It's been a while since I last wrote a newsletter and this one is going to be like a short story so grab a cuppa your favorite whatever, and sit down, relax, and enjoy the adventure :)
My first month of being a full time artist has been a wild, fun ride. It's been a month full of activity, travel, shows, classes, and a month full of FIRSTS. It's been a beginning that I am so grateful for the opportunity to do what I love to do, and to do it 24/7 if I choose. September 23rd was my last day of work at the bank after 10 years of managing 3 different financial centers for the bank over the course of my career and working with so many talented and endearing people, I said many tearful good-byes to the team mates I love so dearly.
(me in my old office looking like a semi banker chick ;)
They in turn sent me off with a beautiful breakfast and a heart warming luncheon
as well as a hand decorated artist apron instead of a card to wish me good luck with:
of all my favorite goodies, cake and gifties to help me get my feet off the ground. I am going to miss them all very much but feel that I have made some very good friends I will cherish for the rest of my life, whether or not we will be working together. Inevitably , there comes a time in all of our lives when we must fly away and follow our own dreams or pursuits, no matter how hard it is to let go of those we love and all that is comfortable and known as we venture out into the unknown.
The very first week, actually less then a week, was spent getting the final touches complete on the festival in Norcross, Ga. Traveling with me and my truly trusty assistants were my oldest son Zach, and x husband, Jim...they help me with almost every show I do and am soooo grateful for them putting up with me and my controlling and pain in the behind way :)
Also attending the show were two of my very best friends, Amy Smith and Jean Skipper. We are all fortunate enough to live within 10-15 miles of each other but lately it's taken our travels out of town to shows for us all to have dinner and a drink together! How crazy is that?
(to see more pictures from Norcross...CLICK HERE....(giveaway though is now over)
In addition to getting ready for Norcross, I was also finishing the supply kits and workshop books for my 3 classes at Art Is In Danbury, Ct
. Those first two weeks were a true test to my endurance and ability to make things happen. I pulled several all nighters and worked a ton of hours preparing and doing...but you know what? It never felt like work, and it still doesn't a month later.
The old saying goes, "Do what you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life" is so true. It is work, and it is tiring, but it's a different type of work because I am so engaged, motivated, and most of all happy, that it doesn't seem like a job. It has given me a sense of renewal that I can hardly begin to convey to you how much better I feel all ready.
After Norcross, Ga I had about a day and half to prepare and pack for Art Is ...You in Danbury Ct. Those days were very stressful despite loving what I was doing. I think I put higher expectations on myself then anyone ever could and this situation was no different. You see, I have never taught at a retreat nor have I ever gone to one. To be honest, an art retreat was a vacation I have never been able to afford. Or, probably more truthful is that I could afford, but couldn't justify spending the money when I was (am) a single parent with one son living home and the other living 2 hours away that I should be spending my time off with and money on. The long and short of my story is, I didn't know what to expect, I could only guess from what my friends who have gone to one or more, shared with me. I've taught at several work shops but never with other teachers that the students (and others) would be comparing me with. Could I stand up to their expectations?
Could I fit in and make friends and be the person others expected me to be? It was nerve wracking to think about but exciting at the same time. One person really put me at ease once I got there was my friend Lorraine Reynolds. I met Lorraine about 3 years ago online when we were in an Etsy team together, we chatted often and continued our friendship even after the team disbanded to pursue other opportunities on our own. We roomed together and had a blast getting to know one another and putting up with each of our quirky ways.
Nightmares and fears manifested in my mind on everything that could go wrong despite my thrill and excitement for this new adventure. As it turns out, things did go wrong, starting with me going to the bathroom about four hours into my drive and putting my pocketbook in the sink so it wouldn't be sitting on the nasty floor and then the sink turning on while I was on the john and flooding my pocketbook, soaking my phone and pretty much destroying that as well as my pocketbook..LOL I pretty much freaked out knowing I had another 8-10 hours to go on my trip and possibly no phone to communicate with. My GPS lead me astray during the trip more than one time.....I knew I was in trouble when I saw the Washington Monument in front of my face and then stopped on a crosswalk near the Library of congress. Ahhhh but the pictures I took were fantastic :)
It was like that GPS said, I know you want to get there but lady, I haven't been to downtown DC, so we are going to take a little side tour and check out the sites!! Follow that detour another 6 or 8 hours later to NYC where I knew in my heart I was not going the right way as I used to live not far from the City back in college, but I was soooo flippin' tired that I just succumbed to what Stella (the GPS) said, and then there was the George Washington bridge right before my eyes...I paid my 12 dollar toll and asked the lady what I should do, oh girl, ya, you went the wrong way, all you gotta do is go up 95 and you'd be right there, this takes you downtown....oh shi% I thought and yep...Stella did it again...and my exit which led me through downtown Manhattan. I wanted to give up, I was tired, I was seeing double, I was nervous about the retreat and I didn't think I could go any further in my journey. My phone did work a bit during the ride after driving with the heat on 90 degrees for several hours as I drove but it was spotty when it worked, it would turn on and then off...but it seemed to work right when I need it during that drive. Around 8:00 I called my ex husband Jim and told him I was going to pull over because I could not go any further. Like a counselor talking me off the ledge, he told me I had to keep on going. It was only 45 minutes more and I could do it. I was a hard patient though and I was almost incoherent as I boo hooed about the crazy arse drivers and people everywhere and I didn't know where to go next. But, in the end I worked through it and finally arrived at my destination.....and met my room mate for the first time. She wasn't in the room when I finally got in...I had to go the bathroom so bad when I finally got there, and need to change out of my tight jeans..lol and yep..sure enough, our first meeting was when I was just about to change out of my jeans and into my jammies.
