Hannah's Mountain Painting Retreat Description
(scroll down for interview on "Unique Teaching")
This workshop is about painting from one’s own authentic, immediate response to life; as opposed to painting from preconceived ideas and rules. There will be daily demos and sensory exercises to loosen up in order to get out of one’s head and into one’s body and deeper self. You will learn to get your own “expert” out of the way in order to access more playfulness, freedom, creative expression, and free flow of intuition.
In addition to painting subjects on the Shambhala campus
like the Great Stupa -->
We will venture to some nearby majestic mountain scenes
and take a day trip down to
<-- the Poudre River
- more photos at bottom of page -
“the purpose of art
is not the representation
of the outer form of things,
but as the presentation of the encounter of human kind with the inner dynamics of the animating forces of the world”
I believe passionately that
“the purpose of art is not the representation of the outer form of things, but as the presentation of the encounter of human kind with the inner dynamics of the animating forces of the world” and that true art “attempts to render the invisible visible” by using our body and “cumulative sensory being – to transform something mysterious into something tangible.” Trying to "capture" nature will leave us with the corpse rather than a co-creative relationship. No More Second Hand Art, (pg. 24)
I also like Stephen Nachmanovitch’s statement in his inspiring book called Free Play,
”The creative process is a spiritual path. This adventure is about us, about the deep self, the composer in all of us, about originality, meaning not that which is all new, but that which is fully and originally ourselves.”
A Zen perspective for this is called “Beginner’s Mind.”
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki
Hannah Shook’s unique teaching methods
Excerpts from an interview by Bob Eckert, Art Director,
published in the Rio Grande Sun August 11, 2011.
Bob: What do you offer students in your workshop that is vastly different than other workshops he or she might take?
Hannah: I guide students to an authentic in the moment response to life. I teach through example by demos and through sensory exercises. I teach students how to loosen up, how to get out of their heads and into their bodies; how to get out of their own way so that they can access their own unique expression, playfulness and the free flow of intuition. I do this through demos because when people watch me paint freely to passionate music, with big brushes loaded with color, out in the landscape, it gets their creative juices flowing. I also teach by sensory exercises that I have devised throughout the years, such as painting to sounds – like howling wolves, crickets, thunder - (The painter Charles Burchfield also did this.), meditation, by painting large, pasting random shapes on the painting surface - in all of these things, the aim is to get as many senses involved as possible – the unconscious - anything to get students out of their heads and into an authentic expression of what they’re experiencing rather than what they’ve been taught to see. Most teachers say that passion and intuition can’t be taught, but I have experienced that people can be taught to access the passion and intuition that we all have by getting out of their own way. These playful exercises do that.
Bob: How did you come to this style of teaching and your own artistic expression that we enjoyed in your “Elan Vitale” solo exhibit at the Galleria Arriba?
Hannah: Ursula Beck, director of The Taos Art School, owns a beautiful white Arabian horse named Opalente (now 32 years old). About 10 years ago she lunged Opalente for me so that I was painting as he ran right at me just a few feet away. I was painting large mixed media - 4’x5’. It was an intense thrilling experience of a beautiful horse in the glory of his beingness in movement. I could feel his spirit, his heart beating, his blood coursing through his veins. There was no time for anything but an authentic intuitive in-the-moment response to an incredibly beautiful spirited creature! That is what I wish to express in my work and teach in my workshops.
Bob: What workshops have you taught in the past year?
Hannah: I teach about four workshops a year. I just finished a week long workshop in Colorado entitled “Rocky Mountain High.” I will be teaching a workshop in and around Ward, Colorado where we go to places where Georgia O’Keefe painted during a visit in 1917. Another future workshop is entitled “Getting In Touch With Your Inner Wolf” which is about accessing one’s own authentic wildness and intuitive wisdom.
Bob: Are there any interesting anecdotes from past workshops that might be of interest to our readers?
Hannah: One student who had worked in corporations all her life now wanted to get in touch with her own creativity; she wanted to loosen up, and have some freedom in her own work. She had created a very controlled world of everything being “just so” all her life. It was very difficult for her; so I did exercises with her and painted side by side with her out in the landscape to music and when she did access her own creative burst of freedom, she cried. This is not unusual in my workshops for a student to cry when they access their free expression.