I recently attended a wonderful retreat with the graduates of the 2013 and 2014 Creative Visionary Mentoring Program with our mentor, Nicholas Wilton. It was graciously hosted by one of the mentees on her family’s beautiful cattle ranch in California.

Before the retreat, I wondered how it would go. Bringing together 20 adults for 3 days and 3 nights, half of whom had never met before.

There were early morning hikes, breakfast and then a walk to the big red barn at the top of the hill to paint all day. There were demonstrations, information-sharing and one-on-one feedback sessions. We ate delicious food, drank wine, danced a bit and took a joyful jeep ride to watch the sun set.

But what was really amazing was the community that was created. Just like in my mentorship in 2012, when all of my fellow mentees met for the first time, there was an immediate connection. Initial conversations were already way below the surface. We all had similar feelings, we all faced the same struggles and challenges. We spoke the same language and often finished each others sentences, even if silently. This has been incredibly validating to me as an artist.

The thought of being an artist always intrigued me. Being alone with my thoughts and my paints and my music turned up loud sounded like a lot of fun. And, oh, is it ever! But, at times it can also be isolating. One of the many things I’ve learned through this mentorship is to keep filling up my tank and to connect and share with other artists. You can go to school to learn how to paint, but they don’t teach you how to be an artist. Other artists teach you that.

I’m so grateful to my tribe for their courage, vulnerability, generosity, inspiration and spirit.

In gratitude,