Nature Nurture April 2013

IMG_0709Yipeee, I’m still doing happy dances in my head when I reflect on this awesome weekend.  I had such a ball, surprisingly felt totally relaxed, and thoroughly enjoyed teaching, rather facilitating, the beautiful group that I was lucky enough to have for my first ever Nature Nurture workshop.IMG_0703

I’ve been feeling really proud post workshop as this was a huge step up for me this year to launch my very own workshop.  I’ve had this little dream of taking my own classes of some kind for quite some time, but just never knew when it would actually become a reality.  I am quite surprised at how quickly it all happened once I set my mind to it.  So there you go peeps, only you have the power to make your dreams a reality.  So go and take that first step (o:529791_433951853365996_146547018_n

The weekend began with the most amazing Autumn morning.  I made sure I got to The Barn at The Briars nice and early so I could double-check I’d set everything up correctly the day before, make myself a soothing cup of morning tea and just run over my program for the day ahead.  Well, I did check the set up, made my tea, but then I put the music on and just danced around a little like an excited child on Christmas morning waiting by the tree to open presents!  Yes, I was a wee bit excited and just couldn’t wait to get started to be honest.  I just wanted them all to walk in right then so I could welcome them with warm open arms and get the weekend started.IMG_0706

My lovely participants finally turned up with happy smiles and plenty of enthusiasm and we started our weekend with a refreshing walk through the Briars gorgeous grounds and nature walks.  Along the way we collected inspiration by taking photos, gathering interesting leaves, pods, branches, flowers, and also started drawing in our sketch books.44789_435717933189388_718795212_n

There was a little hesitation at first, but it wasn’t too long and the cameras were clicking away, my basket was being filled with a special collection of inspiring goodies and a few sketchbooks were emerging.  I shared my thoughts on approaching sketching in nature and gave tips on the many things we observe and how to record them in our visual diaries as a record of what we’ve seen and experienced.  Words, shapes, colours, textures, patterns, symbols, thoughts, sounds and more.  I emphasized that it doesn’t matter what these sketches look like, that we each see things differently and each of our sketchbooks will look quite different from the other.  Some will be ordered, some messy, some tightly packed and detailed, some lose, free-flowing and bold.  It really doesn’t matter as long as you relax and enjoy the moment of simply observing and noting what you see, feel and record any thoughts that pop into mind.  Just enjoy the moment and being in the beautiful outdoors amongst Mother Natures glory.IMG_9747IMG_9736 IMG_9775 IMG_9763 IMG_9748935641_435718313189350_1107747040_n

After our morning walk we enjoyed a morning cup of tea and some beautiful nibbles prepared by me while I gave the first demonstration for the weekend.  My big test for the weekend had arrived.  Was I about to freeze up and get all nervous and self conscious whilst trying to draw and paint in front of everybody this weekend?!  This was the one thing I was feeling a little uneasy about.  I’ve never been the most confident public speaker, but creating in front of people as well?!  It could have been, or I could have been a complete mess, but I was surprised at how I relaxed into it and really started to enjoy talking about what I was doing as I went and the drawing and painting just flowed as it would normally at home in my little studio.  Phew!  Huge relief and big pat on the back!!!IMG_0838IMG_0839IMG_0751

Everyone loved the little exercises I’d prepared for our first day and fell into the lovely swing of creating, relaxing, chatting, singing and just enjoying themselves in the moment.  I was delighted in seeing the constant smiles, happy moments and wonderful chitter chatter that was going on. This weekend wasn’t about the end result of the work we created, or the food, or the venue, but simply just about relaxing and enjoying a rejuvenating, inspiring, joyful, playful, creative experience.  Look at these smiles!IMG_0728IMG_0729IMG_0713

I couldn’t help myself throughout the weekend and took lots of lovely photos of them just having fun, enjoying what they were creating, and also of the amazing pieces of art that they were creating.  There were a couple of beginners in this group too, but you certainly wouldn’t have picked them.IMG_0740 IMG_0744 IMG_0755 IMG_0756

