Winter Creative Retreat On The Cape West Coast

Paternoster header with coloured text

All-Inclusive Luxurious & Inspiring 5* Winter Creativity Retreat Package 

31st July – 2nd August 2015

At Abalone Boutique Hotel & Spa

Join Artist, Writer and Teacher, Karen Longden-Sarron, on this Unique Getaway and Rouse Your Inner Painter.

Pamper yourself with excellent food and indulgent spa treatments while also igniting your creativity and learning a new skill if you’ve never painted before, or develop new techniques if you have.

This unique and Inspiring event will take place in the quaint seaside Village of Paternoster on the Cape West Coast at the opulent five-star Abalone House & Spa Boutique Hotel, renowned for its effortless blends of old world elegance with eclectic decadence and now the new home to another famous Reuben’s Restaurant and Healing Earth Spa. ahlogo

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Picturesque Paternoster, with its shoreline, unique buildings, boats and other typical scenes of life in this coastal Fisherman’s village are the central subjects for this creative program, structured to accommodate beginners as well as more established artists, we’ll explore a range of mediums and styles of working.

Only 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Cape Town.

Experience sumptuous accommodation.

Enjoy sumptuous breakfasts and lunches and feast at the famous Reuben’s Restaurant in the Hotel.

Indulge yourself with a Spa treatment in the Healing Earth Spa.

What’s Included

  • 2 Night’s Accommodation in a luxurious Suite (or small groups could also opt to select a 2 or 3-bedroomed cottage nearby.)
  • 2 Full English & Continental Breakfasts
  • 2 Lunches (one being an exclusive Beach Picnic – weather permitting)
  • 2 x Two-Course Dinners at the famous Reuben’s Restaurant (situated in the Hotel)
  • 2 x 30 minutes or 1 x 60 minutes Spa Treatment at the Healing Earth Spa (Choice of Back & Neck Massage /Facial/ Pedicure or Manicure)
  • Morning & Afternoon Tea/Coffee
  • Welcome Drink
  • Creative Instruction & Guidance
  • All Artistic Materials & Notes

Additional Activities Included

Participants in this Retreat shall also get to enjoy the following activities offered on this getaway:

  • Inspiring Presentation with Welcome Drink on Workshop Opening
  • A Brandy Tasting
  • 1 Picnic Lunch on the Beach (Weather permitting)

What’s Not Included

  • Transport to/from the Venue
  • Mini Bar in Rooms
  • Refreshments & Alcoholic Beverages other than 1 morning and 1 afternoon tea/coffee per day
  • Specialty Teas or Coffees
  • Gratuities


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Non – Participating Partners

If you have a partner who would like to accompany you on the getaway and share your suite but not participate in the creative program, he or she is welcome to do so at a cost of R790.00, including breakfast. All other meals and refreshments are for their account, although they are welcome to join you in the meals with the participants.


The Cost

Take Advantage of this Exclusive WINTER PACKAGE Offer

All-inclusive Package Deal Price of R4,900 per participant (Sharing or Single) Supplement for Non-participating partners sharing is R790.00, including breakfast, but all other meals are for his/her account.  

The rooms are issued on a first-come-first-served-basis.

Limited Spaces. Booking is Essential.


Book now! Call +27 (0) 22 752 2044
Read more about it HERE

View the Abalone Hotel Website HERE

We Look Forward to Meeting You There!






The Three H’s for Artists & Photographers

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris
The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to producing a successful piece of art or a stunning photograph, there is a little formula which works every time – it’s the three H’s:

  • Head
  • Heart
  • Hand

The first one, Head, means you use your brain to formulate your ideas and the message you want to relay into a pleasing composition.You decide which format, which medium, which viewpoint etc would best portray this message in an art piece – it’s the planning stage of the project where thinking is required.

