Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Art Retreat In Asheville

So what happens when five artists (who are also friends) go away together for about a week, stay in a magnificent home nestled on the side of a mountain located about two miles from downtown Asheville's arts district, in October at the peak of Fall color in the Smoky Mountains, and study with their favorite art coach? The answer is sage guidance and advice, magical paintings, deepening friendships, loving support, great food, and memories that will last a lifetime.

The house that we rented was designed, reconstructed and owned by Richard Fort, a local architect.

These are some views of our kitchen, dining room, entertainment room and from our living room window. We had magnificent views of downtown Asheville, the turning leaf colors and spectacular sunsets.

The five artists were Fran Gardner, Melissa Mason, Toni Slick, Beau Wild and me. We traveled, from our respective home states, by car to our journey's end off Mountain View Road in Asheville. Steve Aimone was our instructor and coach, who along with his lovely and gracious wife, Katherine, hosted our art-making at their spacious studio, also in Asheville.

Katherine and Steve Aimone, in their studio loft

Steve probed our objectives, allowing us to modify these as we went through the week and as revelations occurred.

Throughout, he honed in on where we were going, offering challenges and helping us overcome obstacles by developing satisfactory solutions. Steve has a gift. He is not only clear and knowledgeable: he rapidly ascertains individual artist needs and talents. He nurtures those personal skills to help his students move forward and push their own boundaries.

The result is art that is personally gratifying, rich with a language that expresses the artist and yet ...

Paintings by Beau Wild

...speaks to all viewers in a powerful and enriching way. It wasn't all serious: we laughed and cracked each other up for days on end.

Pat and buddy, Fran

Fran's workstation and growing installation

Melissa's wall of art

Toni and some of her paintings

We all cranked out some terrific art, brought away wonderful discoveries, and returned home refreshed and elated.

Pat and some paintings