Jen Lee

Back from Squam Art Workshops Part 2 (or, A Post of Gratitude)

[Warning: it's a long one.]

After five years, the impact of Squam Art Workshops (or S.A.W.) is still as strong as it ever was; luckily, re-entry gets a bit easier. Thank goodness.

Upon re-reading it, my first post about this year's S.A.W. experience may seem a bit, ahem, intense (though intense does not always = bad).

To embrace the complete experience here, I also wanted to share about all the good things that kept me company, right along with the intensity. I offer you a Squam 2012 gratitude list...

my cabin - Point of View is a beautiful cabin; we went to bed to the sound of the water lapping up against the rocks, just outside our porch windows. It was bliss.

Point of View in morning sun

Point of View in the morning sun

my cabin mates - If we are open to it, Elizabeth (S.A.W. founder and director) has a gift of placing us exactly where we are meant to be. Ladies of Point of View, you were gentle and soothing comfort to me, which is exactly what I needed this year. I believe there was a greater force at play that brought us together. I thank you all for being you.

my classes, teachers and classmates - Intuition & Creativity with Marie Manuchehri on Thursday, and Origins with Jen Lee on Friday. There were no visual art classes this year, but two classes that were very self-exploratory in nature. To my teachers, thank you for creating a safe space for us to learn and explore. To my classmates, it was an honour to be a part of your journey; thank you for being part of mine.

the sunrises - I sat through three while I was there, on our dock, in silent reverence.

Sunrise on Squam Lake, Day 1

sunrise on Squam Lake, NH, Day 1

the food - I couldn't craft a Squam gratitude list without mentioning the food and the people who prepared it for us each day. It was all buffet all the time, and Maine Tracks ice cream included whole peanut butter cups. I don't think I need to say more.

the transformation - Each year I get to witness a-ha moments, emotional breakthroughs and joy-filled growth in others. There is no greater privilege.

earth art inspiration - This year's Earth Art students left treasures for us to discover along the wooded trails. Saturday afternoon I felt called to play with paint in the open studio, but alas had no canvas or surface on which to do so. Inspired by these Earth Art treasures, I created my own outdoor art, right outside our cabin. It was very cathartic and a much-needed creative release.

Impromptu earth art

impromptu - and cathartic - earth art

being seen - Elizabeth publicly honoured those of us who were present at the very first S.A.W., in 2008. I felt seen and acknowledged, one of the greatest gifts one could receive, if you ask me.

the road trip to & from S.A.W. - For the past four years I've shared the trip to & from New Hampshire with a most beautiful travelling companion. We met the first year as cabin mates and discovered that we lived about 15 minutes apart. We've made the trek together ever since. I cannot think of a better way to bookend the experience. Thank you Miss K. for the laughter, the tears and even more precious, the comfortable silence.

Elizabeth - I don't even know where to begin. Each year she creates this safe space for us to gather and grow. She sees us, she hears us; she works her magic, and lets the magic work itself. She offers us her gifts, that in return, allow us to discover and share our own. Elizabeth, we see you too. And we are grateful. Yes, we are.