Monday, March 21, 2011

Paul JACKSON LIFE changing WORKSHOP Details

Ocean Springs, MS, along the Gulf Coast was the site of the latest Paul Jackson "Painting Glass" Workshop.

I have been wanting to attend one of these workshops since the day I took my 5 year old with my mother in law to see him speak in Pensacola. He had just written his first book. Today my son is 17.

I shared a photo with Paul of that first meeting.
Someone there told me, " could be doing that same thing! Don't wait too late to master it."

That workshop, which stretched this acrylic painters mind in ways I had never thought possible, confirmed what Paul told me after he and a friend had perused through my website before we met him for dinner that night.

"You know, you are a watercolor painter trapped in acrylics. Go back and re-do some of these in watercolor!"

I attempted to follow along in the class and each time my bold strokes had me LAYERS ahead of the class.

He would say, "Everyone layer this layer...Allison, sit out of this one or you will be finished before ME".

And I am glad I waited. Every stroke he took with his brush clarified why he is the youngest person to be allowed in the
most prestigious watercolor societies.

He has a technique like no other. His work sells on the LOW end for 10,000 a painting, the high end, 240,000. YES DOLLARS.

I was so blessed to have the chance to be taught by him and to be a fly on the wall in his class.

The painting I finished in the workshop was a delight to attempt and I bid to buy the original he did. I will hang it alongside the print he signed for my son when I met him over 12 years ago.

While in Destin with the kids later in the week, I attempted one on my own. It was from a photo I took while in Savannah for the SAVANNAH BOOK FESTIVAL, in an antique shop window, light pouring in.

It represents a meshing of two events that have forever changed my life during this (what I call) YEAR OF DISCOVERY as I approach 45 ~(and what others might term midlife crisis number 2) yet THIS ONE A BIT MORE STRUCTURED :)

I don't know what the years ahead have in store for me, but I can say, creatively, I am ready for them!

I hope you enjoy the journey and perhaps you too can visit a Paul Jackson workshop, or attempt that knitting class, photography exploration, write that novel or memoir or whatever it is that you have been putting off all of these years.




Monday, March 7, 2011

Dolphins Wash up On the Shores

This weekend I will be painting on the Gulf Coast.
I am saddened by what is happening to the animals,
the condition of the sandy back yard at my families beach home....


All we can do is hope and pray that God will have mercy on our
treasured Gulf Coast.

Happy Mothers Day to the Mother's Having to be Fathers


Every year
as children bustle about
buying cards, presents, making cakes,
I take the day off.

Oh, I have plenty of fathers,
just no urgency
to celebrate any of them
on this particular day of the year.

There is the one who
created me,
a wandering nomad
still perched in the hills
of Southern California.

After 40 years he calls me,
or had my cousin tell me to call him,
“I’ve been praying the Holy Spirit over you
since the day I tossed out the bottle”.

A relief that was
after the stories I had been told
about the man I “should never let
out of Pandora’s Box”.

The father who raised me
now lives alone,
crippled by the youth he so desperately
went out in search of.

He taught me everything I know,
an English professor,
stunt pilot, motocross champion,
his musical talent led him to a place
I could not bring him back out of.

A step dad of my mother’s choosing
says it was I who sent him away,
all my fault as I was the one to
discover his infidelities
in drawers, on cell phone bills, and tattered napkins.

So father’s day is to me
what independence might be to America
I have released each of them
to their choices,
a bustling of fireworks in a sky
created by the one Father
whom I know will never let me down. Allison P. Adams 2/14/2011

The Poem that Kept Me Up All Night- Cathy Smith Bowers

The first night on Ossabaw, we had the treat to be read to by North Carolina's Poet Laureate. Cathy Smith Bowers charmed us with her Southern voice and love for words and sounds.

I have provided a link to her youtube video reading. Enjoy..she is a HOOT!

After her reading, we went off on our own, to experience the sights and sounds of Ossabaw. That night I was up most of the night, writing this poem. After the workshop, we were invited to read aloud in the tent at the Savannah Book Festival.

Thank you Ossabaw and especially Cathy Smith Bowers for opening my soul.

Last night
a vault of memories opened,
North Carolina’s Poet Laureate
holding the key.

“I write poetry,”
she said,
“to save the few morsels
of tenderness I can remember
from my childhood.”

These poems
stitched from moments in time,
abiding images
she called them,
binding a thread of words
to be woven together
to make sense of it all.

I lie here at 5 am,
comets of moments
shooting through my brain,
a freeing of so many years
locked in the darkness.

The encroaching sun’s glow
illuminates thoughts
scribbled on my pad
on this cold
February morning.

A magical island,
unspoiled paradise
words and sentences hanging
among moss draped branches.

I have been here twelve hours,
a lifetime of words
cocooned within my heart.
I wish only,
to release them,
tiny butterflies of truth
set free into the wilds of Ossabaw. Allison Puccetti Adams 2011

Ossabaw Island RETREAT~ Savannah Book Festival

I recently had the rare opportunity to visit Ossabaw Island, just off the coast of Savannah for the first annual Savannah Book Festival Writer’s Retreat. Ossabaw is Georgia’s largest island and privately owned. :

We have all had that dream, that we might one day leave our mundane lives, just for a second, flee to to a magical island, find the writer, the artist within.

