in the restaurant, the wedding reception was just concluding and the happy bride greeted us at our table near the cozy fireplace, to offer us all champagne. “Why, of course, we’ll join in your celebration!” we all chimed in! Dinner was just what we wanted and conversation lively, as we got to know each other.

Open here, in the cabin for us all to relish (notice the colorful fruit Izzy had provided for us all) and learn from, is one of the special treats I’d brought along, the amazing journal of Elinor Peace Bailey. I’d stumbled upon this woman when taking a writing class and an image of her with her dolls was one of the writing ”prompts”. With Elinor Peace Bailey’s complete trust, she mailed me her journal to pursue and I’d requested bringing it to this retreat. Our evening was spentsavoring her pages and the creativity present in all of us, just waiting to be unleashed.

With dreams of vivid journal pages dancing in our heads . . . we all nestled into our warm beds for slumber.