WOW Wednesday -- Did You Know...

…what we commonly refer to as Rice Paper actually contains no rice at all?


Admittedly, in spite of her love of paper, Penny was intrigued by this particular “Did you know?” – having no idea that the name referred to the source vs. the material(s) of composition.  Upon researching the topic, it was made a bit clearer.  The best, single-source article for a pleasant read on the varieties and historical significance of the thing was found at Larry Hodgson’s Laid Back Gardener Blog.

To better accommodate the offerings of Our Artists, we will focus our attentions on the wonders of Stonehenge, 100% cotton paper as we present our vision of 3 Artists, 3 Days, 1 Surface, and a Show! in October (11-15, 2018) in the beautiful setting of Haw River State Park.  No worries, tho’ -- Penny has assured us that there will be a little rice paper in the creative mix!

Your space in the circle is waiting – act now!  We can hardly wait to share this incredible, creative experience with you!  Your deposit secures your spot for an art retreat experience like none other.  Register today to take advantage of our flexible payment options.


Thankful Thursday - Your Perfect Place to Create

"What's your vision of the ideal artist's studio?
What would your perfect place to be creative look like?
What would you include if you could have anything you wanted?
What would you definitely leave out?" 

 Some ideal artist's studios...what's yours?  

Some ideal artist's studios...what's yours?  

These were questions I posed 11 years ago, and I'd love to hear your thoughts.  I've answered them for myself and my own work...what's your perfect place?  

I am fortunate in that I have a dedicated studio in which to create my mixed media work.  In fact, we purchased our home 11 years ago in large part because of the unfinished daylight basement which became our studios.  My husband and I designed the space, and he built our custom side-by-side studio and storage spaces.  We work differently, and we loved being able to design the spaces to fit each style.  My side has wrap around counter space, wall shelves filled with bins of supplies, plus my drawing table, chair, computer desk, space for two file bureaus, a cabinet for paint, and a comfortable 'guest' chair.  His has lots of floor space for his huge, standing easel, a drawing table, a standing work table, and his paints and brushes arranged on the walls and shelves.  Because it's at ground level, it's filled with light, and you may recall that I've described the wildlife show that goes on outside our windows here.  

studio shot.jpg

I'm so thankful that I have this space.  It nurtures me and provides a place for exploration and discovery; it's my perfect place.  Like many artists, I have created in much smaller, more cramped conditions--so I am thankful for the freedom to stretch out, to leave work on the table to come back to at a later time, and to hang work in progress to assess and refine.    

Your Creative Connection will provide a beautiful place for our Creative Explorers to find the freedom to express themselves during our unique mixed media experience in October.  Our Studio Sessions at the Haw River State Park facility will be held in a room with a wall of windows looking out over the beautiful, tree-filled park.  And while I'm sure everyone will be riveted to the instruction taking place and the work on their tables, I'm also sure there'll be much gazing out the window onto the glorious show of Nature!  Won't you join us and be inspired by all that we have to offer?  It's not too late.  Register today.

Until next time,



WOW Wednesday -- Did You Know...

...there are only 3 months until we gather at the river?

Time is definitely flying, and spaces are going...  It’s hard to believe that in a mere 92 days we will be welcoming our Creative Explorers to Your Creative Connection -- Haw River 2018!  All of our planning and preparations will come to fruition in 4 days of creative revelry as we present:  3 Artists, 3 Days, 1 Surface, and a Show!  If you are seeking a restorative break in the beauties of nature replete with creative adventures, great food, and jovial company we have just the break you need.

melting away.jpg

It has been said that time flies when you’re having fun.  We tend to think it flies whether you are having fun or not!  SO…  Why not have fun more of the time?  Like virtually anything else, it is easier once you set your mind to the task.

Won’t you join us for a walk in the woods?  We can hardly wait to welcome you into our creative circle of amazing women – artists each and every one!  Register today to take advantage of our flexible payment options.  Your deposit secures your spot for an experience like none other.  October is calling!


Thankful Thursday – Cell Phones, Flexibility, and Simple Pleasures

Greetings!  Have you ever stopped to consider that the technology that we walk around with everyday is more powerful than the 1st (or 2nd or 3rd) computer that many of us ever owned?  It really boggles the mind – my mind, anyway!  It is so much more than a phone, and yet it is not quite a replacement for sitting down in front of the computer…  I learned the hard way this week that mobility isn’t always everything that it is cracked up to be, but with a few quick work-arounds the job is quite easily dispatched.

