Women tap feelings, find creativity during ‘Muse’ retreat

The journaling exercise asked each participant to write about an event that shaped her life.

One woman detailed giving a child up for adoption as a single, 26-year-old Mormon. Another described her choice to marry a pilot and the dreams its transient nature would stunt. One told of a relationship she had at 18 with a much older man, the perversions she couldn’t see then but are clear now.

The retreat is called “You Are Your Own Muse.” It’s held at Selah, an art salon downtown dedicated to helping people find their own creativity. Today’s event will last all day. Participants will get in touch with the stuff they normally tuck away deep inside those mental corners not intended for an audience. But it has already started to emerge today and will ultimately produce art. They’ll end the day with a watercolor self-portrait.

Although nothing about the retreat indicates it’s exclusive to women, men never sign up. After the journaling session, it’s clear why.

None of the six women attending the retreat could read her entry aloud without pausing for tears. On that hot summer day, the only thing that blasted with more force than the air conditioner was the estrogen in the room.

There was Adrianne Jensen Tawa, the 47-year-old high school choir director; Kelly McCabe, a 33-year-old stay-at-home mom; Trisha Maier, a 34-year-old photographer; Lisa Friedli, a 38-year-old bar owner; Connie Atkinson, a 62-year-old retired hairstylist; and 36-year-old Sabrina Cofield, who co-owns Selah with Daria Riley.

Each of them signed up for different reasons. For instance, Friedli thought of it as “something totally different that I would never do.” Kind of like buying a bar. It was a rare opportunity that, a year ago her doctorate in molecular entomology may not have even let her consider. But postdivorce, the mother of two went her own way personally, moving to the Northwest, and now she’s doing it professionally, too.

Just before breaking for lunch, instructor Sarah Greenman asked the class to complete the following thought. “I once believed (blank). I now believe (blank).”

Answers ranged from “in others’ opinions, in my own opinion” to “men rule the world, I rule the world.”

Creativity builds self-esteem. It also takes self-esteem to find and express it.

According to Greenman, who works as an artist, freelance writer, photographer and actor, it’s much easier for little kids to pick up a paintbrush and get busy than it is for an adult. Why?

“Because they don’t think they suck,” Greenman says. “It doesn’t occur to a 4-year-old to question his worth unless told otherwise.”

It’s not a matter of the time an art project will consume or the mess it will create. It’s about courage.

As soon as the watercolors come out at today’s retreat, that becomes obvious. The time it takes each participant to lay brush to canvas is significant.

Everyone brought a picture of herself to use as a guide. They’ve drawn a grid across the photo, which will give them an idea of the space with which they’re working.

Three women sit on the floor in front of their easels. The other three sit in chairs. All are barefoot.

Loud chatter proceeded the artwork. Now it’s silent, with occasional commentary.

“My hands are sweating,” McCabe says.

“My eyes don’t look proportioned at all,” Cofield says.

Once the courage comes, there are still barriers.

“Most people I work with have one of two issues in terms of their creative life,” Greenman says. “Either they can’t allow themselves to have a creative moment. It’s trapped or stifled. Or, they have a million ideas through the course of the day.”

She addresses both the same way, asking poignant questions, which she calls “priming the pump for inspiration.”

“It encourages them to use their own stories,” she says.

When the portraits are finished, everyone is pleasantly surprised with their paintings, except Maier. Hers is more abstract, less a duplicate of the original photo. The rest of the class finds beauty in that.

Tawa’s work looks impressively close to the original. “I don’t hate it,” she says. “I’m shocked. I thought I would be painting a stick figure.”

As class ends, the women give long hugs. Before today they knew nothing of each other and now have read some of the most private pages from their journals.

“Just keep trying, keep creating,” Greenman tells them, as they collect their purses. “The point is to take time for yourself and take that internal temperature, ‘Where am I now?’ ”

Before leaving, they pose for a group picture, proudly holding their paintings. The photographer doesn’t need to tell anyone to smile.

Retreats range from $20 to $165. Selah is at 509 S. Seventh St. (www.selahlv.com; 702-612-0929)

Contact Xazmin Garza at xgarza@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0477. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like