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Well, what can I say? The Hampton Art & Soul Retreat turned out just fabulously. Everyone got to kick up their heels, had a Spring in their step, and let their creativity soar! The Garden Hat Competition was out of this world! So many entries and such an amazing level of thoughtfulness for these fun and funky creations. Leslie Brier’s entry (above) — entitled Tripping Over Daisies — won for Most Original and had everybody smiling!

We had a wonderful selection of classes and the teachers really outdid themselves. It’s becoming evident in this day and age that the people teaching are doing so because they want to share the excitement that creativity can bring to someone’s life. For example, the lovely Susan Lenart Kazmer — who now has several books, dvds, gallery exhibits, and a product line with a major craft retailer — still wants to teach people on an individual basis, and makes them all feel like mixed media superstars while she’s doing it!

And then we have those like Dan Carrel — having taught at 5 universities and colleges throughout his tenure — who feels compelled to teach people that they do have the innate abilities it takes to create a Transformational Painting! In the process — transforming their lives into ones filled with courage and creativity. I am truly honored and humbled to have instructors like these in the Art & Soul family and I thank them all profusely!

The attendees not only come to play and be free, but they come for the camaraderie of like-minded souls. They are excited to learn and it is truly evident in their finished pieces of art. It gives me great pride to see all of you walking around after class — beaming with pride over what you have accomplished! It is heartwarming to see my dream come true in each of you.

The techniques that are taught go above and beyond the limits of the imagination. For instance, take a look at this beautiful collage made in Cathy Taylor’s class — Finding Your Creative Spirits. Using pages from National Geographics Magazines and orange cleaner, she took students to new heights of creativity. Who knew?

And Vendor Night — well, Vendor Night is fun in so many ways. Ways that you wouldn’t necessarily think. For example — since no one is getting dirty, or painty, or using a belt sander, our shoppers are always dressed to the nines! Sporting their most favorite, funky fashionable wardrobes along with accessories that were just made in class or have been thoughtfully hand crafted by one of thier favorite teachers or artists. The excitement is palpable as everyone rummages for the perfect found objects, ephemera, jewelry bits and bobs, as well as original art and supplies.

At this Hampton, VA Art & Soul event, everyone was so gracious, loving and enthusiastic and the positive energy was absolutely contagious. The East Coast attendees rock! I am grateful for your continued support. The laughter, comraderie and talent that you exude is the reason that I founded this event. And I’d like to give one more huge Thank You to all of our workshop instructors as well as my trusty right-hand-chick Marie Kennedy, to Judy Gula for bringing an entire store to the Convention Center in the 11th hour, and everyone else that helped make this such a successful event.

See you next time!


Well, hello there and thanks for stopping by our Blog Hop. Here you’ll find some of the spectacular workshop instructors we have lined up for Portland Art & Soul this upcoming September-October. Below you’ll find links to their profiles, classes, as well as their personal blogs. So grab a glass of something… and maybe a snack… settle in… and enjoy browsing!

Jane Davies
Jane is teaching Scribble Collage and Scribble Paint – explore your uninhibited, playful side!
Explore the blog behind her collage journeys!

Ingrid Dijkers
Ingrid will be teaching Instructional Guide For Going Over The Edge, An Octopus’s Garden – A Steampunk Inspired Journal, and Through The Rabbit Hole – creative  journaling like you’ve never seen it before!
Visit her blog and you’ll definitely get inspired.

Elizabeth Kettle
Liz will be teaching Anthology Of Memories In Fabric & Stitch, Delectable Cloth, and Silk Dreams – pure fabric goodness!
Check out her blog to see more of  her own personal artistic journey.

Kari McKnight-Holbrook
The “Backporch Artessa” will be teaching Green Art Goodness, A Fluid Romance, and Happy Bird Sings, a Clay-Covered Journal – fresh approaches and tons of techniques!
Explore the many facets of Kari on her delightful blog.

Karen O’Brien
Karen will be teaching Block Party – make your own version of “vending” art on wood!
Check out Karen’s blog for mixed media inspiration and more.

Janne Robberstad
Janne is teaching Fabric Portraits and Machine Embroidered Birds — amazing!
Visit her blog for more behind the scenes.

Stephanie Rubiano
Steph is teaching Bedazzling Butterfly Boxes, Over The Edge, Marvelous Mica ATCs, and House Of Cards —mixed media madness!
Check out her blog for more thinking “outside the box”.

Marcia Schultz
Marcia (along with husband Ty) will be teaching Big Birdz, All About Resins, Big Bloomz, and Metal Steampunk & Milagro – to make the extraodinary out of the ordinary!
Visit Marcia’s blog to get inspired in many mixed media ways.

Well, thanks for stopping by our little blog hop and I hope you enjoyed this cross-section of talented artists that will be teaching this Fall at the Portland, Oregon Art & Soul Retreat. Visit our website for even more Portland instructors and classes!

