Kindred Retreat Information - Fall 2015 by LIZA SNYDER

Tricia Robinson and I have been planning a very special retreat coming this Fall 2015. November 6th through the 8th, we will be hosting a weekend of conversation, community and creating here at the beach. All meals are included in this special gathering, and lodging accommodations are available for those who do not live in town. We'll be gathering daily at my home and studio in Point Washington, FL, on the Choctawhatchee Bay, five miles north of Seaside and Seagrove. The two of us can hardly stand the wait to meet the individuals that have already registered. We look forward to a weekend of magic with you!

Not just for visual artists...this retreat will be for any woman drawn to beauty or for any woman finding herself "making" anything - music, food, memories... Tricia and I look forward to creating an environment of true joy and play for each woman that attends. We hope those who come will walk away with hearts full and inspired!


Also, click HERE to read my own experience with the encouragement of Tricia!

See you soon!



On leaping... by LIZA SNYDER

"Leap and the net will appear." - John Burroughs

The above quote is inside a book that I go back to over and over, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Reading this quote the first time, my first inclination was to speak back to it..."but what if?" What if: I don't know how to create anymore? It won't come out the way I want it to? I've forgotten? I am criticized? It is ugly? My brain has deteriorated after having three children? (wink wink) And then comes the total opposite whirlwind illogical fear of doing something good...what if something goes right and I'm supposed to be creating art and it becomes fun and maybe just maybe success follows and then folks will have expectations of me and I will have deadlines and then I'll mess it all up?! What?! Total insanity.

I have a friend, B., who reminds me often, "as humans our two most basic needs are to be known and loved." She also gently tells me something like this - everything we "feel" that's yuck boils down to three fears: the fear of not getting what we want, the fear of having something we possess being taken away, and the fear of not being loved. So...fear...and the desire to be known and loved for it. Big heavy stuff.

To be honest, big heavy stuff intrigued me for many, many years. I specialized in staying up late talking about important topics with friends on front porches. Pursuing knowledge and hashing things out intellectually created a sort of energy that drove me. It almost drove me off the deep end. Don't get me wrong - I love reading, writing, continuing to hash things out in fellowship and friendship. But now I feel there are people who sit around and talk... and people who DO. I want to be a do-er..a LEAP-ER. The people I admire most are leapers. They are humble, loving, often eccentric men, women and children. They have an energy about them, a knowing, an honesty, and more of a "holding things lightly" approach to life. But they get up and get in on the action, sometimes backstage. Often, it takes time to realize people like this are do-ing, because they're not doing it for show. When I look at the handful of folks that come to mind, I see that incredible pain marks most of their lives, during one season or another. Maybe it's this pain that has created this do-ing/leaping in them...this urge to "take up [their] mat and walk." Pain in my own life has woo-ed me to my Creator, opened my faith up more. I don't succeed in do-ing all the time. There is rest and reflection and self-care which matters a lot to me.

Thankfully it only takes baby steps, in my experience, to be a leaper. Listen to wisdom, act on it. Bonnie Christine, the teacher of an amazing ecourse I took this spring, often says, "it only takes 10 seconds of bravery..." Believe, just for 10 seconds, that you are an artist and you need to head to the store and grab a canvas or journal. Believe, just for 10 seconds, that if you give your money to someone in need, you will be richly provided for. Believe, just for 10 seconds, that you can pull off those fringe booties like your best friend does. Believe, just for 10 seconds, that you may need a therapist or counseling, and it may turn out all right. Believe, just for 10 seconds, that you are known and loved right where you are by something bigger than you. Believe, just for 10 seconds, that your leaping and act of faith will enrich the lives of those around you. Believe, just for 10 seconds, that you are worthy.

And ask for help. Safe people are important. The most.



