This past March we had our 5th Keys 4 Art Retreat and like always, it was amazing! My sister-of-the-heart, Eileen Bellomo always gives a wonderful account of our retreat on her blog and with her permission I am sharing it here with you!
All winter long we think about, plan for, shop for, create keepsakes for, and look forward to Keys 4 Art, the annual Florida Keys retreat I have been attending for the past 5 years with my art sisters. Some, like Pat and Teri are friends here in NYC, but the rest come from all over the US and Canada. Which makes our yearly get together so special. And then, poof! It's over. One of the reasons I love to blog about our adventures is to relive them. So here goes, Part 1.
Pat, Teri and I met up at the airport, and found we'd been randomly selected for VIP status. That meant we were swept through security and didn't even have to take our shoes off! Good start. Our flight left on time, was uneventful (always a good thing), and we were able to have a leisurely lunch in Miami before meeting up with the rest of the gang. A van met us and took us to the fabulous house that Elena and Jacquie had found.
An early riser, every morning I woke up in time to enjoy the sunrise in solitude.
Here is what I learned about this art form: Alebrijes (Spanish pronunciation: [aleˈβɾixes]) are brightly colored Oaxacan-Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. The first alebrijes, along with use of the term, originated with Pedro Linares. In the 1930s, Linares fell very ill and while he was in bed, unconscious, Linares dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There, he saw trees, animals, rocks, clouds that suddenly turned into something strange, some kind of animals, but, unknown animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, "Alebrijes". Upon recovery, he began recreating the creatures he saw in cardboard and paper mache and called them Alebrijes.
There was already a tradition of wood carved creatures in Mexico, and eventually there resulted in a marriage of the two arts.....traditional carvers began to paint their pieces with bright vivid colors. For our workshop we stuck to the paper mache variety.
Go, Teri! At home, she prepared our creatures with a coat of gesso so we could get right to decorating.
Here is what we were given: