Island Adventure MISA style! May 19-23, 2014

Layne Kennedy-LEAP_LCK1208 (2)Madeline Island School of Art

When I was invited to teach in Wisconsin, images that came to mind were rolling hills, dairy farms and plains, not an island!  What a treat to learn of this gem of a place, the  Madeline Island School of Art , which is indeed a former dairy farm with woods all around.  It is the perfect artist retreat opportunity. Surrounded by Lake Superior, the school offers the rare experience  of making art in nature undisturbed by the usual distractions of 21st century living.  Given the focus of the class I will teach-art journaling—the location is perfect.  There will be space in the classroom for joyful collaboration, time for field trips to surrounding wooded areas and the beach, as well as opportunities for working in solitude, alone or surrounded by fellow artists.  Indeed, the purpose of the class is first and foremost about cultivating connection: with one’s self and one’s surroundings.

Art journaling may not fully describe the class I will be facilitating on this Island retreat. It is really about learning to accept where one is,  and  to enjoy exploring  the  myriad possibilities of artistic expression.  The only prerequisite for the course is curiosity and a willingness to discover new things.  Integrating writing, handwriting or calligraphy, gestural marks, simple sketching, painting, collage will provide the opportunity to learn about basic design and composition.  Contour and gestural drawing exercises will teach us to learn how to see.  Rhythm and writing exercises will show us that “beautiful writing” can be our own handwriting, and can be viewed as texture, line and image. The main focus, however,  will be on getting comfortable with greeting the blank page with  less fear and trepidation, and more wonder and curiosity.

Whatever one’s experience, it is common to fear the blank page-particularly the ones in hand bound books.  We wait for the time to be “good enough” to put something in these precious items, and that time never arrives. “I’ don’t have the right skills!” or “I will ruin it!” we say to ourselves convincingly, and the book remains empty and forlorn, a pretty “air-head” object on a shelf.  The time is now to fill that book with life in a unique setting surrounded by like-minded fellow artists.

Because the class includes exercises in drawing and calligraphy, it might seem to require a certain set of skills.  Not so! All levels of experience are welcome, In fact everyone will come away with a unique, hand-made journal filled with interesting images, lines, words, marks, as well as a sketchbook filled with new ideas for further development.  Authenticity trumps skill, in this case, and you will be surprised at how much you connect with what you create.

I look forward to exploring the new (to me) world of Madeline Island and teaching in such an inviting location.  Watch for me on the ferry to the island. I will be the one with the sketchbook in my hands!


Leave a Reply