Yipeee, 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. So 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. I 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,
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