Wednesday, April 2, 2014

retreat with me

*The beginning of a three-part series on Art Retreats | Artist Dates*


With being a bit of a word-nerd, I often peruse the meanings of simple words.  I find that subtle treasures usually hide right below the surface.  May I share this word with you?

    • move back or withdraw.
      synonyms:go out, ebbrecede

    • change one's decisions, plans, or attitude
      synonyms:change one's mind, change one's plans

  1. 1.
    an act of moving back or withdrawing.
    synonyms:withdrawal, pulling back 

    • an act of changing one's decisions, plans, or attitude, esp. as a result of criticism from others.
      synonyms:about-face, U-turn

  2. 3.
    a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax.
    synonyms:refuge, haven, sanctuary; 

    hideaway, hideout, hiding place, escape

    "her rural retreat"
    • a period of seclusion for the purposes of prayer and meditation.
      seclusion, withdrawal, retirement, solitude, isolation, sanctuary
      "a period of retreat from the world"

    • __________________________________________

Nurture Your Creative Seed | Winter 2014

I wanted to go on an art retreat years ago.  I don't even remember the first one that caught my eye, but the words and images called out to me...and I labored over the idea.  I wanted to go so badly!

At the time I was busy with too many little boys and endless days of tight schedules. I didn't know how to take time off. Traveling alone and the thought of traveling someplace full of unknowns was frightening. Spending time and money on myself was frightening too. Have you wished and been so scared too?

Then an art retreat came to me.  

At my local college I met an artist that I had admired.  We talked about how she occasionally taught out of her home.  I invited myself (of course) into this opportunity to paint in her studio/kitchen. No long drive. I already met her and liked her.  I would invite my parents as a holiday day gift and we could paint in a beautiful (but unknown) space -- it would be my own mini-retreat.

Gina Garner Studio | Spring City, Utah

After this beautiful experience I realized I had been severely limiting myself.  I had learned so much from a great teacher and I was much more brave than I knew!  Getting to know her was something I loved.  The adventurous aspect of stepping into a new space became a new dare (in my creative life) and planned to take the next opportunity without so much fear.  

Then it happened.  

I loved Serena the first time I met her: beautiful, grounded, nurturing, and perfectly made for this kind of art-world women's-work.  I grabbed a spot in her Nurture Your Creative Seed Workshop at the last minute and with all of the chaos of getting ready and getting there I really didn't have time to get nervous.  

The women attending were wonderful and the teaching was inspiring.  I only had a few moments of freaking out when I realized I was amongst all women (it happens every time with every retreat), I am just so used to being around boys and men.  I remembered laying on the floor in my room telling myself "I am okay."  

I am sure I am not alone in first-time-freak-outs.  

Overall, the weekend painting foray went splendidly and I was not only captivated by the place, the Pacific Northwest, but by the friendships I made and the inner connection I felt to each of the women attending.  

It was really that good.  

Teresa Ryan wrote beautifully about her experience at the retreat, she captured it better than I can ever retell it and it may touch your heart like it did mine.  HERE.  (

 See life in a new way  
step back for a moment   
take a fresh accounting of life
try a new path  
open the door to possibility 
try a new palette
sketch something new
see what you didn't see before  
turn the page
laugh and cry at the same time
hold hands

My Artist Date | NYC

I believe that every Artist Retreat I venture into is loaded with divine reasons.

With open hands and an open is always a gift.  

I am meant to be here, We were meant to be here.  

 In my explorations this spring, I want sort through some of these good things.  I think it is valuable and helpful to see, with an honest eye, what helps move my life forward as a "whole-hearted" artist. 

I have my own inside/insights into art retreats & artist dates - I am no expert, but I have some deeper thoughts.  I want to give you a fresh picture of what some of these amazing women and men are doing in this aspect of creating.  I also want to share with you my favorite retreats and where I am going next.    

 Beginning this week, I will be sharing:  what I have most recently loved and adored, the growth/challenges in building a creative life with others, what I have learned from big groups and intimate settings, how you have to risk to build brave muscles (it will make sense), and what my take aways are from these blessed events.  Join in with your questions and comments, I would love to hear.  

I do love these two

Always, in grace & peace,

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