I had the pleasure of spending an amazing weekend in Chicago in the company of three talented painters. Let me go back to how everything it started with these friends. We, twenty-six of us from across the U.S., had all met at an art (Carol Marine) workshop last year and enjoyed the experience of meeting each other so much; subgroups of us have found other reasons to get together and spend more time with each other. It was the art group energy we all felt!
We follow, challenge and support each other on-line through email or websites/blogs. One member Ruth Ann Sturgill, sponsored an artist led workshop by Kyle Martin. Seven of the original group were able to attend. It was a great, fun weekend and we added more new art friends to the group! Poor Kyle Martin walked into quite a ensemble, but I think he had fun too!
Another member, Marianne Von Rohr, generously invited a few of us girls to go to her timeshare in southern Indiana for some unstructured plein air painting. While there, she added another of her wonderful art friends Sally Geething. Kristan Duket conducted two impromptu fun/funny mini workshops!!! One plein air session was finished by headlights!! Again we laughed, talked art, supported each others work and have kept in touch.
Then this weekend, it was to be an impromptu weekend at my house for one of our group mates going through a rough time. Then another heard and wanted to come, then another. Then I said we are getting room downtown Chicago, because my house (and husband) could not handle that much energy!
Friday night was spent walking, talking and reconnecting. Saturday morning we when to Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Art for the morning open studio live model sessions. Some painted while others like myself tried short charcoal sketches. On to pizza for lunch a Chicago area fave Lou Malnati's. Then to the star attraction the Art Institute of Chicago where we each shared what we knew, asked questions, took it all in and just wondered. We squeezed in and enjoyed everything we could, until it closed. Then onto a local annual event, my first time too, the Christkindlmarket Chicago in Daley Plaza since 1997(aka Kringle Market), - beer, wine, brat, pretzels, strudel and one of a kind crafted items.
Yep, we tried most what they had to offer. Our walk back was long so we stopped to have another frosty beverage. Later Kristan again held a mini workshop on the spontaneous beauty of painting with Alcohol Inks. Combining these with drinking alcohol and you really do get something fresh, abstract and lovely! We talked art, shared ideas and the next morning it was time for the others to make their 5-6 hour drives home.
My husband asked if I/we had a good time, and I didn't know how to put into words what I felt. Until I read an article from "The Spirit Within Your Art" By Kieth Bond. He was talking about how no digital, nor print reproduction can ever replace seeing the real painting in person(we also found this to be true this weekend.) It was about another subject, but these words hit me.
"...nothing compares to visiting face to face with someone you love. There is an interaction that goes far beyond the words that are exchanged. There is a shared experience. And it even goes way beyond that..."
It really does go beyond that, it is the rich uncontained art energy we all gained!!