The imagination is a powerful tool. An artist can use it to show others the world as he sees it and to bring others into his dream of what the world could be. David R. Becker
"Back to play"
september 15 - 23, 2023
Near Assisi/ Umbria, Italy
September 15 - September 23, 2023
We will begin with a welcome session in the evening of September 15
and close with a group dinner in Assisi on September 22.
Number of participants: 10
The workshop is limited to 10 students to ensure a high level of personal attention, one-on-one support, and plenty of space to explore and create.
Welcome to your "Back to Play" Painting Retreat !
I believe we are collectively craving for a deep reunion with the things that matter most — to step away from daily routines, to-do lists and technology - towards more nourishing, meaningful, and potent life experiences that truly feed our souls.
My intention with this retreat is to offer a variety of painting techniques, creative exercises, and experiences that will continue to support and inspire you well beyond our time together. Italy and especially the area around Assisi, hold a very special place in my heart, and I can’t imagine a more inspiring, beautiful, and artistic place to hold painting retreats.
In this week, you will have the opportunity to look at your creativity beliefs through a fresh creative lens, explore new forms of visual expression, learn different painting techniques, move your body, gather inspiration from your inner and outer worlds, and reconnect to what feeds your soul.
The "Back to Play" Painting Retreat is a nurturing experience suitable for all levels: first-time painters looking for an empowering start on their creative path, experienced painters seeking a new perspective and everybody in-between. This heart-centered and educational retreat offers a vast toolbox of new techniques, along with a fresh creative perspective guaranteed to energize your life on and off the canvas.
Throughout the retreat, I demonstrate many of my personal painting techniques, while creating 3 large original paintings from start to finish. The process is broken down into easy steps that explore color theory, value contrast, translucent layering, expressive mark-making, dripping, stamping, and drawing.
Our days will be spent mainly painting but also moving, exploring, connecting, and experiencing the magic of Italian culture. We will also have opportunities to relax, make yoga and connect with the beautiful nature around.
Another aspect of this Painting Retreat is the Art of Observation, which focuses on new ways of seeing and being through small, yet powerful shifts in perspective. These creative cues offer a way for you to step more fully into your life — cultivating more presence, connection, intention, and aliveness along the way. This shift in awareness is designed to enhance your art-making experience by filling your well of inspiration and innovation outside of your hands-on creative practices.
I also offer invaluable prompts and exercises to support letting go, connecting to intuition, taming your “inner critic,” becoming unstuck, and discovering your own authentic style.
Some painting sessions will be accompanied by live music of Daniel Bernasconi, tuner and builder of Soma Sound Sculptures.
What is included
8 nights of accommodations at Ananda Yoga Retreat Centre
Daily vegan and/ or vegetarian meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
6 days, full immersion into different painting techniques
Creative exploration through guided visits of the UNESCO world cultural heritage sites of Assisi and Spello
All art supplies
Daily yoga and/ or meditation classes at Ananda Yoga Retreat Centre (optional)
Live-music by Handpan builder and player Daniel Bernasconi of Soma Sound Sculptures
Connections, memories, and adventures to last a lifetime!
In our daily creative exercises we will also explore different mediums like ink, alcohol ink, aquarelle, gouache, pastels, paint pens and collage.
Daily Creative Exercises
Connect with body, mind and spirit before we start painting
Talks about creativity and how to access our creative potential
Guidance in identifying how your curiosity can trigger creativity
Dance, play, wonder, observe, explore...
Paint with tools, hand, feet and body
Teachings about: color theory, texture, shapes, contrast, layering, composition, marks, transparency, tools.
We will paint 100/80cm canvases
Learning how to prioritize your own creative fulfillment
Sharing my understanding of "what is creative living"?
We will be working with acrylic, aquarelle, gouache, ink, alcohol ink, paint pens, pastels, and mixed media on watercolor paper and canvas.
All art materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring any art materials you would love to work with.
We will paint on:
large canvases 80/100 cm
5 small canvases 24/30 cm
yupo and stone paper
The Ananda Retreat Centre has shared rooms available (double or triple) with external shared bathrooms.
You can see a gallery of images here to get a sense of the place. Each room is unique, simple, decorated in a rather typical Italian style.
If you’re looking for luxury, top of the line accommodations, this might not be the right fit for you. However, single room accommodation may be arranged upon request and subject to availability.
Healthy and natural cuisine for body, mind and soul.
The meals are vegan and/ or vegetarian and are served at the Ananda Retreat Centre (for some info about Ananda's food philosophy, click here)
You will enjoy a variety of tasty meals, interaction with other guests and with members of the Ananda community.
There is also a selection of herbal teas, different types of milk, coffee and seasonal fruit juices to choose from, but not alcohol.
The first part of breakfast and dinner takes place in silence. I kindly ask you to respect that.
During the painting sessions at the Academy of Arts, snacks, coffee and tea are available.
Let me know at the time of booking if you have intolerances or allergies. I will coordinate with the Centre to accommodate your dietary needs.
CLOSING DINNER IN ASSISI *
The Closing Dinner will be held at the terrace of my favorite restaurant in Assisi with stunning sunset views over the green valley below the old town of Assisi: "Le terrazze di Properzio"
*alcoholic beverages not included in the retreat price
No experience is required to attend this retreat.
What is NOT included
Transportation to and from the retreat location
(upon booking I will send clear instructions about how to get there and the different available options).
External lunches, dinners and drinks other than the food provided at the Ananda Retreat Center, the Academy of Arts and at the Closing Dinner in Assisi (see above what’s included)
Alcoholic beverages not included in the retreat price
Gratuities for the retreat center staff
Consumption at the privately owned Coffee Shop at the Retreat center serving sweets, ice-creams, coffee, etc.
Additional canvases (other than the canvases I will provide — see above what’s included section) can be purchased at the following prices:
- large size canvas 80/100 cm - 35 CHF
- small canvas 24/30 cm - 10 CHF
Pricing and Terms
Shared Room with shared bathrooms: 2.595 CHF
Single Room with shared or private bathroom: 2.870 CHF**
*Early Bird 100 CHF discount if you book before April 15th 2023.
**subject to availability
To reserve your spot, a deposit of 200 CHF has to be made within 7 days of booking to the bank account specified in the confirmation eMail.
The total price has to be paid latest July 15th, 2023, otherwise your reservation will be cancelled (and below cancelation terms will apply).
The retreat investment already paid in (deposit or total price) will be fully refunded within 7 days if I have to cancel the retreat for health or business reasons. A cancellation of the retreat for business reasons (less than 5 retreat participants) will be announced latest on July 15th, 2023. It is advisable to organize transportation once the retreat is confirmed (it will be confirmed as soon as 5 people have booked their place and paid their deposits). I will not be responsible for any changes made for your transportation choices if I have to cancel the retreat for health or business reasons.
Once it is confirmed, there are no refunds for this retreat unless I am able to fill your spot. If we are able to fill your spot, a 100 CHF cancellation fee will apply, and the rest of your retreat investment (deposit or total price) will be refunded. If we are not able to fill your spot, there will be no refund issued.
In case of a natural disaster or similar unforeseen reason, I will reserve the right to make any necessary changes to the retreat or cancel it. In case of a cancellation, I will offer you a full refund and the option to book another retreat. However, in this case, I will not be responsible for any changes made to your transportation choices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Download the pdf here.
You will receive a confirmation email after you register. This email will include detailed information you will need to plan your trip and prepare you for the retreat. I will send along follow up emails with more details as the retreat approaches.
Sunset view from the garden outside the painting studio at the Academy of Arts