Then you use your Heart to determine the best possible way to relay that particular message. It’s the feeling stage – aspects such as the mood and colour and lighting are decided upon, through sentiment towards the subject. Another “H” comes into play here – Hunch – where the creator follows his or her gut-feeling and intuition of what to reveal and how. It’s the stage where the creator feels the excitement and anticipation of the actual doing, as well as visualizing the emotion of the viewer when he or she will lay eyes on the finished piece. It’s the stage where the creator internalizes the very soul of the objects or subjects relevant to this specific message, which they can then display in the execution.

Lastly, comes the Hand, which is the actual skill in rendering those Head-determined and Heart-felt ideas and brings them into being. Many people think that this last stage is the most important in creating an art piece, but I feel that without the first two H’s being thoroughly thought and felt through before starting to render the work, then no amount of technical skill will result in an evoking piece. Yes, it will portray the talent of mastery in the craft, but it risks falling short of stirring any reaction from the viewer and that’s the most important reason for creating the work at the onset, isn’t it?

Consider these three H’s before you start your next project and I’m sure you’ll be able to add a fourth “H” to the mix – Happiness!


Alla Prima – The Perfect “In The Moment” Technique

wet  on  wet
wet on wet (Photo credit: paladinsf)

I always used to paint layer upon layer to build up a painting. While this is a lot of work it certainly renders a beautiful finish, but recently I have been experimenting with the Alla Prima technique and have discovered some remarkable things – not just about the amazing immediacy of the finished painting, but about life too!

Before I reveal my insights to you, I want to quickly explain the basics of the Alla Prima technique. Fundamentally, it was started by the Impressionists who wanted to paint their subjects in one sitting. They painted landscapes on plein air excursions or simple still lives in their studios, or even figurative studies of people, but they did these paintings in one sitting and worked wet-in-wet. The term Alla Prima comes from Italian, meaning “At the first,” “At once” or “On the first attempt”. It’s also known as ‘direct painting’ or the French term au premier coup (at first stroke).

Because the painter working on an Alla Prima painting is trying to work fast to complete the entire piece in one sitting whilst the paint is still wet, he or she is obliged to translate what they observe of their subject as directly as possible. The second challenge is that the colours easily become muddy and therefore the painting benefits from an economy of strokes – each one meaningful and precisely intended. This not only prevents the piece from becoming overworked, but maintains a fresh vibrancy and the immediacy of the brushstrokes serves to exude the very soul of the subject being painted. A simple jar, an egg, a fruit or a person lives on the canvas.

So, when I set about learning these pointers and applying them to a few exercises I set up, I noted the following observations:

  • One learns to clear one’s mind and trust one’s instinct.
  • There’s a greater immediacy to the work.
  • Fewer colours worked better than more.
  • I had to keep it simple.
  • I had to be really specific at the onset at what I wanted to portray – no dilly-dallying to change later as I had sometimes been proned to do before.
  • Limiting my time taught me to work even quicker and fresher than before.
  • My brushstokes were more deliberate and each one made more of a statement individually- no random guesswork.
  • My edges were more varied with less effort – because I have always used the “squinting” method of determining my lights and darks and my edges, i.e. if when squinting my eyes I see an edge is sharp, I paint it sharp and if it’s fuzzy or vague, I paint it so, but before I used to check and recheck my edges at the end of the painting, even with the squinting method – now I didn’t need to! (It’s perhaps because I didn’t need to trust my instinct as much as I had all the time in the world and could come back to it tomorrow.)
  • I learned to eliminate unnecessary detail.
  • I appreciated the experience of painting a simple subject from life more than from a picture, although one can relay a photo in an Alla Prima painting too.
  • The work is far more painterly than the blended layer upon layer method.
  • The textures created through the thicker application of paint are more intreresting.
  • The tendency to over-blend is minimalised.
  • You learn to paint the very light itself.
  • The statement “a picture says a thousand words” is even more appropriate here because the story is so simple, but it is dynamic and more potent somehow in its simplicity.

