|The Blue Ridge mountains near Blowing Rock, NC|
It was a great time of year for a road trip, and look what greeted me at Cheap Joe's...
|Look at the bottom line on the Cheap Joe's sign behind me - it's true!|
My big day had finally arrived - I was a featured artist at Cheap Joe's!
I felt welcomed from the moment I drove up to the store.
Edwina, the workshop coordinator, greeted me and showed me around the classroom (which is the fulfillment of every workshop instructor's dream!)
|Ready for the ladies to arrive!|
My table at the front of the demo area had an overhead camera that could zoom in on my sketchbooks and show the image on a large TV screen suspended from the ceiling, making it easy for the students to see details on my sketchbook pages. It was wonderful!
Every day at noon a delicious lunch appeared for all of us as if by magic! Amazing food catered by local restaurants - the southern pork barbecue was perfection! Cheap Joe's really takes care of their workshoppers - gotta keep our strength up for all that painting! (And talking, and shopping in the outlet store.)
On Monday morning, the students began arriving long before 9 am, when the class was scheduled to begin. I think they were as excited as I was to get started! People attended from as far away as Oregon, California, and Massachusetts.
Joe Miller (Cheap Joe) came around to welcome everyone on Monday and spent almost an hour with us, stopping by each table and taking the time to talk to the students and find out a little more about them.
|Both of Joe's books are inspiring reads for sketchbook journalers|
Joe is as warm and genuine a person as you'll ever meet. It was a privilege to get to know him last week.
Periodically during the week, usually in the afternoon when everyone was getting a little tuckered out, Joe would pop into the classroom and surprise us with a visit.
|Joe as Elvis|
Every morning when we arrived at the studio, the classroom was spic and span, the coffee was piping hot, and there was a free gift for each and every one of us on our tables. We received divided water buckets, brush holders, watercolor markers, pens, brushes, magazines, artsy bumper stickers, a mini-palette of American Journey watercolors, and more.
We were treated like royalty the entire time we were there. I'd like to go back to take a workshop myself. The whole experience was fun from start to finish.
Holding a workshop in the same building as an art supply store definitely has its advantages. It's easy to pop over to the store and pick up something you forgot, or something you need, or something you saw on your neighbor's table and decided you just couldn't live without! And the Cheap Joe's Outlet Store has just about anything you could possibly want. And, if it's not in the store, they can bring it over from the adjoining warehouse.
This made it, oh, so easy to splurge on new stuff. When I saw how many trips my students were making each day through the magical doors into the wonderful world of all things art-y, I considered giving a prize at the end of the week to the one who spent the most money! But I decided that just having all those beautiful new art supplies to play with is probably reward enough.
|"I think I need just one more Gelly Roll pen...or maybe two....or, what the heck, I might as well buy one of each. If I don't, I know I'll just keep coming back for more!"|
Class was held each day from 9 to 4, and some people stayed even later if they were involved in a project and couldn't bear to stop, but I looked forward each day to having a chance to get out and explore the area around Boone and eat in one of the fantastic restaurants in town. We had the BEST food! Every meal was exceptional. Boone is a cute little town with lots of great shops and restaurants, plus there are loads of outdoor activities in the area and great parks to visit. Many of my students extended their trips to spend more time there after the workshop was over.
One evening, we went to Blowing Rock to visit a friend, and she gave us a driving tour of the area. The views looking out over the Blue Ridge Mountains were spectacular.
We visited Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, an estate that was the home of Moses Cone, a prosperous textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist.
Its centerpiece is Flat Top Manor, a 13,000 square foot Colonial Revival-style mansion built in 1901.
I didn't have time to sketch that evening, but would have loved to sit for an hour or two and record some of those beautiful scenes with pen and paint.
I'm glad the days are long this time of year. It felt so good to be outside in the warm spring weather, expecially after the chilly temps we've had at home lately.
Thursday morning, I did an interview with Terry Henry for Cheap Joe's blog. We talked a little about how to get started in sketchbook journaling. Read it here.
During our class time, I really kept everyone hopping. They drew and painted, designed sketchbook page borders, used bold new page layouts, and practiced lots of new hand-lettering styles. They created beautiful sketchbook pages using the tools I had given them, and I think they felt energized by all they were learning.
Tomorrow, in a separate post, I'm going to show you some of my students' sketches. You'll love seeing how they took the information I shared with them and came up with some wonderfully creative sketchbook pages of their own.