Three weeks ago, I flew to Colorado and stayed in the home of my sweet friend Jeanne Oliver. She had invited me months before to be her special guest for the very first art workshop in her brand new studio, on the grounds of her brand new home in Castle Rock.
It has taken me this long to write about it, because I've been processing all of it deeply. More deeply than I ever expected, to be honest.
I knew how that being in the physical presence of an artist whose work you admire, even taking one lesson from that artist, live and in person, can change your own art forever - but it takes time to see the incremental changes.
What I didn't realize - or to be more accurate, what I had forgotten - is how being in the presence of a friend who simply bears witness to who you really are, can change who you are forever.
That weekend, I got both. I was in the presence of both friend and artist.
That entire weekend, my friend Jeanne was crazy-busy. I can't imagine putting the finishing touches on an entire 1,100+ square foot teaching studio a mere day before a major workshop, then hosting an entire workshop while hosting a visiting friend. But that's what she did...
...and so, what I'm saying is that she didn't have much time to consciously "bear witness" of me, or be profound with me or try to change me. What I'm saying is that who she is, is so authentic, that it simply is. And you impart who you are, not what you think you want to teach others.
I caught such an impartation to dream and to believe yet more in a good, good God. I was reminded that who I have been, in secret, for many years, is of infinite value - because to live life beautifully and soulfully is never - ever - a wasted effort. In fact, it is the only way any of us can give away inspiration. You can never just up and decide you are going to inspire someone. No. You have to live in an inspired way, alongside your spouse or your whole family, on a thousand Monday mornings, when the dailyness of the daily can become monotony - when no one is around to see the peaches you put in your oatmeal, when there is no one there but you and your loves to smell your scented candles.
After years of this, you can then impart powerfully. (So start today!)
While I was there, in that beautiful studio, I enjoyed the company of other women, and participated in the art exercises. But I didn't, at that moment, see one single change in my art. (I didn't expect to - and neither should you. These things take time.)
I've had three weeks to process, and suddenly, this week, art has come pouring out of me:
Art that isn't Jeanne. It is art that is me, with elements of things I saw in her workshop - things that I consciously remember, and some that I'm sure are unconscious.
It's those unconscious influences that are the juju...
...they are the weighty, compelling imprint that changes you.
I don't want this post to seem, in any way, like a "you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours" advertisement for my friend, telling you to take a Jeanne Oliver workshop.
Not even Jeanne would want that.
What she would say, and what I would say, is that you must hold who you are - or if you are an artist, you must hold your art and yourself in high esteem - such high esteem that you trust the process of investment.
Invest in you.
Remembering that the results take time.
But the rewards are permanent.