Autumn Colors - Artist, Retreat!

• Tuesday, October 03, 2017 •

I have seen it happen over and over again – the deep connections made when artists “retreat” from the demands of daily existence to a place of natural beauty and serenity. From the first gathering – the opening reception - artists find commonalities and meaningful exchange. A thread begins to weave through what is forming as a “community” of artists. We all come with different expectations, that soon to melt away, and pure joy instead takes root. How does this transformation begin to take place so quickly, I ask? Through the years of organizing and facilitating artist retreats with workshops or open studio, I believe I have some idea.

Today’s culture is a steady diet of stress; our demanding jobs, our over connectedness to technology, the sheer weight of keeping up with emails alone, add to this short list the constant borage of negative news assaulting us wherever we go - even when we simply want to read a book while waiting for some appointment. We starve for solace, peace and a measure of playfulness.


During the Retreats, I offer morning mindfulness sessions, that begin and end with a poem selected for that day. On the first morning, after everyone has had a night to sleep in a cabin without internet or cell service and has awakened to the sound of the breeze rustling though the leaves, or the sound of Canadian Geese calling in their flight over the lake, I always read the following poem by Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”


When despair for the world grows in me

 and I wake in the night at the least sound

 in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,

 I go and lie down where the wood drake

 rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

 I come into the peace of wild things

 who do not tax their lives with forethought

 of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

 And I feel above me the day-blind stars

 waiting with their light. For a time

 I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

We all get it and it helps us to sink into the blessing of time set apart to be creative, to reflect, to smile and laugh, to be at peace.

 If you would like to share in this experience, there is an upcoming Retreat at Beautiful Lake Logan Conference Center, Canton, North Carolina, October 25 - 30 - workshop with Alice Ballard and Open Studio  - spaces are still open, (click here for all the detais)


Lisa Pressman on "Personal Language" in art

• Thursday, August 03, 2017 •

Lisa Pressman and I recently had a conversation about the idea of
“Personal Language” in one’s art. 
Below are questions and answers about this topic.

Lisa Pressman teaching  in Taos, NM

Norma - Your upcoming workshop, September 8 - 10 in Snow Hill, Maryland, is titled “Exploring Personal Language through Mixed Media.” How would you define your personal language?   

Lisa - My visual language has been developing since I was in high school and constantly doodling. Those doodles were boxes in boxes that became structures including doors, windows and portals. These still appear in my work both as marks and as image.

Lisa Pressman

Norma - Is there a point where you began to recognize your own language in your work?  

Lisa - I didn’t really name it for a long while. “Personal language” was not a buzz word when I went to graduate school. Recently, while I was making a power point with all my work, my language became clear. Like learning any language—it takes time, practice and work to be fluent. 

Lisa Pressman

Norma - A three-day workshop is condensed and intensive. What can happen in three days for students in the pursuit of finding their own visual vocabulary? And as the facilitator of this goal, what happens as the days unfold?
Lisa - Three days is short but by placing the emphasis on experimentation, quick exercises and thinking about inspirations, connections happen. The unfolding starts with excitement and fun, sometimes turns into frustration and then the understanding comes: either of the material, or personal image or both.

Norma - You live close enough to NYC that you can frequent galleries and museums and have the opportunity to see lots of great art. Can you name a few artists whose work is important for students to look at especially—as examples of unique personal language? 

Lisa - Anselm Keifer, Brenda Goodman, Amy Sillman, Mark Bradford, William Kendridge, Pat Steir, Vija Celmins, Julie Mehretu are just a few that come to mind.

Anselm Keifer

Norma - After teaching a 3-day workshop, what do you think students will be taking with them back to the studio. Students go home with a different idea of how to move paint and how to think about the painting process.

Lisa - Students go home with a different idea of how to move paint and how to think about the painting process.  I try to stress ideas of freedom, of not rushing a painting, and playfulness. Works done in the workshop often become springboards for a new series!!

October=The Arts!

• Monday, October 06, 2014 •

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2014 as National Arts and Humanities Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to join together in observing this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to celebrate the arts and the humanities in America”. (Read Entire Proclamation)

At Cullowhee Mountain ARTS we take time out during this important month to look back on the great events we hosted and take stock of those we are serving as a non-profit Arts Organization. It is also the time we invite the Arts community to join our “Arts Party” and become a member.