2016 Italian Art Retreat Announcement

We’re super excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Chelsea Ward of Sketchy Notions to create an art retreat in the home of the Renaissance. Picture a week in Florence, Italy soaking up all that Tuscany has to offer while creating art in the very footsteps of the masters.

Promo Slide
Art. Food. Beauty.

Come to Italy this summer and awaken your senses at the Bellissima Art Retreat. This is no ordinary excursion, but an adventure of creativity and soul quenching activities you’ll never forget. Your days will be leisurely, with sketching lessons to capture some of Italy’s most gorgeous vistas and vineyards. You’ll experience exquisite wines and learn to cook rustic and authentic cuisine and take time to soak up the charm of cobblestone streets, majestic buildings and the beauty of the Italian landscape. Spark your creativity, try something new, and make a memory that will last a lifetime.

DATES: July 3 – July 9

*We’re filling up VERY quickly and only have a few spots left, so if you are interested, let us know ASAP and we’ll send over more detailed information.
**Deposits are required to hold your spot.

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Florence Sketch Draw Paint Art Retreat Italian Art Holiday Workshop

Florence Art Retreat Italian Art Holiday Workshop Florence Art Retreat Italian Art Holiday Sketch Draw Paint Workshop Lucca Art Retreat Italian Art Holiday Workshop

Posted in activity, art, art classes, Art Retreat, Art Retreat in Florence, Art Workshop in Italy, Art Workshops, artists, breathe, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, Drawing, events, Florence, Italy, learn how to paint, Lucca, Painting, self-care, Sketching, take a break, Things to do, Tuscany, Vineyard, wine tasting, wine tasting events, winery

Picasso Was Right!

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  – Pablo Picasso


Impression III (Concert), 1911, Wassily Kandinsky


Synesthesia is the rare neurological condition in which senses are entwined—it comes in a myriad of forms—smells can evoke sounds, music can evoke color, letters or shapes can evoke smell. It is explained as a phenomenon in which one sensory experience prompts another. One of the more common form of the uncommon condition is called “audition colorée” – the sensing of colors in music and vowels.

A theory, based on research conducted at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, suggests that we are all born as synesthetes, that our very malleable, still-forming, newborn brains are able to make connections between different sensory areas—connections that later become blocked as the brain develops and matures. If this theory is true, babies would have one all-encompassing sense, for example, seeing, smelling and hearing a familiar voice. Synesthesia is thought to be more common in artists than the general public.

Wassily Kandinsky associated specific hues with notes of music. He said, “The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes or dark lake with treble.” Kandinsky left behind his study of the law in order to study painting in Munich after experiencing a strong visual response to a performance of Lohengrin by Wagner. He wrote:  “I saw all my colors in spirit, before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me.”

Kandinsky did not limit his creative output to painting alone, creating experimental performances utilizing many media including original musical scores and lighting to express his experience of synesthesia. The Yellow Sound is perhaps the most famous of these.

He wrote:  “Colour is a means of exerting direct influence on the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays touching one key or another purposively to cause vibrations in the Soul.”

Join us on The Artist’s Road. Members have access to more interesting articles, interviews with top artists, step-by-step demonstrations and discounts in the unique Artist’s Road Store.

–John and Ann

To read more, visit http://www.artistdaily.com/blogs/the-artists-life/the-color-of-sound

Posted in art, art classes, artists, beginnings, breathe, children, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, gratefulness, Inspirational Quotes, interesting, Kandinsky, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, Painting, perseverance, Picasso, Ramblings, Real Stuff, stress, Things to do, Vineyard

Brilliant Article

As artists we live in fear

“You might as well give up.”
“You’ll never make a living as an artist.”
“Being an artist is a great job if you want to starve.” 

These words have been ingrained in our thoughts for what seems like forever, but it wasn’t always that way.

“That’s such a wonderful drawing.” “You are so talented.” “They should hang that up in a museum.”You’ve heard these words before. Unless you are a professional full-time artist, it’s probably been a while. When we were children, we heard praise like this all the time. People are encouraging when we are children. People make us believe we can do anything.

If we want to pursue art as career, that encouragement turns to doubt.“What if I don’t make it as an artist?”No one tells that to a doctor or an engineer, but artists are different.

What happens to that confidence we once had as children? We have given in to the fear. We become scared of what it means, and what it takes, to be an artist.

Here are the most commons things artists are scared of and what you can do about it.


1.) We’re afraid of failure

Failure is inevitable.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how successful you are, you will encounter failure.

One thing we fear more than success is failure. We fear nobody will buy our art. We fear we will not make it as an artist. We fear our gallery showing will be a bust. These fears pile up until we are paralyzed. This leads to the ultimate failure, giving up.

Fear of failure can bring your progress to a complete halt. Instead of challenging yourself, you play it safe. You create the same looking work as dozens of other artists. You stick with what you know, fearing nobody will like it if you try something new.

How can we succeed if we are so scared of failing? We must take on the startup mentality. Startups are unafraid to fail. If one version of their idea fails, they reflect and try something new. This leads to innovation instead of stagnation. Sure, you shouldn’t try to fail, but you also shouldn’t be afraid to fail. This mentality can help you learn from your mistakes and improve your work much quicker.

Things to do:

  • Accept that failure is a part of growth
  • Try new ideas and expect some of them to fail
  • Learn from what didn’t work and adapt your thinking
  • Instead of giving up, or not trying, figure out what works


2.) We’re also afraid of success

This may seem counterintuitive but one of the biggest fears we all have is a fear of success. You might think to yourself,“I am not scared of success.”  You might not have those exact thoughts, but if you look deep enough, you can find signs of it everywhere.

The most common way you’ll encounter the fear of success is in the “What Ifs”. What if someone steals my ideas? What if I can’t find the time to work on my art? What if I don’t know how to price my art?

There are an endless number of what ifs, and they prevent us from doing work. We aren’t worried about what happens if we fail, we are worried about what happens if we succeed. Success means change. Most of us are perfectly comfortable doing what we’ve always done. We are comfortable with what we know. To get over your fear of success, you must first believe you can succeed.

Stop asking yourself so many questions and create the best work you can. Stop the negative self talk and believe in yourself. At every stage of growth, you will encounter more doubt. It’s natural.

The best we can do is learn from those who found success before us. Don’t follow their path step for step. It won’t work for you. What you can do is learn from the mistakes others have made and avoid them yourself. Success will come to those who seek it, so go out there and find your path to success.

Things to do:

  • Define what success means to you
  • Stop doing things that aren’t working and find out what works
  • Get out of your comfort zone and do the things that are uncomfortable
  • Experiment and be willing to fail. That is the only way to find success


3.) We’re afraid of hard work

Being an artist should be easy.

You don’t have to listen to a boss telling you what to do. You don’t have to send every project up the chain of command before it’s approved. You don’t have to dress in a suit and tie and head into work. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean being an artist is easy.

Being an artist comes with its own set of challenges. How do you come up with good ideas? Where do you find people who want to buy your work? How should you price your art so you aren’t devaluing yourself. These are just a few of the questions artists ask themselves daily.

Instead of embracing the challenges and hard work that comes with being an artist, we shrink and avoid these things like the plague. We tell ourselves,“I shouldn’t have market my art. If my art is good enough, people will find it.”  We think releasing good work means we don’t have to create more. We shouldn’t have to do any research or improve our skills because “I am fine the way I am.”

These are all convenient excuses to avoid the hard work. How do you expect to become better if you don’t put in the work. How do you expect to sell more work if you don’t go out there and sell it? If you want to live your dreams and become a great artist in this digital age, you need to hustle.

Things to do:

  • Study the masters and people whose work you like. Find out how you can improve or adapt what they’ve done into your own work
  • Create something daily regardless of whether you have a good idea or not
  • Find the people who might like your work and build relationships with them
  • Ask your customers questions. Find out why they like your work


4.) We’re afraid of being ourselves

As artists, we are afraid to let our true selves shine through. We let the outside world define who we are and what we do. If you take a look at different artist websites across the web, you’ll find the exact same thing. One link will be to a gallery of work. One link will be a resume style list of accomplishments. One link will be to an artist statement that bores you to death.

This is the image all artists try to project to the world. Why are we all doing the exact same thing and then wondering why we aren’t connecting with people? What is it about artists? Why do we all follow the same script and expect a different outcome?