All these reasons have made me excited about this technique, and I want to practice and practice until I master it, but what excites me most are the life lessons I have acquired from painting this way too.

Life Lessons I’ve Realized From This Technique

It sounds so dumb I know, to say I have determined a few simple teachings to apply to life from a painting technique, but I declare it to be true! Think I’m crazy if you want, but I’ll share them with you anyhow…

  • To live more in the moment.
  • To do things “at once’ – not procrastinate and/or be long-winded about them.
  • Trust one’s instincts.
  • Less is more – less detail and less time spent portrays a bolder, deliberate statement with more punch! Why warble on and on and show them everything including the kitchen sink if you don’t need to?
  • The darks make the light more beautiful.
  • Be bold.
  • Express yourself with confidence.
  • Lose the arbitrary! Why complex one’s life with random stuff?
  • The seemingly non-important objects in the world also have an interesting story or message to relay
  • One bold statement is stronger than a hundred mumbled words.

Unfortunately, I can’t upload my painted exercises today as I am currently without a camera, but I shall soon. However, for you to understand the effects of this wonderful technique, I am posting a few examples of some very successful works by well know Alla Prima painters. Let me know what you think!

By Pamela Blaies
By Pamela Blaies
By Richard Schmid
By Richard Schmid
By Quing Huang
By Quing Huang
By Nancy Medina
By Nancy Medina

Where Do Good Ideas For Art Come From?

“Contemplation” Oil on Canvas. K Longden-Sarron

“What to do? What to do?” is a question any painter or photographer, or creator of any kind, surely asks sometimes. While its normal for any creative person to experience ‘voids’ or ‘blocks,’ I think it’s often the catalyst to an extraordinary breakthrough – because the brain processes the problem/s and simplifies them and the results can be spectacular!

I’m not going to repeat Steven Johnson’s explanation of this key question “Where do ideas come from” in his amazing video I’ve posted below, but to first offer my take on how artists, specifically, can reap ideas for their projects.

The innovative process is sometimes daunting. We wonder “How can I be original?” or “How could my work stand out from the rest?”

I too have spent hours viewing other artists’ work seeking inspiration and making lists of subjects I could paint, but at the end of it I land up with a zillion ideas and notions to try them all. The result – not much gets done. Whilst I incubate this phletora of visuals of all I’ve seen I end up more confused than ever! At the end of it I realize that whoever inspires me and whatever subjects I could paint, I need to paint what’s true to ME. That’s what being original means! That’s how my work could stand out from the rest! And to do that I need to paint what interests me, the things in life that brings me joy. In short – things that I love and make my soul sing.

So, that been said, I’m back at square one aren’t I? Where do I begin?

  • Everything starts with what we know – our visual library. Everything we remember, or from our cultural beliefs, or from events we have experienced, joyful or tragic alike.
  • It also comes from our present environment; what we see around us, or from the sounds we hear. It comes from images we see and words we read.
  • It also comes from our imagination.
  • It’s true that ideas come from observation, but they also come from seeing things differently. Exciting art can be achieved from trying new things to offer a new perspective on that subject, or to arrange things in a new, unusual and interesting way.
  • Making new connections between different, even sometimes unlikely things, also lends itself to interesting compositions and subject matter.
  • Artists who portray the beauty in everyday things or situations don’t seem to have had any particular “lightbulb” moment in making their photo or painting, but they are telling a story all the same, and sometimes to the viewer that image strikes a deeper chord than ever imagined by its creator.

“Stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places–you may find marvellous ideas.” Leonardo da Vinci

“I Hear You My Brother” Oil on Canvas. K Longden-Sarron

Ideas are all around us. I was motivated to paint this canvas from a picture I saw when viewing old photos one evening with some friends and knew it just had to be a painting!





“Gladiola!” Oil on Canvas. K LOngden-Sarron


And this one was painted from a silly photo of myself singing into a gladiola. I even titled it “Gladiola!” The idea to paint it was sparked simply because it makes me giggle! Nothing wrong with adding a little humour into your work! I believe that’s what being true to yourself is – portraying all the facets that make up YOU. Quirky, silly, sympathetic, activist or whatever you may be.



