I have a song running through my head this morning:
My bags are packed, I'm ready to go... (humming the melody)... I'm a-leavin' on a jet plane...My suitcase is packed full of painting supplies, and on Wednesday I head to Yorkshire, England for the Do What You Love Creative Enterprise Retreat. This retreat is a combination of art classes and creative enterprise sessions over three or so days. There are three different art class options, and I'm taking the painting class with Flora Bowley - I can't wait!
I've been keeping my eye out for a painting class or art retreat in Europe for quite a while, since 2009 when I got the urge to start painting. I've periodically looked and nothing ever felt like it was the perfect option for me until this retreat came up. I was intrigued by the combination of both art and creative business. When I read the description of Flora's class and saw her work, I was sold. I loved her bright, expressive style and knew this was the class for me. It's ironic that I'm taking a painting class in Europe with an instructor who lives and works only 90 miles from my permanent home in Oregon, but there is also a synchronicity to that too.
What's even better are the connections that I will make with the people attending from around Europe and North America. The UK, USA, Denmark, Germany, Canada, and Ireland are all represented. Many of these are artists I've interacted with online, meeting through Kelly Rae Robert's Flying Lessons course last summer. It will be so much fun to meet them in person!
I could have waited to attend something like this when I move back to the USA, but this one gives me the opportunity to strengthen my connections to Europe through these wonderful, creative people who will attend. After living in Italy for two years, Europe is a part of me now just as the USA always has been. Even though I move back to Oregon in July, I will never truly leave behind my experiences here and will definitely be coming back in the future. The people I get to know will only give me more reasons to come back and visit.
Thinking about creating all of these in-person connections has made me realize just how much I already have gained through the connections I've made on the internet. Every time I connect with someone new in the creative world, whether it's through a blog or a class or an online group, I come out ahead. I've never had a bad experience or a negative situation in this nurturing, supportive, creative environment I've discovered. I think this support is so important to our growth as artists and individuals. I want to help contribute to this supportive network, that's one of the reasons I try to provide ways for others to learn, connect and share - whether it's the Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap, Exploring with a Camera or the Find Your Eye classes. The Mortal Muses support this creative network too. Isn't it fabulous how it all fits together?
I can't wait to see what blossoms out of this retreat, both for me and others. I'm sure I'll come back with even more ideas (which is kind of scary, actually, given the number I seem to be working on already). I'll also have more wonderful connections in the world wide web of the creative community. And that, my friends, is the best thing of all.
(Linking this post in to Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.)