A Workshop with Jennifer Hudson

When Jennifer Thoreson (née Hudson) announced her workshops this year, I jumped at the chance to go. Unfortunately I didn’t jump quickly enough, and I actually missed out on getting in to the original event. But at that moment, I think the stars were aligned, because I wasn’t meant to be going at that time. Jennifer ended up announcing a second workshop, since the first had filled up so quickly, and I got into that one. The group I ended up being there with was so amazing; they were the most warm-hearted, open, supportive people and we all had such a great experience that weekend.

The workshop was at the beginning of August, at a beautiful, expansive ranch called Motherwell in the mountains of Colorado. The ranch was very remote and so peaceful. That kind of country speaks to my soul in a quiet familiar way, recalling childhood days spent roaming my grandparents’ ranch in the foothills of our mountains here in Alberta, making elaborate wildflower bouquets. The setting was perfect for the type of work we were learning about – it played such a huge part in the whole experience.

A few phone pics:

lake at motherwell

The lake in front of the guest lodge at Motherwell Ranch

morning at motherwell

I got up each morning leaving an hour to spare before breakfast so that I could sit on this quiet deck and soak in some early morning sunshine. Everything was so lovely and still.

 

So much information and inspiration was packed into the weekend, that it actually felt like we were there for a week! I made a point of letting my camera go for a lot of the time where we were learning and watching Jennifer work, so I don’t have loads of behind-the-scenes photos. I guess I just felt like I wanted to be sure that I was experiencing everything in the moment – really soaking it in – and I don’t do that so well when I am shooting. So I watched, listened, and let things swirl around in my brain and my heart as they happened.

the artist

Apparently a workshop talk can be cozy AND life-changing, all at the same time.

 

notebook

 

After watching Jennifer work and seeing the incredible, emotional portraits that she creates with such grace and purpose, I will admit that I was super nervous when it was time for us students to create something. We had such stunning, talented models to work with, and a fantastic hair & makeup artist; we had the whole ranch to roam for settings; we had access to all of the wardrobe we’d need; we had support from each other and from Jennifer and her whole team of beautiful people… but it was still a bit intimidating 😉 But I will say that once we got rolling, it just felt good to be trying something new and so different from what I’ve been focusing on in my work life.

My insides were so happy that weekend. Thank-you to each of the other students – you were the perfect people to share this experience with! Thank-you to the awesome staff at Motherwell Ranch – you guys are hilarious and sweet, and seeing your genuine caring for what Jennifer was doing was so cool.  Thank-you to all of the gorgeous, strong, inspiring models – I wished I could have taken you all home with me! Thank-you to Jenn’s team, Aziza, Talie, Greg (and Olive, of course!) – you made all of us feel so welcome and encouraged. And thank-you Jennifer for your wisdom and your honesty – you are an amazing teacher, and a wonderfully lovely human being.

Alexis McKeown Portrait - JHWorkshop_001 web

Elizabeth

Alexis McKeown Portrait - JHWorkshop_002 web

 

Alexis McKeown Portrait - JHWorkshop_004 web

Sidney

Alexis McKeown Portrait - JHWorkshop_003 web

 

Alexis McKeown Portrait - JHWorkshop_006 web

Merrill

Alexis McKeown Portrait - JHWorkshop_007 web

 

Alexis McKeown Portrait - JHWorkshop_008 web

 

 

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