MoZart Retreat

Wowza – my past weekend was wonderful!  Back in July, I signed up to attend an art retreat hosted by one of my favorite bloggers.  Mo Joy, also known as Mo or Melanie, is a mother to two sweet girls, a wife to the biggest LSU fan alive, doting aunt, artist, scrapbooker, jewelry designer, physical therapist and many, many more things.  She writes about everyday life in her Louisiana home.  She originally started keeping track of her nephew’s Caring Bridge site and after his passing, continued sharing her stories from daily life by starting her own blog.  Mo Joy is a site full of love, inspiration, and lots of laughs.

One of Mo’s many claim to fames, is her amazing creativity!  She is full of so many artistic and crafty ideas.  For many months she has been talking about hosting an art retreat. After a push from one of her blog readers, she posted the sign up.  I was SUPER excited to make one of the eight spots and put it on my calendar.  The retreat would be a nice treat to working so hard all summer.  Before going to the retreat I knew a few things, I was staying at Mo’s house, we were making canvases, jewelry, and a mini scrapbook, and there would be lots of good food.  The weekend was all of this and so much more!  Come along for a taste of my past weekend.

After everyone arrived, we had the grand tour, and got off schedule.  No big deal, instead we jumped right into canvases.  This was everyone’s top item to make for the retreat.  Mo started by showing how to use the texture medium to add dimension to a blank canvas. She had already prepped our canvases so they would be dry for us to paint on.  To use the texture medium she does a few things.  She starts with the corners and then put the “goo” into whatever shape she is painting on the canvas.  In this case, she was prepping for a ornament.  All the canvases she makes are basic shapes.  There truly is nothing fancy to the goo.

I’ve tried many of things trying to achieve texture on canvases like caulk and joint compound.  Now, I know what is the good stuff!  A little amount goes a long way. Depending on the look you’re going for, you can pile it on or do a thin coat.

After the gooey prepping, come the background.  Mo explained that everything has to be grounded.  When an object is sitting it always has a shadow grounding it.  A canvas should be the same.  The object needs to be grounded and have a darker background on the bottom and lighter up top.


I was all ready to go with my palate and pumpkin ready.

My pumpkin in the first phases.

Another necessary component is having more than one color on your brush.  I used about 3-4 colors at a time.  Mo had plenty of colors to choose from!

Some of the other girls at the retreat chose different colors for their backgrounds.

You brush them on in any form or fashion with a cheapy 2 inch brush wetting your brush as you go.   Also, it is important to cover the edges of the foreground because it will be hard to cover those up later.  Once the background is finished, it can dry while you work on something else (or admire my favorite pumpkin of Mo’s!).

While the best part of painting canvases is the last step, the next part is when the object comes to life.  The foreground is painted very similarly to the background with a few added details.

We kept in line with the shading techniques adding highlights with gold, outlines, stems, and leaves.  My leaf needed a little help from “Pro Mo.”  Blue seen above in the middle, decided to affectionately call Mo, “Pro Mo.”  It caught on really fast!  Mo is seen in her glory below.  This is only a taste of her loud fun personality!

Here’s my pumpkin before embellishments.

Lizzie hung out with us everywhere we went all weekend.  She is the sweetest dog!

Some of Mo’s creations.  She used old book pages as the background on the square pumpkin and the green background is the one she made with us.

Mo threw together this beauty while we were still working on our pumpkins.  I LOVE the purple, orange, green back ground!

The best part to the canvas making was the embellishing at the end.  Mo demonstrated on her canvas all the different things you can add to make your canvas pop!  Among the methods are stencils, swirls, glitter, mister sprays, and text.

My finished product!  I was a little nervous using the sprays but they look great once they dried!

On our second canvases, we used old hymnal pages.  I went for a vintage look on the background of my Christmas ornament.  I painted and rubbed off a mix of brown with bronze paint.  Before adding the ornament, I also speckled the canvas with some spray ink.

If you can believe it, we did all of this in the span of a few hours!  Dinner was homemade gumbo cooked by Todd (aka the biggest LSU fan alive).  Mo self proclaims the lack of cooking skills she has.  Lucky for her, they’re made up with her color taste in home decor! Todd wasn’t so keen on my Aggie roots.  He walked into the art room holding my Tervis and asking who’s it was.  After fessing up, he said he could fix me up with an LSU one and handed it over!

After dinner, we jumped straight into jewelry making.  Unfortunately for you, I don’t have many pictures.  Mo was a great teacher, but it took me a while to grasp a couple of the steps.  After she taught us about eye pins, spacers, head pins, and tools, we set out scrolling through her collection of earrings she’s made.

Feeling inspired, I chose beads to made a pair of earrings to match my talisman and one for fall.  Here’s the end results.

The night ended with Mo blogging about day 1 and us trying our hand at texture medium. Within a span of 8 hours, I learned more than I thought I would for the entire retreat.  I kept repeating how much “I LOVE THIS” about everything we kept making.  Stay tuned for day 2 and all the adventures.  In the meantime, go check out Mo Joy for her account of the weekend!

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6 Responses to MoZart Retreat

  1. Awesome recap, Riley! Can we work something out for me to get copies of your pics? I’d love to do a minibook:)

  2. Oh, btw….this is Mindy:) I need to change my wordpress login to my name and one of my blog names!

  3. Pingback: Art Retreat | flamingoboulevard

  4. Mindy says:

    You tell me how you’d prefer to send:) Email? Mail a disk?

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