“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life” Pablo Picasso
This great artist certainly knew how to find peace through art and the art of well-being. The arts can improve well-being and health in general and, alongside advances in medicine, there is increasing evidence that the arts can significantly improve health and well-being.
Life sometimes seems to have a fast forward button. To slow down and simply breathe is important. I love my job with a passion. It is a joy and a blessing and I am truly thankful to have this gift to share but slowly down occasionally is not only important but necessary.
Yoga and the Art of Well-Being
That is why I decided to take some time out recently and go on a dedicated retreat to help me with the art of well-being… There are so many to choose from out there and it can be truly overwhelming but I chose Yeotown for its completely holistic and sustainable approach. I wanted to find a wellness retreat that would support me in weaving good habits into my daily life. Its focus on yoga was attractive to me because my own practice feels so necessary and nourishing. I love it. Yoga is an ancient practice that focuses on strength, breathing and flexibility. This practice boosts both physical and mental well-being and now seems an essential part of my life.
However busy I am I carve out time to maintain my practice as over the years as a mother, artist and altogether busy woman I have learnt the importance of taking time just for myself. It is difficult to give to the world at large and those we love if we are depleted and running on empty. I think woman particularly sometimes struggle to justify this precious time, but if we do so it blossoms into good things afterwards.
Mind, Body, Harmony at Yeotown
Yeotown was a very special retreat and is created by co founders Mercedes and Simon. They have a deep commitment to health and their passion is infectious. They were truly wonderful hosts and I would recommend their program to anyone. It was a combination of a chic contemporary haven and rural paradise. The program focused on good organic locally-sourced food and was exquisite. It was all gluten, wheat, dairy-free and was beautifully presented and utterly delicious.
There were twelve guests on the retreat and we shared food at a huge wooden table in a room with high beams and scented flowers over-spilling on the table. This was an opportunity to share our experiences of the day and simply relax.
Each day after a yoga there were stunning hikes around the north Devon coast and moorland. Walking is such a good way to de-stress and take care of our physical health. Regular walking has enormous benefits and is not to be underestimated. It is one of the most natural ways to slow down, and saturating ourselves in nature is always going to be good for the soul and bring about well-being.
I now have intentions to maintain many of the good things I learnt into my daily practice as this life is a precious thing.
Home Again to Weave Well-Being into my Art
I know that good habits support me in being a better artist, wife, mother and daughter. To be able to share myself I truly believe if we look after ourselves first it spills out in all sorts of good ways. So these are my five a day:
(Disclaimer: good intentions!)
- Practice yoga daily
- To eat healthy organic food
- Spend time in nature
- To embrace still moments
And of course, ultimately all of these experiences are poured onto canvas in a joyful celebration of the beautiful essence of our human spirit. Art creates well-being and well-being helps me to create art.
My paintings search for harmony and alchemy, they are a choice for something better in the world. My retreat at Yeotown was a profound reminder of the significance of these seemingly small decisions we make and the ripple effect in our lives. Everything I do in my life feeds into my work, so why not attempt to be the best possible version of myself? I know I will fail, of course I will, but that’s not really the point. It’s the journey and I know all the striving towards the light in myself and others will feed into my canvases.
“My painting does not come from the easel.” Jackson Pollock