A year ago, I enrolled in a nine month Teacher Training program at Green Lotus Yoga Studio with my teacher Lona Kovacs. I did this, not with the ambition of becoming a yoga teacher, but rather to deepen my Ashtanga practice, develop a routine and integrate the principals of yoga and mindfulness into my life both on and off the mat.
When I first learned I was expected to practice 6 days a week, in the studio, I'll admit, I almost bolted. I didn't think I could devote that much time, considering how much of my day I spend in my studio making art, in addition to my teaching. After I realized that I could, if I really believed it was important enough, I took a deep breath and made the commitment.
So over the last year, I have developed a full primary series practice which takes about 90 minutes of my day, 6 day a week, finding it's best when I practice early in the morning. Still, every day I conjure up a plethora of reasons why I should skip yoga and a multitude of excuses why I can't possibly fit it in. Often, this brain game goes on just after the alarm goes off at 5am while lying in my nice warm bed. I get up. I do it anyway. And I've never been sorry for having gotten on my mat. In fact it doesn't TAKE 90 minutes, but rather it GIVES me more energy. I feel better in my body and more mindful throughout my day.
OK, so what does YOGA have to do with ART?! That is the title of this blog post isn't it?!
Over the last year I have often thought about the many parallels between yoga and art...
Each is a discipline. Each is hard. You have to make yourself do it. You feel like crap when you're not doing it regularly and you feel great when you are regularly.
Both are better when done frequently, daily if possible to keep a flow going. Muscles tighten and weaken both creatively and in the body when too much time has lapsed. Practice and all is coming. -Pattabhi Jois
Both on the mat and in the studio we are at our best when we are fully present, losing ourselves in the act of doing and being.
The yoga mat and the art studio are alike in that they are the both the spaces, the four "walls", that contain our experience, our struggles, our exploration and our discovery. Here, we as yogis and artists find our strengths, confront our challenges and are quite often humbled through the process.
We stretch ourselves, on the mat physically and often mentally by overcoming fear, perhaps fear of doing a head stand or dropping into a back bend. In the studio we stretch ourselves be authentic, to be creative, to work outside of our comfort zone and make something where there was once nothing, always facing the fear of our work being rejected.
I venture to say that with both it is the little triumphs that propel us forward. Whether it's touching your fingertips to the floor, binding your hands behind your back or mastering a new material or technique that once seemed incomprehensible.
Both offer community... sweating side by side in the yoga shala, chanting together and offering a namaste when the class has ended, meeting with an artist group to offer support, critique one another's work, organize an exhibit or share a glass of wine at an opening. With both we are with our tribe, our people, they get it and they get you.
Much thanks to my husband Christos, not only for taking the pictures but for being my yoga buddy,
The last week of August and the third week of September I had the privilege of working with 40 students who traveled to Kennebunkport from as far away as Key West and California to spend a week making art, learning, relaxing, socializing, practicing yoga, being inspired and nourished both creatively and gastronomically. Here's some candid shots of them, along with what they had to say about their experience.
Some of us started our day with yoga.
Being in the
encaustic workshop retreat was a glorious gift to myself. My painting had
taken a back burner over the last decade and here Kim created a nurturing, warm
and educational experience that provided the space and place to explore,
experiment and find my inner self. Starting everyday with yoga set the tone for
inner exploration-freeing my energy and taping my creative juices. The setting
was comfortable, the food delicious, the students welcoming and supportive.
Even the weather cooperated. It was hard to leave the cocoon that was
thoughtfully designed for our comfort mind, body and spirit. I am now dreaming
in encaustic which is truly joyful. I have signed up for next year. It is my
commitment to balance in my life.
Breakfast at The Colony charged us up for the day.
Kim Bernard's combination of creativity and organization allow her to provide professional instruction in a fun and relaxed environment. Staying at the Colony Hotel was a real treat. I felt that every need was taken care of and I had more time and energy to focus on exploring new tools, colors, and materials.
Britt shows off his Color Crash Course exercises.