Summer Recap 2015 - KIDS ART CAMPS! by LIZA SNYDER

Three weeks of hosting both local and traveling children this Summer of 2015 proved to be the highlight of the entire Summer! There are three rules at Art Camp:

1. Embrace Messiness.

2. No Erasing.

3. Be kind and Share.

4. Play and Have Fun.

5. Clean Up.

If there was one word to describe the weeks and the kids' experience, it would be FREEDOM. Paint, pencils, papers, markers, glue, gesso, glitter, canvases, brushes, q tips, tapes, stickers, and oil pastels are absolutely everywhere all week. I wouldn't have it any other way. Art supplies are the language of "making..." and I encourage each student to remember they can make art out of ANYTHING once camp has ended and they are home. Camp at the studio, I hope, is the opportunity for each child to experiment, play, and walk away encouraged and more open to developing their own creativity. I love seeing their faces light up as I share "art secrets" with them and I love being a part of their creative journey. 

Each week had a different "theme" this Summer, and each week provided so many different personalities and talents. As each day passed, the kids grew more and more apt to throw out their perfectionism and what they "wanted" their art to look like - and simply play and have fun. Laughter is a huge part of art camp.

I owe a tremendous thanks to each parent of the kids... thank you for allowing me to be a part of their road -  giving them a week of opportunity to overcome fear and build their own confidence not just in art skills, but in life and who they are. Praise to each of you for encouraging them.

Art camp would also not happen without the fearless middle school and high school "helpers" that are on board to encourage, direct and clean up...this summer it was Kate, Ellis, Clay, Lawson, Madison, and Ellee. Each of them brought a spark to art camp, and it was a great chance for me to get to know each of them better. They rock.

What a was short but so sweet, due in part to the group of amazing kids who ventured through the doors of the studio by the bay.


On Reading... by LIZA SNYDER

There's something about words on paper you can touch...

I've tried to read books on the phone or the ipad, but it's not as magical.

Here is a capture of what's piled by my bedside, piled on the outside screened porch table, and piled in my car:

  • Lost in Wonder by Esther de wall (recommended by Tricia)
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • Forgotten God by Francis Chan (recommended by Cindy)
  • #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amorus (recommended by Marla)
  • Daily Rituals by Mason Currey (recommended by Jackie)
  • I Just Like to Make Things by Lilla Rogers (recommended by Tricia)
  • Lit by Mary Karr (recommended by Beth)
  • Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger (recommended by Shawn)
  • The Artisan Soul by Erwin R McManus (recommended by Bonnie)
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert O'Brien (recommended by daughter Maysie)
  • Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle
  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron (recommended by Tricia)
  • Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon
  • Beach Music by Pat Conroy
  • Making a House Your Home by Clare Nolan (recommended by Polly)
  • An Acceptable Time (fifth in the Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L'Engle)

And the morning books, sitting outside on the porch always:

  • Each Day a New Beginning by Karen Casey
  • Savor by Shauna Niequist (recommended by Beth B)
  • ESV version of the bible
  • The Awe-manac by Jill Badonsky (recommended by Tricia)

All of these books are a treat to me - some I've not begun, some I'm in the middle of, some I've devoured over and over and over because they hold so much truth, and speak to me in a way other art cannot.  The truth is I prefer fiction - I enjoy getting into a book like Beach Music over and over and over again - like watching a movie, I usually cannot put a book of fiction down until the very end. I'll stay up til 3 or 4am until I'm done.  I used to switch between Beach Music and The Prince of Tides, both by Pat Conroy, every other summer. I can read a book over and over again, even though I know what will happen, because something new always is revealed.

In this season, what I'm drawn to most are stories of how other artists are inspired and "get their work done." So I'm swallowing whole books like that. And I'll turn to fiction when I need a break from reality.

Something could be very wrong with me. But I'm learning to accept that. I have some friends that do the same thing, so it makes me feel a little better. My partner in life, Jeremy, does not enjoy reading...he says he read enough during his college venture pursuing a history degree. I can accept this, as well: that someone's manner of escape and inspiration is different than another's.

Every once in awhile, if I'm present enough and my nose is working correctlymy neighborhood, Point Washington, smells like an old book store. Humidity and marsh and oak and leaves. I think this means I belong here.

