There are many things to love about autumn,
and one of my favorites is the annual return to Bon Secours Center in Marriottsville, MD, and Skip's October Mentored Painting Workshop.
It is hard to think that 10 years has passed since I first found Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center. My goal was to find the perfect environment for the best art workshop experience one could have.
I already had the best teacher lined up! Skip Lawrence, obviously!
This location would be, ideally, within commuting distance from our home in Central Maryland. This location should be all inclusive, so one could arrive and need for nothing while concentrating on the art workshop, free to stay with their process without having to leave or worry about meals or commuting. It would be nice if the place was in an attractive setting. Of course, price and value are considerations, too...
From the first time we entered Bon Secours, we knew we found the perfect place.
It is rare that something highly anticipated actually meets your expectations. It is a 'unicorn' when it exceeds your expectations. And to do it consistently after 10 years and 18 workshops is a polka-dotted, roller-skating talking unicorn!
We added an annual March workshop in 2009, and another workshop in August
of last year.
The grounds are like a private park with 330 acres, meadows with deer, woodlands, Zen peace garden, a labyrinth to walk, an ever-changing landscape, beautiful at any time of year.
The facility is a comfortable, quiet, accomodating haven in a busy world.
The staff is superlative. The fact that we see the same people, for 10 years on, smiling as they ask "what can we do for you?" speaks volumes! It is a homecoming every time we arrive the Center and set up for another workshop. The students who return time after time feel the same way.
I know how important the space is for supporting one's best work. This is magnified exponentially when it is a workshop with two dozen people, all digging in and doing honest, soul-searching, risk-taking artwork, when Skip Lawrence is at the helm challenging one to do, to be, one's best. The workshop experience, for me, is a sacred space, and our workshops at Bon Secours are exactly that.
Thank you, Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center for ten great years of creative synergy! We look forward to many many more!
Artist, writer, workshop planner, swimmer, dog-mom, wife...I find inspiration in the serendipitous connections between making a meaningful, beautiful life and making honest art.
All work on this site is original by Diane Santarella Lawrence, unless noted, and is
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Many of the beautiful images taken in the studios of Skip and me are by Joel Kiester and Brian Eiseman of 1513Photo. Many thanks, Guys, for your friendship and elegant work!
And Thanks to my two biggest fans, my husband Skip Lawrence and Rothko the Wonderdog for constantly surprising, challenging, inspiring and supporting me.