Art & Soul Las Vegas is just around the corner and there are so many exciting classes to choose from! Thought we’d just share a sampling of the wonderful workshops from our amazing instructors that still have some spots left…

Kari McKnight – A Fluid Romance

In this class, you’ll fall in love with Fluid Acrylics as you explore the allure of layers and blending colors!  Kari will teach you tips and tricks to easily put your own marks, sketches and artwork into the painting. She’ll even share how to see if something will work out before risking what you’ve already done! In addition, you’ll work with bas-relief, wax oil crayons, oil based markers, stabilo pencils, acrylic mediums all while playing with stencils, stamps, rub-ons and hot foils. Free your inner artist and create a piece of art with rich juicy colors, individual dreams and glamorous mysteries!

Julie Haymaker Thompson – Musical Cats & Dogs

Paper Clay in a day? Who knew? Explore this versatile medium using basic modeling techniques and working with simple shapes. Design and balance will be created using color and whimsical, funky embellishments for this adorable music box. You’ll learn basic dry brush painting techniques that are easy and fun. All this on a pedestal which will hold an old fashion crank music box. Practice your painting and coloring skill’s on sample kitties and puppies while your own modeled critters dry on Julie’s speedy drying systems!

Sherri Haab – Image Transfers on Faux Bone Set in Silver

Transfer images onto Faux Bone™ to create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, personalized pendant. You’ll learn so many valuable techniques in this class including image transfers on various surfaces, filing, making silver bezels and basic metal clay techniques including firing and finishing. Your finished pendant will be ready to attach to your favorite cord, chain or other finding… ready to wear and show off!

… and there’s even more to choose from, so check ’em out and sign up today! You can search all Las Vegas classes by Workshop or by Instructor. Which classes are you looking forward to?

Don’t forget that Art & Soul Retreats has a very special talk radio program to keep you inspired in-between events!

Hosted by professional artist and mentor Lesley Riley, Art & Soul Radio explores all aspects of the creative process. Whether you’re just beginning to explore your creativity or are a professional artist, this show is for YOU! Guests and topics include artists, authors, art materials and techniques, the business of art, creative blocks, “aha” moments and more.

Every other week the show offers a plethora of creative ideas! Personally, professionally and artistically you’ll generate more abundance, clarity, confidence and creative energy as your host, Lesley, inspires, encourages and ignites your Creative Spirit! Join us for our next exciting interview, or listen to past episodes… all for free!

Unbelievable, Portland was nothing short of fabulous. And all of you made it happen. Each day I thank the powers that be for bringing you into my life. There were too  many amazing moments to count this year and a few rocky patches (mostly at the companion hotel and I am happy to say that we will be back at the Sheraton in 2010), but all-in-all, it was pretty smooth sailing. Or in one person’s case, smooth swimming. Thanks to Jan Richie for her incredible humor and dazzling performance under water.

And a few more thank yous…

Thanks to Christine Merritt  & Marie Kennedy who made our Trade Identification Tags (TITS). What a hoot!! Trading will just never be the same. Wonder what they’ll come up with next year?

And where would we be without the store? It was amazing, AGAIN. I can’t believe they can get so much stuff in such a tiny spot. What a joy for me and a great resource for everyone. Maria and the gang, thank you.

Instructors, there’s no question, without you, well, we couldn’t do it. You keep us engaged and excited about our art. We are grateful. This year we had some new instructors and all the classes were exceptional.  It’s heartwarming to know that new and exciting techniques are still being developed for classes. Everyone benefits greatly. Thanks to Alma dela Melena Cox, Marie Maretska, Tory Brokenshire and Crystal Neubauer for bringing them to us. 

As always the staff at the Embassy were incredible, welcoming our attendees with smiles and treating us like family. On Friday, they participated in the Lee jeans Susan B Koman fundraiser. For a $5 donation, they could wear jeans to work. Our pink rock ‘n’ roll sweatshirts added to the festivities! It was great fun, check out the photo below. 

Many of you are asking, “Are you well?” Sorry to say that I’m down, but I’m not planning to let the crud take complete control as in the past. Apparently, it’s a part of the event cycle for me and I need to plan accordingly each time. Regardless, I’ll be in full swing again soon, preparing for Vegas. Here are a few highlights from classes and other moments during the retreat. If you go to the flickr page in the left hand column of the blog, there may be a few more photos not posted here. And If you have any you’d like to share, I’ll post them. 

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Found this banana in my office. Thank you, I love you, too.


Abigail’s dada doll, not quite complete. Made in Linda and Opie O’Brien’s Who’s Your Dada? class.


More dada, look at those legs.


Goddess of Trinkets, class taught by instructor Susan Bezek.


A few troublemak…I mean students in Susan’s class.


Resins drying.

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 Make and take table fun!


And work, but really, fun.


Thomas Ashman’s Tin soldier.


Working on a tin man.

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Embassy Staff in our rock ‘n’ roll sweatshirts.


This is Clifford.  He’s a bartender at the Embassy.  One day we went for
a stroll into the classrooms.


This is me and Diane Taylor doing the chicken dance while Clifford played
the accordion.

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Maria, Teesha, Sarah and Susan Bezek relaxing after class with wine and snacks.

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 This is Susan’s solution to packing/saving our appetizers for another night when we don’t have Tupperware.

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Instructor Lesley Veneable and Art Husband, Tom, in his fetching pink sweatshirt.


Aerial view of the store. Look at all that stuff.