This was the best organized and presented workshop I have ever attended. The quality of this package was exceptional, thank you Kim. -Carol Michaud
Cindy and Pamala do some Body Casting.
opportunity to really get away and focus on learning new skills without
interruption. Beautiful space and accommodations, not mention Kim is
a wonderful instructor who can tailor each class to fit everyone's needs.
I come away from it feeling rejuvenated and ready to get back into my studio. -Cindy Jevon Hogan
The August group shows what's possible with some plaster gauze.
This is my second year of Kim Bernard's Encaustic Retreat. Not only was it every bit as informative as the first year, but I also have made many wonderful friends. I have also created a new series of work regarding the sea that landed me gallery representation at the Whitney Gallery in Wells, ME.
Marcy dipping her wax resist in the dye bath.
I benefited so much from the first Maine Coast Encaustic Workshop Retreat, that I returned for a second year. Kim Bernard is one of the most organized, thoughtful instructors I have ever encountered. She is willing to share her vast knowledge of techniques and her years of professional experience as a successful exhibiting artist. Her steadfastly serene demeanor is a lesson in and of itself. The locale of Kennebunkport, Maine is absolutely beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience (twice!) and would highly recommend the MCEWR to anyone! -Helen Dannelly
The September crew stand among their wax resist pieces hung out to dry.
No wonder she calls
it a Workshop Retreat, it is a vacation in artist's heaven. Beautiful
surroundings, great accommodations, two meals a day, a studio set-up with a
teacher chocked full of information on technique and process. What more does an
artist need? And, yes you can bring husband, partner or dog. When accessing the
important tips learned I keep coming back to "heat the surface and burnish the
crap out of it." -Dona Mara Friedman
Sarah, Robbie and Martha enjoy some good wind and a sail.
We wrapped up the week with a Pendulum Party and then...
a Lobster Feast!
The August Gang
The September Crew, along with Molly the corgi
To see the 7 minute slide show of the August Retreat click HERE
To see the September Retreat slide show click HERE
For information about the 2014 Maine Coast Encaustic Workshop Retreat click HERE
The first week of September I took two groups to Star Island, on the Isles of Shoals, for a Creative and Professional Practice Retreat. They spent 3 days fully immersed in examining their studio practice, artistic aspirations and learning the ins and outs of being a professional artist while being surrounded by the raw beauty of the island. Each left with an 'Action Plan' on how to navigate their way through the art maze and reach their individual goals. Here's what they had to say about their experience...
The Star Island Retreat was just what I needed and the timing was perfect. We covered so much and I am now completely prepared to take the next steps in my professional career as an artist. I now have the tools, knowledge, and confidence to tackle goals for the next few years and beyond. I feel that all those little nagging doubts and negative self talk that was holding me back are gone. When I left there I felt so centered and knew precisely what I was going to do when I left. It was a unique and invaluable experience. It was truly life changing. We had a terrific group of artists and the location can't be beat. Star Island and the retreat was certainly magical. -Patricia Dusman
The island is beautiful,
the ocean magical. The hotel was a time-traveling experience, its weathered
wood sang with history. We had an intensive and productive time with Kim honing
our professional skills. Her expertise is unexcelled, since she's "been
there and done that"! I highly recommend a retreat with Kim Bernard. We
will come back! -Debra Claffey
Just want to say
it was a great experience. I took copious notes and when I got home and
read them I was amazed at the amount of information we covered. My husband enjoyed the time
on the island as well! -Susan Rock
I thoroughly enjoyed
the Creative and Professional Practices retreat on Star Island on many levels.
The setting on an island, so far away from other distractions, was
in fact perfect for concentration and relaxation. The sense of community
and trust our group formed during this time was mind-blowing and in turn
extremely productive on an individual (and group) level. The approach
that Kim had to the course was also carefully orchestrated, giving students
room to discover individual goals and needs, while working constructively
topics that are key in the art field. Thank you Kim, and thanks to all of the
wonderful artists that made this experience whole! -Kathi Smith
With typical New
England weather- sun, fog, and rain- this artist retreat on Star Island offered
a safe and nurturing setting. I sailed away with inspiration and
motivation to face the intimidating parts of my artistic journey. -Kimberly Curry
Parker House, our classroom. Photo Courtesy of Leslie Ford
Kim's Professional and Creative Practice
Retreat was wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone interested in
gaining insight into their art making practice and goals for their art.
