A few years back, I boarded a bus on my way to Brave Girl's camp in Idaho. I sat in my seat, nervous and excited for the adventure that lied ahead. As I stared out the window looking at the beautiful scenery, I kept hearing this gal laughing in the back. She was having a great time meeting a new friend and enjoying the ride. Turns out this girl was Jeanne Oliver and she ended up being my roomie for the duration of camp. And the laughing never stopped! But besides having an awesome sense of humor, she is also genuinely kind, honest, smart and enormously talented. She is a gal who truly walks her talk and I admire that so much about her. I am thrilled and honored that she will be teaching at my first retreat. I have taken a couple of her online classes and I just love her down to earth, easy to follow, method of teaching. Please enjoy this interview with the lovely Jeanne Oliver.
How long have you been making art and how has your work evolved over time?
I guess I have been making art since I was a little girl. The ways I expressed art and creativity has taken on many different forms...but I was always making art. It has evolved as I have. The more I know myself, trust my instincts, listen to my heart and believe I have a story to share...the story appears.
What does being an artist mean for you?
It means making your world beautiful whether it is with flowers on the table, music coming from your instrument, paint on your hands, a handmade meal on the table, words spilling off a piece of paper...whatever YOU have that is beautiful that needs to get out...and you let it out.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Friends, walks, the Bible, poetry, movies, magazines, museums, art stores....everywhere. I keep a journal with me at all times so I can capture those little creative ideas and thoughts that would otherwise slip away.
You teach both online and in person workshops.Tell me a little bit about what you like best about each type of class.
Online just opens the whole world up to me. It allows me to connect with people from across the globe and individuals that speak a different language than me. It is incredible. It also gives people the confidence to try something that may seem a little scary at first from the comfort of their home. Once they realize that it isn't scary then I get the most beautiful emails because they didn't realize what was inside of them.
Teaching in person gives me the time and luxury of connecting with individuals personally. I get one on one time or face time. We get to play off one another and connect that way. I love watching how different people create, what their method is, the colors they choose and how they work through their creative process. I love when you watch someone create something incredible that they didn't even know they could do.
How would you describe your teaching style?
Very relaxed. Mistakes make the best art and I don't think there is a right or wrong way to make art. I like to share about myself and my journey, I share techniques and tools that I use over and over and I believe that getting your hands dirty is the best method to making art. I love to laugh and I always hope that my times teaching are full of joy.
What inspired you to start teaching?
Being asked:-) I didn't go looking for it but I am so thrilled that I get to connect with women and men this way. I only accept 3-4 teaching positions a year because my children are still young. I feel that it makes each retreat such a special time for me too because I don't have the opportunity to do it all of the time.
What advice would you give to someone who doesn't feel like they are creative?
We ALL have creativity in us. It may look different than your best friend or sister...but you have it. Creativity takes practice. Sometimes people can get frustrated with themselves because they can't produce a masterpiece right away. They give up before they even have given themselves a chance. When my children first began piano in first grade they didn't know the notes, theory, how to read music etc. Now my 7th grader can play so beautifully that I can't believe I get to listen to his music each day. Practice! Give yourself a chance.
I could give you 100 but here are a few...
Failure happens all of the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it. -Mia Hamm
I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. -E.E. Cummings
Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. -Michelangelo
Thank you so much Jeanne for sharing with us. I truly can't wait to see you, oh so soon!
If you'd like to join Jeane Oliver, Mindy Lacefield and myself for a long weekend of creating, connecting, discovering and sharing, we'd love to have you! But don't wait.....
Just a handful of spots are available.