I will start with the facts.
I attended a workshop offered by the Southampton Art School from May 3-7, 2010. Jeane Myers was the “instructor” of Risk in Artmaking and I was one of the enthralled three who benefited h-u-g-e-l-y from this time with Jeane. We are fortunate it even took place (for only three of us), but Sharon Barfoot (aka Zappha) made it happen, and now there are 2 more weeks of classes lined up to partake of the bounty that Jeane has to offer.
The first thing you become aware of, with Jeane, is her confidence and presence. “Lion” leaped into my mind when she first strode into the room, due to a certain ferociousness of character that will cause any Muridae-like tendencies in you to shiver and shake.
“I am not a teacher,” she immediately instructed us, “I am a director.”
What she didn’t tell us was that she was going to observe how we made art, and then offer those observations to us if we opted to hear them. “Just be aware,” she added, “that I will be BRUTALLY HONEST.”
Jeane then proceeded to take us through exercises that heightened her observations, and invited us into discussions to further elucidate our understanding of them. Soon, we all felt free to share insights, tendencies, experiences, dreams, fears, and stories that we saw in each others’ work, and our own. The line between workshop leader and workshop participant blurred as we ventured further and further into what Jean called our core work.
I ate well, that week, at the various eating establishments dotting Southampton. But, as the goddess breathes and spreads her wings, my spirit encountered a banquet!
When I first sat down to write this, I believed I should at least attempt to capture the totality of what happened that week. I now see the impossibility of such a task. It was a gift to those of us who were there ~ an amazing, personal, life-altering gift. All I have to do is bask in the memory of it, and watch, with fascination, how my work evolves because of it. I do not have to explain it, try to recreate it or even describe it for anyone else.
This much I know is true. I now have 4 new sisters: Jeane, Diane, Patty, and Zappha (who managed to make HER presence felt in the few short times she was able to join us). Usually, I have few illusions about meeting people from the workshops I attend, again. We all have full plates, and life moves on, like water closing over a small enclave once the tide comes in. (There are a few notable exceptions.)
But these women have entered the soul of me. I can already use the word “love” in connection with them, and I sense that this was an episode in a larger adventure. I left Southampton with the firm desire to see where they go next, and after that, and after that. There will be continuity.
Thank you, sisters, for each allowing me access into your art life (which includes everything else). You certainly penetrated my heart and defenses. When I think of you, it is with a smile of pure joy.
And Jeane: I prefer your “brutal honesty” to polite pleasantries any day.
A few related links:
Patty Gilhooly does not have an online presence, but she has a huge personal one. I dare you to invite her to play with you.
Jeane packed her ipod along with her art supplies, so we were treated to an eclectic mix of the music she paints, and moves, to. I was particularly taken with Thomas Otten.