Kim makes a safe place for people to address their situational obstacles and
The only reservation I had - coming up from Washington DC - was not being able
to visualize it - the car, the boat, the hotel accommodations, how it was
going to all work together. Now that I have done it, I would encourage anyone
to make the trip.
Kim's Professional Development class on Star Island was perfect in every way. Not only were we in an amazing place with magical views, the class was comprehensive and a must for anyone trying to navigate the waters of Creative Professional Development. As artists, some of us have little knowledge of how to get one's art out and marketed. Kim's class coherently and compassionately gives many avenues and a map to success. She is a brilliant and experienced artist who has learned what to do and what not to do. She shares this knowledge with us freely. Don't miss the opportunity to be a part of Kim's class. -Roberta Stanhope
Spending time on Star Island is time well spent
for Kim Bernard’s Creative and Professional Practice Workshop/Retreat. I
learned much about how to sustain my creative life and develop a supportive
circle of artistic community. Sessions on studio practice, where to exhibit,
time management and critique of work while also enjoying the rustic beauty of
the Isles of Shoals was a truly wonderful experience. -Leslie Ford
Photo courtesy of Tom Manzione
I encourage any professional artist, regardless of one's level of experience, to consider enrolling in Kim’s Creative & Professional Workshop Retreat. Kim’s workshop provided unique insights into defining an artistic vision, improving productivity, maximizing outreach, and navigating the complex business arena. Most helpful was her personalized and candid teaching approach. An invaluable experience all around! -Charyl Weissbach
Star Island Professional Development retreat was a powerful experience. Working
with artist friends old and new, we spent three intensive days focused on our
professional art goals and how to realize them. Kim's
professional approach, deep experience and generous nature made the experience
fulfilling and highly productive. I'm
excited to return next year to revisit and build on this year's plan! -Catherine Weber
Arrived on Star in a torrential downpour ~ duffle contents wet ~ worth it? You bet!
Words alone can't adequately express everything I attained from this workshop... in my case, it was a cathartic experience. I'm currently working on an action plan, to make myself accountable for the things I need to tackle in the next few months in order to continue with the goal of pursing my life as a professional working artist. I now know the direction I need to take, and the tools and resources that will help me to get there. From the moment I met a smiling-faced Kim Bernard at the Isle of Shoals Ferry Company, I knew this was going to be a special endeavor, life changing if you will. We were a diverse group of women artists from all walks of life, one recently graduated from college to those ready to tackle the prospect of entering metropolitan gallery markets, to someone like myself, re-entering the art world after having given my family top priority for many years. There was a wealth of experience within us, and each of us had much to offer to each other. Kim's strength as a workshop leader is evident as she effectively guided us through the activities, keeping us focused ~ keeping it real. She is a creative and organized instructor who shared a lot of her own insights and experience with us. I also felt as though I had eleven mentors as we shared each of our artist's statements in giving feedback and an opportunity to respond, this activity in itself was worth coming to the workshop! The sharing continued ~ at the family-style dinners to porch get-togethers in the evenings, either to bask in the glow of a Star Island sunset (not to be missed), to sitting around late at night in a circle of rocking chairs getting to know each other better. This experience was invaluable on so many levels... and I haven't even mentioned the quintessential beauty of Star Island! I can't wait to return next year to take it to the next level! -Annie Lemieux
If you're interested in dates and details for Star Island 2014 click here.
It's been awhile since I've posted. Truth be known, I've been hibernating in my studio for the last 4 months, developing new work, delivering it to my galleries, planning upcoming retreats and workshops, writing grants, having curators and artist friends visit. Alas, spring is here and I am grateful for many good things that are happening... Most recently I was awarded a Maine Arts Commission Artist Visibility Grant that will provide me with funds to create professional exhibition proposal packets for gallery and museum exhibits of a new body of work I'm developing. Here's a sneak peak two of my newest pieces. Both are on view at the an exhibit titled The Wandering Mind at the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough, NH.