The second day of the workshop we focused on painting our canvases.  The day before we’d prepared our canvas backgrounds, trying out a couple of different techniques, and Sunday was all about bringing together all the elements that we’d worked on the day before.  We weren’t working too big, so it wasn’t daunting for anyone.  We also had two canvases and a couple of pieces of ply to play with.  So, there was plenty of opportunity to explore and play with the new techniques we’d all enjoyed the day before on paper. Everyone totally freed up and enjoyed the freedom of painting all day on Sunday.IMG_0730IMG_0715

I gave the group some more demonstrations during the second day of the workshop.  These included mixing acrylic paint colours, blending paint on the canvas, how to layer your painting with different mediums and techniques of creating line, different brush strokes and techniques, stamping, and more.  The group also had some great questions which we all talked about and they were also open to sharing their own creative techniques and experiences with each other which was so beautiful.  Elements below that I demonstrated to the group.IMG_0774 IMG_0775 IMG_0826

Many found it was quite a different feel illustrating in fine brushes with paint, compared to fine pens and pencils on paper.  I remember the first few goes at trying to paint beautiful fine illustrative details myself.  I got terribly frustrated with it.  It was so hard to achieve a free-flowing fine line!  Lucky for these guys I was there with plenty of tips and techniques for them to master it much quicker than I did.  IMG_0748 IMG_0771IMG_0772 IMG_0789

Everyone’s work was so unique and their own individual spirits shone through in their work.  Everyone found the pace of the weekend really enjoyable and relaxed.  They also commented on how great it was to produce many different pieces of art, but without the weekend feeling rushed or too crammed with activities to complete.  Yay, I think I got the balance right.  Some finished pieces of art below.IMG_0815 IMG_0808IMG_0795 IMG_0803 IMG_0799 IMG_0798 IMG_0792 IMG_0796 IMG_0793 IMG_0800 IMG_0809

We gathered together on the last day in the afternoon and put all of our work from the weekend together on the mats.  We’d produced illustrative drawings, exquisitely painted and detailed bookmarks / gift tags, A5 painted botanical studies that were ready to be put straight into frames, mini ply botanical paintings ready to be hung, and two fabulous unique 18″ square paintings each.  What a fabulous accomplishment!  I was so proud admiring all of the beautiful pieces that this group created, full of colour, self-expression and joy.  They were also feeling pretty proud and amazed at the number of artworks they’d each created and also at how creative, beautiful and unique each piece was. IMG_0812 IMG_0791 IMG_0814So my first Nature Nurture weekend workshop was a wonderful one, enjoyed by all, and I can’t wait to hold another one.  I am so incredibly grateful to this group for trusting and opening up to having me guide them through this creative weekend.  I also feel incredibly blessed to be able to run these workshops and do what I love to do.  Yay, happy, happy, happy.  IMG_0705I received some beautiful messages and testimonials at the end of the weekend too.

Loved your nature nurture workshop.  Very relaxing setting, beautiful food, and fantastic guidance.  You have a uniquely gentle way about you which I love.  Will not hesitate to attend another workshop.”

“Thank-you for a wonderful experience. I loved your relaxed and gentle approach and generous support.”

“Loved it!  So good to reconnect with creativity and flow…  Loved how you were able to explore new ways to paint and look at nature.  Thank-you will look forward to the next one!”

“Thank-you…This is your future!  I look forward to many more workshops.”

And…..I’m also excited to announce I will be running another Nature Nurture weekend on the 19th and 20th of October 2013.  Registrations will open sometime next week so stay tuned.

Love & Creative Light,

Liza xxx

PS.  very very looong post, SORRY, but I just couldn’t not share all those gorgeous photos and I’ve been bubbling with excitement to share this weekend experience with you all.  So, hope you made it through and enjoyed what you’ve just read and seen xxx



18 thoughts on “Nature Nurture April 2013

  1. FANTASTIC! well done!!! such beautiful work and you and the others obviously loved the experience, So happy for you! You showed such courage to grab the bull by the horns and do this, and you were rewarded by having a WONDERFUL experience 🙂

    • Thanks honey! Without your encouragement and beautiful support this workshop may not have happened so one very huge thank-you to you and all of your beautiful advice and support over the past year xxx

  2. Awesome!! I would’ve loved to be part of that day Liza. The work is beautiful! So enriching for all involved .Hopefully one day I’ll get to one of your workshops 🙂

    • Thank-you Fiona!! Yes that would be lovely if you could join me one day for one of my workshops, I’d love that. Thank-you for your lovely comments of encouragement xxx

  3. Congratulations on a wonderful workshop! Everyone looked like they had a wonderful time and the resulting testimonials are fantastic! Good for you! There is not one piece of art you showed that didn’t draw me in to look more, wonderful colors and expression from each of them. I would love to take one of your workshops!

