We just had our official orientation session. In the hours leading up to our 4:00 pm start time, I felt out of sorts as I always do before a retreat, workshop or new class begins. I took a nap. I looked at my notes for our orientation. I crocheted pink and grey ears for an elephant I’m making (another beginner+ project from Woobles), ripped them out twice and crocheted them again. I listened to an episode of This American Life. I really didn’t know what to do with myself. But then it was time to get ready. I took a shower, put on the one nice dress and necklace I brought from home and walked downstairs to our meeting room, the sala on the first floor of Hotel Moderno.
Our first group session was an introduction to our art materials from Brenda. We spent an hour learning how to open and close our pens and our water brush. How to not lose the caps. How to use our little paint-filled palettes. How learning to see and look with an artist’s eyes will deeply enhance our travel experience.
Brenda stressed repeatedly that is no way to do art wrong.
Our first guided assignment was to create a color key so we can easily identify the colors Brenda put in our tiny individual palettes. We also learned that she handmade each small tin with little squares of vivid colors, selecting the hues that we’ll see in the natural colors of the Camino.
Brenda’s exercise was so much fun. I felt thrilled and it was wonderful to be a beginner. As a teacher, it’s always good for me to be a beginner student, so I remember the vulnerability and self-doubt and awkwardness and struggle my students go through when I give then a writing prompt or a challenging assignment.
I felt such joy doing this simple color exercise and sitting with our group all focused in concentration together after so many years and months of waiting for this to happen. After seeing their names on registration forms and rosters for months, and in some cases years, it was amazing to be together in person for the first time. I feel so happy the retreat has begun.
Take a look at these pictures form our first group art activity.