Over two days in Brattleboro, Vermont, I worked with my friend Donna Hawes at her art school, helping her optimize the school’s social media connections. As an indie author I have somehow become a social media maven. At least that’s what I appear to be to some people who don’t use social media on a daily basis. Then there are others who think I am addicted to social media, my husband the number one critic on this front. He won’t be complaining about this when the royalties start rolling in on a large scale and of this I am certain. I believe in myself, even if no one else does.
Social media is part of the job of promoting two books. If you’re chasing a dream it takes dedication. I do a lot of it on my IPhone while I’m on the road, but my phone is also my camera. And it is of course my phone. A lot is going on with that handy little Apple device, and it’s far better than working in a cubicle.
Our friends have a beautiful house with a mountain view but no Internet connection. Who knew such places still exist in America? So on Thursday and Friday I packed up my laptop and my IPhone and went to work at the River Gallery School of Art, helping update their Pinterest account and posting updates to their Facebook page.
The school was started by Ric Campman and Barbara Merfeld Campman to nurture a creative spark in people of all ages and abilities. Although I sat at a desk working on a computer the views out the tall windows in the historic old building provided scenes of the bustling town of Brattleboro and the Whetstone River. Inside on a couple of rainy workdays, inspiration and creative tableaus were around every corner.
I was invited to join a class in a technique called Sequencing that was created by Ric Campman. It is based on the belief that creativity is in each of us, but often our fear of failure and belief that we have no talent holds us back. Sequencing encourages the artist to relax, empty his/her mind, and open the imagination. Get rid of those destructive patterns of thinking.
We taped three sheets of paper to a piece of cardboard then applied wax to the paper with our fingers, followed by a warm transparent brownish base color. Encouraged to think of a seascape or landscape, we dipped our fingers in a palette of colors and tried not to dwell on what we were going to paint. Just let it happen.
When we were finished, we peeled back the tape, and the picture popped, but I wasn’t so happy with my first attempt. I didn’t quite succeed with the connection between eyes, hand, and paint. I was controlling the process. Writing the story, so to speak. My second attempt came out much better.
Like writing, art has its own form of editing. It’s knowing when to stop.
There are lots of things about painting that are similar to writing. Trusting yourself. Shutting out the noise and following your instincts. Giving up the opinions of others and telling your story, painting your picture. Whether you’re using words or pictures, it’s a matter of communicating your unique view of the world.
This exercise in painting, something I rarely if ever do, filled my head with words. I went back to my desk and started writing. It was liberating. I wondered what it would be like to work in an environment like this everyday.
If you ever happen to find yourself in Brattleboro, Vermont, stop by the gallery and check out their classes. Tap into your creative side and discover something new. You never know what a creative afternoon can do for you until you try it.
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
The River Gallery School of Art is located at 32 Main Street Brattleboro, VT 05301 On october 4th during the Brattleboro Literary Festival they will offering FREE classes from 1-4 p.m. incorporating art and the written word into various artistic mediums.