Red Rock Beauty
For the past six years I have taken my paper tidbits on the road, criss crossing the country (Bermuda, and soon to be Italy) teaching collage art workshops. With all my travels, Sedona, AZ remains my very favorite place on this planet, hands down.
I first travelled to Sedona some years ago at the advice of several artist friends, who said it was beautiful. I stayed in a wonderful bed and breakfast in Oak Creek Village, hiked and biked, painted, photographed, and oohed and ahhhed over every red rock vista (and there were plenty) for four days. The beauty of this place stuck with me, long after my return to Orlando. After that very first visit, I was hooked. “How can I work this place into my life long term” I asked myself.
Get gallery representation in town, and find out how to teach for the Sedona Art Center. Easier said than done.
The Journey Begins
After an extensive internet search and contacting galleries via email, I was able to secure an appointment with El Prado during our second trip to Sedona. Joyce Gere was so sweet and generous, not only to have met with me and reviewed my work, but to have actually taken me on as a stable artist at her gallery nestled in the back of Tlaquepaque.
I was with El Prado Gallery for about six months without sales, if you don’t sell, you don’t stay. Joyce could have shipped my work back to FL with a “thanks but no thanks” note, but she didn’t. Joyce told me there was another gallery in town that just might be a better fit for me. She offered to take my work over to the good folks at Lark Art Gallery, Douglas and Catherine specialize in whimsical animal art. Thank you Joyce!
About the same time that Joyce was walking my art across the street, I was calling the Art Center asking them how to submit a proposal to teach a workshop for them. About an hour after receiving my email, the education director called me and said, “I just went through your website and I love your work! Your timing could not have been more perfect. I am putting the course catalogue together this week and needed another mixed media instructor in the line up. How would you like to come April and November?”
A Separate Peace
And there it was, the beginning of a current four year run teaching every six months in my favorite place on the planet. I am on my way home from Sedona again tomorrow and I miss it already. When I see the red rocks in my rear view mirror, I feel like I’m leaving behind a friend. Hard to explain, but I love this place. Not only am I captivated by the natural beauty and stunning views of red rocks, but Sedona holds a peaceful feeling for me like none other.
Last year I felt that feeling of inner peace intensify with a visit to the Boynton Canyon Vortex where I climbed to the top and listened to a man play a wooden wind instrument that echoed through the mountains.
The term vortex refers to its less common definition: “A place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that surrounds it.” In other words, a vortex is a site where the energy of an area is concentrated. Because Sedona as a whole is known to be a spiritual power spot, a vortex site in Sedona is a place where one can feel Sedona’s spiritual energy most strongly. Page Bryant, a medium, came up with the term while investigating sacred locations in the area. (from visitsedona.com)
Go Out and Play!
One of the best ways I have experienced the natural beauty of Sedona is via a hot air balloon. Floating above the Coconino National Forrest in a basket is one of the most amazing ways to get a bird’s eye view of nature, fauna and flora. Despite having to be up and out by about 4:30am, it’s an amazing experience. Nothing matches climbing into the balloon basket and floating in pure silence over the Verde Valley, deer and jackrabbits running through the greenery below.
Run Forrest, Run!
When I travel to teach, I always bring my running shoes. What better workout than spanning some miles in the cool dessert air before the sun is fully up? I’ve put some serious miles behind me on Jordan Road in Uptown Sedona at sunrise. There’s nothing like the golden morning sun reflecting off the sides of the red rocks, it’s worth running to. As an artist, there’s nothing I appreciate more than shapes, color, and the effect of light.
A Business Trip
Teaching at the Art Center has been amazing. These days when I arrive, I’m greeted with a smile and a hug from the staff, who always thank me for coming. Thank me? Thank YOU! I am so thrilled to be PAID to come here twice a year. I’ve met people in my class that I have stayed in touch with over the years. I have had repeat students who were local SAC members or lived close by. It’s so nice to be able to have dinner with a friend or take a Pink Jeep Tour when you are in town. Personal connections are what make teaching so fulfilling, the friendships we forge and the information we share in and out of class swell my heart. Art is a solitary endeavor, an artist is alone in her studio when she creates her latest masterpiece. There is no water cooler, there are no Friday happy hours, there is no softball team. Self employed people who work from home don’t have the same opportunities to connect with others, teaching has supplemented that lifestyle for me.
Every time I am in town, Douglas at the Lark Art Gallery holds a little reception for me so that my students at the Art Center can have the opportunity to see my work up close and in person. We chat about technique and “How long did that take you!?” over a glass of wine and some snacks. If my class falls on the first weekend of the month, the Lark Art Gallery and other Sedona Gallery Association galleries put on the First Friday Art Walk in town, which brings out even more traffic to the Lark.
Even if you are not up for taking an art workshop or a mountain bike tour, there is something for everyone in Sedona, AZ. It’s natural beauty at it’s very best and everyone can appreciate that, artist or not. People from all over the world come to experience the serenity and natural beauty that is Sedona. This trip my mind whirled with ideas for new work, prickly pears, desert quails, red rocks, javelina…. How can you be surrounded by such beauty and not be inspired?
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Upcoming Sedona Workshop
Stunning video visuals of my favorite place