The internet is a marvel! Thanks to online classes, I’ve been exposed to many wonderful creative teachers from around the world. One such teacher is Ivy Newport.
Ivy’s not only a highly skilled portrait artist, but a genuinely kind and caring human being too. When she announced her art retreat in France, I had to go. Something inside screamed YES, and when the call comes, I answer.
Perigord Retreats was our home away from home for the 10-day retreat. It’s located on the borders of the Perigord and Quercy regions in southern France. I’ve never been to this area of France before, which made this retreat a perfect opportunity to combine learning and travel.
They aim to curate the perfect environment to make both art and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I had no idea what to expect when signing up, but that was part of the fun. I knew I’d be in good hands once I stepped off the plane, and let’s just say – my expectations were exceeded!
5 Reasons to Attend Perigord Retreats
1. It’s a safe way to visit a new area
I’ve been to France 2 times before, but never the southern part. I walked into the retreat blind – I didn’t research the location and had no idea what type of excursions were possible. There are 26 excursion options that the guest art instructor can choose. Everything from site seeing and shopping, to kayaking down the river. The activities can also be tailored to the group and adjusted as the week unfolds.
The Perigord Retreat family takes care of all the details. You don’t have to worry about food, transportation, or parking!
2. Be wined & dined
I’ve never eaten so much amazing food day after day after day! Angela and Katel were the queens in the kitchen. Their culinary skills surpassed the chefs at local restaurants, leaving us disappointed if we ate anywhere else. Do you know what a blessing it is to not worry about where and what you’ll eat each day? Especially when you have dietary restrictions – this is a huge mental relief.
We had picnic lunches, bottomless wine, appetizers on the porch, and multiple-course meals. I looked forward to dessert each night, never knowing what delicacy was in store.
3. Get 1-on-1 feedback from the art instructor
Perigord Retreats hosts art instructors of many mediums and styles. I attended this one because of my wish to learn from Ivy Newport. However, you can check out their lineup of retreats and sign up for any teacher. This allows you the chance to study under a teacher you may never meet otherwise, plus you get a sweet vacation.
I was in attendance with students of all levels. One woman was even a make-up artist that never painted on a canvas before! So don’t feel like you need to be at a certain level to attend a retreat. The teachers are happy to help you wherever you are in your creative journey.
Ivy planned a variety of projects for us. Some we made in the studio and others we made on location. Each one pushed me out of my comfort zone (especially the landscapes). Some of the materials were new to me, but Ivy encouraged us every step of the way. It was such a blessing to receive her guidance!
4. Meet attendees from around the world
Even though Ivy is based out of Oregon, her retreat attendees came in from the USA, Australia, and Slovakia. Some of the attendees waited 2 years to attend this retreat due to it being postponed from COVID.
I believe that when you step into the unknown, you’re answering a call. There’s a certain magic in meeting others who did the same. You’re set on a course of destiny – to partake in a communal experience and share parts of your story. For learning, for healing, for knowing you’re not alone on your journey.
I met so many lovely souls (retreat hosts included) and I know I’ll see some of them again. An experience like this bonds you together in more ways than one, and now I know even more people in this big, beautiful world!
5. Grow in new ways as a person
A mind that is stretched by a new experience
can never go back to its old dimensions.
– Oliver Wendel Holmes
In one sense, I simply attended an art retreat. In another, I became a different version of myself.
• My worldview expanded. I visited a new part of the world, tried new foods (hello escargot!), met new people, and witnessed new landscapes. I’m amazed at the wonders of this earth.
• I’m becoming braver. I traveled to another country on my own. This would have freaked me out years ago, but this time I did it without hesitation.
• I challenged myself. I went through all the emotions when it comes to making art. “I hate it, this is fun, what a mess, I have no idea what I’m doing, oh that’s not too bad.” I was reminded that I don’t need to put so much pressure on myself. After all, it’s only a piece of paper. It also made me see a different point of view by being the student again, which will help me become a better teacher.
The hosts of Perigord Retreats put their hearts into their work, and it’s felt beyond measure. When you sign up, sure, you’re trusting them to provide the food, lodging, and transportation, but they’re actually looking out for your well-being. They care about how you feel and go out of their way to make your experience comfortable.
We were all sad to leave, which says a lot about the character and integrity of this family.
I have no hesitation in saying – you should attend a retreat here!
With any luck, I’ll be back to attend another retreat, or even host one of my own!!! 🤞🏽