April 9, 2011

Joy Retreat: Part 2

When I was preparing for the Joy Retreat, I waffled with the idea of skipping the painting session because I thought I needed time to prepare for my workshop. Honestly, I’ve never really enjoyed painting. I love mixing paint and playing with colors but when it comes to painting, I’ve always been unhappy with my results. Coming up with something on my own in the medium has always been a challenge for me. When things don’t look right, I can only see mistakes! It’s hard for me to get past that.

The night before I left for my trip, something pulled my car towards the art supply store on the way home from work. Suddenly I was leaving with a huge bag of painting supplies.  Something inside me said that if I’m embark on this journey, I really have to force myself to go out of my comfort zone. DIVE IN HEAD FIRST, TRACY! I think this proved to be the biggest lesson on my trip away. Who better to guide me through my painting struggles than Mati Rose!  She’s a true spark! Her zeal for creating and her enthusiasm for creative play & experimentation changed my perspective of painting. I truly had fun and I was relaxed in a way that I never thought was possible. Thank you Mati for getting me out of my comfort zone. You helped me tap into a side of my creative spirit that was dormant for over a decade. For that, I am soo grateful.

Mati’s “Treasure Seeking” workshop was just that! Treasure seeking… with promise of chocolate & strawberries. We all had a little stash in our work areas. It was good painting fuel!

Here’s the work table I shared with my friends Meghan, Jen & Andrea.

I learned that it’s much easier to tackle painting when there isn’t the pressure of a WHITE canvas staring back at you. This was a true revelation! Mati also suggested we have a few of paintings to work on at once. That way you can take a break and put your energy towards another painting you’re feeling stuck. I found that experimenting with a few techniques on each one enriched them all.

I started mixing my favorite colors & dove into painting. We learned that most paintings have a point where they start to go down hill.  If you experience this, you MUST KILL YOUR PAINTING. Paint over it completely. Experiment! Take a leap of faith and work it out!

After 2 hours of painting, we took a break for sandwiches, chips & cookies.

sandwich time!

I added a few chips to the middle of my sandwich. I like the crunch.

i put chips in my sandwiches

And so I painted. I got into the zone and then fell out of the zone with one of my paintings. I went for a walk around Manzanita…alone…with my camera….looking for inspiration.

This impressed me.

And suddenly I found what I was looking for.


And it translated into the painting I struggled the most with.

At the end of the day, we had a little art show. We talked about our challenges & discoveries.

Everyone lined up their paintings. I didn’t get a shot of all of them!

Here are the three paintings I finished at the retreat. They are currently resting on my mantle.

i painted

I really dig the one on the left. I felt like I got into my comfort zone with the black & white.


This purple one was the most challenging, but I’m happy with the way it turned out.


This last one might be my favorite. I had Mati paint JOY on it to finish it off.

paintings (1)

I’m so glad that I stuck with it. I wouldn’t have these paintings to remind me of my experience if I didn’t! I still have my Polaroids to share with you as well as our Greek feast & yummy brunch. Stay tuned!

  • Glenn

    Those are absolutely gorgeous!
    I’m so glad you conquered some painting fears, I was the same way.
    I’m right in the middle of a design project and I think with your advice I’m going to euthanize it, and do it again the way I really wanted to from the beginning.
    I might need to take a little break for some Blueberry Yogurt Cake though.
    You know.
    For moral support.

    • Tracy

      !!! I like the way you think! Blueberry Yogurt Cake would be the perfect break from a piece that’s buggin’!

  • HannahJ

    Im super impressed!!! This is coming from an artist:) all three paintings have a distinct “look” to them….I like all of the layers and textures you used- my favorite is the third one- but I really like how they all “speak” to eachother! So glad you had a great painting experience!

  • Leah

    Beautiful!! I always have this desire to be creative and think painting is the way to go, but it never turns out how I want it, maybe a workshop like this would help me let my fears go and come out with somethign beautiful like you have!

  • joy the baker

    my name is on everything.

  • Jessica

    Wow, you are so talented! I love how those paintings turned out. One of my former roommates bought a blank canvas which she had friends add to over the years. Painting freaks me out too, and when I tried doodling on it, I felt like I messed it up and just ended up covering it. I liked the idea, though!

  • Neuroknitter

    What a talented group of artists! Your paintings turned out beautifully. I like how you incorporated your found treasure into your painting.

  • Marci

    you are so multi-talented! love these. i think you should paint some more and open a shop on etsy. 🙂

    • Tracy

      Thank you Marci!!! Maybe I will…just gotta figure out how I can carve out some painting time in my bizzy bizzy life!! xoxox

  • Vanessa

    Tracy, these are all so wonderful!

  • mosey

    Holy schmoley – those are awesome. So, so wish I could have gone to that retreat. I don’t think I’ve had a paintbrush in my hand for 20 years.

    Plus. I like your chip sandwich.

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