My title 

Art. Food. Relax. ITs Italy

by: Jennifer Richardson on

During my 3 month stint in Florence earlier this year I had the pleasure to meet some extraordinary local artists and artisans. Apart from gaining some great new friends, I was thoroughly inspired to pursue an art journey of a difference in Tuscany.

Stay tuned because we have some exciting programmes coming up in 2018 and 2019 with inspiring teachers from around the world.  We’ll be offering painting and drawing courses and exploring the seldom discussed, but exciting contemporary art scene and hidden treasures of this area. We’ll be welcomed into studios of outstanding local artists, we'll explore sculpture parks, museums and beautiful sites for both architectural and landscape drawing. 

There will be time to relax in the countryside, explore prized vineyards in the Chianti and Brunello regions, eat and cook delicious produce, pick olives and walk some quiet ancient cypress lined roads and drink up the beauty of this region and beyond. It is Italy!

A few more images from Florence and glimpses inside some local artists' studios. 

If you would love to bring out your artistic flair in one of the most picturesque and historical regions in Europe, let us know. 

Dates, Venues, Programme and Prices are coming soon.

Contact us with any questions and interests about these trips now >>

Richard Fidler and Liz Gilbert on facing fear and finding creativity

by: Jennifer Richardson on

This is a little rave about a recorded conversation from 2015 with Richard Fidler from the ABC's Conversation series and Liz Gilbert. 

Conversations with Richard Fidler are lengthy enough to draw you deep into the lives of extraordinary people. And this episode not only drew me deeper into part of what makes Liz Gilbert tick but it could be a game changer for me. She articulated exactly what I feel so passionate about and the very essence of the thinking behind The Create Escape.

Listen to the recording here>>

I hope you enjoy it and get as much out of it as I have.

Arts of Japan Tour, 2016

by: Jennifer Richardson on

We are thrilled to announce that we have teamed up with Bruce McWhinney to offer a unique Arts of Japan tour next autumn.

Bruce is an internationally acclaimed ceramic artist, painter and teacher. He has led numerous groups to Japan in the past and this one promises to be even better.

The journey will be totally unique and take us to places off the tourist trail and into the art communities and cover both the outrageous contemporary, like Street Art Fashion and exquisite Zen and Traditional Art forms and Culture.

We plan to head out next October and it will not only be the arts that will captivate our minds, the food will delight and the gardens will be showing off in spectacular colours.

Read more here>>

 Autumn is a spectacular time to visit Japan.

Tea Ceremony


Bruce McWhinney.

 

Contact us with your interest and any enquiries CONTACT >>

Bloom True with the extraordinary Flora Bowley

by: Jennifer Richardson on

I hadn't picked up a paint brush many times since school but whenever I did the panic would start before the first layer of paint. I would stare at the canvas and think.. "I really hope this is going to work out". Pressure!
Blocked by fear. Yuk, who wants that?

Does this resonate with you?

Well if it does and you are not living in Portland OR. USA to be able to go to 'live' workshops with Flora Bowley then you owe it to yourself to experience Bloom True e-course.

I have been lucky enough to have been with Flora in a 'live' workshop and I can tell you that looking around at the faces of those that were doing the course was 'heart opening'. She is delightful and we were all totally absorbed and having an absolute ball feeling the joy of letting go and being brave with paint.

Unfortunately I didn't have the time to stay for the whole course with Flora because of prior arranged work commitments but I signed up for her e-course when I saw just how inspirational she is.

I was far from disappointed in it being 'online' instead of 'live'. It is 'life changing' it does not stop at just painting techniques it is an inspiring lifestyle course. So much so I am signed up for next one too!

“It has taught me that there is no right or wrong way to paint. It has inspired me so much to be brave and just go for it and find what feels good to me. It has helped me to let go of my fear of a blank canvas.”

The next e-course starts on the 26th January, 2015 will you join me?



Read more about the course >>


I knew I could paint but who would have thought I could sing!

by: Oana Deac on

It was two years ago when I came to that point in my life when I was feeling stuck and not able to take a decision about my next step in life, about my future, about moving towards happiness. I knew it existed and I knew it was up to me to go for it, but I guess I was not ready for it yet.

My days in Amsterdam were getting darker and darker, in all aspects, and I could not find any substitute for the light and the sun I was missing so badly from my external and internal existence. Too long in the same corporate company having to cope with the politics, a personal relationship going wrong, insomnia and severe back problems, the all inclusive package, like it was Christmas in hell.

