Summer at Bon Secours......the frogs sing at night!
Here we go again!
August at Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center means Skip Lawrence is teaching his unique approach to art composition and intentional design in his
What a great group!!! I am still surfing the wave of creative mojo!!
Believe me - I see a lot of workshops and groups. Some groups work well together and some...well, not quite synergistic.
This group of artists, from all over, as far as UK and Michigan, got right in step and had a very productive week.
Skip presented his foundations of intentional design-design that communicates what you intend it to- through demos and lessons and exercises.
This class is more structured than his mentored workshops in March and October.
Every day was full and challenging. The camaraderie and adventurous spirit of everyone in the class kept the work from feeling overwhelming. Having specific exercises to do each day kept everyone on track.
The group critiques are so helpful to see how each artist approached the lesson differently.
The diversity of work and styles is very inspiring.
In "Not-So-Basic-Basics", Skip addresses some of the advanced principles of design, the elements that can really identify an artist's intention and create a personal style. If you think you have covered all the basics, and you still feel like there is so much you DON'T KNOW, this is where to start. Do you feel like every successful painting is a happy accident that you can't replicate? Do you consistently get caught in the weeds and wonder if the painting is resolved or...what does it need? The "Not-So-Basic-Basics" workshop helps you identify the design elements that resonate with your narrative, that express your story. Once you learn them, you can clarify your intention and your paintings will tell your story!
Why paint like someone else? The world is waiting for YOU!
This workshop will give you the tools to evaluate your own work and decide how to get it closer to your personal intention.
Everyone who has continued studying with Skip over the years, over the decades, has started with these principles. Whether you are a beginner or a long time artist, this workshop is a great way to bring your work home!
As always, Bon Secours is the perfect place for our workshops. There is attention to every detail and the staff cannot do enough to make sure you are comfortable! Just walk around the pond, around the grounds and notice the lovely landscaping. This is a special place! So beautiful and peaceful! It is always a welcome homecoming for our groups to come to Bon Secours! We are on our eleventh year of hosting our workshops here and we really feel like it is a family reunion, every time we do a workshop!
Wouldn't you love to spend a week focusing on your art, digging deep, exploring what you want to say and how to express your unique vision?
If you are interested in Skip's workshops, check his website for his schedule, www.skiplawrence.com, or email me here, email@example.com or through the contacts page on their website.
I'd like to welcome Artist and Teacher Skip Lawrence to my blog!
Skip has shared a bit of his wisdom and perspective on making art in this Guest Post,"Poetry or Craft."
Follow Skip Lawrence on Facebook or check out his website, www.skiplawrence.com
His next Mentored Workshop at Bon Secours Center, Marriottsville, MD, runs
March 18-24, 2018. We have a few spots open. Start 2018 with a boost of inspiration!
Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org for enrollment info and details.
In reference to making art, I recently heard David Hockney say that, “craftsmanship is a must.”
From the Renaissance to the Abstract Expressionists art students began their apprenticeship by learning the craft of their chosen media.
“We can teach craft, it’s the poetry you cannot teach.” Hockney goes on to say,
“Now we teach poetry and forget craft.”
There is enough truth in that statement to make one stop and think.
A Chinese philosopher proclaimed art is a matter of,
“the Hand, the Eye, and the Heart”.
Many artists new and experienced alike, seem to shift back and forth from working primarily with the hand, the eye and the heart, rarely giving equal measure to all three.
When I look at the latest paintings in watercolor society shows I am more than impressed with the polished technique exhibited: skills of the hand and the eye.
What I most thirst for, though, is to see the reason behind all the technical skills:
more heart and soul.
I know how challenging this is as I fight for a balance of ideas, feeling and form in every painting I do. I have come to realize that in making art, usually one aspect (the hand, or eye or heart) is primary and the other aspects might be missing in the process or have minimal influence.
I think this is well worth giving some thought...ask yourself...
Which of these do you primarily work with; the hand, the eye or the heart?
Do you start a painting aware which is going to primarily direct the process?
Which are you most comfortable working from: the Hand, the Eye or the Heart?
Do you resist letting one or another take the lead?
When you are most satisfied with the results of your work, what is the ratio of hand/eye/heart?
If you get stuck or a piece seems to fail, does it rely too much on one aspect at the expense of the others?
What if you tried switching it up...?
I know I shift between as I am working, but I do try to find a balance. Or at least a workable combination of hand/eye/heart.
I believe when all three aspects work in a sort of equanimity the resulting artwork has a stronger presence.
You know when you see it: the piece of artwork engages intellectually, moves you emotionally and the craft impresses or intrigues you.
It just works.
There are many things to love about autumn,
and one of my favorites is the annual return to Bon Secours Center in Marriottsville, MD, and Skip's October Mentored Painting Workshop.
It is hard to think that 10 years has passed since I first found Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center. My goal was to find the perfect environment for the best art workshop experience one could have.
I already had the best teacher lined up! Skip Lawrence, obviously!
This location would be, ideally, within commuting distance from our home in Central Maryland. This location should be all inclusive, so one could arrive and need for nothing while concentrating on the art workshop, free to stay with their process without having to leave or worry about meals or commuting. It would be nice if the place was in an attractive setting. Of course, price and value are considerations, too...
From the first time we entered Bon Secours, we knew we found the perfect place.
It is rare that something highly anticipated actually meets your expectations. It is a 'unicorn' when it exceeds your expectations. And to do it consistently after 10 years and 18 workshops is a polka-dotted, roller-skating talking unicorn!
We added an annual March workshop in 2009, and another workshop in August
of last year.
The grounds are like a private park with 330 acres, meadows with deer, woodlands, Zen peace garden, a labyrinth to walk, an ever-changing landscape, beautiful at any time of year.
The facility is a comfortable, quiet, accomodating haven in a busy world.
The staff is superlative. The fact that we see the same people, for 10 years on, smiling as they ask "what can we do for you?" speaks volumes! It is a homecoming every time we arrive the Center and set up for another workshop. The students who return time after time feel the same way.
I know how important the space is for supporting one's best work. This is magnified exponentially when it is a workshop with two dozen people, all digging in and doing honest, soul-searching, risk-taking artwork, when Skip Lawrence is at the helm challenging one to do, to be, one's best. The workshop experience, for me, is a sacred space, and our workshops at Bon Secours are exactly that.
Thank you, Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center for ten great years of creative synergy! We look forward to many many more!
Artist, writer, workshop planner, swimmer, dog-mom, wife...I find inspiration in the serendipitous connections between making a meaningful, beautiful life and making honest art.
All work on this site is original by Diane Santarella Lawrence, unless noted, and is
The nature of social media is sharing, so please share respectfully and responsibly and
give credit where credit is due.
Many of the beautiful images taken in the studios of Skip and me are by Joel Kiester and Brian Eiseman of 1513Photo. Many thanks, Guys, for your friendship and elegant work!
And Thanks to my two biggest fans, my husband Skip Lawrence and Rothko the Wonderdog for constantly surprising, challenging, inspiring and supporting me.