(Keith LoBue and Lorraine Reynolds)Hi Lorraine (me sheepishly with my pants half down...LOL)! She quickly recovered and handed me a glass of fancy wine (it was at least 9.99 or more) and we had a few laughs, talked about the journey and she told me to sloooooowwww down and breathe....I was talking so fast she could hardly understand me. I am that way...I'm obsessive, hyper, dysfunctional in many ways, excitable, funny(okay so maybe only I think I'm funny) and when I'm nervous, there's no telling what I'm going to say. We settled in, relaxed and got ready for the next day of teaching and setting up for our vending day on Sunday, and chatted about what was going on so far, what to expect, what to do and more. My feeling of anxiety soon dissipated as the friends who never met before, began to get to know each other for the first time. And that is how the retreat started.
Some friends I have never 'met' before. All of us found each other online, through Etsy, and then through Pam's book we all collaborated with her as she wrote her first (of surely will be many) books.
Seth Apter, Nancy Lefko, Pam Carriker, and Jodi Ohl
Getting there was an act of bravery from sending in a proposal, to marketing myself, to preparing, to traveling and meeting new people all by myself. We all were in the same position though...we all were traveling alone for the most part, we all were going to meet new people....we all were embarking on an event that would challenge us in our creative endeavors from student to teacher to organizers. We all needed to be brave in some way. None of us was all that different in the end.
I took a deep breath as I unloaded my work shop material and art work to show with the help of my new bff, Lorraine, everything was under control and a new experience was about to unfold. As the students started rolling in, I mustered my teacher within me to come out and we had a wonderful first class. I can barely begin to explain how rejuvenating and exhilarating it was to be in front of the students, teaching them something I love and am so passionate on. Passing that torch to people who crave creativity in there every day being is so rewarding......I feel like I've found my tribe and I finally have arrived.
(one of my beloved new students and friends, Michelle Luxemberg)
....part two of my first month adventure comes tomorrow! Stay tuned!!
***in the mean time I do want to tell you about some really fantastic specials and new work shops I'm hosting or participating in so you don't miss out on the deals!
First off...I am participating in a year long workshop with 14 other artists hosted by the magical and lovely Tamara Laporte. Take a look at the details of this event because it's not only affordable for an entire years worth of learning and community, it's sure to be life changing!
click the IMAGE for more details!
Other events....I'm hosting a sale over at my Etsy shoppe (where I'm slowly starting to refill after my month long of adventures and shows). Enjoy 15% off any custom CAKE paintings....available in most sizes, I can customize one of my delightful cake paintings for your special occasion, anniversary, birthday, or just cuz'. Choose your OWN color combinations and I can include up to 2 names, a date, and a special word or phrase you'd like on your ORIGINAL painting. Hurry though, my schedule is rapidly filling up with shows and work shops so I can only take on a certain amount of commissions for the holidays :)
Next up....I am having a sale on my existing workshops hosted over at Creative Work Shops: Fun With Faux Encaustics, Artistic Journaling...Your Way, and Let's Face It. All of these work shops are online and open ended which means you can sign up any time and work on them at your leisure. How cool is that? Each of these online classes are now Buy One, Get One 50% off. You must sign up for both workshops at once and then you will receive 50% refund on your second work shop. This offer is good through October 31st so don't delay, that's less than a week away!! For info, please check out my blog post:
Click Image to be taken to the post!
There is so much goodness and so many fun stories to share, I must say good bye for now, let's pick up our conversation where we left off tomorrow. With love and gratitude, Jodi Ohl
*to read more about my first day on the job...check out my blog post HERE