This past weekend I attended a retreat here in Nashville under the guidance of the wildly creative minds of Whitney Ferre’ of Creatively Fit and Minton Sparks. These women bring such an everlasting energy to the world. Whitney, who believes in creating change to make a better world and Minton, who shares her talent at wheeling you in to her fascinating life stories.
I was so excited to attend this, I had no idea what to expect. No great expectations!
I found a theme to this weekend…. circles, contrast and change!
We all sat in a circle with three candles in the center. The first night we introduced ourselves through these three questions: What do I come from? Where am I at this moment? What do I want from this? It turns out that we all basically come from the same thing and that we want the same thing, we are just on different tracks of our journey. How comforting! I was really looking forward to writing and doing some art but mostly writing.
Circles. The circle day two with some of Whitney's paintings.
Contrast. A little foreshadowing of what the weekend would hold.
Day two brought lots of writing and painting and storyboards.
Our first exercise was to write about “What will happen if I say yes?” . Do we all live in fear of success, even those who do not appear to be afraid? If I say yes, I feel like my whole world will open up! So many things to say yes to. Saying yes to the things I want instead of no to those I don’t, just like editing in instead of editing out!
Incredible leaded glass windows at Scarritt Bennett. I have been to this location many times photographing weddings. Usually when a photo of a window happened there was some other element involved: a bouquet, a bride or her groom. How nice to be able to really investigate these without the time constraint of a wedding day!
Another view. Reminds me of one of my favorite memories from Italy.
The window in Italy that I fell in love with. I will never forget the grand gesture of the bell hop as he opened the windows with announced "Napoli!!"
Then we wrote about blue and the kitchen we grew up in and a letter about our gifts from the perspective of one of the people we listed that we loved. Mine was from a young child. Blue was cool, sad, loyal, thought provoking, summer, pretty skies, clean water….the kitchen brought up all kinds of childhood memeories…mostly those that made me blue but also made me who I am today. A person that I love and who was the first on my “people that I love list”.
Autumns last leaves hanging on....
Getting my right brain “exercised” help me tap into my subconscious! We gathered images from magazines, images that we liked and spoke to us. I made five storyboards which I am still working on writing a narrative to go along with them. The first one included the words “Big Dream”, clouds, Italy, a photo by one of my nature photographer idols, Galen Rowell, a beautiful blue sky with a heart. My dream of traveling and photographing and finding my one big human LOVE, a man, my partner. My next one is BELIEVE. Natural images of a hand full of olives, a David Arms painting of a bird with the caption, “I will trust, I will not be afraid”, a progression of a leaf turning with raindrops. The next one contained themes of country roads, music, little kids and animals, dried hydrangeas, embracing growing old and growing up and again trust. The fourth storyboard was about survival. Blue images of winter, beautiful pink peonies, a bird and some words by Mary O”Hara, “A dreamer-you know-it’s a mind that looks over the edge of things”. The last one is nostalgic with images of old bottles, a sepia image of a boy and a dog, the speedometer of an old car and a couture Manuel jacket. I can’t wait to write more about these storyboards as I feel like they really help keep my dreams up front, in front of all the crap that crowds my brain.
making art with Whitney
Whitney talking about her painting. She has so much passion for painting and art. Her creativity is so inspiring.
Minton speaking and Whitney pasting.
My glue stick and images for my story boards.
Dreaming through the window.
black and white abstract with snow
The wind shield with snow streams.
Constraint. Waiting in the Starbuck's line.
Minton reciting a prose of “what she comes from”. It is like she channels some past ghost of southern lore. Mesmerizing. Listen to her here.
Minton grabbing our attention.
Whitney guided us through a blind scribble exercise.
Whitney demonstrating the blind scribble method.
tools for the artist!
As this year ends and a new begins we often focus our energy on change. Change is good! And my life is changing and I like it.
As you can tell I totally enjoyed this retreat. I loved the energy that all the women had and was able to really make a dent in forging a new path for myself. To learn more about workshops and retreats from Whitney and Minton, go here and here.
What will you liberate yourself from?