Dharana, encaustic/mixed media, 12x12
Dhyana, encaustic/mixed media, 12x12
Corey Daniels was among those one who paid me a studio visit this spring and I'm pleased to now be represented by his gallery. The Corey Daniels Gallery in Wells, Maine now has 13 of my large sculptures and encaustic works. Corey's aesthetic is top notch as is his gallery. If you haven't visited yet, go.
Last month, I received the Portsmouth Press Herald's Spotlight Award for Best Sculpture. This event recognizes local creatives from all disciplines for their contribution to arts in the Seacoast. The award ceremony at the Portsmouth Music Hall was lively and entertaining and I was honored to be recognized by my own community. Thanks Seacoast!
Like I said, I've been creating new work and delivering to the galleries that represent me. Here's one of nine new works on view at Arden Gallery in Boston.
Spring Spatter III, encaustic, 24x12 at McGowan Gallery
Here's one of six new works included in an upcoming exhibit, Waxed at Bowersock Gallery in Provincetown running May 24th through June 6th.
Relish, encaustic, 24x12at Bowersock Gallery
As a result of my relationship with Steve Bowersock, who also has a gallery in Mount Dora, Florida I was invited to be a juror for a national exhibit called BIG BAD WAX at the Mount Dora Center for the Arts. For those of you who might want to submit your work the deadline is November 1st. Click here for the Call for Entries.
Traces of Motion, encaustic, 24x24 at Bowersock Gallery
Last but not least, I'm really excited to have be exhibiting in Cusco, Peru along with my fellow Boston Sculptors in February, 2014. It's been a longtime dream to visit Machu Picchu and I'm so excited to have the change to finally go!
I've been thinking a lot about our consumption, waste, landfills and global warming lately and how we all own this problem as citizens of planet earth. When Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth said something to the effect of If we don't solve this problem, we won't have any others to solve it sunk in deep. I think about this when I use new resources in my work and have been trying to incorporate re-purposed materials when possible. The corundum in using recycled materials in art is that the art often looks like trash. Here are some artists who've successfully use recycled materials, but managed to transform the material beyond it's intended initial purpose.
Anna Hepler, The Great Haul, made from sewn sheet plastic and tarps hanging 22 feet
John Bisbee, Installation view of (front to back) Plode, Rove and Stick, each one ton of welded 12" spikes
El Anatsui, Dusasa II, made of liquor bottle caps, at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC
Chakaia Booker, It’s So Hard To Be Green, rubber tire, wood 150 x 252 x 24 inches
And if you haven't see the film Waste Land, about the photographer Vik Muniz's project involving Brazilian garbage pickers at a huge landfill in Rio de Janeiro, it's well worth seeing.
While I was teaching an Introduction to Sculpture Course at UNH last semester, I though I'd challenge the students with this assignment as a final project...
95% of materials must be recycled, re-purposed or natural, nothing bought
5% of materials may be bought: to adhere, join, attach, mount, affix
The materials must transform their intended purpose
This will be a site specific work. The location of the work must be and ‘intervention’ and will be photographed, by you, in it’s location.
The students rose to the occasion. Here are some images of their work on location.
Bess made a bench out of old jeans, shoes and wood from discarded palettes.
Charlotte made a life size squirrel out of pine cones.
Jessica installed a hanging sculpture made out of the inside hammers of a piano.
Riddy used newspaper and cardboard to create an outdoor installation of hanging books.
Sara created a cobra made of coke cans and pull tabs.
Sonja used pieces from an old Where's Waldo puzzle to re-create a Waldo and took pictures of him all over campus.
Sydney used old cardboard to create a table and 2 folding chairs that actually fold.
Danielle created a dress made of an aluminum turkey tray and pages from a recipe book.
Carson made a sphere made of recycled paper, egg cartons, plastic bottles an cardboard.
Brittany made a NO SMOKING sign out of old butts and cigarette boxes. Yes, it smelled.
Gillian made an abstract coil sculpture out of coat hangers and old assignments.