PRIVATE ART RETREATS
Come and Paint with Me!
THE LIFE IS ART EXPERIENCE IN FLORIDA
I invite you to join me for a private art retreat my Life is Art Home Studio on the edge of the vibrant city of Fort Lauderdale. My house overlooks a peaceful pond under spreading mango, banana, and avocado trees. Paint in my spacious, well-equipped studio alone or with friends.
I will pick you up at your hotel and bring you back at the end of the day. We will spend the day(s) creating an art project together tailored specifically to your needs, interests and experience level. If weather permits we can paint outside at my home or at one of the magnificent stately homes or parks in the area.
Each day we will spend at least 4 hours painting. You will have ample time to create a finished piece of art. A light lunch, coffee and/or tea is included. You will receive gentle and supportive guidance in improving your art technique and self confidence. Since all supplies are provided, you will not need to carry any heavy art materials in your luggage,
As an extra to our retreat I can take you on trips to museums, parks, and places of history, interest, and natural beauty in Miami, Boca Raton, Palm Beach, or Naples and make the experience more enjoyable by sharing my knowledge.
Make this special art retreat a part of or the whole purpose of your stay; combining art with optional travel and cultural experiences, for a lot of fun and friendship!
WHAT I OFFER:
a different kind of experience, full of art and discovery, for those who….
are traveling alone, or with a couple of friends
would like a much more personal, flexible, and free experience, and lots of fun, too, tailored exactly to your needs, interests, and level
may want to combine painting with exploring and discovering South Florida with organized trips and tours and really get to know the ‘real’ South Florida
would like to book in for a shorter or longer time than most workshops with discounts for longer stays.
don’t want to have to carry a mountain of supplies in their luggage
The Life is Art Studio offers several different programs or short courses so you can choose exactly the kind of retreat that you would like. Dates will depend on availability but if you let me know your preferred times, I will try and fit in with your plans, or give alternatives. Once you have booked, the studio is exclusively yours.
Booking and payment will be per hour with a four-hour minimum and discounts for longer stays, so you are welcome to book into the studio for as many days or even weeks as you wish.
You can see the charges below under pricing.
You can choose from a number of activities – you might like to choose one of my teaching experiences or courses listed below, you may like to be accompanied or taught particular skills, or you may just want to come and paint with me. This is your choice entirely, and we can easily organize and personalize your retreat
The different experiences or courses that you might like to choose from are outlined below. They are totally original, flexible, and very adaptable to your interests, needs, and level. The depth and amount that can be achieved will, of course, depend on how many days you choose to paint, but much can be accomplished in a short time.
We can easily combine different programs –portrait painting with composition cues and depth of space or you may have your own idea of what you would like to do, and I am always happy to talk about this with you before you come, so I can have time to prepare.
Every experience is geared to help you improve your technique, and self-confidence, have fun, and quiet that inner critical voice in order to love your work and enjoy the experience! I will accompany you at all times as your teacher, mentor and, as you paint, quietly observe and advise.
1. First Steps…if you are a beginner and would like to learn how to paint, I can teach you all you need to get going in a positive, encouraging way.
All about acrylic, watercolor or oil paints and different papers and canvases
All the techniques you need to handle the different brushes and kinds of paint, and how to layer your work to get different effects.
How to mix colors and achieve the color palettes that you like
How to employ a variety of techniques to create interesting effects, and add depth
An introduction to the main principles of art, design, and composition
Deciding on how you would like to begin, finding your inspiration. Perhaps you prefer an intuitive, expressive approach or perhaps you would like a more realistic style, I can help you with drawing, and how to achieve a good likeness using your intuition to guide you combined with some decision making.
2. Painting En Plein-Aire: Level: Intermediate to advanced, Mediums: Watercolor, oil, and acrylic
Painting outdoors from nature involves so much more than just copying the colors we see. This is your chance to explore the many aspects of color theory and color composition that skilled Plein air painters employ. Working outside 3 hours a day and also with lectures, demos and critiques, we’ll explore how you can use complements and analogous hues, focal point colors, color value, and color design to strengthen and expand your landscape painting skills. There are many stunning locations to select from depending on the weather and time of year.
3. Intuitive Experiential Painting: Level: beginner to advanced, Materials: Acrylic, Mixed Media & collage
We will use a variety of approaches to abstract painting as you would a journey, with curiosity, confidence, and inspiration.
How to build up your layers of paint by applying a fusion of intuition and good design and composition, and to find your individual style. How to step back and assess what may be needed in the next layer.
