Di Russell-Horn Creates Art from the Heart, Creativity for the Soul, and Tranquility for the Mind.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Farewell Art Is...2010, Looking Forward to Art Is...2011

Art Is...2010
The East Coast Retreat for all Artists

I just got back from Art Is...2010, held this past weekend in Danbury Ct. As always it was a huge success. Days spent teaching or taking classes in every art medium from painting to doll making to jewelry design. Nights spent with various events, the BabyFace Silent Auction, a fabulous banquet with inspiring guest speaker Jo Peckham, hanging out with old friends, making new friends, having Flamingo races at 2am, eating fabulous food and creating fabulous art.

One might think that this is the "norm" at an art retreat but they would be very, very wrong.

Something sets Art Is.. Retreats apart from all others and many agree with me on this. You can take the normal ingrediants needed for an art retreat, lots of artists, both students and teachers, a hotel for the event, good food, lots of classes and activities to choose from and this will all add up to a "Good retreat". BUT the HEART AND THE SOUL  of ART IS Retreats comes from it's founders and chairwomen, Ellen Purtill-Legare & Sallianne McClelland. 

Ellen & Sal met when Sal took a class from Ellen, they became fast friends that somehow led to creating this incredible weekend retreat.  Ellen & Sal work tirelessly all year to create the most wonderful art retreat on any coast.  They somehow manage to bring together a very talented group of teachers, artists, sprinkled with magic and love and turn a group of people into a family.  A family that has bonded over the last 5 years of the retreat, always with open arms to new people joining every year.  I am lucky enough to have stumbled upon this group when Sal and I exchanged correspondence over Prayer Flags on a yahoo group.  She had looked at my website and asked if I would be interested in teaching at this retreat in Conneticut on Columbus Day weekend.  What the heck, I love retreats and art and happily agreed.  I am now in my third year of being lucky enough to be part of this Art Family and  I look forward every year, like a kid at Christmas to see what classes to take, what to teach and more importantly seeing my friends.

We spend the year on yahoo groups and FB talking and keeping up with each other's lives.  Getting encouragement when we are down and triumphing in each other's accomplishments.  Some are lucky enough to live near each other and get together throughout the year, but I live about six hours away so I miss out :(

The retreat has grown by leaps and bounds, and it has gone from a extended weekend to a 6 day event.  You can come for the day, two days, or the whole thing.  I guarantee you that if you come to Art Is..., you will be inspired, nutured and will come back year after year.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010



Vacation. Something so wonderful and exciting. It is filled with anticipation prior to leaving counting down the days, making lists and checking them twice. Then, relaxation and happiness on your trip basking in the late nights, early mornings and delicious naps. Then it's back home and the beautiful memories that follow, long after everyday life absorbs you.

What is the most important thing to pack?
No, it's not clothes, jewelry, shoes or purses.
Not even sunscreen, makeup, medication or snacks.
It's your ART SUPPLIES of course!

This year our vacation was centered around my niece's wedding in Maryland last weekend. We love being with our family and decided to extend our trip to include extra time for my favorite thing, the beach. Since our family spans from Baltimore to Annapolis to Ocean City, we decided to spend a few extra nights in Ocean City, Md.

I found a great hotel with a balcony that had an ocean view, we packed our bathing suits, sunscreen and other essentials but there was the most important thing missing, MY ART SUPPLIES. We recently moved and my travel art supply kit was no where to be found. My garage is still filled with boxes that need unpacking so we did a quick look through all the boxes remotely resembling anything to do with my studio but could not find the red fold out case full of my treasured supplies.

Needless to say, this reeked major havoc with my packing. I could not focus on anything but where they were and if I needed to quickly replace them, what would I need to buy. After I finally gave up looking (on the morning of our trip), I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to replace some of my precious supplies without breaking the bank.

I grabbed what I could find that was small, a few paint brushes, glue sticks, euphemra, a pad of watercolor paper and some watercolor pencils.  I would make due with what I had (ok, maybe a stop or two to a craft store was in order).

Then it was off to Maryland and Sara & Ryan's wedding. It was a fabulous weekend filled with laughter, love, great food and fun. Spending time with our family is so incredibly special.  We can go for a couple of years without seeing each other, only to be together, sitting around the table, talking and eating like we do this every day.  We have started to call it "the round table" because we have literally spent all day there.  Laughting, sharing stories, reminicing and just being a family.