I have done that, in a magical place called Ossabaw Island, a private sanctuary just off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, only accessible by boat. No cars, no television, no phones, except those bootlegged in, and only if using Verizon did they work.

For four days I and three other juried writers immersed ourselves in the craft of writing, digging deeply into our souls to extract nuggets buried within, dormant for most of our lives.

We were invited by founder of the program, Tony Morris, a poet and professor of English at Armstrong Atlantic State University. He brought with him a wealth of talent: Beverly Donofrio who penned the novel that brought Drew Berrymore as Beverly’s character to the big screen in Riding in Cars with Boys; Lenore Hart, with seven novels and a children’s book under her belt, Her lastest novel, The Raven’s Bride, being released in New York that very week; as well as the Poet Laureate of North Carolina, a darling Southern Belle named Cathy Smith Bowers, who turned each of us into a lover of not only the craft of writing but the sounds of letters and words.

As I approach age forty-five, it seems that something in me has been asking, am I finished learning? Is this it? Where is that novel that I have known brews inside me? A question many of us mid-life creative mortals ask.

I found that answer on Ossabaw, a discriminating place. To be allowed on, you must be studying the arts, science or contributing to the furthering of your craft. Artists visit here each year, and the only way to be a part of it is to be investing in yourself or fellow man.

There are no tourists, no boat tours, just 26,000 acres of pristine history to be explored. I found myself reflecting on my family’s heritage, that of timber. Here you can see where forestry practices stopped cold. Immersed among ancient live oaks, palms, magnolias, dogwood and wild azaleas are towering pines, all about the same age, maybe forty years old. Deep within the property is “The g-nomey tree” that stands gnarled and the Breakfast Tree has a twisted, table-like trunk. At the south end is the pride of the island, a tree nearly thirty feet in diameter with a canopy of over a hundred and fifty feet. This tree may have sheltered not only the Creek Indians who first settled here, but the patriot soldier, the planter and the children of the family that now owns it, the Torrey’s of Grosse Pt., Michigan. The final heir at age 98, still lives here in her summer home, a grand pink stucco fortress with soaring ceilings and beautiful iron work. She is active and knows the island backwards and forwards. Her story featured in Atlanta Magazine.

The family has gifted it to the state of Georgia as a wild sanctuary. Today she enjoys its final years of private oasis and shares it with strangers who quickly become friends. Ten miles of beaches divide the island from civilization, one are called the boneyard where hundreds of trees stand naked against sky and sand is particularly mesmerizing.

We bunked in the old hunting lodge, a quaint wooden two story building with massive fireplace and an updated kitchen. It was in the living room our writer’s minds were transformed, as each night our mentors would read to us from their own works. We immersed ourselves in workshops, revealed portions of novels we had brought with us, unveiling parts of ourselves, peeling layers of life, and weaving them into friendships I will carry with me the rest of my life.

These women, models of who I, as an “artsy type”, a creative person, might one day become. They were all older than I, by ten to thirty years, and life bubbled from each of their cores. Tony would sit crouched in the corner, a tree watching a nest of bees create honey from pollen made of words.

“We will never be the same,” Kathy would tell us as we gave life to our words, and like the flap of a butterflies wing, we sent creativity off into the universe, clear across the waves surrounding Ossabaw.

I have been back in my home now for only eight hours and already I have begun to fill the pages of my new journal. Words flow from my brain, spilling out, down my arm to paper. My computer has remained shut, the link of my fingers to my brain untangled, somewhat awkward, but no longer blocked.

Ossabaw and the treasures there, a pig named Paul Mitchell, who loves to have his ears scratched and his belly filled with scraps of gourmet fare, and donkeys that greeted us with deep calls each morning set the tone for a place where time stands still.

As we spent our last day there, stranded for a few hours as we waited for Mother Nature to bring back the tide, we savored the day on the front porch of the guest cottage, pulled out Tony’s guitar and sang some Patsy Cline, listened to some of Tony’s originals. A great end to a glorious day of 70 degree weather and sunshine on this magical day in late February.

I will forever look at this experience as one that has changed my life. Like the events of 9/11 that turned my life on a different path, this will too go down as one of the experiences that made a difference in my being. Ossabaw, has told me, without a doubt, that I was born to be a writer. It is the core of who I am. It is what I do to “unleash the cobwebs- the fluent weavings of words that hide in there- in the soul I was formed from.”

I need only remember the big trees that lined the fern and palmetto framed paths, the old slave quarters that remind me of people who never got to tell their stories. And so tonight, I sit propped on the edge of my bathtub, my legs crossed, the sounds of my snoring husband drifting into the night.

I am home, the writer I was when I left, but now fully awake.

I thank Ossabaw for that chance to unleash the thoughts in the darkness, and bring them to light, that once released, live forever among us.

Allison Puccetti Adams 2011