This October we brought students from all over the east coast to the Catskills for our seasonal Drawing + Mindfulness Retreat. We spent 3 days in a beautiful secluded country home in Parksville, New York practicing yoga and meditation, plein-air drawing, mindful eating, and lots of good ol' R&R. Our goal was to think about how we can develop a multi-faceted mindfulness practice through conversation, mind-body work, and the challenging, yet meditative aspect of drawing. Also...we made an amazing fire... Scroll down for a sneak peak at the program:
Students began each day with morning flow yoga with our yogi-in-residence, Josh Bobrow. Our transformative yoga space looked out onto 6 acres of property, not to mention some beautiful changing leaves.
An introduction to our drawing course. We looked at a brief history of drawing from observation, discussing artists who have engaged with this kind of drawing, what it has meant to their work, and how we can integrate this practice into our own lives to create room for reflection and gratitude.
Testing out our sketchbooks and drawing materials.
Students on the grounds! We took our sketchbooks, pencils (and scarves and hats) outside for some warm-up exercises in looking. Students worked on connecting "eye and hand" with blind contour drawings (i.e. not looking down at the paper).
Natan hard at work surrounded by those fall reds.
Julie, our amazing chef-in-residence, came out to find us mid-class with some much-needed snacks. Home-made Lemon cake with berry jam.
Lunchtime! Julie whipped up some fresh soba-noodle bowls with seasonal veggies. We were completely spoiled all weekend by this woman.
After an eventful morning of yoga and drawing, students had the afternoon to relax by the fireside.
Dinner! With butternut squash risotto and fresh arugula salad. Somehow we had energy for meditation and restorative yoga after this epic meal. Mmmm.
Oh and did we mention there were reading assignments? ....there were reading assignments...
Back at it again with morning flow. Just reaching for that sunshine.
Drawing on the grounds - we had an incredibly interesting 100-year-old barn on the property that was once a local church.
Student work after day 2.
Afternoon hiking nearby.
What better way to get ready for winter than roastin' some mallows?
The group discusses our mindfulness reading assignments - Jon Kabat Zinn, Shawn Anchor, Eckhart Tolle, Alain de Botton and other writers/thinkers surfaced throughout our discussion of presence, self-criticism, gratitude, and happiness.
Our final morning flow and guided meditation work with Josh.
One last drawing class. Working on foreground, middle-ground, and background and finding the "whole" on this scene.
A beautiful drawing by Natan.
A sweet sendoff to this amazing bunch. You guys rule!