“To paint… to travel… to combine the two… is to celebrate life.” (Jack R. Brouwer)
“My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” (Diane Arbus)
These wise words in the above quotations sum up the painting workshop we just hosted in Riebeek Kasteel quite perfectly! Yes, truly, because the combination of getting out of the city to a little country town snuggling between the mountains for a weekend, stay in a cosy guesthouse to indulge in lots of delicious food and spending our time painting, is certainly my idea of how “to celebrate life,” and also because for those participants who had never picked up a brush before, they ventured into an unfamiliar world all on its own – they went where they’ve never been before and I am convinced that as a result, painting has quickly become one of their favourite things!
We had a small group in this workshop, which was ideal in ensuring each painter got all the personal attention they needed and they all flourished quickly as a result. We had four enthusiastic novices, who were ready to step in and get started without a moment’s hesitation or doubt in their abilities, and even after the first morning’s session had produced remarkable little paintings, including a watercolour seascape, a pastel painting of an apple, and an acrylic painting of a flower. Their first paintings were outstanding to say the least, and all credit is due to Line’, who guided them through these first steps.
The two intermediates arrived at the workshop with different aspirations; the one lady wanted to paint her own picture with the advantage of personal guidance along the way, whilst the other came eager to learn something new. I was their assistant in this instance, as we had decided to split the groups so as each participant could work easily at their own level with separate instructors. Both these talented ladies amazed me in their pursuits and I am certain are well on their way to achieving their painting goals.
Apart from the artistic part of the weekend, there was an evident camaraderie between all the participants, some of whom had never met, and relationships were quickly established and blossomed over the two days – so much so that Facebook was abuzz for two days thereafter with their exchanges! I loved this and I loved what each one brought to the group. Their laughter and fun-loving natures and their willingness to be themselves totally by dancing or singing whenever the fit took them, all added magic to the weekend, for that is what happened on so many levels!
We were blessed with glorious weather and the hospitality afforded us at the guesthouses, Old Oak Manor and Shiraz Estate, was abundant and made each attendee feel removed from their everyday life, which is how travel rejuvenates the soul, even if its only an hour’s drive from one’s hometown.
It all came to an end far too soon, and we all agreed another day or two would have been wonderful – but that’s what happens when you’re having a good time isn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to lose themselves in a little realm of magic with like-minded people and have fun whilst learning new skills?
We travelled… we painted… we went where we had never been before – and we celebrated life together for a weekend – expressed in our performances of chanting all the songs with ‘colours’ in their titles that we could think of!!