Artist are visual honey-bees who gather nectar from fields and flowers to create something new. A unique honey results when art-making combines biology, poetry, science, music, or any diverse subject to influence and inspire the other. — Susan Stryke and Larry Sorkin
Every year, painting instructor Elizabeth Ross invites art students to go on a new kind of adventure into the art world. Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley in Middlebrook, VA, lies the Airy Knoll farm where special things happen. Here, students in a week long retreat and workshop program that encourages students to learn about art from nature and are challenged in their techniques, medium and self expression. During the week, students are encouraged to look deep within themselves and each other, as well as what is going on around them in order to form a better connection to their creative process. The week also includes yoga, presentations by other artists, writing and art workshops as well as a good time around a crackling bonfire in the evening. It is an emotional journey that leaves artists feeling changed, inside and out.
Each year, there is a theme to help connect the different experiences while on the farm and this year’s theme is cross-pollination. Naturally, we may think of the buzzing bumble bees, hummingbirds and butterflies as our favorite pollinators. In this case, it is the artists themselves who are the pollinators, going from one thing to the next, combining techniques and experiences to produce something truly amazing. As pollinators combine one flower with the next, the artists combine one technique with another, or one idea with another to create an original work of art.
While the rest of us may not be able to go on this journey with them, we are fortunate enough to view the results of their week of creating art. The final CPCC Airy Knoll Farm Show, this year titled Cross-Pollination, will go on view in Pease Gallery October 22 – December 4, 2018, with an opening reception on November 14 from 6-8pm. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday 10am-2pm.