We all have our limits I guess, our timing and we’re all quite different in that matter. It took me one year to realize I had to stop complaining and do something. But what?

I knew I had to leave my life in Amsterdam but I wasn’t prepared for the journey. I could not imagine letting my guard down by making the wrong decision and disappointing everyone, failing, as that was a possibility and my brain tended to hang onto that negative thought.

But then a sense of surrender came over me and I knew it was time and OK to ask for help, so I got myself a coach. After only two sessions the word painting jumped out of my notes and brought me back to my childhood when I saw myself as an artist, only to be told that success wasn’t easy to reach in that world. I used to love drawing, dancing and even singing sometimes. Where did all those joys go? Who scared them away?

And so I joined a painting class and from then on I felt that it was my own movie and I was writing the script at the same time. My first step in the studio was firm and in a hurry, afraid that I might waist even seconds from my time for painting. I knew I had reached that moment when good energy was picking up by minute and building up a strength in me. I enjoyed each and every class and at some point painting became my meditation. As it was an intuitive painting class, we were painting with our hands, even dancing and singing in the same time. There was color in the sounds, in the moves, in the visual space, there was color everywhere and I LOVED IT!

Close to the end of the course I knew I wanted more of what my life was missing, it was COLORS. Loud vibrant radiantly striking colors! I knew they were inside, I just needed some sun to get them blooming. At the same time something got triggered in me at a deeper level and suddenly my fear was gone. I remember the moment of acknowledging not having that heavy feeling of “what if” anymore and next thing I knew that I was ready to leave.

When telling one of my best friends about my plans, he nodded “This is it, you’re on your way! This is the type of passionate energy that drives you and you just need to ride and pay attention. From now on it will be all a pleasant journey”. And so it was and so still is. Bali here I come

I was in love with Bali even before I landed, as “I love Bali” became my mantra when logging in at work every day for my last two months of work. I am sure the Island of the Gods shared the same feelings as she saluted me with a strong earthquake the next day I stepped on her beautiful fields. What a welcome that was!

Sometimes I feel there are no words of describing the beauty of this place. I paint with joy and I breathe it all in, as Bali is my forever green canvas, which changes by light, sounds, smells from a day to the other. Every day is a new painting for me and I absorb and take it all in with gratefulness.

I had the chance to work with painters from Bali, walk into their studios and absorb the knowledge they have to offer and they do it so openly. One of my teachers, I Wayan Karja, has opened his door for me in such a humble way, that I feel honored to be so lucky and have him as my mentor.

But my journey didn’t just get the painting flavor though, as Bali seems to be one of the most abundant places when it comes to expressive arts. People sing, people dance, people create a lot here!

And yes, I never thought I could sing the way I sing. I figured that out when joining the Singabout choir for a week and a new type of energy fueled my body. I did toy around with kirtan for a while since I came to live in Bali, but apart from a one time lifting experience, not too much happened around it, or not enough to get me wanting more of it.

Singing in a choir was empowering, it was lifting, it was joyful and above all meaningful. I felt I was  part of a higher power, maybe of the group, maybe of the Gods within us. I could hardly sleep that week, because of the excitement and high elevations I was exposed too. But still, the energy to do it over and over again every day was there. And what got me more, was the fact that I could hear my voice and I could hear I can sing, something I would have never considered I can do well.

I used to be judgmental about gospel before, but this entire experience delivered music to me in another type of envelope. The joy of singing for God was somehow different when being part of the group. Or maybe it was because I realized I was singing to myself, to my God, to Me God.

I’ll keep that singing week in my mind as a great experience, which nourished my soul, my voice and my inner voice. It helped me express a different part of the artist in me and I am grateful for that.

So here I am, living my life in Bali the way I want, painting and creating, investing time and energy in what I love to do and what has always been inside me waiting to come out and smile to the world. I feel lucky enough to have met and worked with people who believe in me and encourage me to go on, I feel like I have started all over again.

What my story has taught me is that the truth can’t be held down and sooner or later it’s taking you over and brings you to where you belong, HOME.

Living in Bali now seems so natural like I have been doing this all my life. I guess I have been living here all the , in my imaginary mind.

I am thankful each and every day for my choice, for rediscovering painting, dancing and singing and finding the space in Bali to become what I always wanted to become, an artist.

Maybe you don't have to be as radical as I was but I really recommend that you go out and find the artist within you, it was the best decision I have ever made!

Love Oana xx