Art & Soul in Paradise

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What do you get when you cross 4 artists, a few art supplies, and a tropical island?  Some amazing collaborations, sunshine and happiness!  What an insane combination! Last month I had the opportunity to invite 3 friends {Rae Missigman, Sandi Keene, and Roben-Marie Smith} to our home in the Cayman Islands. Whenever we weren’t on the beach, we were spread out on my dining room table, talking sharing, painting, creating.

Roben-Marie and Sandi shared the idea of “art journal collaboration” where we all sat around the table, quickly gathered a few supplies to use, than as we listened to a song on our playlist, we each began an art journal page.  The idea was to work instinctively, without planning out the page ahead of time.

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Once the song was over, we immediately handed our art journals over to the person on the left and began to create on the journal in front of us during the next song!  Sort of like a musical chairs idea but with your art journal!  We could add to, cover up, or build on anything on the page. I loved the freedom this exercise gave me and once the initial stress of having to “create on demand” passed, I was able to loosen up and just let my pen, brush, or whatever I had in my hand flow!  After we went round a few times {there are no rules here} we each ended up with amazing masterpiece in our journals.  I love that we each have expressions from each other in our journals now.  This was a great warm-up but we continued to do it throughout the week just to see what we could come up with! And even now when we get together, we still do some type of collaboration, even if we are just doodling in each other's books!

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Here are a few samples of what was left behind in my own art journal:

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By day, I had a blast playing tour guide for my friends.  If you ever travel to Grand Cayman, there is one spot your shouldn’t miss – Stingray City.  We took a charter out into the North Sound and had an awesome day of swimming with the stingrays and snorkeling.  Sandi took my picture below from her perch on the boat and I just love it!

{photo cred: Sandi Keene}

{photo cred: Sandi Keene}

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The week was full of many firsts, including an evening called “Open Canvas.”  We took a big, brave step and signed up to paint in public at an event that featured about a dozen artists who set up easels under the moonlight.  It was a beautiful starry night in a lovely location.  We met other artists, ate and drank, and overcame all inhibitions.  It was very vulnerable at first, but before we knew it, we forgot about the onlookers as we got deep into our artwork.  I never thought I would be able to do it but now I wish I had more opportunities to paint in public. Here’s a few pics of our evening – forgive the poor photography but we were using camera phones in the dark!

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Here's what I managed to paint that night - love my Carribbean Ladies with Attitude!

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It was a magical week and we ended it on a high note with a beautiful sunset.  We decided we would all paint the sunset as it was setting and we used sea water in our water colors.  Symbolic of our time together . . . the sea, the colors, the art, the friendships.  I am so blessed to have these people in my life and to be able to share my special place with them!

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