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At 7 am we are at the poolside in Cittadella immersed in a majestic arena beneath the magnificent Monte Vettore, at 2,550 metres in altitude, an extinct volcano that contains the twin glacial lakes of Lago Pilato, remnants of an ancient sea which once covered this land before the Appenine mountains pushed themselves up through the spine on Italy.

Here, by the pool we prepare ourselves both mentally and physically for the day ahead with Ci exercises and Tai Chi followed by the creation, each of us individually, of a bubble of abundance, which will contain everything we want of our day and from which we can discard that which we don’t.

Interestingly, just this year, I have heard of professional athletes, particularly tennis pros, using this term and we use it to prepare ourselves to be grounded within the very moment of time in which we are breathing, to become aware of the sounds and fragrances around us. The birds singing in the trees, the swooping swallows and the cry of a circling falcon above; the howl of a distant wolf and the snuffling and grunting of a passing bear. The tinkling of a mountain stream, the crashing sounds of waterfalls and then the gentle caress of a light breeze on our faces and the sheer beauty of mountains flowers. And butterflies and bees are in abundance at this altitude because the air and water are pure and clean.

Because, you see, it is in this state of full absorption that Creativity finds us. It is our garden of now if you will. It is where Creativity whispers to us. It is where she gives us gifts of song and dance and music and images and is where she wants to dance with us in this Tango of Creativity.

And she is searching for us every second of the day and how can she find us unless we step into this garden of now.
And we are part of this dance, part of this cycle of creativity
Because Creativity needs us to make manifest these gifts she sings to us.
It is where we learn, at last, to create beyond ourselves.

And so, whether we are on a painting retreat or photography or poetry, it is the same.

It is, above all, about Creativity pure and simple, because, you see…..

After all, the object isn’t just to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable

And so…

After chatty Italian breakfast, we meet together to discuss the adventures awaiting us amongst these breath-taking mountains.

Our days, from then on, are conducted in the natural wonders which the abound in the Sibillini National Park. We foray out to sketch, to photograph, to write poetry, to accumulate material during the day to haul back to our studio base at Cittadella. There to disseminate, talk and share and enter more deeply into the realm of creativity with a fuller understanding of its wonders and gifts to us.

Finally, during much of the final day of the workshop, we collate all our work into a process of finality, whether this is a painting, poetry or a series of photographs which celebrate the manifestation of the experiences that we have shared.

There are two Spring workshops in May and mid-June.

The Tango of Creativity

Wild Photography

And you can find fuller information on our Starstone site, of travel, costs etc.