Squam Art Workshops

A Vision Board, a Recurring Desire and a Call to Universe

I've been feeling in limbo lately, floating aimlessly in a land without dreams or desires.

For weeks now I've been asking the Universe for guidance and during the past few days the notion of a vision board kept coming up in my journal. Last night, with the hopes of gaining clarity, I decided to create one. What did I have to lose but a few hours of my time?

A snippet of my board. That girl in the middle was the first image to go on, followed by the words "Rest Within Yourself."

A snippet of my board. That girl in the middle was the first image to go on, followed by the words "Rest Within Yourself."

(NOTE: If you're not familiar with vision boards, this article by Christine Kane includes a pretty good primer on how to create one.)

Creating the board

I gathered a stack of magazines, scissors and foraged my supply drawer for a glue stick. I approached it with a sense of play, choosing to go lightly and let my intuition be my guide. I set a pretty loose and open intention of "recovering dreams and desires", not wanting to be too specific at this point. Then, without too much thought I flipped through magazines, cut out images and words that spoke to me and glued them into position on an 18"x12" mat board.

At times I caught myself judging my choices. When this happened I halted and quickly switched my attention to the lower portion of my body and the floor on which I was sitting. This helped me "get out of my head" and into the moment, which is where intuition makes itself heard.

A small corner of Vision Board August 2017.

A small corner of Vision Board August 2017.

A few of the images I cannot explain, but the pull to include them was strong so there they are. I shall live with the mystery.

I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise. 

Vision boarding combines stillness (connection to intuition) and possibility (images and words that speak to desires) which, in my opinion, combined with action can lead to wonderful things.

At this point in my journey action would be premature since I have no sense of direction. Last night's intuitive play was a perfect place to start.

Discovering a recurring desire

Vision board 2012. See the previous image for the August 2017 studio repeat.

Vision board 2012. See the previous image for the August 2017 studio repeat.

When I took in the images and words I collaged last night I noticed a recurring theme that was included on a vision board created five years ago, in August 2012: a studio.

When journalling about it this morning I realized that I'd expressed that dream in writing about 10-15 years ago too, specifying my desire to someday build a studio made of straw bales, a.k.a. Strawbale Studio. This was before I started painting.

About five years ago I dreamt - as in, during my sleep - of a gallery space in a large open barn with walls painted white and sunlight streaming in through windows placed high above paintings. In one section of the barn there were dioramas on the floor depicting nature and country life, through which I meandered. It was a peaceful place and the image is still very clear in my head.

Apparently this desire for an art studio runs deep.

A call to Universe

I don't know what this studio might look like or if it even will come into being, but again I've nothing to lose here so I am putting a call out to the Universe to guide me on this one.

The last time I put a call out to the Universe on my blog was in 2008. I asked for creative community and was led to Squam Art Workshops, which completely changed my life.

I thought I might try it again.

With no expectations related to outcome, I remain open to direction.

Here's to discovery. Here's to the journey. Here's to the unfolding mystery.

Peace out.

Thank You Squam Art Workshops

Tree in the Morning Sun

tree in morning sunlight, Squam Lake, New Hampshire

Right now, as I type, there is a powerful gathering happening in the woods of New Hampshire.

Kindred spirits have united for five days by the shores of Squam Lake. Most likely there are smiles and hugs; mostly like there are tears; most likely there is delicious food, creative magic and powerful transformation. 

I want to be there.

Year after year my journey to Squam Art Workshops has been a pilgrimage of sorts. This year is the first time I've missed it since 2008 and boy did I ever underestimate how much of a void it would leave!

I've experience deep transformation in those woods.

I've experienced safety, acceptance, letting go, healing, friendship, deep, deep joy and an aliveness I've rarely been able to rekindle elsewhere.

Even more beautiful, I've witnessed all of this in others too.

But that's not all. 

Five years ago, at Squam Art Workshops, I picked up a paint brush for the first time since kindergarten and haven't put it down since.

The week before the workshops, I remember heading to the art supply store with my class supply list not knowing what half of them were. I was extremely intimidated. Thank you, kind and helpful art supply store employee, you helped me fill my shopping basket without feeling the least bit embarrassed.

I remember the first class on that crisp September morn with Misty Mawn, as I collaged random pieces of the fancy scrapbooking paper and vintage magazines I'd brought with me not having a clue what the hell I was doing. But hey, I was doing it. 

My First Collage (2008)

my first collage from Misty Mawn's class

I remember listening to Kelly Rae Roberts and Mati Rose McDonough speak to us one of those cool evenings in the Playhouse, and how when Kelly Rae mentioned that before attending her first art workshop she didn't know was Gesso was either, I sighed a sigh of relief and knew I'd be OK. (It's a form of primer used to prep painting surfaces.)

And how could I forget pushing through my first ever "big" painting with the gentle help of Lisa Occhipinti, and the tears of joy that sprang to the corners of my eyes as I declared it complete?

Purely Coincidental (My First Painting Since Kindergarten, 2008)

my first "big" painting (technically a mixed media piece), with Lisa Occhipinti

Finally, on the last day, I took Andrea Scher's Superhero workshop. I was late arriving and felt a little embarrassed, but Jen Gray was there with her gentle smile and pointed me to some rocks with messages painted on them, making sure I picked one before I entered. I chose one that told me exactly what I'd discovered that weekend in the woods: that I belonged there.

I still have that rock.

You Belong Here

There's no way I would be where I am now without crossing paths with Squam Art Workshops and all of its gifts.

THANK YOU, dearest Elizabeth for sharing your vision and your gifts with us, and for creating this space for us to grow and thrive.

Even in absentia, Squam Art Workshops is that powerful.