Don’t over think things, be willing to take risks and perhaps prepare to accept a few failures. The truer you are to yourself through your work, the easier it will be for you and the more fulfilling in the long run. Don’t let society quasher your zest for innovation and originality. Let your soul sing! Because it is this that develops a following. And not always because what you produce has such major appeal alone, but because you do as an individual. And it’s from you, the individual, where the good ideas for art come from!

“Art is an adventure into an unknown world which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks”            Mark Rothko 

Watch and enjoy Steven Johnson’s innovative video, and then please comment and let me know where your good ideas for art come from!


Winter Art Retreat in Riebeek Kasteel

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An all-inclusive 1/2 Price Winter Special!


Explore Your Creativity With 2 Artists

Due to popular demand, we have organized another painting workshop in Riebeek Kasteel, only this time we are offering a 5-day package also including other exciting activities and excursions to stimulate your creativity!

Treat yourself and join artists Karen Longden-Sarron and Liné Ryan du Preez on this transformational workshop!

Reconnect with and express your own innate creativity, in a relaxed, fun & supportive atmosphere.

An artists’s paradise location, gourmet meals, interesting excursions, stimulating art presentations and painting demonstrations with loads of individual attention, all ensure an unforgettable experience!

  • All skill levels welcome.
  • All art materials will be provided.
  • Non-painting partners (sharing) are welcome and pay only R200 a night for B&B, with other meals for their account.

Come & add your spark to this creative atmosphere!



Choose your lodging between 2 delightful & cosy Guesthouses, Old Oak Manor and Shiraz Estate.

Bedrooms RK


All meals will be completely catered for during your Art Retreat, including Breakfast, a tasty light Lunch, Morning and Afternoon Tea/Coffee and a delicious 2-course Dinner. Non-painting partners are welcome to join you for meals at the Cafe Felix Restaurant, on the curry evening and the picnic lunch during the plein air painting day, but these are for their account.

Any other refreshments or alcoholic beverages are for your account. Vegetarians Welcome.

Food RK
What You’ll Experience

Two professional artists will inspire you & share creative tips on developing beautiful paintings.

Whether you are an experienced oil painter or someone who has never held a brush, discover the fun of experimenting with paints.  Come and reconnect with and express your own innate creativity, in a supportive atmosphere, where you have no preconceived notions of how things should be and can freely express yourself through art, thus developing your own “individual style,” with  personalized guidance, within a supportive, relaxed environment, laced with humor.

So, if you feel like art is something your life may be lacking, give it a try!

Art sessions include:

  • Painting presentations, demonstrations and short talks from the Karen and Liné
  • Individual attention according to your painting level & chosen medium to develop skills
  • All the personal attention you require from the Karen & Liné, who will adapt their guidance methods according to your needs, personality and goals


You can view the breakdown of the art sessions on Karen’s website HERE. You can view the Itinerary HERE or the link is also noted further down the page.

Painting en Plein Air

In the spirit of the Impressionist masters we shall venture outdoors to paint “en plein air!” Weather permitting, we shall visit a local wine farm to paint out in the open, (so there is no need to feel intimidated of painting in public!). Demonstrations and guidance shall assist you to paint along, to create a vibrant landscape capturing the very essence of the scene before you. A wonderful picnic lunch shall be enjoyed with a glass or two of wine. (If the weather is inclement we shall work in a studio or reschedule the event to a day predicted to finer weather.)


