The answer is both! But for a lot of people, time and money can be a hurdle too hard to leap over. You may think that a retreat, a simple weekend away, couldn’t possibly reap the same rewards as travelling to those faraway places you have always dreamt about could.
Well, think again. They absolutely can.
Think about one of the meanings of the word Retreat - “An act of moving back or withdrawing” then you can see that is exactly what a Retreat is. It is moving back from everyday life. It is a place or time for you to withdraw from everything around you. And if you do just that, give yourself permission to withdraw and move back, to let go of your every day, your worries, your emotional baggage or physical challenges and simply allow yourself to “be.” The rewards you will gain, in a very short period, will prove to be invaluable. In this article, I would like to share my experience and hopefully, by doing so, will inspire you to do something special for yourself.
This weekend I went away on a retreat. A Back to Nature Painting Retreat facilitated by artist Kathy Karas. And what did I think I was going to get out of the weekend? Improved painting skills, some “me” time, real conversations, time in nature and a break from the everyday.
Did I get all those things? Absolutely! But the surprise was that I also walked away with much more. And isn’t that what time away for yourself should be? I have gained a lot of things from travel in the past and not just the expected, but I was more than pleasantly surprised by the benefits I gained from just one weekend.
I walked away from the weekend with new connections, old connections rekindled, time with friends, the sharing of stories, amazing conversations, inspiration, revelations, peace, and contentment.
Mary who so magnificently catered for us also offered to share her meditation time. How awesome was that?! I had meant to start a quiet meditation in the mornings and like a lot of things just hadn’t got around to it. It seemed like the kick start I needed. And it was.
I pushed through personal barriers last weekend. A simple weekend away turned into such an inspired, motivational and personal journey. I am still buzzing.
Kathy Karas holds her Painting Retreats at Jack’s Corner Retreat in Kangaroo Valley, NSW, Australia. Just over 2 hours from Sydney, it feels like you enter a different world. Driving into the valley is awe inspiring. Driving through the gates is like a release. It feels like you leave your emotional or personal baggage behind. Any worries simply melt away from the moment you arrive.
About Jack’s Corner Retreat
Situated on 40 acres, Jack’s Corner Retreat is nestled amongst rainforest and native bushland. Hosts Bel and Ed create an atmosphere of well-being, comfort and nurturing. For those that know me, I am not usually at a loss for words, but I do find it hard to describe the energy that abounds at Jack’s Corner Retreat.
Accommodation caters for a total of 20 guests in the bedroom pavilions, consisting of 6 spacious guest rooms, each with a private ensuite. All rooms have fans, heating, bush views and open onto a sunny courtyard garden.
Each room has timber king single bunks and single beds with comfortable, quality mattresses. Pillows, doonas, plush blankets, sheets, pillowcases and bath towels are all included. Each room has built-in robes, and the ensuite bathrooms have a separate toilet.
Two rooms convert to a king size bed in each for couples.
There is also a yoga room and an air-conditioned Yurt and a Facilitators room, which sleeps 4.
The main house has comfortable lounge areas, dining room, kitchen and full bathroom.
Mary provides catering at your request. She is an accomplished cook specialising in fresh, authentic dishes and caters for a variety of special diets. Mary can often be seen in the orchard picking fresh fruit or plucking fresh herbs for the day’s meals. And it is always lovely to have a chat while she stirs a pot or mixes a batch of her delicious muffins or brownies.
Mary’s meals are delicious, diverse, vibrant and fresh and together with her friendly and nurturing personality meal time is certainly a highlight at the retreat. Simply put – she spoils you.
I encourage anyone who would like to facilitate a retreat to look at Jack’s Corner Retreat but don’t hesitate as the word is getting out about the magic that abounds here and weekends are booking fast.
About Kathy Karas’ Painting Retreats
Kathy Karas is a full-time visual artist and teacher living and painting in New South Wales, Australia. Kathy works in a wide selection of media including oils, acrylic, watercolour and pencil drawings. Her style has evolved over the years to modern impressionist and most recently she has developed into contemporary work. Her works reside in collections within Australia, France, UK, Japan and the United States.
Kathy Karas runs retreats at Jack’s Corner Retreat twice a year. The next one is planned for a Christmas in July next year. Did I mention I already have already reserved my place?!
Kathy is not only a talented and versatile artist, but she is an excellent and inspirational teacher with a warm and friendly personality that instantly puts you at ease. She is a quiet and driven lady who is not only an inspiration as an artist but also as a person and a business owner.
I am very lucky to call Kathy my friend and business partner. Together we run Creative Trips to Europe and it is Kathy’s unique qualities as a teacher and person that makes our trips successful. To find out more about Kathy you can take at her website.
Even if you have never painted, you can join one of Kathy’s Painting Retreats. A talented teacher, she teaches the skills of watercolour painting to students of all abilities and levels.
Kathy has chosen watercolour as the medium for her retreats as it is the easiest medium when painting outside in nature. Painting workshops are held both outdoor and indoor with time to develop artworks in the art room.
Because of the flexibility with areas to paint, Kathy’s Retreats are held in all weather conditions. Imagine the artwork you could capture on a wet day? Droplets glistening on leaves, mist hanging in a valley and the fresh, clean colours of nature you only see after a storm.
And this from one of the lovely ladies that attended “had the opportunity to experience such a lovely weekend enjoying the unique dynamic that comes from being in the company of women, the delicious food and the opportunity to learn a little more about myself through art, all in a glorious setting.”
Freedom and Flexibility
You can choose to follow Kathy as she guides everyone through an artwork or you can choose your own subject. Either way, Kathy is on hand to assist you where needed. Her groups are supportive, encouraging and fun. There is often a lot of laughter to be heard.
On Kathy’s Painting Retreats, there is nothing you “must do.” It is your time away and your choice on how you use that time.
Balance of art and relaxation
Kathy’s Painting Retreats are a unique blend of art tuition and relaxation. Each person can choose how much or how little painting they would like to do. There is plenty of time to relax and enjoy your surroundings.
From leisurely breakfasts, walks in nature, painting, a glass of wine in the evening and afternoon naps what more could you possibly ask for. Do some of it or do all of it, the choice is yours.
Be aware if you go away on a retreat with a group of artists and art enthusiasts. Your view of the world will change. Suddenly you start to see the world through their eyes. Your eye is drawn to splashes of colours, shapes, and textures. You start to see everything in a new light, droplets on leaves and mist in the valley, the colours of a small blue wren and the vivid green of tiny frogs sitting in a white lily. Sunsets become fiery displays splashed high on cliff faces towering above the valley. Your visual senses awaken, and the world becomes a never-ending artwork.
I try to explain to people why travel means so much to me. The utter joy it brings, opening my mind to endless possibilities, the new way I view the world. The way I feel about myself. Feeling good is addictive.
When you open your mind to endless possibilities, life blossoms. Not only with travel but with everything in life, be open to all new experiences. Stop saying “I can’t” and just decide you will. Life is short, we only have one go at it. Make it the best life you possibly can.
This weekend proved that travel doesn’t need to be to distant destinations. Or be expensive or time-consuming. Travel can be just a day or a weekend but with the right mindset, it can be just as worthwhile.
Who would have thought a Painting Retreat would be so much more than painting?