Daily Itinerary

This is an 8-day retreat.

(You arrive at Rovinj and check-in at the hotel a day before.)

Day 1. Morning of the first day is reserved for rest after the trip and slowly getting to know the surroundings. The program starts after lunch, with the introduction to the retreat schedule and program. You will familiarize yourself with the materials that will be used during the painting workshops, have a chance to try them out and get the first intuition into what you would like to paint or draw.

Day 2. Every day we will start with a guided meditation in the morning, before breakfast. This will give your mind a chance to deepen the immersive experience of the retreat and open wide the doors of presencing, a state used in creative endeavors by artists, inventors, innovators, leaders… After breakfast, the painting class will start and you will be guided by an experienced artist in developing your ideas and painting skills. This will be a Studio class. The afternoon of Day 2 is free for taking a walk in the nature, exploring the local life, sports and recreation activities or further developing your artistic expression.

Day 3. Morning meditation, followed by breakfast. The class this morning is a guided outdoor sketching with themes from the local surrounding. One of the best things that you can ever do as an artist is to go outside and sketch the world around you. Sketching outdoors helps us to see the world with fresh eyes, it sharpens our ability to capture the essentials of any scene quickly, and increases our awareness of our subject. And we also get fresh air and exercise into the bargain! Sketching outdoors is not just a great experience – it can also help you become a better artist. Afternoon, following lunch, is devoted to further development of your artistic expression and skill.

Day 4. Morning meditation, followed by breakfast. We will use this day for a guided study tour with a local art historian through magical medieval towns of Motovun and Grožnjan. These are the two of the most beloved towns in Istria.  Situated at the hilltops in northern Istria, they are surrounded by vineyards and here you can sample the region’s finest wines. While Motovun hosts movie festivals during the summer, a cultural centerpiece of the region, Grožnjan, boasts many artists and musicians, most of whom show off their talents in the numerous workshops and performances. We will visit the UNESCO Basilica in Poreč. The group of religious monuments in Poreč, where Christianity was established as early as the 4th century, constitutes the most complete surviving complex of its type. The basilica, atrium, baptistery and episcopal palace are outstanding examples of religious architecture, while the basilica itself combines classical and Byzantine elements in an exceptional manner. Next stop is the Church of St. Mary on Škriljinah, a 15th century Gothic church. In the church interior there is the Danse Macabre (from the French language), also called the Dance of Death, one of the most well-known series of frescoes and, along with the Arena in Pula and Euphrasian Basilica, the most recognizable cultural monument of Istria. The Dance of Death is an artistic genre of allegory of the Late Middle Ages on the universality of death. We will finish our tour with the visit of St. Foška Curch in the historical stone town of Balle. The narrow and cobbled streets that surround the medieval, 15th century castle belonging to the Bembo family, hide many unrevealed stories. St. Foška’s Church is a three-nave basilica. Preserved Benedictine paintings are probably the most fascinating example of the Romanesque mural painting in Croatia.

Day 5. Morning meditation, followed by breakfast. The class this morning is a guided studio class, dedicated to people sketching, learning to use different materials and deepening the skills of presencing while paining. Afternoon, following lunch, is devoted to profound deepening of your artistic expression and skill. This is the pinnacle of Immersion. Usualy at this point for presencing practitioners, whether in solitude with nature or during an immersive retreat, presencing gives way to a subtle yet significant shift in the nature of our experience. Various metaphors have clarified what is involved perceptually with this inner shift.  The visual metaphor of going through “the eye of the needle” (Dr. Otto Scharmer), “the distributed self” (Francisco Varela), “virtual subject” (Dr. Peter Senge), and “a deep connection with source” (Joseph Jaworski) among others. According to the Bible, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The phrase “eye of the needle” refers to a gate in ancient Jerusalem: For a man to fit his camel through Jerusalem’s gate, he had to remove all the bags from the camel’s back. Likewise, we have to let go of everything and offload all the baggage that isn’t essential. Going through that gate means encountering the two root questions of our journey: “Who is my Self?” and “What is my Work?” The capital-S Self is our highest future possibility. The capital-W Work is our sense of purpose or calling. It’s what we are here on this earth to do. In the evening, we immerse ourselves once again in the local culture, this time guided by a local master chef in a gastronomy and cooking class. Does seafood taste saltier when accompanied by the sound of the sea? This multi-sensory culinary voyage blends art and gastronomy in a way which will tease our senses.

Day 6. Morning meditation, followed by breakfast. We will use the morning for a nature tour – either a boat trip along the peninsula (weather permitting), or a gastronomy and local culture tour. In this way, we further immerse into unknown, opening our mind and our senses to new experiences. All of these immersion points serve to help us encounter and notice the three principal enemies of our natural, open being: the voice of doubt and judgment (shutting down the open mind / wisdom), the voice of cynicism (shutting down the open heart / compassion), and the voice of fear (shutting down the open will / creativity). Late afternoon will be devoted to studio class and finishing your artwork.

Day 7. Morning meditation, followed by breakfast. The class this morning is a guided studio class, helping us to polish what we learned about painting and finalize our retreat. It is devoted to collective presencing, learning from sharing our experiences and through question and answer session. In the evening we will have an exhibition, followed by a group farewell dinner.