If you want to stand out in the world, not just in art, you need to put yourself out there. It’s no wonder the myth of the starving artist still persists. If we are all trying to conform to the same norms, most of which don’t work, we won’t find different results. Don’t let society or other artists tell you how to present yourself to the world.

Instead, imagine unleashing your personality to the world. What do you do that makes you different from everyone else? It is that small difference that sets you apart from all the other artists. Your work may look like other artists’, but if you are vulnerable and share your story, you just will stand out.

Things to do:

  • Discover what makes your art unique. Do you do anything different from other artists?
  • Tap into the stories of your life and how they relate to others. People love to learn from people who are like them
  • Let your personality shine through. Make your voice stand out
  • Allow your interests in non-art related subjects influence your art


5.) We’re afraid to release work that isn’t perfect

When we are kids, we try our best to get 100% on all our tests.

We studied countless hours pouring over a subject so we could attain that elusive perfect score. Any time we got that perfect score, we were praised for how smart we were.

This idea of perfection society cast on us at such an early age has caused us to nitpick every detail. We criticize our own work more than anyone else. We all want our work to be perfect. Even as people tell us our work is great, we refuse to release our art into the world until it is perfect.

Let me tell you a little secret: you will never achieve perfection. Even one of the world’s most well known artists, Salvador Dali, realized this when he said, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

We can’t let the idea of perfection impede our greatness. That being said, even if we can’t achieve perfection, we can reach for greatness. You will know when your work is ready for the public. When you find the smallest flaws in your work, it is time to let go.

Instead of trying to make a single work perfect, create more work instead. It is only through constant creation that we can grow and become better. Experiment with your art. It can lead to wonderful things. Stop worrying about being perfect.

Things to do:

  • Release work that isn’t perfect
  • Don’t be afraid to leave small blemishes in your art
  • Create new work instead of nitpicking a single piece
  • Experiment and work in things you aren’t comfortable with, it’s the only way to grow


6.) We’re afraid of being rejected

Imagine being up on a stage before a big presentation. You are about to speak in front of a large group of people. How do you feel? If you are like most people, you are terrified.

Even those of who are comfortable talking to anyone, shrivel up when presenting in front of a large audience. What is it about speaking in front of a large audience that scares us? My guess is we are scared of rejection.

“What if I mess up?” “What if they don’t like what I have to say?”  These are the thoughts that creep into our minds no matter how hard we try to keep them out. We are deathly afraid of being rejected by other people.

This fear is just a product of our thoughts. Most people want us to succeed. After all, they are there to listen to what we have to say.

This same fear creeps into the minds of artists.“What if no one likes my work?” “What if the gallery doesn’t want my work?”  We project rejection onto ourselves to soften the blow if we don’t succeed.

To break this fear of rejection, we need to realize that everyone won’t like our work. That doesn’t mean the work isn’t good. It just means people who don’t like our work have different tastes.

If you try to make art for everyone, you are making art for no one. Instead of making work to please everyone, we need to seek those who like our work instead. These are the people who will buy from you and support you.

Things to do:

  • Get over your fear that someone won’t like your work. You will never please everyone
  • Instead of fearing rejection, embrace those who support you
  • Stop creating work that tries to cater to everyone
  • Create work that you love and find those who like it instead


7.) We’re afraid to ask questions

When we are kids, we have no problem asking questions. Just ask any parent. They are barraged with questions from their children non-stop. As adults, however, we take for granted how much we know about the world. We forget what it feels like to have a beginner’s mindset.

How often do we try new things without giving up in frustration? How often do we ask questions in order to help us understand what is causing our frustration?

It is no wonder we stick to what we know. Instead of challenging ourselves, we try nothing new. I think this is why so many artists have such a negative attitude towards marketing. They believe marketing is evil instead of trying to understand how marketing can help them. How do you get past this mindset?

You must embrace the beginner’s mindset and childlike curiosity. Ask questions when you don’t know the answers. Explore subjects without becoming frustrated and giving up. Get over your fear of looking stupid and become curious instead. The smartest people in the world are open to asking questions when they are unsure, you should follow their lead.

