Thursday, April 21, 2011


This past weekend was more than an art retreat for me.
It was three days that deeply touched my soul.
Officially, it was a K.C. Willis Art Retreat
in Taylor, Texas (east of Austin).

For me it was a weekend of renewal, validation,
new friends, an old friend, amazing art instruction and
laughter - straight from the gut.
The piece above is my first of two that I made
during the retreat.
It measures about 16" x 20".
All it is lacking is the vintage rhinestone
under the photo on the cabinet card.
(I couldn't wait to show it to you so use your imagination)
Above you're looking at a close-up of the
baby picture of a little boy.
Of course, the boy in the baby picture
is the boy in the main photo.
A close-up of the quote I wrote for this piece.
The picture you're looking at above is my
second piece. I will be attaching it to a
16" x 20" black canvas before I hang it.
I'll also be adding large tea stained (cream) ball fringe
to the bottom and
a piece of vintage jewelry to the bottom left corner.
Do you see the "open top" hand stitched
"envelope" on the bottom right?
Inside of it, and peeking out, is a small
photo of the girl in the piece.
I'll be giving it a wash to create a ghostly hue.
The lady on the envelope? The little girl as an adult.
One of my new friends is Susan and I'm
almost positive this piece above is hers.
I do know one thing and that is that it isn't quite finished.
Susan is a delightful artist and a lot of fun.
The best part is that she lives in San Antonio!
I'm also pretty sure this piece is by Rita Blanks.
Don't trust my memory!
(not quite finished)
I KNOW who created this piece!
My new, darling friend,Robin Woodward.
She and I have been blogging friends for years
and one day I mentioned this retreat and suggested
that she might be interested.
She was, we met IRL, went shopping, were roommates,
table mates and she is now my dear, sweet friend.
She is absolutely darling and this piece
is my favorite! (Not completely finished)
Susan created the above piece and what makes it so
special is that the little girl on the pony IS SUSAN.
What a wonderful piece!
I absolutely adore not only this darling piece of art,
but, the artist, too!
I've known Rita Blanks for many years
and though I don't see her often enough,
I adore any time that I get to spend with her.
Isn't this piece the bomb??
Here we all are with one of our two pieces.
We had such a wonderful time and
we learned and had so much fun with our
precious teacher, K.C. Willis.
If you are ever in a position that you can take one of her
Internet courses (DVD) or attend one of her retreats,
you will be blessed, entertained and
you will learn so much that you will be so stinkin' happy that
you invested in her teaching. She's amazing!
The Clark Mansion is a delight!
You can find the very
fascinating facts of it by clicking on "Clark Mansion".
It is a private home owned by Sherry Clark and she
holds weddings to art retreats on the property,
so let me just say,
if you're looking for an amazing place
to do "something",
give her a call (512-365-6709)
There's Sherry waving from the amazing front porch.
The greeter stands next to a historical marker
at the entrance to the property.
A lovely front yard with lots of seating.
A perfect place to sit and drink
your morning cup of coffee.
An alcove under the grand staircase.
The mansion has only had two owners
and both have done all they could
to keep it's integrity.
You feel like you're in another era - fabulous!
Look at this inlaid wooden floor -
original to the house.
The wallpaper??
I was tempted to tear off a panel.
The chandelier in the front hall.
Yeah, original to the house.
I will always regret not taking my big suitcase.
The oak front doors and their lead glass windows.
Oh, mama.
The grand staircase is one of the first things
that you see when you enter the house.
That lamp at the base of the stairs?
I stayed away from it.
Can you imagine if you were the one to
fall into it and knock it off.......
The ballroom is where we 'held our retreat'.
Mine's bigger. Just sayin'.
The house even has a keyhole window! Shut up!!
A fainting chaise in the front room.
The amazing woodwork above the door(s).
I know that the buffet and
the dining room table & chairs
are originals to the house.

I fell in love with the glass swan centerpiece
on the dining room table.
The windows in Robin's and my room
were topped by stained glass.
The sun shined through every morning
and it was a sight to behold as
I was getting ready for the day.
One of my favorite things in the house
was the reading light attached to the
headboard of my king size bed.
This is a picture of my sweet friend, Robin,
and our fabulous teacher, K.C.

We all have battles to fight and everyday challenges and I'm no different.
I've had a rough time for about a year, even had a dear friend "destroy me"
(my words) a couple of weeks ago with words and attitude.
My point in sharing that with you is so that I can tell you this:
Always find time, find some way, to enjoy what makes you passionate.
And, find that one person that you can trust and don't keep those moments
that destroy you to yourself. You'll be much healthier mentally if you can just
talk to someone.
(Oh, and btw, he didn't destroy me - after I stopped hyperventilating and
immediately talked to my bff, Annette, about what had just happened,
I did what God would want all of us to do.
I forgave him in my heart and I pray for him every night.)

I am well. I've got my joy back!
God bless you all,


Melinda said...

Darling cousin,

Love this post! What a great place for a retreat. Beautiful - the chandelier, the stained glass, the woodwork - mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm. Looks like such a peacefulvenue. Art - oh my. So cool. Yours is the best. I mean, you have talented friends, dearie, but no one ever compares to you. Just sayin. So glad you had such a great time! Love you!

KC Willis said...

Dear Jan....thank you for taking the time to document our weekend so beautifully. Great pics! Can't wait to see you again. Love you. Mean it.

Myrna said...

