June Writing Retreat in Cortona Italy: What is narrative painting?

Getting pretty excited about Italy in June. It's now February, which means I will need to fill up that crazy child enthusiasm with substitutes until June arrives.

Questions are coming in about the retreat and sign ups are happening. There are 2 private rooms left. First come, first serve. But I must say a few things first about this retreat that makes it a bit off-beat from others. I mean you really need all the facts! You don't want to be in the clutches of a Italy-going-redhead with in Tuscan lands, a salt water swimming pool and 2 awesome kitchens to cook in unless it's your cup of tea (or wine).

What is Narrative Painting? How is it different from Story Painting?

Story painting is what I did in 2013 daily that fills the pages of The Art of Daily Cultivation. It begins with a painting of 'anything' that fascinates you in the moment. Once the painting is complete, the painting then serves as a prompt that inspires a micro-story. A few paragraphs. The painting can be a scene or a one subject piece. Character or scene... the story naturally unravels. Magic? Nope. Just making a bit of space in an otherwise hectic life for the natural muse to feel safe enough to come in for tea and express herself through the brush and pen.

I am calling the Italy Retreat "Narrative Painting" because our subject is chosen. It is Italy. And the lands of Cortona are paved with history, many stories from the past; many stories in the moment that we will be there. In the cafes, the Etruscan caves, Lake Trasimeno, the little wine shops and flower shops in the villa, the food, the panoramic views from the beautiful retreat home where we will live for these days. We as a group will add our sketches to the narrative already embedded in the land and culture of Cortona.

VOICE: Some folks in the workshop will enjoy the facts as prompts as much as their sketches and may write longer prose. Some will sketch and paint more than write.  I see this retreat as an opportunity to explore  Tuscany on its terms while amplifying and honoring what we experience and learn with our brushes and pens — and the sharp (and oh so fun) tool of imagination. I see the retreat as a writing retreat using illustration as a prompt and support.

People will go home with a full first draft of their Tuscany stories in words and images. And I just love that!

Here is a sample of a 'story painting' that I did for the book but it is about Italy. The fat pigeons in particular. It's silly and short. My quirky style. However, what I love about teaching this work is that everyone does something very different. The individual voice and style emerge as the story takes over.

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That's all. I hope you are all having a wonderful Feb. I'll be blogging about what I will cook next. Fascinated by Italian cooking.

Please visit me on Pinterest for inspiration. I have a Cortona Board started that will show you the close up and personal magic of this particular place on earth.

ps: If you live in Portland Oregon and if you are considering this adventure. Flights are low right now (about 700.00 less than average).


Photo of a fat pigeon in Cortona. See what I mean?

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