Things to do:

  • Embrace challenges instead of giving up
  • Take on a beginner’s mindset
  • Explore the unknown and don’t fear looking stupid
  • Ask questions like with childlike curiosity


8.) We’re afraid to ask others for help

We are all told this lie and we foolishly believe it. That lie is that geniuses live a life of solitude.

We are made to believe that creativity is a lone adventure. We are told that inspiration will strike like lightning, in a flash of insight. It will come out of nowhere and it will be glorious.

We want to come up with ideas on our own. Instead of seeking guidance from others, we toil away on our own, because that’s what creative geniuses do. The truth is creativity is not achieved in isolation.

This is also the reason we’re afraid to ask others for help. We are afraid to ask our previous customers for a testimonial. We are afraid to ask successful artists how they got over the proverbial hump. We are afraid to ask readers to share our work with their friends.

We believe, since we are artists, we have to do it all on our own. What other occupation is so opposed to help from others? What makes us so different from the rest of the world? The answer is, nothing. If we want to take our art and career to the next level, we need the help of others.

We need the help of our fans to tell others about our work. We need the help of our friends when we are going through tough times. We need the help of others when we need a different perspective and a creative spark. We need to break from the myth of the lone creative genius and embrace the help of others.

Things to do:

  • Stop believing in the myth of the lone creative genius
  • Be willing to ask for help when you need it
  • Find your tribe and embrace them. They will be more than happy to help
  • Find out what you need help with and ask for it


9.) We’re afraid to ask others to pay for our work

“I’m an artist. I don’t need to sell my art for money.”

Does this sound familiar? Have you heard yourself or another artist make this claim? Do you believe it?

Are we telling this to ourselves because we believe it or because it makes for a convenient excuse? How many hours did your art take to create? Would you rather continue doing what you’re doing or would you rather make a living off your art?

No, everyone is not meant to make a living off their art, but you can still make extra income from it. We tell ourselves we don’t need to make money from our art because we are scared. We are afraid no one will like our art. We are afraid people won’t be willing to pay for our art. We are afraid to ask people for money.

How do we get over this fear of asking for money? We need to realize that people are more than happy to pay for art if they like it or the artist. If your art touches that person’s soul, money won’t be an issue. They will not only be willing to part with their well earned money, they will want to.

The realization you need to come to is people want to support people they like. Whether that’s because they like you or your art makes no difference. If you can build connections with people through your art, they will pay you for it.

It may seem uncomfortable at first, but if we don’t try we will never know. Instead of excusing yourself from trying to sell your art, go out there and promote it. Find the people who love your art and want to help you by paying you what it’s worth.

Things to do:

  • Change your attitude about needing money for your art
  • Find people who love you and your art
  • Be willing to sell your work for what it’s worth
  • Ask people who like your art to support you buy paying for it


10.) We’re afraid to market our art

Marketing has a bad reputation in the art world. When you hear the word marketing you might think about a sleazy salesman or an ad that has nothing to do with the product. The fact is marketing has been given a bad name.

We live in a world where marketing is shoved in our faces. Commercials are selling us things we don’t want to buy. Radio ads tout products we don’t need. Magazine ads show us the lives we aren’t living.

The good news is, marketing is changing. We no longer need to rely on TV, radio, or print ads to promote our work. We our shifting from pushing things in front of people to pulling them towards us.

What does this mean? In the past, we needed to rely on the gatekeepers to get our work in front of people. We went to a gallery or a music studio or a book publisher to put our work in front of the masses. Our work was pushed in front of people. Since the rise of the internet, we have realized the power of relationships, not only in our daily lives, but in our businesses too.

The method of marketing to the masses is fading. Instead we are seeing companies provide value to their customers. Through social media, companies are now trying to start conversations with their customers. Companies want to figure out what the exact needs of their customers are and how they can help them.

This is what you need to do too. You need to build strong relationships with your customers. This doesn’t mean throwing a picture of your art up on Facebook and hoping people comment on it or like it. It means finding out why they buy YOUR art and starting a conversation around it.

Things to do:

  • Change your attitude about marketing
  • Stop relying on the gatekeepers to do the work for you
  • Create relationships with your customers and prospects
  • Build a community where dialog and action can take place


11.) We’re afraid of the unknown

There is nothing more terrifying than the unknown. It’s the creature that lives under your bed when you are a child. It looms over you like a dark spirit in the night. It is the most likely cause of all our fears.

