Mixed-Media Mamas

Give yourself permission to play.

Think you’re not “creative?” Forget what your art teacher at school told you. Everyone is an artist!

It can be hard to explore your inner artist when you’re a mom. But the benefits of carving out time from your schedule to learn a new skill, make new friendships, and nourish yourself can leave you relaxed, refreshed, and happier.

The Art is...You logo was created by stay-at-home mom Kim Geiser, who can be found at persimmonsgal54220.blogspot.com.

Attending an art retreat, which lasts anywhere from a weekend to an entire week, offers a unique way to refuel in a welcoming and fun-filled environment. Retreats are held throughout the country, from Connecticut to California, and the world (Italy, southern France). During these getaways, you can try your hand at all sorts of mixed-media projects. “Mixed-media” refers to the fact that a variety of materials and techniques are used that draw from different disciplines: paper arts, textile collage, painting, soldering, sculpting, metalwork, photography, millinery, art dolls, bookbinding, and more.

“From the moment one arrives at the [retreat], you realize that you have entered a space where everyone speaks your creative language, where you are able to reconnect with your buddies or forge new friendships...and where your only requirement is to be yourself, have fun, and create,” says artist Lesley Venable, a teacher at mixed-media retreat Art is...You.

Large-scale retreats are frequently held in a hotel and offer many workshop options on a daily basis. Participants can attend one workshop or as many as they like. Workshops are usually six hours long, so even if you can only partake in a day’s worth of them, you’ll be learning a ton and likely completing a project. At Art is...You Mixed Media Retreats, mornings are a mix of powerful messages and motivating moments. Luncheons are festive, and low-key, art-based evenings round out each day. Smaller retreats like An Artful Journey, Spellbound, and ViviMagoo offer a more focused selection of workshops in an intimate and unique space.

Some workshops have extensive supply lists and others require very little. If you are just starting out, it is not necessary to invest in a lot of supplies or the most expensive items. Sometimes the acrylic paints found in a dollar store are a good place to start. You can never go wrong with a pencil case filled with scissors, a glue stick, paint brush, three favorite paints, a ruler, and simple sewing kit. Start small. Start simple. Find what you enjoy, and then expand your supplies and skills as your passion leads you.

In addition to the extensive workshop offerings, many mixed-media art retreats present fabulous vendor shows that are a feast of color, texture, and original art. They also provide an opportunity for attendees to purchase papers, kits, beads, collage sheets, fibers, fabrics, unique vintage items, and original flea market finds.

People don’t realize they have inspiration and creativity wrapped up inside of them. It can be hidden and somehow forgotten because of their daily commitments to family and work. At a mixed-media art retreat, new skills are discovered, techniques are learned, and a space is created to draw out the creativity and art from within. Kindness, encouragement, and smiles are given freely. New friendships are forged. Awareness and priorities change. Instead of jumping back onto life’s treadmill, and feeling bound by routine, people return home from a retreat and incorporate what they have discovered into their lives. The entire experience is empowering and can make you a happier person!

“I went by myself — a scaredy cat to be sure,” says Ann, who attended an Art is...You retreat. “I was blown away by the friendliness of everyone there. You could just sit down at a table and enter a conversation with people you didn’t know, yet somehow they felt like family. The energy in the workshop was crazy, alive, vibrant, and inspiring. You don’t have to be Picasso to enjoy yourself. It’s like a jump start for your heart, and out of that, your creativity will flow.”

The personal rewards of engaging in an art retreat will far outweigh the pile of dishes that may be waiting in the sink when you get home!