Do you love to read? What are you reading now? If you don't read, how do you gain inspiration from other artists?


This girl's name is Tricia Robinson, and I dont know where to begin. I guess the beginning was, quite literally, a "beginners' class" at our place of worship in Birmingham. She and her hubs, and J and I, were all newcomers to this big church, and we were thrown into a class together to meet with the pastor and do a study together. Ironically, Tricia and I had attended a previous Bham church together, but never met. Now I know it wasn't time yet...meeting at that first church wouldn't have made sense. God had more of our individual stories to write before He introduced us. At any rate, we met outside the hallway of that small group and could not stop was "real" banter back and forth, right off the bat...not the typical Southern fare of nicety nice. And that was the beginning.

Between the beginning and now, the most important thing in the world happened. Tricia showed me (invited me into) how to be an artist to play. To begin. To show up and do the work. To just start making stuff. To throw out the old and welcome the new. To ask God into the studio. To throw off my own expectations of what is "supposed" to be on the canvas. To talk back to my inner critic and say "you hush, quiet now...I'm working here." To journal. To take time in the morning with books and coffee. To be inspired by other artists, especially women. To listen to podcasts and look at pinterest and jot down what I like. To discover what I like. To remember comparison is the thief of joy. To admit I like Taylor Swift.  To not be mad at my old art schooling, but to embrace the present. To be grateful/thankful I have a life partner who encourages me to create. To remember we are made in the image of the great Creator, so it's only natural we create, whatever that looks like. To say to myself daily, yes, God sings over me (Zeph 3:17). To embrace the gift of community and vulnerability and real. To realize I DO like the color pink. 

This girl. This girl has given me the gift of freedom. There are a handful of women in my life I could literally live with - because I want our conversations to go on and on and on...and sometimes they do, until a little one near the phone needs something...chocolate milk or a band aid or the iPad charged. God knows we all need the intimacy of safe people. This girl reminds me that pain and heartache and my own mistakes and every detail of each of our stories are simply ways that my HP woos me to him - because they make me run His way.  

It sounds a little "woo-woo," but I do believe Tricia and I share the same frequency. 

So my question is...who is your Tricia? Who is the person you call when you're grumpy and "stuck?" Not the "yeah yeah" friend (you know...the friend who says "yeah, yeah! you have a right to be grumpy and mad!"), the friend, instead, who encourages you to take note of how you're feeling, pay attention, ask for help, and then figure out what to create next? The friend who tells you about a new art supply she bought and is excited about? The friend who emails you inspiring links or books or pictures or podcasts? The friend who encourages to risk? The friend who says "YES, you can do this! You were made to do this!"? The friend who SHARES with you. The friend who invites you and three other women to read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and have your entire life changed?

Whoever it is, thank that person today.

After school special... by LIZA SNYDER

This past Friday, after Bay Elementary rang the last bell, a good friend rode the bus home with my other two kids and we had a visit in my studio.

Aiden's mom had texted me earlier in the week to ask if he could interview me, a "professional artist" for an art class project. I laughed heartily. Because I am not, indeed, a "professional artist." Instead, I'd like to call myself a "professional run-down-to-the-studio for an hour because there's where my paints are and that's where I invite God in and we laugh and play and make marks, usually with color, on paper and canvas and walls." Yes, that's better.

Having him in my studio for a short while reminded me of this Picasso quote, above. 