We let the unknown rule our lives. How often have you refused to try something because you didn’t know the outcome? What experiences terrified you before trying them? How many things are we missing out on because the unknown terrifies us?

There is only one way to conquer this fear of the unknown. That thing is to go out and do the things that scare you. How else can you get over your fears if you don’t conquer them?

You need to face your fears, or you will never get over them. If you’ve faced your fear just once, the unknown becomes known. As a result, a whole new world of possibilities is at your feet. If you’ve been living your life scared of the unknown, your old world will seem small by comparison.

The biggest thing preventing you from growing as an artist is your unwillingness to try new things. You must change your mindset and be willing to embrace new things.

Things to do:

  • Let go of your fear of the unknown
  • Face your fears head on
  • Try new things and expect to fail
  • Embrace your new world of possibilities



The things I’ve listed above may seem daunting and uncomfortable. They should be. As author Brian Tracy has said, “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

If you are struggling with lack of sales or an inability to market your work, these fears might be the cause. The good news is, they don’t have to be. If your art is great, but you have been struggling with finding customers, all you may need to do is shift your mindset. You must be willing to change and try new things. That is the only way to see progress.

-by: Kevin Chung

Read more at:http://skinnyartist.com/11-things-that-scare-creative-artists/

Posted in art, art classes, beginnings, breathe, creativity, Creativity is health, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, Painting, perseverance, Ramblings, Real Stuff, self-care, stress, take a break, thankful, Things to do, Vineyard

Some call it therapy…


Well, because it kind of is.

The act of creating is something we were literally MADE to do. We’re designed to create–whether that be cooking up a fabulous meal, composing a song, building something, tending a garden or painting a picture–we were born with an innate desire to create.

Remember back when you were a kid–or, if you have kids, picture them as little ones–they’re fearless, right? Born creators. They love it…can’t get enough and they’ll just dive right in and can’t wait to share what they’ve made with you. That is, until they reach age 8 or 9 (or somewhere in there). The time when we start learning all the things we’re good at and the things we’re not so good at. It’s those formative years that we start defining our own limitations and creating boxes for ourselves to fit nicely inside of.

It’s sort of tragic, really. One little remark or comment about our performance during these impressionable years can really shape our identity.

I wonder if, when we practice things that we’ve told ourselves (or others have told us) for years that we can’t do or we’re not good at–we might just surprise ourselves? It might just be terribly therapeutic to learn a new skill or practice something long forgotten that was once a piece of us.

It’s one of my favorite things when we’re over at Figueroa Mountain Brew on Wednesday nights when kids come upstairs and watch us paint. They’re enthralled and almost always want to jump in themselves. If not, they’re at least sure to notify you that they love art. I haven’t met a young child yet that doesn’t.

What happened to all of those kids that love art? My suspicion is that that kid is still in each of us…waiting to be acknowledged and allowed to play again.

Come be a kid with us! We’ve got new beginner painting classes starting up the first week of October. This time we’re adding in another medium too–WATERCOLOR! Fun :) Check out this link for more info: 6-Wk Art Classes.

Also–check out this article: Art as Therapy if you’re interested in the idea.

Art + Love,
The Gypsies

Posted in activity, art, art classes, beer, beginnings, breathe, brewery, Buellton, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, events, Figueroa mountain brewery, gratefulness, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, Los Olivos, Painting, Ramblings, Real Stuff, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Ynez Valley, self-care, Solvang, take a break, thankful, Things to do, watercolor

Foiled Again.

Moonstone beach cambria

I mean, gorgeous, right…how could you not be at peace here?
That’s what you’re thinking, right? A day away…in Cambria! Lucky. Best place in the world to quiet the noise and just BE.

Well……….see what happened was….

Everything didn’t quite go as planned. Picture this: waking up to the lovely ocean breeze, enjoying a slow morning in bed with the fireplace on and freshly delivered *complimentary* breakfast pastries, fruits and coffee. Writing, reading…basically the scene looked like this:

Personal retreat, art, painting

Idyllic, right? Exactly. This is going to be the best day ever!

