Written by: Cheryl Flatt

There is something about a last minute trip that appeals to me.  

A trip on a whim, when all the pieces suddenly and amazingly fall into place. This is what my England Artwork trip with The Blue Walk and Jane LaFazio was like a the beginning of August 2016. 

On July 24th, 2016 I sent an email to The Blue Walk to see if there was an available spot for a trip that would begin in a week. Jeannette, one of the owners of The Blue Walk, replied immediately. 
You know that shocked, excited feeling you get right before you are about to jump off a cliff? Well, I felt that when the answer was, “Yes!”  

I purchased my flights to and from London with miles saved from our business travels.

A week later I was on a plane headed to London. As I sat there in my comfy seat I was overwhelmed with gratitude. This adventure had begun over two years ago when I took an online art class where Jane LaFazio was a teacher for one week. I loved her style, her teaching and presentations and began following her website. I had often looked at her travel classes hoping that someday I could do one.

Quote by Naeem Callaway on top of my Leamington Spa photo
Everyday we’d meet together and have an art class. Jane would walk us through her process, show us how she would tackle an item and let us watch as she created. 
We watched, listened and then did our page. It is a great way to learn. 

A highlight for me was being with a group of like-minded people from all walks of life and areas of the world. We were artists together on a journey, and our artist abilities didn’t matter. It was the journey together that mattered.

Jeannette cheering us all on in front of Shakespeare’s house.
Our day painting in front of Shakespeare’s birthplace was special for me. My first thought was, “You have got to be kidding! Seriously, a house?” I was terrified and planned to sit in the back by the cafe and hide. Then Jane looked at me, pointed, and said, “Come sit next to me.” Sigh…I was caught.
So I sat and figured so what…so what if my attempt is terrible and wonky. I am going to just do it. So I watched and listened then picked up my pencil and started. Step by step…learning to SEE.

And I did it!

And I liked it. That was such a surprise.

What I love about drawing and painting real things is that the time doing it becomes deeply imprinted. A memory is made and remembered in completely different way than photography.

We all did it and that created a sense of “group” as we encouraged and learned from one another on.

We explored Stratford-Upon-Avon by bus and on foot, as a group and on our own. There was a great balance of group time and free time. 

The road less traveled….is my type of road. 

Anne Hathaway’s cottage

Kathy and I explored Anne Hathaway’s cottage after seeing the Hamlet production in town.
Bus tours, ghost walk, street musicians and great meal times

Blenheim Palace in Woodstock

Details from Blenheim Palace and the village of Woodstock
Tea time
Globe Artichoke
Jane demonstrating her tree painting
Watch, listen, and then do it.

Several of us went to Warwick Castle on one of our free mornings. It was a gorgeous day!

We explored, imagined and completely enjoyed our time there.

Details inside the castle
One morning we went for a walk along the canals gathering flowers and interesting bits and bobs for our painting class.

Our last day we put together our small books.

I used half of  a card purchased at a gift shop for my cover.
The 5×7 watercolor paper we used for our painting made a wonderful little book!
These people at this time made this trip unique and wonderful!
Quote by Jonah Lehrer
Text by Word Swag app done on iPhone
Painting by me
Thank you to The Blue Walk and Jane LaFazio for an amazing trip!
Windblown and happy in Stratford-Upon-Avon,

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