When things seem to fall into place so seamlessly, with no shenanigans so to speak, it was just meant to be. That's the way I feel about my recent trip to Italy with my WAM:Women Artists Mentors friends, Helen Beacham, Maria Bennett Hock, Debra Kierce and Carrie Waller. Helen approached us last summer and said, "Why don't I keep the apartment I'm renting an extra week after my students leave from my workshop and you all can join me in Venice!" We couldn't say yes fast enough. Research was done and flights were booked. Carrie traveled the furthest from Tokyo, Debra and Maria were coming from Virginia and myself from Florida. After we all booked our tickets, at the time we felt we would all get the best deal, we arrived in Venice within one hour of each other not really planning to, it just happened that way. I was first and waited for Carrie, Maria and Debra. We took the Alilaguna, airport boat, and met Helen at the stop that was 5 minute walk from the apartment.
This was the first time everyone in the group was meeting in person! Since we all meet on-line once a month it instantly felt like we had met before many times. However, meeting on-line and traveling together are two different animals. But since we all look out for each other supporting each other in our art careers and business, we did the same as traveling buddies. Aside from a couple of incidents with pigeon poop, on the same person, I'm not mentioning any names, the trip was absolutely perfect.
The thing that strikes me as being so wonderful about spending more than just a couple of days in Venice, is it's so relaxing! Granted it's not a beach vacation, but the ambiance is so special with no cars, sirens, or motorbikes, only echoes of people bouncing off the buildings in the narrow alley ways, the occasional church bells, and the sounds of boats going about their way on the canals. I think we may have been there before the tourist rush of summer, it didn't feel too crowded. We had plenty of time to explore the 6 neighborhoods as well as Burano and Murano, as well as sketch, eat, (more than a few gelatos were consumed) and just spend quality time getting to know each other better.
We all took thousands of photos between the five of us and I can't wait to see what we all are inspired by when we create some new work.
So Cin Cin to my fabulous five friends, here's hoping we have many more adventures like this one!
On a side note, Debra put together a nice memento and some advise on starting your own mentoring group on Bored Panda, click here.