So I throw on my sweatshirt, pour myself a glass of my favorite bubbly and stroll across the street to the cliffs where I plan to just sit and enjoy the view…and of course, “BE.” First sip….yum! But, man, it’s kinda chilly. Brrr…shivering a bit. Oh well, I think, I’ll just bundle up a bit more after this glass.

A couple slowly walks by on the boardwalk, huddled together underneath a shared jacket. I look up and smile at them when all of sudden, from my frigid little fingers, slips the glass of sparkling rose. The ENTIRE glass spills onto my lap. Like, completely. I’m drenched. Awesome! Great start to this “peaceful” getaway. Ugh.

So, first, you’re welcome for the little insight into my self-care trip. And second, I share this because It’s pretty funny, now (less funny then…as I was freezing and ashamedly walking back to my room with sparkling rose dripping down my legs and into my sandals), how perfect this was.

This elusive “peace” and “serenity” that I was hoping to find by going somewhere else–somewhere away from my normal everyday life–wasn’t there. I was shocked (it’s okay if you’re laughing. I’ll try not to take it personally).

My bubbly mishap is a great reminder that it’s not about where we are. Plans can go awry in even the most enchanting of places. Sure, it’s nice to get away, but it’s equally as important, critical even, that we are able to find peace in our everyday lives. Here and now…right where we are.

I have a hunch that the peace and the help we crave is actually somewhere deep within us–not somewhere else. Maybe we already have everything we need right here–within our grasp.

If we can quiet ourselves long enough and breathe, remembering we are here for a reason, remembering that we’re not alone and remembering that someone or something much bigger than us is in control. And keep breathing. Ten deep breaths, I’m told.

I really do think breathing helps this process. Breathing requires that we slow down and it connects our racing minds to our physical being. This awareness that we are alive and functioning really allows us to shift our anxious thoughts to the present moment. It allows us to shift from fear to gratitude. And I’m pretty sure a grateful heart is a peaceful heart.

Speaking of gratefulness, I’d like you to know that I’m extremely grateful for you! My biggest take-away from this self-care trip was that I really love what I do. I was actually really looking forward to coming home and getting back on the journey. So thank you!

Thank you for your courage and for sharing your creative space with me. I believe that creative space is a sacred space. It is incredibly vulnerable and I feel honored to be able to dive in there with you.

I’ve learned more from you than you will ever know!

Love + Art,

Posted in activity, art, beach, beginnings, breathe, cambria, gratefulness, Life of an Artist, Painting, perseverance, Ramblings, Real Stuff, relax, self-care, stress, take a break, thankful

Labor Day Weekend!!

I mean…who doesn’t love a THREE DAY WEEKEND?!

Holidays like Labor Day and the Fourth of July are some of my favorites. You know why? Because there’s just not a lot of pressure surrounding them. These holidays share most of the same benefits that Christmas and New Year’s Eve offer, without all of the stress. No gifts to exchange, no familial obligations to worry about and no grandiose expectations to live up to.

Labor Day, the Fourth of July, and other “lesser” holidays involve the gathering of friends and family to break bread and enjoy each other and the fruits of our labor. I hope you have some fun plans to look forward to this weekend and are building in time to relax as well.

Because let’s NOT labor over Labor Day Weekend….let’s take it easy and enjoy the BBQs and summer fun.

Next week we can dive in head first and start dreaming about pumpkin spice lattes, but this weekend, let’s celebrate and be thankful for what all of our hard work allows us to enjoy.

I’m looking forward to spending time with friends, painting at a new location (Koehler Winery!), attending my first ever polo match and taking evening strolls with friends to soak up the remnants of these beautiful summer nights.

I hope you’ve got something fun planned, and if you don’t yet–join us at Koehler this Saturday!

Have a great holiday weekend, friends.

PS…here’s some great shots from last weekends events!

