Get thee to an art retreat!

paint trayI'm feeling pretty darn good after the art retreat last week. Learned all kinds of new techniques and new products. Had a great time just creating. Each class was scheduled from 10-5 with an hour for lunch, and every day the hours rolled by like minutes. I was in total flow. Talked with a number of interesting women and we all spoke the same artsy language. Find out we read the same blogs (whaddaya know)...just really cool. So in post-event euphoria I've been thinking all week about art retreats. And as I reflect, I had to admit that while this retreat was wonderful, it wasn't enough either. I want more! And I was wondering, so what do I want more of? And I think I know. But it took me all week to figure out.

The first thing is, I think it's really important to retreat. As in withdraw from others and to yourself to create. I think that's the real need that must not be ignored. Daily if possible.

I've come to see that this personal retreat time is fundamentally critical important to my life because without time to retreat and be creative, I can not be happy. I didn't always know that about myself. For years (like so many moms) I was so immersed in career, family and friends that I simply forgot that I needed time to be creative. Or maybe I didn't forget. I just couldn't place the yearning. But anyway, I'm recovering, I am, and now I know—and hopefully you do too—that creative time is important.

The problem is that we may know we need retreat time in our daily lives, but how often does something else (or someone else) take priority? You can take that time at art retreats.

But honestly, I don't think I just want to get away.

wireandbeadsObviously, to go on  retreat is to remove yourself physically from your life and take time that maybe you don't always take at home to create. Like all vacations, time away is glorious.

But what I really want is to deepen my creative practice.

In some ways, I did that at Art Is You this past weekend. All three classes were fantastic and I learned so much. I loved the learning and connecting (though I suspect the inner circle of teachers and long-time attendees connected most) and I definitely came home with renewed energy and a host of new tricks in my art bag. Again, that alone makes an art retreat worthwhile and I'll probably attend the next Petaluma event next year, especially since it's less than 45 minutes from where I live.

But there's another creative deepening I'm looking for in retreats, I think.

I want to come back not just with techniques and some good times, but with something a little closer to the heart.

There are different kinds of retreats and different ways to retreat. Two years ago while my youngest daughter was at camp, I loaded up all my supplies in my car, drove up to Mendocino with my dog and happily arted my way through the long weekend. It doesn't have to be organized or with other people. But an organized retreat with others who want to deepen their creative practice together? Well, there can be potent magic in the creative sharing...depending on how it goes down...

And that's what I'll be looking for on my next retreat...how 'bout you?