That takes me to my second thankfulness for this week:  flexibility.  Not unlike the studies that highlight the myriad benefits of autonomy in the work place, a good partnership allows for a fair amount of wiggle room in the face of all that Life can bring our way.  As the astute reader might have gathered with this post being a tad late, I was in need of that bit of kindness this week.  Not all of Life’s surprises are unpleasant, and it is nice to be able to “roll with it” when the more pleasant ones come our way.  If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of surprise reservations for a long-anticipated dining experience, lean in – accept and be amazed – be thankful – be gracious – be flexible.

I have enjoyed some of my most favorite things, recently:  time outside, *in spite of the heat!* kayaking, star-gazing, and (a new favorite thing?) camping (!) *in spite of vicious, biting bugs!*  While most of these I do every chance I get, the camping thing is pretty new to me (since it has easily been 30+ years since I last did it with any regularity).  No, we don’t have ALL the comforts of home but we have enough to make the lacking livable…  There is something magical about watching the moon rise over a lake, seeing the bejeweled night sky reflected on its glass-smooth surface, and hearing the chorus of hundreds of tree frogs after the heat of the day has faded.  Moments to treasure and anticipate enjoying again – simple pleasures, awaiting our notice, there for the taking…  Lucky are we!

0707-camper in the woods.jpg

Until next time,
 - PLA


Welcome to a month of WOW Wednesdays!

Happy Independence Day, and welcome to our latest, informational series here in Blog-land:. WOW Wednesdays!  We will be conducting a tour of our website by way of some interesting factoids about color, time, vision, and butterflies.  

Did you know that the human eye can discern more shades of green than any other color?  Perhaps that explains the simple joy we find in taking in the myriad hues of green in the Spring and early Summer.  So very many different greens, giving the earth the appearance of being enrobed in multi-toned velvets!  Not at all unlike the natural beauty that awaits you at Your Creative Connection -- Haw River 2018.  

HRSP greenery.jpg

The Haw River State Park is a naturalist's dream.  Great stands of native evergreens and deciduous trees provide the ideal setting for a period of creative discovery and reflection.   All of the beautifully verdant photos on our website were captured on location in 2017, within a week of when we will gather there in October (11-15) of this year.  Isn't it glorious?  The rear wall of our Studio space for the event is all windows that look out on that leafy splendor!  Space is limited, and we don't want you to miss a minute of what this experience holds.   Make your deposit today to secure your spot, and we look forward to welcoming you into our haven of creative exploration this fall.


Friday Feature: Spotlight on Penny L. Arrowood

Wrapping up our month of Friday Features, I am here to share some sneak peeks at my Studio Session as well as some additional information on a couple of the more unique features we have built in to the Your Creative Connection experience.  As Michelle so beautifully stated yesterday, the guiding principle behind all that we do at Your Creative Connection is to offer like-minded women a safe and nurturing space to “learn, discover, experiment, and create beautiful things.  What could be better than that?”  What could be better than that, indeed?  One of the many ways that we are providing such an experience is by offering creative opportunities that are just as accessible and illuminating to new-comers to mixed media art as to long-time denizens of the mixed media community.

My Studio Session will open with some colorful, creative exploration.  We will take a look at surface design by way of Seven Surefire Ways to Banish the Blank Page.  Often the most daunting part of new project is the getting started!  Facing a blank surface (be it journal, canvas, paper, or fabric) can intimidate even the most seasoned artist.  Regardless your primary approach to mixed media art, the morning session will provide multiple ways to loosen up and establish a direction for future creative endeavors.  Additionally, these techniques will work in tandem with the knowledge that our Creative Explorers have gleaned in their two previous Studio Sessions; the resulting papers will provide more material for inventive compositions as we move into the remainder of the day.