Things to do in santa barbara, painting, beach activities

Painting in the Vineyard, santa ynez valley, santa barbara, things to do in wine country



Posted in activity, art, beach, beginnings, breathe, Buellton, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, events, gratefulness, holidays, labor day, Life of an Artist, Los Olivos, Painting, Past Events, Ramblings, Real Stuff, relax, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Ynez Valley, self-care, Solvang, stress, take a break, thankful, Things to do, Vineyard, wine tasting, wine tasting events, winery

The Art of Self-Care

Things to do in santa barbara santa ynez wine tasting

“In a busy society where we are told to do more, achieve more, and be more. Often times we forget to really look at who we are and what makes us uniquely us. Self-care is the idea of slowing down and giving mindful attention to what you need. Everyone has different needs and nobody can answer this question for you. We often look to others, compare our lives, consult with Google or fall prey to advertisements that are waiting to tell us what we need. In doing so, with good intentions, we neglect ourselves. Too often we are listening to everybody but ourselves. Self-care is the practice of taking care of yourself (mind, body and soul) and listening to what your unique needs are so that you can live a fulfilling and balanced life.”
-Michelle Bobich Psy.D.

I’m by no means here to tell you what you need, but I would LOVE to encourage you to consult yourself and discover what it is that truly feeds your soul.

I spent most of last year learning to be a friend to myself. To love myself first and figure out what I loved and needed. I know that may sound TERRIBLY selfish, but in reality, none of us can love others well if we don’t know how to love ourselves. Lucille Ball said it best “Love yourself first and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this life.” Or…if you don’t trust her, what about Eleanor Brown? “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the OVERFLOW. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

You know what I learned during that year? I learned that I love art. That it needed to be a part of my life or else I felt like my soul was slowly dying. Well, hooray! Now it oozes out of me…hopefully in an artistic sort of way 😉

I’m not sure what self-care looks like for you, but I’ll just throw out a couple questions to get the creative juices flowing. Is it a glass of wine and your favorite TV show at the end of the day? Is it a weekly yoga class? What about a bubble bath? (I always think it is a bubble bath–but it turns out they’re rather boring to me…so, next!) Is it saying “no” when you are stretched to the max? Or is it curling up with a good book in your favorite chair for a few solid hours? Maybe it’s eating well or getting enough sleep? What about cooking a meal for loved ones? Or painting?! Maybe it’s painting, like me–getting lost in the creative process. Whatever it is–I want to encourage you to practice it. It’s perhaps the best investment you can make in yourself, but it really is a practice. It’s not easy and it feels rather uncomfortable at times, but I’ve got a hunch that “uncomfortablility” is a pretty wise teacher (I know that’s not a word, but you get it, right?).

For me, this week, it’s giving myself a day away–without an agenda, without a plan. A wise friend of mine gently reminded me that I’m not going to figure it all out in a day (like I was planning)–so I probably shouldn’t try. Maybe I should just go and BE. Bam.

She was right. It is time for an intervention–some radical self-care. Just for a day…in a new place…go and just BE.

If a friend of yours desperately needed a break, you’d tell her to go take a break, right? She needs it. She’ll be refreshed and more productive as a result. Well…I’m trying to be my own good friend. So, here I come, Cambria! I’m looking forward to some yummy Thai food, ocean strolls and room service. At least for a night 😉

What can you do this week to care for yourself? To be a friend to yourself.

Hugs, Love + Art,
The Gypsies

Posted in activity, art, beginnings, breathe, Buellton, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, events, gratefulness, Inspirational Quotes, Life of an Artist, Los Olivos, Painting, Past Events, perseverance, Ramblings, Real Stuff, relax, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Ynez Valley, self-care, Solvang, stress, take a break, thankful, Things to do, Vineyard

Sketching, Crawling, Painting, Sipping.

Chelsea Ward

Have you ever done a pub crawl? Well, this was so much better! This past Sunday, a merry group of folks took to the streets of Los Olivos to sip Valley wines and learn watercolor and sketching. Starting at Zinke Wine Co, our guests lounged in comfy chairs and painted scenes of the Zinke building. One renegade painter planted herself on the sidewalk across from Sides Hardware, and kindly asked tourists to move their freshly parked car in order to not obscure her view!  (applause!)

Things to do in Solvang restaurant los olivos santa ynez santa barbara

Chelsea Ward, our awesome new teacher led the crew through some basic techniques and helped each person capture the quaintness. After Zinke, the group sauntered to the park and sketched the General Store and iconic flagpole in the town’s center. And, not to leave a gorgeous day without a little more wine, our final destination, Dreamcote, served up lovely vino to guests, plus a new release of hard cider. Yum!

