The Omani Sequel- Part Deux

June 20th 2014.  I’m back in Oman. This time for ‘G Art Retreat.’Was I in for a rollercoaster of emotions or what? I reached the night before and was graciously greeted by Mr. Art retreat himself, ‘G‘ and his gorgeous wife ‘H‘. Having been continuously asked ” Who is Thajba Najeeb’ seated in a cosy, outdoor café, I found myself ignoring the question. I just didn’t hear it. I dazzled them with the adventures of my life- parties, my love for art, travel and yoga- my past of parties, my present of art and yoga and my future with travel.

Rise and Shine!! 7:00 am. I was hoping for a good breakfast but that didn’t happen. For the first time in years I slept on a king sized bed with crisp white sheets. I felt like I was in a cocoon.
I get to the retreat. I got a name tag. I got a painting space, an easel and a chair. plastic everywhere. I bought three colors- fluorescent pink, green and yellow. My all time favorite yellow. The sun shines with yellow. My base in all my works. I opened my trusty sketchbook- my secret diary- hidden meanings and emotions.
5 hour morning slot…
We start with a communal meditation seated upright on a chair, eyes closed, hands on lap and I’m thinking “whaaaaaaat?’. I’m trying to ground myself but its not happening cause I got monkey brain. I’m all over the place and not comfortable.
Welcome to the “G Art Retreat”. It started. Behind me plays a screen of pictures that are on a loop. I’m comfortably sandwiched between people who are welcoming and appreciated. Its not like art school. They don’t mind sharing. Music, lights action! its a mix of random songs evoking cyclonic feelings- opera, Indian ‘desi’ music, Coldplay, pop, instrumental and tailor swift? And I think to myself ” How do you paint to this?’ It hits me. This is not my space. I’m out of my comfort zone. I don’t like this music. I can feel myself building my walls up, laying my bricks. I’m closing up. I don’t want to do this. I’m that kindergarten kid that wants to go home.
Everyone around me is attacking their canvas. I’m afraid? that’s not like me at all. I start with my faithful yellow- my friend- my sunshine. ‘G‘ passes by me a few times and I feel like I’m in an exam and cant hide my answers from the teachers. Yoda G says one thing
“close your eyes and paint”
I am queen of expressing myself but I felt absolutely cuffed. I could not do that. I could not ‘ let it go’- thanks Queen Elsa ‘Frozen’. I felt completely disconnected from my art- brushing my pink, green and yellow and drowning them in water. Watching each trickle. I flip it around. Its creating this weird maze. Layers like onions. I am building my foundation. I am started to feel it- I’m painting with my fingers. Screw the manicure.
H walks up to me- I can feel her ‘psychologist’ eyes on me. The host being so highly animated- his wife was the opposite- cool as a cucumber with questions that shot arrows. I found myself tearing. I wanted to stab my painting. She walked off. I stood there with this open door of emotions and no way of closing it now. So I took it out on my canvas questioning every stroke and idea that crossed my mind.
Four cups of coffee later and I THINK I’m done. I never question what I paint. I paint what I want, where I want. I sound like the egotistical artist.
1 hour slot.. lunch time
3 hour slot.. critique time
I get emotionally raped. Oh MY GOD!!!!!! I am exhausted from thinking. The whole retreat was in this process. Tears, anger, happiness, love, frustration, loss and heart break! I cry for the girl who has lost her love. Its my turn. I feel like my IB visual art students about to give an examination. I am told I am confused, chaotic and need to find my path and slow the %*^% down.
Back home, I’ve wrapped the artwork facing each other. I never wanna see them again!

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