Getting to Your Core Work

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.

Open Door ~ by Carol Wiebe


Putting the Pieces Together ~ by Carol Wiebe

A few related links:

Diane is an accomplished artist. Find out more about her on Mary Ann Wakely’s site, Katherine Treffinger‘s blog, and her Flickr photostream, to name a few.

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.

About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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12 Responses to Getting to Your Core Work

  1. Deb Sims says:

    Glory Hallelujah! I am so happy for you! I cannot wait to see what miracles of art come from this experience! By the way, I am in New Mexico on a personal safari to climb rocks, photograph petroglyphs. visit pueblos and regroup. Taos is incredible–one huge art community.
    I will be sharing photos and experiences!!

  2. carolwiebe says:

    WOW! Are you also attending a Jessica Wesolek workshop? I can hardly wait to hear about your adventures!

  3. Jeane says:

    Hey sweet Carol! what a fabulous post – so full of your energy and spirit – your work looks so amazing online – my internet access, as you know, is on and off, so I was glad to be able to get here – my figures grow around me, my friend from Montreal just left and now I’m working on a little book – charge with intent – talk soon, xxo

    • carolwiebe says:

      A fabulous post to celebrate a fabulous class, Jeane. I’m intrigued by your book . . . can hardly wait to see it on your blog. Or maybe I’ll just have to come see it in person!

  4. Zappha says:

    Carol, what a lovely post. It was such a pleasure to meet you. I do hope you will share your spirit with this place again sometime. Much love…Z

    • carolwiebe says:

      I absolutely shall, Zappha!I felt like adding ‘caveat lector,’ not because there were mistakes in the way I wrote about the workshop, but because I didn’t think anyone would believe how great it really was. There was such a wonderful chemistry that happened, and we all benefited.

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  6. Tammy Vitale says:

    WOW knock my socks off – are these are pieces you made as a result of the workshop?! WOW!

    • carolwiebe says:

      I bet those are mighty fine socks, too. Thanks a million, Vitale. I choose ecstasy over agony any day!

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