This was a first for Gypsy Studios (but certainly not last!). Thanks to all our wonderful guests and thanks to Zinke Wine Co and Dreamcote for hosting!.

Stay tuned for another Watercolor Sketch Crawl coming soon. All the wine in the world couldn’t keep us away! (well….on second thought….ha! JK)

Things to do in Los Olivos Santa Ynez Solvang Wine Tasting painting art

Art lessons santa ynez valley los olivos things to do


Posted in activity, art, breathe, Buellton, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, events, gratefulness, Life of an Artist, Los Olivos, Painting, Past Events, Ramblings, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang, Things to do, watercolor

Change is good!


It has taken me just over 47 years to be able to utter this phrase without grimacing in the “I’m saying this because I know this is what you’re supposed to say as a mature adult faced with a huge transition” way. The truth is, change IS good. It’s also packed with complication, mixed feelings, a moment or day (or two) of panic, excitement and a host of other emotions and thoughts. This is a big basket of processing which is not to be taken lightly. At least not for me.
Once, not long ago, I was faced with leaving a company where I had worked for nearly 22 years.You can only imagine the level of anxious, free-falling feeling as 22 years of structure, that familiar path to the coffee pot, my parking space, friends, working dynamics and other notions of security were suddenly gone. I say “notions” because that is what they are….these are nothing short of false beliefs. Nothing is secure or forever. Now, you might be saying “thanks a lot for the pick-me-up, Heidi (eye-roll)”, but I think this is a good reality to embrace.

We will always strive to grasp at things, people, jobs, homes, our corner coffee shop to keep us safe…that’s our human nature. We want to be known, have familiarity, feel connected to things that are predictable. ALL GOOD THINGS. However, if we are not open to change from time to time, we are also setting ourselves up to miss out on new things we can learn about ourselves, about the world, about others. And, we’re setting ourselves up to sustain more damage from the change that is inevitably going to present itself at some point in our lives.

You know how they always talk about car accidents and the people who were relaxed (drunk or asleep usually) sustain the fewest injuries. Those that cringe, tense up, and brace against the impact are the most injured. Sorry if this is a bit of a weird example, but it’s kind of like that with change….only with totally conscious and sober people. If you brace yourself against it, you’ll most likely have a tougher time adapting and seeing the change for its positive aspects. Stay loose and the rug that just got pulled out from under you will leave a shiny new floor upon which to stand. Or that opportunity that causes the fear jitters to start can become the next best, richest experience of your life.

Nothing in this world is secure or forever. And that’s a good thing.

Love and Art,

*Heidi Riehl has been an absolute GODSEND over the last few months and it is with heavy hearts that we say good-bye for now. She will be setting out on a new adventure and we will miss her terribly, but wish her all the best as she explores what’s next!

Posted in beginnings

Capturing Beauty

Painting in the Vineyard, Creativity

What is it about this deep desire to not only observe the beauty around us, but to actually capture it?

Humans are the only creatures on earth who have the ability to notice the space around them, and render an opinion of whether it is beautiful…or ugly…or menacing….or mysterious…or glorious.

And, we FEEL it. Our souls, emotions and minds react to it. We say it’s a good day for a fire, tea and a book when clouds are brooding and the air smells of rain. We respond to blue skies and warm sunshine with a feeling of hopefulness, of being more alive. And, then….we want to hold on to it. From the beginning of time, people have used art to capture stories, images of beauty, pain, nature, love. It seems that it’s part of the human condition.

We pull our cars over to snap a photo of that perfect sunset. We take photos of our food! Our souls rejoice when we view it and share it with others. Artists render themselves obsessed with the bounty of things to paint or sketch or shoot. So many views….so many different times of day…the lighting is changing with every second that passes…that tree, the way it sets up against that particular hill…that tiny sprig of grass…the way those shadows are moving along the fields as the clouds skim by…it must be captured!

What a gift we have been given. Capturing and expressing the beauty around us is in our hard-wiring. We are designed for this symbiotic flow of creation showing off to us, and we, in turn marvel at its extraordinary display.

No two moments are the same. And there’s just something mysteriously sacred and powerfully purposeful in chasing those moments down and making them eternal.

Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara, wine tasting, painting in the vineyard

Posted in creativity