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Art Nest Retreat Summer 2010

Breathing Room
Stephanie Lee

Class Description

Our bodies maintain a perfect cycle of inbreath and outbreath and between each there is a slight pause. A tiny glimpse of neither her nor there, of both here and there. This is where the mind that can often blur your vision of yourself, the world, the reality of what blessings you are gifted with and what incredible experiences you are smack in the middle of. It is also where the deep, simple knowing resides. Keeping a journal can help clear the path to that knowing…and not necessarily the writing of poets and scholars but the honest, raw and simple writing from the gut. The heart. The first thought. The play on words. It happens there - the clearing - when you have put it down in ink on the page, when you have left the room. You have planted a seed in your mind and watered it there with the black ink from your pen. And now you must let time bring forth a sprout. It happens while you are going about your business.
There is an eternal fault line on which our hearts walk and even if we are walking life with clear vision and direction, the ground is constantly shifting and it is our perpetual endeavor to find our footing, to maintain a sort of balance and, if nothing else, a sense of humor. When there is so much fighting for attention in your mind, when you are aching to capture, honor, and represent the true depth of your spirit on the page, how do you cut to the chase and get there? There. To truth and to what you really want to say even when you don't always know exactly what that is?
In our time together, I will guide you through a myriad of playful and introspective exercises starting with creating a generous stack of portfolio style, painted and collaged journal pages. The days will start with light, gentle and encouraging morning writing sessions to start out the day with clarity. We will move comfortably through interspersed segments of guided time throughout the day that will get the ink flowing freely on the pages of your journal so that you can draw out, word by word, a sort of guide to carry with you while you practice your emotional deep breathing. Both lighthearted and excavational, the questions you will learn to ask (and find your own answers for) will remain a valuable tool in being able to dance with the seasons of inbreath and outbreath that is a life lived consciously.

Students Should Bring:

  • Basic art kit (scissors, ruler, craft knife etc).
  • 2-4 sheets (22” x 30”) of #140 lb. watercolor paper (whatever brand and press you like. Inexpensive, cold press is totally fine. If you can bring them without having to tear them, that’s ideal for the painting process we will be using. If not, tear them into whatever size/shape you want your pages to be. If you like a really straight edge for your page, feel free to use watercolor paper from a pad.) 15-25 cheap black and white copies: people, houses, trees, whatever you like. Mix it up. Blow things up big and cropped. Be creative. Fill the page with the copy. a few bits of misc collage ephemera (color images, vintage paper, etc)
  • brayer
  • 2, 4" foam brushes
  • 3-5 acrylic paints in your favorite colors (challenge yourself to limit your palette!
  • black acrylic paint
  • raw umber acrylic paint
  • titanium white acrylic paint
  • 2-3 of your favorite artist brushes including a 1" (or larger) flat or angle brush and a small to medium sized filbert
  • Heat gun or hair dryer (sharing with a friend is fine)
  • And object or image of an object that represents you (without using photographs of people’s faces)


  • Water soluble artist crayons
  • Chalk pastels

Stephanie will provide:

  • Writing papers
  • Glues and gessoes

Artist Bio

I'm a seeker and a finder, an asker and a listener, a poet and a mute. I try my best to live consciously. I live for the biggest little things - for wide skies, staying up late, getting up early to see the sun rise, my girls' laughter, my man's faith in me, and for learning. Learning, learning, learning. I love sewing, cooking, making things for friends, generally being domestic, reading and writing and writing about what I'm reading. I eat peaches over the sink, my insides like to boogie while my outsides keep a cool front. I love green shoes and wearing them while perhaps driving a little too fast because I like the way my stomach tickles when I go over that one little hill.....

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