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All-day painting retreat and summer art camp slated for July at studio on Highway 240

GARY ALLEN - Jennifer Smith opened Blue Plume Studio in an outbuilding adjacent to her Newberg home on Highway 240.

Jennifer Smith has always had an industrious spirit and a heart to help others. The owner of Blue Plume Studio near Newberg offers art classes with a twist; they are focused on life giving, healing and providing students a sense of belonging in this complex world.

Blue Plume offers two full-day retreats twice a year for budding or professional artists, as well as a children's summer art camp for ages 5 through 12 each year.

"This is my avenue and when people come in they think that they are getting a simple painting class, but they are getting so much more," Smith explained. "I have a quote that I use for the business: 'Oh to the inspired and art in life' because they actually feel inspired in life as well. We talk about everything in here. It is an open space. My vision was to create a safe haven for people because there were many times in my life that I felt unsafe."

Smith moved to Sherwood from California and opened up shop in 2010. Things started falling into place and with encouragement from friends she kept moving forward to pursue her dream of painting. One thing led to another and she found herself on an adventure that echoes her free spirit and need for creating and sharing art.

"I'm Native American," Smith explained. "I wanted to go and visit where my relatives were from. … I have a friend who said, 'Well, I've always wanted to take an ice-cream truck and drive it around America!'"

And so they did. "We put together an old ice-cream truck and had a steel company in town that built us a roof-top stage with bars with a beautiful ornate design with stars and the sun," Smith explained. "We bought a KOA membership for across America. We put a show together and did our first stint in Sherwood. (Her friend) is a folk singer and I did live painting and we put together a 45-minute show,"

When the truck was finished they ventured off to perform across the country, doing 55 shows in 60 days in 13 states.

"I painted a UFO in Roswell and in front of the White House," Smith said. "The guards really liked the painting and we performed in front of the largest haunted house in the nation in Eureka Springs, Ark. We played anywhere from bars to a church in New York. What paid our way across America was selling my paintings and we would auction them off. We sold paintings at $5 to $350."

Since then, Smith has taken a different route with her art. Now married with a home off of Highway 240, she converted a barn into an art teaching studio so she could provide a space for restoration for her clients. She teaches painting for life, for healing and solitude; what painting did for her when she found peace through expression.

"We can make this an oasis for people, it is a place to restore and a place to reclaim," Smith said.

Her vision for the property is to provide both indoor and outdoor private creative spaces with a pond, benches, animals and plants.

"Most of what I teach is restorative classes (for) people with special needs and for people to learn," Smith said. "They leave as a different person than when they came, it is so beautiful to watch that journey."

Her next event is an all-day retreat called "Create a Life You Love." It is set for July 7; she offers a second retreat Sept. 22. Guest speaker Danielle Isaac, author and life mastery coach Catalina Garreton, and an abstract artist and textile designer will join Smith in "creating art while creating the life that you want," she said.

A summer art camp is in store July 9-12 for ages 5 through 12 as well.

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