Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another ARTful Journey...

I'm back from another ARTful Journey in Los Gatos California. I have to agree with my Bestie Mindy who said arriving there was like coming home. This is where it all started for me last year. This is where I learned that I could do it, that I was not alone and that there were other creatives like me.

The location is at the top of the windiest hill, covered with large green trees and green lush grass. It was a beautiful sight for my eyes after leaving the dirty snow of Ontario Canada behind.

Jesse Reno's class started at 9am Friday morning. I knew I had signed up for something different. His style is like no other style out there After day one, my comfort zone was completely cracked-busted open and I was using uncharted parts of my brain.

The process is a raw and difficult. I have to be honest... I struggled BIG TIME. You start off by creating "your grounds". Here we were told to ONLY use our hands and create texture with our fingers, palms, fists...etc... While this might sound easy, it wasn't for me... At ALL. I struggled, I felt stripped of my tools and only could rely on my bare hands.

The process is all about layering and adding and taking away, layering adding and taking away, layering, adding and taking away.... blocking in your images... and repeating your process until your painting morphs and transforms. We worked on two or three paintings at a time so we could walk away and get some distance from each painting. This also allowed us to detach from each work so we did not become invested in it...all this so we could "wreck it" all over again. After a while I would hate my painting so much I would want to throw it away. This is when I switched the canvas and worked on the other painting with "new eyes."

Can you tell that I struggled? I have never painted in this way before. I have never been given total permission to paint ugly, weird, unreal, instinctually and completely over my work.

This is one of Jesse's paintings.

Here it is again after some transformation.

Here is my girl Mindy doing her thing...
We did most of our painting standing up.

Here is a group shot of the class.
We were 19 in all completely absorbed in our own dimensions.

Stella, Beth and Juliette. They were right behind me as I painted for three days.
It was so nice to have them close as we worked.
They pumped out so many beautiful works and all completely different.

Here is one of my paintings...

Here is the SAME painting transformed after being "wrecked" many times...

Here is another painting of mine, the one I am most proud of.

Mindy and I. We were also roomates.
It was awesome to see her again and talk late into the wee hours.
Her work continues to inspire me so much.

Here is my table mate Nelly.
She is the sweetest woman ever.

Michele and I were neighbors too.
She's a fellow blogger and also a Mama to FIVE boys!!!
I am so grateful to her for reminding me to just "WALK AWAY from the painting!"

Here is Stella, my sister. She had me laughing SO HARD, I was crying...
She TOTALLY rocks my world!

And, here is sweet Beth, all the way from the UK.
It was so lovely to see her again.

We painted from 9am until midnight almost every night. Red wine and snacks kept us going along with being together. We shared every meal in the large dining hall that was prepared for us three times a day.

It was another ARTful journey that filled my heart and soul. But it went SO fast...WAY too fast actually. Much faster than the last one. I'm counting the days until I can see these women again. I plan to see them BEFORE the next ARTful Journey. Something this good has to happen more than once a year! More about the retreat in the next post!


  1. Your retreat sounds like it was an amazing time!! I can't imagine how fun it must be to sit (or stand) around painting with friends. So fun!! It has been so inspiring to see how your paintings have changed over the time I have followed your blog. Keep exploring...you are so very talented!! :)

  2. Wow! What a wonderful experience. I am longing for the day I go to my first art retreat!

    I'm so pleased you such a wonderful time. Your paintings are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Amazing!!! How fun to just let go and learn new techniques and be surrounded by awesome friends:O) Glad you had a great time:O)

  4. omg we only came back a couple days ago yet it seems way longer! i think its because i miss that high of seeing you, painting with you, and visiting for hours on end in the comfort of that sweet little room. d, you rock my world and have given me the best gift in the world.....a friendship like i've never had. there is no doubt why we are in each others lives....we inspire each other, we lift each other up, and we give so much emotionally. i really saw that this weekend.

    i love you so much!

  5. i LOOOVE what you did D! not just the finished product but the process. kudos!! i can feel the excitement and inspiration and it's infectious. hella inspiring my friend. SMOOCHES!!

  6. i luv painting w my hands. i always thought i was a weirdo or something,(don't answer that). great pushing urself!

  7. you may have struggled but you did AWESOME and so brave!!!! i love it really. and i really loved all the pics of those sweet girls- they flooded good memories to my brain.

  8. oh danielle, how JUICY!! hard as it may have been, how powerful and amazing!

    and i know michelle! how so perfect to see suddenly a picture of someone you know in someone else's blog post! wow!

    i LOVE LOVE LOVE synchronicity and the connectedness of this art/blogosphere world! yay!

    thank you for sharing all that goodness!

  9. I just got tears in my eyes reading this! I miss everyone SO much already. Oh My God you GUYS! I am totally crying:) BTW, your end paintings were amazing! I don't think I saw them.

  10. good god, girl! your paintings and your words move me. can't wait to hear more. xo

  11. oh how lovely seeing this all. So missed you by being in another class this year, but AMAZING to pop in to see all the wonderful paintings you guys were creating. This was a HUGE stretch, but I LOVE your work you created in Jesse's class. We WILL be meeting up again before the year is out - PROMISE. xx

  12. Oh, I just love an art retreat! Looks like you had a great time!

  13. Hey Danielle, I sat in front of you in Jesse's class, and I so want to thank you for posting all these photos because I didn't take many. This visual reminder makes me all misty-eyed! I had such a blast, and people like you helped make it so. Oooh, it was so fun!

  14. Look like you had a lot of fun....ta soeur et toi vous vous ressembler beaucoup = )

  15. It was so awesome to be able to share those special days with you. I LOVED all your paintings, you are one amazing woman. Sending you love from England - let's make sure it's not a year until next time!

  16. totally bummed we didn't take our portrait during class :) you are amazing!

    sending lots of hugs and inspiration :)



Thank-you for your words. I tuck them inside my heart pocket. xo