I have been home from France for two weeks now and I find myself reflecting on my painting retreat. I also find myself thinking about my retreats which have been almost yearly for 15 years.
All of my retreats have included some time in France, ample alone time to paint, an almost total lack of knowledge of what was happening in the world, sharing some of the time with friends, teachers or my partner, Tim. They have all also been based on pleasure and joy.
Retreats with Friends
Several years ago I shared my retreat space with the photographer, Karin Hillmer. It was interesting to see what she photographed during the day and what little treasure she would bring home to include into her photographic montage. I also shared time with the composer Donna Miller who played lovely music on the second floor while I painted in the studio on the third floor.
My partner, Tim Anderson, a photographer, has accompanied me to France many times. He has photographed scenes from Paris to Provénce and his own retreats along with mine.
This year I shared a house with my friend Gail who drew on her iPad or with pastels while I painted.
Retreats with Teachers
I have spent time with a mentor, Suzanne L’Hoste, and my first painting teacher, Carole Watanabe. I love being with people who are creating their art as I am doing mine. It is a very interesting and refreshing experiencing for me.
This year, I listened as I heard Gail tell people how disciplined I was because I went upstairs and painted almost every day. As I told her, it is not discipline, it is love of painting.
This year I painted in France and Italy for two months. Two years ago I painted in France for three months. No one has been able or wanted to stay that long. Fortunately, I also have loved my alone time there, when it is just me and the paints and my affection of France.