La Bonne Etoile Artists Retreat was specifically developed to assist artists and writers who would benefit from an experience in another culture, along with a time of seclusion and solitude. But through the years it has developed into more....a community of friends. La Bonne Etoile Blog has been designed to expand the richness of that community by continuing the quest to create and recreate together.
La Bonne Etoile workshops are ALL-INCLUSIVE, starting and ending with hospitality shuttles to and from any Paris airport. Our workshop instructors are well known for quality, patient instruction for all levels of students. contact for full information. Be sure to visit the individual websites of the artists, you will find links to La Bonne Etoile workshop information there as well.

Dang it, Jim.

KathleenHeadshot55¬†Or should I say “Damn it, Jim.” That’s exactly what ran through my head today as I watched Jim Richards’ second painting demo in a local garden. During his first demo I was excited, motivated, and ready to conquer my first painting of the workshop. He made it look so simple. But this morning, after a decent start, I began to lose control of my painting and grew frustrated. With a little help from my kind instructor, I was able to finish it (it’s an OK start) but I still felt a little defeated.

During his demo today, the fire was begrudgingly restarted. You see, it wasn’t because he made it look easy again. It wasn’t because I had become a better painter over night. It was because I realized that I was finally able to push myself mentally to get better at something that I love, and that I needed to embrace this. This notion was a little foreign to me. Like most of us, during the year since last summer at La Bonne Etoile I had gone back home and become once again absorbed with my job, my life, my dog, etc leaving little time for myself and my art. As a high school art teacher, it’s rare for me to get to exercise my own painting muscles these days and that’s a problem. I realize that now. I promised myself to get out of my own way and really use this experience for its intended purpose.

Because there is more to this artists retreat than beautiful landscapes, long dinners, and relaxing in the beautiful French countryside if one will allow it. Perhaps the most important aspect is pushing yourself to learn, to improve, to grow as an artist and a person. To walk up to an easel, leave it all on the canvas, and whether it’s good or bad, to get up and do it again. I may be the only one who doesn’t practice this as regularly as I should, but I suspect that is not the case. Take time to do what makes you happy. Even if it makes you mad at first.



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