This past Friday, I was fortunate enough to participate in Raevn's Nest, a yearly artists' retreat held in Cedarburg. This was the second annual retreat - I hope it's the second of a million more. Kim Rae Nugent is the hostess of this wonderful event (hence the name RAEvn's Nest). Three nationally recognized artists (Jill Berry, Laurie Mika and Richard Salley) came from far and wide to teach this year.
I only took one class, on Friday night (the retreat began on Thursday and ran through last night). I got to see Jill Berry again, which was wonderful. Jill taught the very first art class I ever attended at Valley Ridge last March - it was called "Personal Geographies" and it was all about cartography and how it relates to our own stories; we made maps (real and imaginary) of our own lives. It was a two-day workshop and it was marvelous. Jill and her family live in the Denver area so naturally when I found out that Jill would be back in Wisconsin for this retreat, I signed up right away!
At this retreat, I also got to see many of my art friends from our Milwaukee ATC group (Carolyn, Kathi, Gary, Diana, and Marsha) and Valley Ridge Art Studio (Lisa & Pam) in a different setting, and a few of us ate dinner together. I also met a new art friend, Carmi, who lives in Toronto. Many of you may already know that Toronto is my all-time FAVORITE place on Earth, so we hit it off right away, comparing notes on our favorite Canadian things. We both agree that Tim Hortons coffee is worth traveling for!
Everything about Friday night culminated into one of those nights that I will forever remember - the colder-than-normal October air; the somehow perfect rainy day; the fun dinner with friends; the fantastic "Make a Scene!" class with Jill and the best part of all - talking art with like-minded souls.
When we were waiting in line to order our food Carmi, who is a full-time artist, asked what it was that I did during the day that kept me from making art. I thought that was a great way of asking about my job because believe me, there are MANY days that I ask myself that same question. Of course the most ironic part about this conversation is that it would certainly be more difficult to attend these retreats and workshops if I didn't have a job 'that kept me from making art'. Someday, I hope to have a job that allows me to incorporate my artwork into a living, but there are certain factors that should really be in place first. I know some of my friends would offer the advice, "If not now, when?", but there are icky things like insurance and a mortgage to consider, unfortunately.
And that got me to thinking - what sort of line, if any, should be drawn between your vocation and your avocation? I would really love to hear your thoughts on this. Really! So make your comment below or on Facebook, but I really value your opinions - let's discuss!