Dawn DeVries Sokol


WOW, I suck!

I am the WORST blogger! I haven't had a lot of time lately, but the extra time I do have, I take reading other blogs instead of updating mine...Laziness prevails!

So much going on! Work has been a steady stream of craziness, but I seriously think it will slow down a little pretty soon. I did paint one of the Adirondack chairs my brother made for me a couple of years back...Dear Hubby shuddered, I'm sure, when he saw it. He has an aversion to color. But I LOVE this color. I started using it so much in some of my books that one of my clients named the color after me! Cool...


Since Artfest was SO long ago now, I'm just going to give you the short-story version of the rest of the trip. Diane Culhane's class (Between Speech and Silence), began the process of an epiphany for me. Diane lives art. She feels we shouldn't make excuses for our art or try to say it isn't good enough. Honor Your Art, she told us. The morning was wonderful...some exercises that got our juices flowing. We did a walk with our pens and we collaged with magazine tear-outs and gesso. I liked very much. Joan of Art was my cheerleader and I was hers. We shared supplies. We laughed. We pep-talked. Our neighbors were VERY cool...Barb sat across from me and did some incredible stuff, Jodi from Minnesota was so sweet and talented, and then there was Nanci Drew. Yes, I said Nanci Drew. Nanci is awesome. Talented, full of energy and funny, she informed me that the Lexus with the mannequin-sized Barbie head tied to the grill that I had passed that morning was HERS. She proceeded to take out Beat-off Boy, which was a weird looking boy doll that had no clothes on but underwear and was formed into a compromising position. Let me just say, we howled for the rest of the day! (And let me also add, she taunted me with Beat-off Boy for the rest of Artfest!) :)

After lunch, we came back to class and Diane continued to demo and then set us free to play. Diane's demos pushed me into a trance-like state. I just loved watching her work. Images formed literally in front of our eyes. She had no idea what to start with and then 10 minutes later had created an exquisite painting. When we asked, "What is it we're supposed to do next?" one too many times, I FINALLY realized that we were supposed to just do anything. Free our minds, our hearts, our souls and just PLAY...

Thursday night we attended an insightful forum that included various panel discussions of Artfest teachers. I really love that Tracy and Teesha started this last year and continued it. I could never get bored listening to artists discuss their lives, their work, their studios, their views...And this was where Kath introduced me to Bridgette. She sat between us and is such a sweet person...Kath told me later that night after we parted ways with her that she's an incredible artist and she wasn't kidding. Check her out!

Friday was my day to spend with Lisa Engelbrecht. To be honest, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Lisa's collages of calligraphy, fabric and images are mind-blowing. Lisa is a multi-talented artist and also a very down-to-earth, humble and open person who had so many supplies to share with us, so many techniques to show us. Watching her demo was like watching a fireworks show as she spread vivid liquid acrylic inks over muslin and untreated canvas and we all ooohed and ahhhed. So many wonderful people in the class, too. Jodi from MN sat next to me, Melanie of NavyLane Studio was also there, as was a witty woman with a British accent. (I didn't catch her name, unfortunately.) She kept us all in stitches with her comments throughout the day. One of those people you're instantly drawn to and want to know better. The best thing about Lisa: she creates art from life memories and encouraged us to do the same. Even though I didn't complete a collage, but did a lot of really cool backgrounds, (and had to leave the class a little early) she pulled everyone around just before I left to look at my work. She wanted everyone to see each other's stuff before we left that day. And everyone in the class was so incredible, genuine and encouraging. I loved it.

Friday night was Vendor Night, Kath's coming out party. I helped at her table selling her work of collage soldered jewelry. FUN, wonderful stuff! She did really well that evening and I loved the experience of talking with everyone who came up to the table. In fact, we didn't see the other table across the aisle from us until about an hour and a half into the sale. VERY COOL! I got to see Lisa Guerin, who saved me from back problems at last year's Artfest, adorable Tracy Roos whom I never get to sit down with and just talk. (We have a lot of talking to do, Tracy!) :) Sally Jean, Joan of Art, Nanci Drew and Beat-off Boy, Renee and Amy, both of AZ, so many others I can't even recall now. Oh, and Penguin Girl! She was in Lisa Engelbrecht's class that day with me and when she told the class what she does for a living we were just engrossed! She works with penguins at SEAWORLD! TOO COOL! The best thing about that night was that it was a PRIME opportunity to see people from previous years before that I hadn't yet seen at that point. Making new friends...And seeing Kath shine was awesome, too...You go, Kath!

Saturday was probably my day of struggle...Yikes, how long is this entry? Supposed to be the short-story version, right? Sorry...OK, got you bored enough. I will discuss in my next entry...

Dawn SokolComment