October is here! The past few months have been a whirlwind of creative/work projects and I’d like nothing more than a weekend getaway at the Create Explore Discover art retreat in Truckee, California. It sounds like a terrific time. In its 4th year, the retreat runs from October 24th – 26th and draws a diverse group of women: from working artists to weekend explorers to moms looking to uncover their creative spark. Located at the eco-modern Cedar House Sport Hotel in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the retreat features art classes in instant photography (with Andrea Corrona Jenkins), painting and collage (with Mati Rose), image transfer (with Courtney Cerruti), and knitting and crochet (with Anne Weil). A mini-photography session (with Alessandra Cave) and a special art project (with Lisa Congdon) will be included in the weekend events as well.
Beautiful setting, great food (hotel restaurant Stella offers innovative local fare), and great classes taught by notable artists. A few spots remain open so if you’re free, hop over to the registration page for sign up details.
Friday night begins with an opening ceremony and special art event with Alessandra Cave. Saturday includes morning and afternoon classes, lunch at Stella, followed by an evening wine reception and special art project led by Lisa Congdon. Brunch, class, and a closing ceremony wrap up the weekend on Sunday afternoon. A new pop-up shop hosted by the Nevada Museum of Art is also included and will feature art and books by instructors along with wares from retreat partners Alessandra Cave Photography, Bespoke Stuff & Things, Casey D. Sibley Art + Design, Lisa Congdon Art & Illustration, redlinedesign®, Stancan Design, The Cedar House Sport Hotel, Uppercase Magazine.
Create Explore Discover founder Sarah Stevenson is a mixed media artist, photographer, creative events planner and owner of redlinedesign® studio. This wasn’t always her career path though. She spent most of her professional career as an interior designer in Chicago where managing large-scale design and architecture projects for Fortune 500 clients. Tired of the 80 to 90-hour work weeks that afforded little time for personal creative work, Sarah left the corporate world for a more fulfilling lifestyle and created her art and design studio in 2010. One year later, she utilized skills learned from managing large-scale projects to launch her first art retreat. A small gathering of women came to learn, connect, collaborate and share their creative voices. The retreat has been going strong ever since.
Curious to find out more about Create Explore Discover, I also talked to some of the instructors Courtney, Alessandra, Mati Rose, Anne, Andrea, and Lisa about their creative habits, businesses, and inspiration sources. Here’s what they had to say.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your creative business.
Courtney Cerruti – I call myself a Maker Extraordinaire because I do a little of everything and I make something everyday. I’ve lived mostly in the SF Bay Area and spent a year in Bordeaux, France when I was in college. I had my first show there, which was painting, photography and printmaking. This speaks to the fact that I can never settle into one medium!
What do you like most about teaching art?
Mati Rose McDonough – Getting to know the students as we sit across each other and paint. Seeing how we share so much life wisdom at the table and witnessing the incredible art that is created in such a short time.
I’ve grown as a teacher in that I truly trust the process of creating and to push past the resistance and “ugly stage” and “self-criticism” and lean into the work. Time and time again when I can lead students through this process, incredible work emerges.
Do you practice a daily creative habit? If so, can you tell us about it?
Courtney Cerruti – For me, taking one small step a day toward where I want to be creatively is approachable and less intimidating. Starting a habit or a routine of doing a drawing a day, or even just jotting down a daily observation can help you start on the path to a creative life.
Andrea Jenkins – For the past year, I’ve been writing a sentence a day. As a dancer, I practice putting phrases together in my head when I hear music that inspires me and I try to move everyday, in some way, for at least ten minutes. I don’t always do *all* of these things but I try. It’s a practice, it’s a conscious choice. And when you practice long and hard enough, it really does become an integral part of who you are.
Sarah Stevenson – My daily creative life includes, writing, photography, sketching and painting. I am constantly working at my skills as a photographer and mixed media artist and finding inspirational imagery that I can photograph. I begin my work each day, writing a blog post, writing morning pages and weaving some sort of creative activity throughout my regular business day. I will say some days are better than others and I do not always have time for a creative activity. If I can’t do something creative, I try and read a book, look at inspirational magazines or cook with my family.
Lisa Congdon – Well, it’s my job to be creative. So I have no choice, which is really hard sometimes! So I there are some really basic things I do to keep my juices flowing. First, I get at least eight hours of sleep at night. Young artists might be able to pull all-nighters and still make interesting work, but not me! I find that rest is really, really important. When you get down to it, creativity is just a form of brain function. And your brain can’t function well unless you’ve had enough rest. I also try to eat really regularly and as healthy as I can. Being nourished is really important.
I also try to make friends with every voice in my head that tells me I am not good enough or my work is bad. The main killer of creativity is negative self-talk based on shame and feelings of inferiority. I do whatever I can to push through those feelings. I work hard to not compare myself to other artists’ work or accomplishments and to stay on & honor my own path. I work hard to ignore non-constructive negative criticism. That can be really hard, but with practice, it gets easier.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Courtney Cerruti – I’m pretty lucky to live in California. Its really beautiful here and there is endless inspiration. I recently went to South Africa, and I’d love to go back. I really want to go to Mexico and Japan in the next 5 years and I’ll take a trip to Paris any day, at the drop of a hat, always.
Andrea Jenkins – Like most artists, I am deeply inspired when I travel. Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest will always be special to us for a hundred different reasons. When we moved this past summer, we spent two weeks traveling across the country, came down the 101 into California and then east via old route 66. Loved every minute of it and was hugely inspired by the entire journey. In love with California, specifically San Francisco and Palm Springs for the way the landscape and colors define them as cities. Will always love New Orleans for the history, mystery and romance of it, will always love New York City for the energy and the millions of stories that hide in every crack and crevice. As for abroad, I love Italy and France, for all the reasons everyone else always loves them– the people, the history, the art, the food. To travel, to see the world, this is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as artist.
List a few of your favorite places online for art and creativity.
Anne Weil – Creature Comforts: fresh, modern, great taste in art and home décor, great DIYS
House that Lars Built: progressive and charming taste with fabulous original ideas
Sugar + Cloth: bright, white, clean pastels, simple + easy DIYs and recipes, always pretty
Oh the Lovely Things: quite simply the loveliest of things.
Thanks for sharing, Ladies!