Just popped over here from Garden Antiques and wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your post~first, with the fabulous pics of the wonderful art and the beautiful victorian house (my heart!) THEN, sharing your heart and vulnerablitiy (is that a word?)
Well, I hope you know what I mean! You just blessed me! You have a lovely, lovely blog!
Happy Easter!

Cami @ Creating Myself said...

Your pieces are amazing! LOVE them! I was just thinking today that collages are where I need teh most obviously, I need to take one of KC's online workshops. I know she could teach me a thing or two (or 50!) about layering!

Enjoyed my virtual visit to your crack house! So many wonderful goodies!!!!

Have a happy Easter Jan...hope your surrounded by your loved ones!

Kathy said...

Firstly, thank you for the lovely, unexpected phone call.....xo.
And then, oh my...fabulous art retreat and gorgeous pieces created. And still my heart, that house....swoon!!!! The windows, the floors, the woodwork...the furnishings, I love it all. You take the best photos, always. To see this thru your eyes, is a real treat. ~thank you for sharing with us~ And your very special words straight from your heart..well, all I will say is, I was also touched deeply by them, and you...I know I can learn to speak from my heart, one day too. Love you Sweet Jan, xo

Robin said...

Oh my, your pictures say it all! It was such a wonderful weekend and it was a true blessing for me to be able to attend. Thanks so much for taking and posting the pics.


Nancy said...

Needless to say I was excited to see a new post coming from deep in the heart of Texas. What a treat, what a fantastic treat! Grabbing a bib for the drooling caused by those great pics. I'm not sure what I'd stash in my big suitcase first..... forget it....I'd need a U-Haul for the furniture I'm claiming. Anywho.....I'm so glad you shared the experience with those of us left behind. I will dream about that mansion tonight. Keep your fab posts coming as often as you can. Have you checked out my new blog? Just started it and I'll be posting the second entry tomorrow. Looking forward to the trip to visit. xoxoxo

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

What a great place to have a retreat. Love the pretty pieces that you made.
Glad I got to stop by tonight and did not miss this post.
Hope you have a very Happy Easter

Bettyann said...

thank you dear lady for sharing this wonderful retreat with us...beautiful look marvelous..glad you are feeling better, and sorry that someone would try to hurt you...take care...Happy Easter...prayers needed for my dear Mom who is in the hospital with a broken hip xxxx bettyann

debsea said...

dear friend jan - what a great post! i want to come down there and make stuff with you too! your photos are awesome, thx for sharing with us. what a house! i don't think i would have ever gotten any work done, i'd have been wandering around staring at you think there were ever CHILDREN in that home? yikes!
you always share the best advice, so often just what i need to hear. i love that you are able to turn a positive light on whatever gets thrown in your path...
love love the fabric collages - that had to be a great creative group.
wishing i wasn't so far up here in the frozen north...
take care! keep makin' stuff!

Jules said...

Hi Jan - I was at the first weekend retreat at the Mansion. I plan to blog about it in the next few days - life has been busy upon my return. Loved seeing your post. Wasn't that house amazing! I have been to KC's twice in Colorado and just love spending time with her - she's a dear. Beautiful collages by everyone...thanks for sharing.

Diva Kreszl said...

...someday I would love to attend one of her retreats, but mostly I would love to meet you, you brought this wonderful experience to life in this post and I thank you for that. My youngest leaves for college in the fall and after caring for my sister for the last two years I lost her to cancer 2 weeks ago. This sounds like just what the doctor ordered!

Lynn Richards said...

I am so. jealous.
I had signed up for an art class with K.C. and do you know, every single one of the gals signed up for the class canceled due to sickness. I really think barring vomiting or fever, they should have come anyway.
Ah, well...
glad to see you had a wonderful time. Your creations are amazing!!

vicki said...

Hi sweet Jan -
Wow oh wow! You certainly had a wonderful retreat! I adore the collage piece that you created - it is absolutely amazing! What a place that you visited - such a beautiful place to stay! No wonder you had such a wonderful time!

Happy Blessed Easter my friend~

Charlene said...

GREAT POST!!!!!!! I'm so sad I didn't get to play with you & the other girls. Your pieces are wonderful!!!!!!!!!!! And the mansion looks 2die4! Loved the stained glass most of all. Thanks for sharing! Happy Easter! HUGS!

just me jan said...

Well I'm sittin' here completely gobsmacked Jan! ROFLOL All of the pieces are fanfreakingtastic! I'm so upset I didn't get to join y'all! As for the house...well, isn't it fun to sit and create in such surroundings? So like making lace at The Ant Street Inn in Brenham. We've GOT to confab about when we can gather together for a good yammer session sweetie...I miss your face!
just me...sendin' smiles from Mansfield...jan

******Shelly****** said...

Love the photos...what an amazing place to have your retreat! Location can be very inspiring :) The windows, the wallpaper, the chandelier....oh my :)

Glad you had a super fabulous weekend!

Shelly :)

Lisa Phillippi said...

WOWzerZ! I sooo totally want to attend a retreat like that!! I love the pieces you made! I have to get on the mailing list for the next one!!

Canace said...

Wow.. what a great trip through your eyes Jan! Amazing place to stay and beautiful work that you did!

Now all you have to do is come to NY for another fun experience ;o)

"Just sayin'" ;o)

kecia said...

Jan, you look great- I hardly recognized you! I know Rita as well- shes a sweety!


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