My niece was radiant, her groom so handsome and an incredible fairy tale wedding, including so much time spent with our wonderful family. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

La Famiglia

There is nothing quite as wonderful as family. They are always there for us, for better or worse, in sickness and in health and until death parts us.  BTW, the above picture was painted by my incredible nephew Chris in his scenic painting class.  He has graduated with a BS in Theate and is a gifted actor, as well as a talented set designer. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Heaven on Earth

Here I sit in my favorite resort in Canada, The Glen House Resort in Gananaque, Ontario. I'm usually here during the summer when everything is green and lush, surrounded by beautiful flowers and landscaping.
This year Brian and I made a quick winter weekend getaway up here and it is so different, yet so soothing to be here.
The sun is just rising and there is a tiny patch of blue sky trying to peek through the clouds. The water on the 1000 Islands is grey blue and frozen in spots. The river ripples in beautiful shapes in between the ice.
It is spectacular to see and so very quiet that I'm thinking I may prefer winter up here, rather than the hustle bustle of summer.
We have one of the same rooms we always stay in, complete with fireplace, which we used quite a bit (despite my allergic reaction to the wood burning and smoke).
This place that I call "heaven on earth" helps to clear my head and keeps a constant smile on my face. I feel free of worry which is unusual for me. I feel alive and creative (the portable art easel is set up on the table with a work in progress). I hate to have to leave today but they only open the resort on weekends in winter, hence at 12noon Cinderella will turn back into her old life.
I only hope that this break has given me the strength and calmness that I can carry with me throughout the week ( I live week to week, it's less overwhelming that way).
So to my precious "Gan.", I say "Thank you for a weekend filled with love, peace, calm and creativity". I'll be back soon.
This has been a wonderful 36hour vacation. I've had precious time with my son, good food, a massage and best of all a spot away from all my worries and concerns.
That will come soon enough as we head home today.
For right now, I'm enjoying the moment of my Heaven on Earth.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Creative Weekend

This is my creative weekend and I'm loving it.
My girlfriend Lin and I are embarking on new techniques
including making fabric out of paper and ribbons.
I'll post pictures when we are done.
I always look forward to learning new techniques
Because then it is my time to fly and say "What if?"
So wish me luck and away I go
into my inner muse

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I miss our snow!

While most people are hunkering down for the winter and creating art and snuggling at night with a cup of cocoa (or Irish coffee), I am in a constant state of flux and can't seem to settle down. Part of it was the lack of snow we have not been getting.

My niece lives in Baltimore and kept me total amused last week with a ton of pictures of the huge snowstorm that dropped in on them. There was even a foot or more of snow in Ocean City where her family lives. her dad was telling me how they were on flat roofs shoveling snow off because of roofs caving in.

Meanwhile in upstate (or Western) New York state where we are known for our storms, we had NOTHING. YES I MEAN NOTHING! A couple of 6"
or so on the ground but that isn't what we are used to and it was actually depressing.

I love watching the snow fall, it is so pretty. Rochester is pretty good at keeping up the roads and we are all used to driving in snow so to get half a foot of snow is no big deal, schools stay open, we still carry on our daily routines.

I just can't believe that I missed it. While the rest of the country was getting all the wild weather we were calm and serene with some sunny days. See, up north, we don't care how cold it is, if that sun is shining and you can lift your face to it (looking out a window of course) and feel the warmth then it is considered a beautiful day.

When I woke up this morning and my dog came in the house covered in a fine sheen of snow, I was actually happy as I toweled him dry.
Now I have to remember that feeling in an hour when I'm out on the roads and people start driving like idiots and it takes longer to get to work. I'll just hold onto the beauty of snow.......

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Seize the day, Live like you've been giving a second chance to do EVERYTHING you've always wanted to do

i'[[[[[[[[[]You always hear how we should live everyday
like it's our last but how often
do we really think about it,
much less do something about it?

My life has changed so much in the last year and
continues to change, that it is hard for me to
keep up with it all.

I was laid off due to the economy in
February 2009,and it took 7 months
to find a job that I now love
I lost my dad to cancer 16 weeks after
being laid off which was heartbreaking.
I am now single for the first time
in 30+ years and trying
to adjust to NOT spending the rest of my life
with the love of my life.

My dream home is up for sale
and constantly clean because we are showing it
(that is the upside to selling!).
And the last few weeks have been
heart wrenching because my aunt is
recovering from a surgery she doesn't remember
and her and my uncle are (for the time being) in
an adult home and all they want
to do is go to their own home,
but it's not possible
right now.

I keep wondering how many more "challenges"
God is going to send my way and how I
am going to handle them.

At first I freaked, everything was overwhelming
and I was in a contact panic over what
was going to happen to my son and I.
Where would we live? How would we live?
What would happen to my 100lb golden retriever,
Riley, who is my constant companion
when no apartments or town houses will
take a dog that big?

How would I handle losing one more thing
this year, in my life.

Well guess what?
The challenges of this past year
has made me a incredibly strong woman.
I won't let it overwhelm me or
paralyze me. Believe me, I still
have my moments of panic and anxiety
BUT I have learned to handle
one thing at a time and
trust in God that everything
will work out.

I've stopped worrying because it's
not going to do any good, only
harm my mental stability.

So I am trying to live every day
to the fullest. I wish I
could say that I'm living my day
as if it was my last, but