    • Thanks Stacie! That is such a lovely comment to hear that all the artworks spoke to you and were a pleasure to see. I’m sure it’s just all the fun and joy shining through from each of those who created them (o: it really was a beautiful, relaxing and joyful weekend for us all. Yay, yes come along sometime, I’d love to have you (o: My next Nature Nurture workshop is in October on the 19th and 20th. x

  4. That was beautiful & inspiring Liza! So glad the week-end went so well & was enjoyed by the participants & yourself. Well that made me want to attend one now 😉 Hopefully the October one will work, will see how life shapes up closer to the time…Looking forwar
    d to meeting you soon 🙂

    • Thank-you Lena, I’m so glad you enjoyed it (o: Yay I’d love to have you attend my Nature Nurture workshop, the next one is on the 19th and 20th of October, wishing you well and looking forward to meeting you also x

  5. Even reading about the workshop and looking at the photos is relaxing. And all those gorgeous art works! A pity you’re not closer (only a few oceans to cross…:-)

    • Thank-you Marjanne, oh that’s so lovely what you wrote about even feeling relaxed reading about the workshop (o: Well you never know what the future may hold Marjanne, I would love to get my workshop out to all of you lovelies overseas someday somehow x

  6. Liza, congratulations on your first Nature Nurture workshop! It looks like everyone enjoyed it so much – the paintings are lovely! I even recognise a couple of faces in your photos 🙂 and what a fabulous space you found to run it in. It’s been lovely to see all the photos and read all about it 🙂

  7. Hi Liza, I just found you from the lovely comment you left on my interview post on Do What You Love, and have been enjoying reading about your Nature Nurture workshop. I am intrigued to learn about how people structure these events ~ it’s something I feel I’d love to do but don’t feel confident about how I’d plan it! I am more comfortable with a more freeform approach but sometimes wonder if a little structure wouldn’t be better for the participants. Anyway, I learned some interesting things from your post ~ it looks like a gorgeous workshop, and so much beautiful work was produced!

    • Hi Tara, thank-you so much for popping in here, that’s so lovely! It’s really interesting you wrote that about feeling more comfortable with a more freeform approach. I took a big step in launching my own workshops. The idea and passion to do it had been there for a while but I didn’t quite feel ready in terms of feeling I needed to be more prepared. And then an opportunity to hire a great space came up and I thought, ok this is a sign, just do it, people are encouraging you to run your own workshops and are saying you are ready, so go for it. And so I did, but I was really stressed about thinking I needed to have a step by step plan written out of how I was going to run these workshops. I did write out many plans, but I just couldn’t get them to feel right, right for me in the way I wanted to teach them. As I work so very much intuitively both when I paint and when I illustrate, and also when I write come to think of it, I just didn’t want to lock myself into the rigidity of a step by step, timed and ordered workshop. I was really worried in the lead up to my first workshop and wondering if I should maybe get something down that was more ordered, but my gut instinct kept saying no, you have a rough idea of what you want to do and that is enough for your style, energy and way of teaching. So I trusted, although hesitantly at first, and just went with the flow. And in the end a lot of the feedback I received was about the relaxed energy of the weekend, the lack of pressure to get A, B and C done within a certain time frame, and how I was relaxed and able to accommodate each participants needs and ways of working. So it worked in the end and works for me (o: So my advice is go with what your instinct is telling you. It’s about you, and you need to teach in a way you feel comfortable for your true essence to come across in the best possible way to your participants. I’ve learnt there is no one way to teach a workshop and we are all very individual for a reason. Thank-you so much for your complimentary comments, that’s really popped a lovely smile upon my face. Feel free to email me any time if you have any more questions Liza xxx

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