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Art at the Château Retreat: “It was truly a life-changing experience”

Carolyn Gavin and Helen Dardik held a beautiful art retreat at the spectacular Château Dumas this September. The soft golden light and rustle of gentle wind through the leaves created a lovely atmosphere in which the group of 15 artists gathered to learn, paint, and take their art skills to the next level. 

With live demonstrations from Carolyn and Helen, participants saw their colorful and whimsical paintings come to life. They had the opportunity to learn in person from their favorite artists, see the process step-by-step, ask questions, and try out the techniques themselves. @mumbletease says: “Definitely the most fun I’ve had with watercolours. I haven’t had a chance to do this much experimenting and trying new materials and techniques in so long. This is the most free and loose painting I think I’ve ever done. It’s great to be learning new things again!”  And @madelynn.romano had some beautiful words to add: “Our wonderful instructors @helen_dardik and @carolynj taught me so much this past week about painting, illustration, and life!”

The guests were inspired to create by the beautiful surroundings of Occitanie, France. They sketched side-by-side in Montpezat-de-Quercy, some inspired by the gorgeous medieval architecture that still survives there, some by the cute local cats that came over to make friends as our group was sketching away. @akcotravln says it was “amazing to be part of this group of women, taking it slow with pencil and paper.”

Everyone reveled in having a gorgeous château and 22-acre estate as their home for the duration of the art retreat. “Unreal that I get to hang out here for a week,” says @akcotravln. She goes on: “this has been the perfect place to retreat and refocus. The colors, the smells, the sun, and the rain. The people. I loved it all.”

The magic and splendor of the @chateaudumas and its grounds is hard to describe.” says @archigab. The retreat venue is indeed splendid — quintessentially French, beautiful, impressive, and welcoming at the same time. It was the perfect place to relax and replenish, to take a deep breath of country air and rediscover the simple pleasures in life like @heathermumbles did: “Magical evening light after a rainy day at the Chateau Dumas. It was unbelievably beautiful.”

Painting, good company, nature, and delicious food — what is there more to want? And speaking of food, everyone was blown away by the spectacular food they were served for each meal at Château Dumas. The dynamic duo at the château, chef Frédéric and Frederique, put together each day’s menu with care and attention, using local organic ingredients to create extravagant and delicious platters such as rillette of bream, tomato gazpacho with aubergine caviar toast, sea bass with mango, basil and mushroom risotto, fresh fruit pavlova or carpaccio of pineapple. 

The wine tasting at the Haute-Serre winery brought everyone together even more. And two guests celebrated their birthdays at this gorgeous retreat — a very nice surprise for all of us. Here they are dining together and celebrating “all the wonderful people I met and got to share this experience with. You are all amazing and inspiring women! So happy I was able to create with you all!”@madelynn.romano

Coming together as artists with a desire to learn something new and have a good time, the women that participated in the retreat bonded with each other and created a beautiful community where they could share about their art journeys and support each other in their growth. @archigab says: “The group of 15 women in our bubble was welcoming and supportive. [We had] a common goal to have fun, paint, and detach from the norms that engulf us. Cheers @carolynj and @helen_dardik for an unforgettable joyous journey.”

The retreat was a magical experience for everyone. The delicate details in the chateau, the flowers and landscapes, colors and animals, warm people, and delicious food charmed everyone, sometimes beyond words: “It was truly a life-changing experience, I can’t even put into words how much it all meant to me.”@madelynn.romano

If this sounds like the kind of experience you would also like to be part of, click here to join one of UpTrek’s upcoming retreats with outstanding artists from all over the world.

UpTrek is an online travel booking platform helping people discover and book exceptional retreats and experiences.

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