After a brief review of the work that has been produced in the past three days.  We will select work from each of the earlier Studio Sessions to include in the exhibit on Monday morning.  With the papers that remain, we will construct what I like to call The Vessel of Containment – Bespoke Bookbinding  to house your very own Your Creative Connection experience.  We will create a perfectly personalized record of all that you have learned throughout the event.  There will be room for personal reflection, notes, thoughts from your new creative cohorts, and more – however you choose to populate its pages it will be exquisitely your own:  chronicling your creative exploration and discovery during our time together.  I designed this project specifically for Your Creative Connection, and this is the only venue at which I will teach it this year.  I’m SO excited to share it.  Michelle, Jeanne, and I have already created one, and we've added to its pages as we developed the content for this exceptional event!  Each of our vessels will be on hand at our Opening Night Creative Social to entice and inspire as we begin our artful adventures.

We have thoroughly enjoyed sharing more about what we have in store for the Creative Explorers who join us in October (11-15, 2018) for the experience that is  Your Creative Connection.  If possible, we are now even more excited for all that the event holds -- for ourselves as well as each of the women who will join us.  We have worked hard to create an event unlike any other – from the structure of our Studio Sessions, to the inclusion of a show to highlight the work of our guests and Artist Instructors – we are each looking forward to sharing 3 Artists, 3 Days, 1 Surface, and a Show  (and all that comes with it) with YOU!  Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.  Register today by making your deposit, and we look forward to welcoming you into the circle.

Thankful Thursday - My Circle of Women

I attended my 40th college reunion earlier this month, and was struck by how easily I was able to share stories, collaborate, and reminisce with many women I hadn't seen in 4 decades.  The shared experience of four years of college bonds us in ways outsiders will observe but never really understand, and it is that experience which guides our interactions with each other all these many years later.  Of course, we're all different, we've chosen divergent paths in both career and family, but our Wellesley experience is our commonality.  This is even true with alumnae from other decades, which can be even more extraordinary; knowing I have a bond with a 96-year old woman riding in the alumnae parade in the Model-T (that'll be me in 30 years!) is a very special feeling.  

My circle of women challenges me, nurtures me, and keeps me grounded.  I am privileged to count among my circle women of diverse ages, races, backgrounds, and geographic locations.  And, thanks to Facebook, that circle is even wider than ever.  I love having the ability to communicate ideas, share successes, ask and answer questions, and have a window into the lives of the women I know.  Of course, face to face conversation is best (and a glass or two of Prosecco doesn't hurt), but catching up with a friend in South Africa on my computer is very cool indeed.

The Your Creative Connection unique mixed media experience will give our Creative Explorers the chance to widen their own circle of women while they learn, discover, experiment, and create beautiful things.  What could be better than that?  If you're intrigued by this notion, click on over to read about what we have in store for October 11 through 15th, then register.  We look forward to welcoming you into our circle of women!  

Until next time,



Friday Feature: Spotlight on Michelle Davis Petelinz

My Studio Session will focus on a variety of ways to create surface texture and pattern with paint and ink.  In my own mixed media work, many of my texture and pattern discoveries come about from my asking questions:  "What if I combined...?", or "How can I create...?"  Intricate, multi-layered, and multi-hued patterns resonate with me, and I often include them in my paper, paint, and clay work.  I am excited to share what I've discovered with our Creative Explorers, and I can't wait to see what they will create during our time together.  Penny, Jeanne and I have been working on our content for Studio Sessions, and below is a peek at what I've created so far in preparation for mine, including embellished monoprints, tape transfers, hot glue and foam stamped prints, 3-D elements, and painted papers.  

Here's what I've got planned: 
Creating texture and pattern with custom tools:  I've found that to make my work truly my own, I had to create my own, custom-designed stamps and texture tools.  I will show you how to design foam stamps, hot glue stamps, texture plates, paper combs and masks, 3-D elements, and whatever else we can dream up to put your own, unique stamp on your work (pun intended); we'll let our imaginations soar!  

Getting the most from your Gelli prints:  using your new custom tools and a variety of techniques, we'll create fantastic monoprints on our luscious Stonehenge paper.  We'll be layering, transferring, embellishing, and adding natural elements to our prints for use as stand alone works, or as components of larger pieces.  If you've never used a Gelli plate, you're in for a treat (it's truly engrossing), and if you've worked with one before, this Studio Session will offer you new ways to use an old favorite.

