Wednesday, July 02, 2008

An Artists' Retreat in Woodway

I spent the weekend after the Edmonds Arts Festival in Woodway, Washington, at a retreat taught by Anna Rhodes. Anna's classes are taught under the name An Artists' Retreat, and she is an excellent teacher. Anna always picks remarkable locations for all of her retreats and this weekend was no exception. We were guests at the only house built by Morris Graves that is still in private ownership---and a remarkably beautiful home it is, too! It was an amazing experience to be in that very special place, with some very special people to make art and community. I relaxed, I painted, I drew, I patted the two resident dogs, filled my lungs with summer air scented with cedars and loved every minute of it.

Oh, did I mention the food? It was stellar! Saturday night we had a dinner personally prepared for us on site by Philip Mihalski, the owner/chef of Nell's Restaurant, located in the Green Lake neighborhood of Seattle. Chef Mihalski is quite the cook, to say the least, and our dinner was world class. This is a corner of the dining room---and that is an original Morris Graves flower painting on the wall. Sigh....

Anna often has her classes "warm up" by drawing a fruit or vegetable. We might use pencil, colored pencil, Caron d'Arche watercolor crayons, gouache, graphite or charcoal. Sometimes she has us use them all! I have always done apples in the past, but this time I decided to go tropical and I used a papaya, with somewhat less than stellar results. But it was fun and I really enjoyed the process.

I almost picked this baby garlic to draw and paint, but then was lured away by the heady memories of alluring papaya from vacations in lush and warm places....
Anna and Audrey Daniels, an amazing artist and jewelry designer. Audrey iWAS know as the "wild woman" of the retreat (she earned the title at one of Anna's first retreats, in Mexico). She likes to paint LARGE! I hope to catch up with Audrey in October when she returns to visit a client who is just down the street from me.
And here we have Donna. In her "other life" she is Donna Kay Honey, the country western recording star! Donna gifted each of us a copy of her CD, Queen of the Bubblin' Vista. I howl everytime I play it---she's hilarious!

This is Bev, my dear friend from several of Anna's past retreats. Bev is growing ever more confident in her art and she is always kind, fun and very, very funny. I wish I got to see more of her.The west terrace, my favorite outdoor space, in the late afternoon.

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