Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fun in the Mountains - Our Winter Painting Retreat in WV

Our winter painting getaway at Stonewall Resort in West Virginia was a huge success! Here's a behind-the-scenes look at our time together...

Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV

Eighteen of us gathered to paint and relax for three days with nothing more to worry about than what to order for lunch. We had a cozy meeting room overlooking the lake...

and everyone had plenty of space to spread out their stuff.

And we did have LOTS of stuff!

We all got straight to work when we arrived at noon on Sunday. Lots of people tackled unfinished sketches from their trip to Italy with me in September.

Jan completed a composite sketch of our day in Siena...

You don't see shoes like that in the U.S.!

and another one of a few of the beautiful wrought iron transoms we saw in San Gimignano...

 Here's one of Cindy's...

and a gridded sketch by Candy...

Almost finished!

As the afternoon wound down, we watched a beautiful sunset over the West Virginia mountains, and I ran outside in the 6 degree weather without a coat on just to take this picture for you...

The food was great at dinner and the conversation was even better. We gathered afterwards in front of the fireplace in the lobby for a time of introductions, since not everyone in the group knew each other, then a few of us wandered back to our temporary studio for a little more painting.

The next morning, my friend Carol led a yoga class for us. (Sorry, I forgot to take pictures. I was too busy doing sun salutations!) What a great way to start the day!

Then, after a nice breakfast, we all got back to painting. Betty worked on one of her memory journals, where she records remembrances of what life was like in earlier years.

She has quite a knack for drawing people. Seeing her work has inspired me to practice my people drawing skills more.

My mother didn't want to miss out on all the fun, so she came along on this little getaway. She worked on hand-piecing a quilt while the rest of us painted.

If you were strolling down the hall at Stonewall Resort, wouldn't you wonder what the heck was happening behind this closed door?

What's an Everyday Artist and why does she need a conference room? Well, this is why - so she has a place to produce beautiful sketches like Cathy's...

View from Fattoria Bacio by Cathy

A little journaling will finish off this sketch by Cathy. The pink floral pattern was inspired by one of the plates at L'Antica Fonte, where we had lunch.

and Hilary's...

and Cindy's...

and Larry's...

When we arrived at Stonewall on Sunday, it was a frigid day with highs in the single digits, but Monday it warmed up into the mid-thirties, which felt like a heat wave after the past week of near-zero temps, so several of us ventured outside in the afternoon for a walk around the property.

I love the S-curve bridge that connects the main part of the resort to the campground. It's so pretty and graceful-looking.

Carol and Cindy wave from the bridge

Last summer I took a boat ride down the lake on the Little Sorrel, but these days she's docked and waiting for spring.

Even though it had warmed up a bit, there was still a thin sheet of ice on the lake.

It felt good to get ouside in the sunshine and breathe some fresh air for awhile.

The snowy landscape and icy cold were captured beautifully during our stay by Cheryl in her series of Stonewall sketches...

She tinted her paper with watercolor first, then did a line drawing with a Hero Fude bent-nib pen.

Next, she added color and texture with colored pencils, then finished off the sketches with a white Uni-ball Signo gel pen.

We all loved them so much!

After dinner Monday evening, some of us went back to painting, while others enjoyed the warm ambience of the lobby living room.

Tuesday was our last day, and we had to check out at noon, but we managed to get a few more hours of painting in after yoga and breakfast. Carol finished up her sketch of marble floor designs from the Duomo in Siena, Italy...

and Myung put the final touches on her gorgeous water lily painting...

I worked on my Italy sketches during our getaway, but I think I'll save them for another post. This one is already way too long. I just wanted to give you an idea of how much fun we all had together on our little winter retreat. It didn't take us away from home for too long, it wasn't too far away, and it didn't cost too much, but it yielded amazing results. Friendships blossomed, creativity flourished, and spirits were lifted. A good time was had by all! We can't wait to do it again.


  1. It looks like you all had a wonderful time and I see some familiar friendly faces among the crowd! I wish I could have joined you all!

  2. Love this post! Looks like such a wonderful time and nice to see some familiar faces from last week's workshop in your beautiful home. Such wonderful art work.

  3. I really enjoyed this retreat at a beautiful place where everything was available under one roof, rooms, restaurants, meeting room and really great people to art journal with. Thanks again, Leslie.

  4. What a wonderful time to paint and be with friends!
    We should have more gatherings like this....across the students of Leslie's!!

    1. How about across the globe? Come to one of my European workshops for a whole week of sketching with friends. It's so much fun, it ought to be illegal!

  5. Dear Leslie enjoyed seeing all your lovely pictures as well as each artist's beautiful sketch pages. Looks like everyone had such a delightful time. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I love this post! I feel like I was there with all of my "sisters".


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