Participants in this retreat shall also get to enjoy the following activities offered on this getaway:

  • A visit to 2 Art Galleries
  • A visit to an Olive Farm
  • A Wine Tasting and Olive Tasting
  • “Make-up is Art” Presentation
  • An Art Quiz Cocktail Evening

The enjoyment of Workshop small

The Artists
Karen Longden-Sarron and Liné Ryan du Preez are both professional artists living and working in Cape Town. Both have given art classes in the past and have recently joined to offer paint-away and local workshops. You can see more on them HERE
Karen and Line'
The Cost

Take advantage of our 1/2 PRICE WINTER PACKAGE Offer

Stay 3 days from R2,790/R3,390           Stay 4 days for R4,285           Stay 5 days for R5,580

Please Note:

The 3-Day Stay Package at R2,790 is for Monday and Tuesday nights at the beginning of the Retreat, or to stay any 2 other nights of the week if participants arrive in the afternoon. Should a participant wish to arrive by 10am on their first morning and enjoy three full days of art and activities, there is an additional cost of R600 to cover the tuition and lunch for the extra day, giving a total of R3,390.

The 4 Day stay includes any 3 night’s accommodation as well as all meals, morning & afternoon teas and coffees, activities, excursions, all art materials and tuition.

The 5-Day Stay includes 4 night’s accommodation as well as all meals, morning and afternoon teas/coffees, activities, excursions, all art materials and tuition.

The rooms are issued on a first-come-first-served-basis.

Limited Spaces. Booking is Essential.


Rooms are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Book early to avoid disappointment!

You can book your place now by registering online HERE or by downloading the registration form HERE and emailing it to us.

Once we have received your registration form we shall return a confirmation email with our banking details.

See the Itinerary HERE


See the Cancellation Policy HERE



What We Can Learn From Art Forger, John Myatt

John Myatt_portraitBrilliant British artist, John Myatt, spent four months in prison for forging the masters’ works. It’s estimated that he sold 200 forgeries and London’s Scotland Yard announced that his crime “was the biggest art fraud of the 20th Century.”

He has the incredible ability of mimicking other artists’ styles; a talent he learnt whilst attending art school, and what started out as reproducing paintings for the amusement of his friends, became a dishonest enterprise when, after placing an advert for “Genuine Fakes,” and a regular customer, John Drewe, told him one day he had sold a painting to Christies as an original, Myatt became a willing accomplice to the fraud with Drewe, and created many paintings in the styles of several of history’s famous masters, which duped some of the most prestigious galleries.

Today, John Myatt sells his fake artworks honestly, as Legitimate Fakes, and even places a chip on the back of the canvas which cannot be removed without cutting it out. He paints with emulsion paint and K-Y Jelly, a mixture he says that dries quickly but is hardy, reminiscent of the original pigments.

His remarkable story is now in development to be made into a Hollywood movie, called “Genuine Fakes.” A book, called “Provenance” by Laney Salisbury was published by Penguin and three TV series for Sky Arts have been produced: “Mastering the Art,” “Brush with Fame” a “Fame to Frame.”

I came across this man on You Tube, when, as I often do, I was looking at videos on art, and in particular the techniques of John Singer Sargent, and discovered the “Forger’s Masterclass” series. Myatt explains the techniques and secrets of the masters with students who are asked to recreate a piece in the style of a famous artist. It’s refreshing and very insightful, and I intend to watch the entire series and then the one “Fame to Frame” as well!

Not only is it educational, but it’s inspiring for me me as an artist, for although I don’t want to emulate others’ work, the influence of other artists I admire helps me in development of my own unique style and grow as an artist.

Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think of this mastery, for I have to say, that apart from the crime he committed, all part of an astonishing story, he is extraordinarily talented and although he has paid for his crime, he is giving us something back by sharing his knowledge so we can learn too.

Inspiring Approach of Artist & Mentor, Ann Rea

arI discovered artist Anne Rae on the web and thought I would share her bold and unique success story with you today. Bold because she hasn’t pursued the usual methods of selling her art and unique because she has created a strategy in selling her work as an entrepreneur, an area where most artists fail.