Aiden had really great questions to ask and it was a delightful visit. I was humbled he asked me for the interview, and I can't wait to see the project. Thank you, Aiden, for reminding me of why I make stuff. Thank you, as well, for asking the question, "How long have you been creating art?" I shifted a little in my seat when asked he that question. Because I always loved to make things, and then I went off to undergrad to learn how to make things better, than I forgot how to make things. Literally. For twelve years. And then I woke up from a long long slumber and began again. The beauty is that God was still there with me, all those years, through all that anger and yuck of "not' making things. He was there for the years when I put everything else ahead of making art. It wasn't a waste to me now. Those years were formative years...there was joy as well as yuck, there was great love and children coming into the world and caring for a sick father. There was shame and angst over choices I knew were not "right," And then there was the beginning of freedom. The taste of redemption and a true new beginning occurred a little over five years ago. It's been up and down since that time, but everything changed one summer. And beginning again as a "creator" didn't come until after that...a little over a year ago.  I had to honestly tell Aiden, "I've really just begun again. A little over a year ago." His eyes got wide. I think mine crinkled in laughter a little.

So today, I want to be more like Aiden, the sweet boy who came to visit on Friday. I want to have wide-eyes and ask lots of questions too.


Special thanks to Mary B for asking me on Aiden's behalf. Love my village, too.

In the blood... by LIZA SNYDER

There is this girl I know. She just celebrated her 21st birthday and she is one of my most favorite people in the whole world. We actually share names, as well as neighboring spots on a family tree...she is my precious niece and I am eternally grateful she is part of my story, and I hers. My sister gave birth to her when I was fourteen.

With divorced parents, a new move in the middle of middle school, early signs of what I now see was depression...fourteen years of age was a hard one. And I was desperately trying to find my way in this world with kindred spirits in a tiny beach town. Turns out one of my kindred spirits made her way on the scene that year. 

I've watched her live discover life and learn how to make her mark. Her artistry, passion, creativity, and truth-seeking has led her down the road of music-making. You can have a taste of her heart and story-telling here:

I'm infinitely proud of who she is - she is a delight to me and we call one another soul-sisters. Here's to you, this beautiful sunny day, my beautiful Liza Anne.

Seeing again... by LIZA SNYDER

I am thoroughly enjoying a figure drawing group here at the beach. We meet every second Tuesday, and because there is no "teacher," we are free to explore and play at our own pace. The model is so perfect for our class - she is very attentive to us and it is a pleasure drawing someone who seems like part of our group. It's a diverse group of individuals, and I'm very thankful for the woman that gathers us all together and heads it up.

We begin with 1 and 3 minute poses, then move to 5,10, 20 and 30 minute poses quickly. Sometimes I prefer the short poses because I am forced to get down as much as possible, quickly, without considering all the things "done wrong." When faced with a short pose, it's easier to throw caution to the wind and get rid of perfectionism.

I absolutely loved figure drawing in college. We were required to take 3 figure drawing classes, and I went on to take 3 independent studies in figure drawing as well.  A favorite teacher of mine, Ms. Miles, encouraged me to look up the work of Egon Schiele and research his line work. Contour and blind contour is something I'm playing with again now - exploring how different line quality can represent heaviness or lightness or motion or stillness.

Looking at the human figure -a model-  in front of you automatically creates this crazy connection between your eye, brain and fingers - learning to "see" again slowly, going over each muscle or toe or hair strand with your eye and matching that with what your pencil or charcoal puts down is like a new exercise. 

This community of men and women, just a handful of us who meet, has been inspiring as well. I'm learning a little about the artist enclave here in our little corner of Heaven.


In the beginning... by LIZA SNYDER

...was a little (big) girl who lived by the bay, quite near the bright sprawling green sea. She lived in a cottage with a sweet, kind boy and together they shared a life with three precious tinier folks (ages 9,6 and 3), 2 dogs, 1 housecat and 1 visiting feral cat who visited daily to be fed. Her sweet kind boy built her a studio in their house and she began to "play" again...for the first time in 12 years...with art - paints, pastels, papers, scissors and sharpies.

She found that her past experiences with art and schooling had to be washed away with that sprawling sea tide...that it was best to remember there are "seasons" of creating and being a beginner again. So with just a little courage (and the help of another artist friend) she began asking the Heavens to help relieve some of the angst she felt about what she "knew" about art, and to help her be a beginner again.

So that's where she is today, beginning again. And happy to be doing so.