Wow

Candi - WowThere were long periods of quietly making art. Conversations grew more personally reflective day by day.  They weren’t interested in breaking for lunch the final day. They were reluctant to go home at the end. They lingered…and then set a date for when they would gather again as a group to make art. WOW!

 Over three days, nine women gathered to attend a therapeutic art training and transformation workshop that I was hosting at Studio Channel Islands Art Center in Camarillo. We were all artists in one fashion or another, some classically trained, but all having a love of creating. And for some, discovering the love of creating in community. Wow.

We wrote about our pet peeves, prejudices and preferences as a gathering, get-acquainted activity. We stopped to breathe a bit while creating oil pastels with baby oil then segued into weaving our dark thoughts with images of our bright hopes. Wow.

Gray-scale seasons of life were painted. Five moment memoirs were written and shared. Pots were broken and glued back together; each one revealing a story of brokenness and transformation. Wow. 

Unsure of how quickly the women might work, I had planned many more art activities than possible to complete at the leisurely pace they all settled into. Saturday afternoon was full of choices – making a “something-out-of-nothing” collage, exploring the inside/outside aspects of masking making, playing with Elmer’s glue and sea salt on black cover stock or white watercolor paper. So many opportunities for those I-wonder-what-ifs… and how is this piece of art speaking into my life through the Spirit. Pretty exciting, unexpected, juicy art making. More wows.

Sunday was given over to creating God boxes out of kiddie pizza boxes courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen. Artists are by nature frequently generous, and true to form one of the women shared her fabulous stash of decorative papers. There was way too much gorgeous paper available to even think about the paint and collage I’d anticipated for this activity. Beauty abounded. Soon small handmade books were created out of the scraps. Others quietly water-colored salt encrusted floral bouquets and bursts of fireworks. Everyone was in the zone creatively even as there was lots of engaging, encouraging, life-sharing conversation. As Anne Lamott would say, there were a lot of wonderful lowercase wows going on. 

As we lingered into the late afternoon, well after when the workshop was due to end, I think we were all a little awe-struck at the cohesiveness of this small community which had come together only two days prior. We were reluctant to leave one another. As artists and women of faith, all pursuing a wide variety of careers and interests, we had found a community in one another willing to engage the depths of life and faith through the arts. Now that’s an upper, UPPERCASE WOW!!!

SusanHave you ever stopped to smell the roses and had a more fragrant experience than you imagined? If you’ve had a wow experience – something that opened your eyes to a whole new world, what was it? If you’ve enjoyed making art in community, how did that experience enrich you? What would you create to celebrate that Wow in your life?

Looking forward to your Wows!

The art piece at left was created by Susan Ludes. It was drawn with white Elmer’s glue on watercolor paper. While the glue was wet, salt was heavily poured over the design. Excess salt was shaken off and the piece allowed to dry overnight. The design was then painted with watercolors. Prismacolor colored pencils filled in flower petals and background.

3 comments to Wow

  • Judy Siudara

    Wow! Just the idea of 9 women making beautiful art is enough by itself to cause a “wow” in me, but then to see some of the work and finally, as a little teaser finale, to quote Ann Lamott, was the piece de resistance! Kudos to you all. I can feel the love! Judy

  • What an incredible experience to join such an amazingly talented group of ladies who have done incredible things in their lives and we’re willing to share their lifes difficulties and joys. It did not take long to feel the love going around. The art produced was so impactful and beautiful, I wanted to take all of it home and share it will other people who are in need of transformation in their lives. I see this program working with all ages and people groups no talent is required just the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lynne for your loving spiritual direction in it all. Looking forward to getting together again. Astounding ladies.

  • I had a great “WOW” time ! Thank you Lynn for leading us and thank you girls for bringing your authentic selves and spirits each day. I was honored to create and learn next to you. Hope to see you soon. Keep the faith. Wendy

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