Art and Soul in Excelsior Springs

Last week I jetted off to Kansas City, MO for Art and Soul.  Turns out the retreat was actually in a tiny little suburb of Kansas City called Excelsior Springs.  I fell in love with this tiny town and its quirky charm.  I may even sign up to teach there again next year!

 My friend Renee, from Orlando, flew in to meet me and help me in the workshop.  Since I'm not feeling myself I was super glad she came along.  Even I need moral support on occasion!  We rented a car and quickly headed off in the direction of Kansas City's Plaza area.  We'd heard it was the place to go.  And it was!!  It was a gorgeous shopping experience.  Not that we don't have all the stores they had, but something about the architecture of it made the experience super cool.  I found 2 adorable dresses in their Anthropologie.  Did you see them on my instagram?  (username:  artsyorange)

Then we made our way to the hotel. Now to be honest, driving in we seriously thought we were headed to nowhereland. Because this town is kinda tiny, and deserted. But then we drove up to this:

Okay, so maybe the black and white photo makes it creepier than it really is.  It was built originally in 1888.  But this is the 3rd version.  2 fires and one renovation later it is supposedly burn proof. It is gorgeous.  I'd so go back.   The city was very rich in history.  Briefly I'll just say that the pioneers coming across the state didn't particularly like the area due to the muddy waters.  The story goes that a gentleman in the area had a daughter inflicted with some terrible skin disease.  He put her in the water and it healed her.  So you can imagine the stories of healing reached far and wide!  People came from all over for the healing waters.  They had public bath houses and a public water bar.   There were photos literally of rooms filled with tubs and people in them trying to get "healed".  Eventually it was proved that although the waters had good stuff in them, they were not healers.  And the town became what it is now.  BTW, isn't it ironic that I went to a city that was once known for healing waters when I'm not feeling so swell?  yeah....creepy.  It was a very sweet city with amazing homes.  I'd loved to have seen in one.
Thursday was teaching day.  Luckily I woke feeling AMAZING.  No pain, no pain....The class went flawless.  I had the best group of students eager to learn my little technique.  This class was called "whimsical landscapes".  Basically we talked about how to take common subjects and give it humor.  All 11 paintings are completely different.  I love that so much.  That they took the seed and made it grow in just a few hours!
 At lunchtime I was like "Where are we going class??"  It was funny....several students told me they'd never had their teacher offer that, or even want to eat with them.  I was like WHAT??  I see it as a chance to make 10 new friends.  I'm all over that!  We ate at the Mercantile, a yummy very fresh and organic cafe in downtown.  Seriously yummy.  And they kinda cater to the customer with wacko eating needs like me right now.
 Here are some of the finished pieces:

The group of girls below, Claire, June and Heather, and I really bonded.  And it turns out that we've been to several Art and Soul retreats at the same time, June and I were even in the same class 4 years ago!  They were all 3 in Virgina Beach last year when Mailey and I went.  Small world.
 On Friday I had the day wide open. Normally I take a class, but this time around I saw there was a spa in the hotel and decided to spend that mola on me instead. So I spent 2 hours relaxing here in the Grotto:
Best decision ever.  You gonna be so jealous after you hear this....You ever been in a grotto?  Well.....this one had a steam shower, hot tub, steam room and hot sauna.  In addition there were crazy comfy loungers, cooling towels soaked in peppermint oil and a scrub bar for the steam shower.  I also enjoyed a massage and time in the "quiet room".  They give you these giant fuzzy robes and shoes to wear around.  And there was gourmet hot tea in the relaxation room.  All I did was read, soak, and relax.  For 3.5 hours.  I'm not sure I even sleep that rested.  Seriously.  I needed that little treat.  Oh and the shower area had everything you could ever need...so I even showered in the locker room instead of my hotel room.  hehehe...

So next I'll be in Art and Soul Virgina Beach.  In two weeks actually!!  Hoping for warm weather.  I love art retreats!!

1 comment:

Laura Bolter said...

Jenni, Thanks SO much for a great day of learning and creating! It was great to meet you after having followed your blog for some time. I hope you continue to feel better every day and look forward to seeing you at another retreat in the future!

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