Ann Rea began painting after a 7 year dry-spell, once she’d graduated with a major in Industrial Design from Cleveland Institute of Art in 1987. Having tried several career avenues, she became anxious and started painting as an active meditation to alleviate this. When she discovered that people were appreciating her work and some collectors commented on how her paintings made them feel calm and happy, Ann decided to pursue art full-time and she boldly quit her job, sold her house and moved to San Francisco. She knew she now had to sell a lot of work to survive there, but not totally agreeing with the policies of formal galleries, she implemented a business attitude to her art and decided to go it alone.

She first had to discover a Unique Value Proposition that served a specific target market, and this she found in her vineyard scenes, which became highly popular with collectors and established her name on the map in that genre.

Ann Rea - %22Eye of Harvest%22 Ann Rea -%22Bordering Winter Vines%22 Ann Rea -%22Vineyard Pines%22 Ann-Rea-Painting Anne Rea - %22Walking Horizon%22

The experience of doing this helped her create her ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ whereby, instead of dealing with Artist Representatives, she cultivated a direct following of private art collectors. Her extraordinary strategy of creating an “Experience of Art” whereby she interacted personally with the buyer on the creation of his/her piece, proved to be hugely appreciated and led to more sales.

Pleased with her success, Rea wanted to help other artists and share her knowledge and business savvy. She therefore created ‘Artists who Thrive’. She holds seminars and course from this site. (http://www/


Her success is ever-growing; she has appeared in the press on many occasions, she has been interviewed for many blogs and podcasts, is also a professional speaker, and she participates in exhibitions in America, England and France.

I have not yet participated in one of her courses, but I have learnt from her experience story and from subscribing to her ‘Artists Who Thrive’ blog, that creating a personal Unique Value Proposition is vital to any artist’s success. The manifesto she adheres to is also very valuable. Here are a couple of pointers:

* We believe that we have shaped our artistic voice and that we have something to say.

* We believe we offer creative expression that adds value to the world and therefore the marketplace.

* We believe that we are creating and growing thriving businesses.

* We articulate our unique selling proposition to our defined market.  We know our tribe and we celebrate our tribe.

I hope to achieve a similar success, and because I admire her method of working, I thought I’d pass on this story of a remarkable woman, whom I hope will inspire you the way she has me.

Watch her on an interview here with Jonathan Fields, the founder of TheGoodlifeProject. or his show on YouTube

Her Website:

Her Blog:

Dreama Tolle Perry’s Paintings

I would like to share another artist, Dreama Tolle Perry, with you in case you haven’t yet seen her work.

Dreama Tolle Perry is a self-taught artist who finds her inspiration in color and sunshine. She is a prolific painter and an inspirational teacher. Dreama lives in Paris, KY with her husband Ron, dog Maggie, and world famous cat, Eddie.

I love the vibrancy in her work and her brushstroke technique.

Here are a few examples of her work.


You can view her paintings on her website:

Or have a look at her blog:

Let me know what you think!

Vladimir Volegov, An Inspiring Current Artist

I just love this Russian painter’s work! I discovered him on YouTube and subscribed immediately, as I love his vibrant paintings, his dexterous techniques of bold brushstrokes and his sensitivity to his subjects. I want to share this talent with you today – just in case you haven’t heard of him! I hope his work evokes you as much as it does me.

Brief Biography

Vladimir Volegov was born in Chabarovsk, Russia. He began painting at the age of three. He later attended the art school Krivoj Rog and the Lvov Polygraphic Institute in the former Soviet Union.

Beginning in 1984 Vladimir began winning entries into International Competitions for poster art.

He moved to Moscow in 1988 to pursue a career in commercial art. Notable Russian publishing houses sought his talents to design posters and CD covers for musical groups. While working with these publishing houses, he continued to work on his paintings and participate in exhibitions.

In 1990 he travelled to Europe where he earned money by painting portraits on the city streets. This experience assisted in perfecting the human form he so deftly creates today in much of his work.


Some Examples of his Work


Watch him on YouTube

Click here to see him in action! 

Vladimir’s Website