Sunday, December 1

Tracy Verdugo and Paint Mojo St. Petersburg

Tracy doing a demo.

I have been procrastinating writing up this post about Paint Mojo St. Pete since October 22nd, the day we arrived home. I don't know if I can do the experience justice in a simple blog post. Also, my perfectionist tendencies get in the way of me blogging about things that are important to me. This workshop ended up being one of the most memorable experiences of my life! Memorable in the best possible way, of course. I'll just start at the beginning and hopefully I can remember most of what I'd like to talk about. I know I can't remember it all since it has been over a month, but I'm giving myself permission to be okay with that.

So, to start off with I should tell you I wasn't even on the list of participants for this workshop as it filled up before I knew about it. I wrote a comment on Tracy's blog saying that I wish I had known about the St. Pete workshop in time to sign up. She then sent me a message on Facebook asking if I'd like to be added to the wait list. Of course I said, "Yes, please!". I didn't really expect to get into the workshop because I know how much people love her and her work. To my surprise and excitement she sent me an email shortly after that asking if I'd like to take the workshop! Of course I did!! I don't think I slept a wink that night because of the excitement. I called my mother, who promptly shared in my excitement so much that she asked to also be added to the wait list. And guess what! She got in a couple of weeks later! Joel and I decided to make it a family vacation and booked a small (adorable) blue house in Pass A Grille. Pass A Grille is a quaint little place just south of St. Pete. So, long story slightly shorter, Mom, Joel, Kole, the doxies, and I headed Southwest on October 19th to be ready for the workshop the next morning. We were so pleasantly surprised by Pass A Grille and the little house we called home for 4 days. You could look to the left and see the Gulf and look to the right and see the Bay. We were a short walk from each beach! How perfect can you get, right? 

Berkely Beach House where we stayed.

Once we got settled in we walked to the Gulf side of the beach. We collected shells, took photos, drew in the sand, and headed back "home" to get dinner and rest so we'd be ready for the next day.

Gulf side of Pass A Grille Beach

The next morning Mom and I took off to Suntan Art Center to get our Paint Mojo on. We stepped in the door to see Tracy and e'Layne's smiling faces first thing. e'Layne was our host for the weekend. Both were so welcoming! Tracy even gave us both a big hug. What a sweetheart she is! e'Layne, too! From there we started setting up our spots in class and meeting our friendly classmates, one by one. I was set up between Mom and the person who would soon become known as my long lost soul sister, Melissa.

Panoramic shot of the classroom.

Once we were all set up and ready to learn, Tracy started class by taking us down to the beach for "Circle Time" in the sand.

Circle Time on the beach.

It was just too perfect of a scene to describe. We were on the beach with like minded creatives and soon to be friends and our view in all directions was extreme beauty. In one direction we had the Don Cesar Hotel, which you just have to see to appreciate, and in the opposite direction is beautiful St. Pete Beach. The weather was as close to perfect as you could ask for and the excitement coming from each of us was just unreal. I was incredibly nervous, because that's just how I am in new situations with a crowd of people. That's just my introvert way. Tracy had us introduce ourselves and explain why we were there. My nerves increased as it got closer to my turn to speak. I kept it short, explaining that I was there to try to loosen up and enjoy the process instead of being so much of a perfectionist that the fun is lost. I wasn't the only one there for that, by the way. Mom went after me and got a laugh by saying she wanted to be a "loose woman". *giggle* Of course she meant in painting, not in life. But you knew that. So Tracy then took over telling us what to expect from class and after that circle time was over. We headed back up to the classroom.

The pink building is The Don Cesar.

The actual class"work" is going to be hard to describe as I don't want to give any of Tracy's class away. You'll have to attend a Paint Mojo to get that kind of detail. I will share a few photos with you, though, as I don't think that will give away her process or techniques.

Mom working on her lovely painting.

The lovely Tracy and I.

Melissa working on her beautiful painting.

Tracy demoing inks.

Tracy's gorgeous finished painting

Me, Mom, and Melissa. Taken by Melissa's husband, Rob.

I was incredibly blessed by everything to do with this weekend. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything at all. I went into the weekend hoping to take home some fancy new art techniques and have some fun, which I did. But I gained much, much more than that. I had an unforgettable creative experience. I was able to share it with Mom. I met a new/old friend in Melissa. We met and were instant old friends. And she lives close enough for us to hang out regularly, so you'll be hearing about her from now on. I met lots of other new forever friends. Seriously, there wasn't a dud in our group. All of them were so kind and generous. I just can't even remember all of the great things about Paint Mojo St. Pete 2013, but I can tell you that it was special in the most awesome of ways. I hope to be able to do it again when Tracy returns to the United States.

I worked on my painting more once I got home. Here's how it looks now.

Thank you, Tracy, e'Layne, and anyone else having to do with bringing the weekend together! I hope to see you all again soon!


Rob S. said...

WOW!!! I love this post! I had no idea you and your mom weren't "original" participants!!! You, your mom, and Melissa were meant to meet, because Melissa wasn't "supposed to" be there either, but I am so SO glad that you all got to share this experience!!!

Rischa said...

Thanks so much, Rob!! I know, right? None of us were supposed to be there, but everything just fell into place! It was meant to be, just like you said!! I'm so thankful that Melissa's friend gifted that weekend to her! Serendipity! :-)

Anonymous said...

WOW....Just 'Oh My Goodness', WOW. Looking through tears, at this moment (as you know I tear up easily) I just can't say enough in the wonderful experience line to add anything else right now, and like you; looking forward to Tracy's return to the USA, in hopes to be in another one of her classes.
Also so thankful for the new friends and for the closeness that you and Melissa developed. I remember seeing Melissa and Rob drive up and Rob helping Melissa getting her supplies out and into the building. Little did we know that when he came back and offered to help us, that such a special friendship would develop. Thank you Rob!
I enjoyed, learned and loved the whole experience of everything. Thank you so very much for introducing me to the opportunity, Rischa. The most special thing is that I got to enjoy the experience with my daughter. I love you dearly! Mom

Melissa said...

I am SO grateful that the Universe threw us all into that class together! How wonderfully serendipitous that none of us were originally on the list! You are so's also difficult for me to write about things so close and important to me! You did a wonderful job! I am so very thankful for our new/old friendship! I wouldn't trade that weekend for ANYTHING!

Rischa said...

Mom, you tear up easily!? Noooo! lol Well, that must be where I get it because your comments had me crying, too. Thank you so much for your sweet words. It was an amazing experience and even more so because you were there with me. I love you, too!! <3

Rischa said...

Me, too, Melissa!! So incredibly grateful! It's mind boggling how many things came together to get us beside each other at that table, isn't it?! We were totally meant to meet! I wouldn't trade that weekend for anything, either. Nope....nothing! Thank you old friend!! Love you!

Deanna said...

Awesome post!!! I Love your painting!!! Melissa told me all about you! She told me we HAVE to go to Mount Dora next time we're down. Looking forward to it! Wavin' at you from Savannah, GA!

Rischa said...

Waving at you from Florida, Deanna!! I look forward to meeting you! Melissa and Rob have told me all about you, too! I hope to meet you soon! We'll have lots of fun in Mount Dora! Thanks for stopping by and for liking my FB page! :-)