Here’s the rest of Liesel’s illuminating post art both attending and teaching at art retreats:
Teaching at the large retreats is also very fun. Where smaller retreats benefit from intimacy, large retreats seem to become an organic, creative beehive of inspiration, creativity and joie de vivre. The energy that they create is utterly intoxicating to the creative soul. You can be immersed in ongoing creativity and fellowship everywhere you turn. For myself, I have the opportunity to visit with returning students and my fellow teachers, many of whom I’ve developed friendships with. This is often the only time we get to see one another, as we are scattered all across the country. It is sort of like a family reunion – only it has been narrowed down to the funnest, and quirkiest, of your relatives!
Regardless of the size, I’ve come to the conclusion that where the retreat is held and the personality of the organizer(s) are what most influence what a retreat is like. Whether it is being held at a rustic location in nature, or at a convenient hotel next to an airport can make a difference. The larger hotels naturally have non attendees staying there as well, leading to some interesting interactions. At one such retreat, I was walking through the lobby, carrying my sewing machine in one hand and my heavy-duty, tool box in the other. As I passed by a group of business men, I overheard one of them remark, “Now that’s not something you see everyday.”
As a teacher, after weeks spent working alone in the studio, developing classes and preparing to teach, it is very affirming to meet others who are interested in what I am doing.
For me, there is no better reward than to see students gain confidence and get excited learning new techniques. At the end, everyone learns from and enjoys seeing the wonderful diversity that results from one project or technique. Teaching is also a wonderful reminder, “Oh! Now I remember why I chose the path less taken!”
There is one thing all art retreats do very well. They bring together delightful, creative and understanding souls from all over the world into one special place. For once you won’t find yourself struggling to explain what kind of art you do, and no one is going to pause, look at you strangely, and ask why! To be around others who actually can spend hours discussing their favorite adhesive/pens/hardware supplies… you realize you are somewhere special. I am so impressed with how incredibly supportive and encouraging everyone is. Unlike traditional art classes, you rarely find someone who is competitive. Rather, people understand that the world needs everyone’s expression and that when more people join in, the party just gets more fun. I think each retreat has something wonderful to offer and it may just come down to what is close to you, what you want to learn, where your favorite teachers are teaching, and what type of experience you want.
Liesel teaches year round at her art studio in Seattle, WA and at art retreats. She will be teaching two art journaling workshops at Art is You! in Petaluma, CA, September 2013 and 2014. Be sure to check out her website and her blog.
For more information about all kinds—and sizes—of art retreats, check out Destination Creativity.
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