Exploring composition:  once we've designed, created, and experimented with our new tools, it'll be time to put them to use in your compositions.  Tips and tricks for effective compositions abound, whether you're looking to enhance your paintings, to create 2-D or 3-D mixed media work, or to complete the pieces you'll display in the Your Creative Connection show.   Oh yes, there's going to be a show...and next Friday, Penny will complete our June "Friday Features" series with a look at her Studio Session content and more details about the show.  Stay tuned.   

If you haven't done so yet, Register now, to be sure you'll be able to join in the fun.  



Thankful Thursday - Pets, Poetry, and Human Kindness

For as long as I can recall, there has been a dog in my life…  As a child, we often had more than one.  During my late teens and early 20s, I was often the “god mother” of a friend or family member’s dog(s) when I was not able to have my own.  There has been the odd cat (or three), a handful of gold fish/betas, and the errant rodent (hamster, gerbil, etc.) over the years; my heart has always gravitated toward the canine, though…  Last week was a particularly difficult one, as I said good by to my latest canine campanion – the lovely Wito left this world on 6/12/18.  She adopted us over 11 years ago, and it seems a great deal more still in this place since she took her leave.

   RIP Lady Wito Marie Arrowood -- You were dearly loved and will be sorely missed

RIP Lady Wito Marie Arrowood -- You were dearly loved and will be sorely missed

Grief has an inimitable way of staunching the flow of creativity.  It mutes the stimulation of the larger world – blocking things, as though in a cocoon – sounds are muffled, colors dimmed, and joys diminished.  I find that turning to the creative works of others is both comforting and inspiring at such times.  A long-time admirer of the poet Mary Oliver, I immediately recalled this gem in the days that followed Wito’s last.

As grateful as I am for the privilege of having had this dearest of dogs in my life for over a decade, and for the means with which I have found solace in her absence, I am fully amazed and so mightily thankful for the kindness of my various circles of humans.  My spirits have been repeatedly lifted in the past week by words of comfort from friends far and near.  I have said often that I am so, so very lucky.

   A sentiment to treasure from a precious friend (the art and words of  Brian Andreas ):  comfort and inspiration, hand in hand.

A sentiment to treasure from a precious friend (the art and words of Brian Andreas):  comfort and inspiration, hand in hand.

It seems that Life holds no shortage of reminders of this fact.

…and that only gives me all the more for which to be thankful!

Until next time,
 ~ PLA


Friday Feature: Spotlight on Jeanne Faith d'Orleans

As announced last week, each remaining Friday in the month of June will feature one of our Artist Instructors and the Studio Session that they are offering at our October Experience.  Our Friday Feature Series is the perfect showcase for the concept that informed the structure of this distinctive event:  3 Artists, 3 Days, 1 surface, and a Show!  While each of our Artist Instructors brings a different approach to her mixed media endeavors, they will each be presenting their methodology on the incomparable Stonehenge paper. Jeanne beautifully blends light washes of color with fiber elements to tell her own, unique story – rich with many layers of luscious color and texture.

Whether entertaining guests in her home, nestled among the greenery of a yard surrounded by trees and plants, or addressing small and large groups in professional training events:  our Guest Artist Instructor, Jeanne, is an excellent communicator!  She has a natural ability to put folks at ease and comfortable people are most often quite happy people.  She has a passion for creativity that has spanned a variety of interests in her youth and throughout her adulthood.  We are thrilled to have her on our team for the Haw River Mixed Media Experience in October, 2018.

In her Studio Session, Jeanne will lead Creative Explorers in exercises designed to incorporate assorted fiber content (fabrics, roving, and threads) and notions in their creative, mixed media expressions.  Bringing her love of nature to the table, Jeanne will inspire the inclusion of organic elements to evoke a sense of place as well as bringing dimension and texture to the work.  In answer to the declaration “Oh, I don’t sew…”  she responds “You don’t have to!”  She will share stitch-free (and stress-free) methods for incorporating more fiber in your work – and is a firm believer that we can all do many things we think we can’t if we come at them from a different angle.  She looks forward to spending the day in the studio, coming up with new ways to combine paint, thread & fiber, fabric, and paper in imaginative and innovative ways.  Have questions for Jeanne or about this creative adventure?  Contact us any time – we look forward to hearing from you!

Next week, we’ll see what Michelle has in store for our Creative Explorers.