How to improve your brushwork and practice with surface textures to achieve variety and interest.
We will look at the main elements of art and the principles of design like color, light, shape, value, texture, and pattern and explore them as your intuition also guides you.
The importance of contrast as you work and a deeper dive into design and composition.
Above all, the aim is to have fun and enjoy the process, as well as improve technique and learning to develop your paintings!
4. Portrait Painting: Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Materials: charcoal, pen, Watercolor, oil or acrylic
We will start by learning how to quickly and easily draw the human head from any angle using a system created by Andrew Loomis, then layering rich colors which capture the beauty of your subject. We will discuss the importance of composition, color, technique, composition, etc., and the gaze and stance of the subject. You will learn to combine achieving a good likeness with capturing the personality and perhaps even the soul of your subject. You will also learn the importance of backgrounds, texture, simplification, and how to add depth to your portrait.
5. Paint the Buddha's Smile: Level: Beginner to Advanced, Materials: Mixed Media
Use the sacred image of the buddha for your own meditative mixed media painting using your choice of techniques as I guide you step by step. This can also include elements such as mixed media and collage.
6. Embellished Yantra: Level: Beginner to Advanced, Materials: Watercolor, gouache, marker
In Sanskrit, the word “yantra” comes from the root word “yam,” which means “instrument” or “support,” and “tra,” derived from “trana,” meaning “release from bondage.” A yantra is an instrument, or tool, for meditation and contemplation which supports spiritual liberation. A yantra is also a mystical diagram, mainly from the Tantric traditions of the Indian religions used for the worship of deities in temples or at home; as an aid in meditation; used for the benefits given by their supposed occult powers based on Hindu astrology and tantric texts. We will select a yantra for its special power and draw and embellish the design with paint and markers while listening to the accompanying sacred meditative chant.
7. Travel Journals: Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Materials: charcoal, pen, colored pencil, stamps, watercolor, gouache
This class is an introduction to the wide variety of techniques and approaches you can use to capture your South Florida experience while developing your own style. We will gather all sorts of ideas, themes, and inspirations, using all the senses, which can then be recorded in your journal using sketching, color, mixed media, photos, and all sorts of items from your adventures, as well as written accounts.
8. Let In The Light: Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Materials: pen, Watercolor or oil paint
A drawing and painting workshop on understanding how to employ light and tonal value to create artwork with more dimension and impact. Light is the most important factor in determining how and what we see, the mood of the piece, and its impact on the viewer.
9. Clear Composition Cues: Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Materials: Materials: pen, Watercolor, or oil
4 steps to make most of your important decisions before you go to your final paper or canvas. Includes many shortcuts to reduce your struggles later on.
10. Depth of Space: Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Materials: Materials: Watercolor, Acrylic, or oil paint
A review of the cues for making believable three-dimensional space appear inside a two-dimensional format. These can add depth to abstracts as well as landscapes from observation.
11. Discovering your Style: Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Materials: Materials: Watercolor, Acrylic, Mixed Media, or oil paint
Techniques and ideas to discover your personal themes in painting or journaling to make your work sing, resonate and become uniquely and authentically yours. Especially for those who find it hard to generate new ideas, or feel blocked. We will look at working in a series and the importance of layering and developing your composition and digging deep into your memories and experiences and how to apply them expressively and authentically.
A simple snack or lunch will be provided at the studio with beverages.
The recommended hotels have nearby restaurants for an evening meal
Coffee, herbal tea, water, light snacks & fruit
I will offer each person who needs it a ride to and from the hotel once a day
Materials required for the projects in each experience
Canvas up to 16” x 20”
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
I am happy to send your artwork to your home address after you leave at reasonable rates.
Larger canvases, above 16” x 20” or specific shapes can easily be ordered in advance for an extra fee.
Airport Transfer from Miami
RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATIONS (not included)
Alternatively, you might like to consider the luxury beachfront hotels such as Lago Mar or the Fours Seasons Fort Lauderdale about 8 miles from the studio (transport can easily be arranged to and from) or you may choose to rent one of several Airbnbs or similar in the area (preferably within a 5-mile distance from the studio if you need transport, otherwise an additional charge will be added).
I can meet you at the airport (Fort Lauderdale Hollywood airport) on arrival (see below), and take you back when you leave. I am happy to give the occasional lift to the supermarket etc, but I advise car rental if you plan to include independent sightseeing or touring.
TRAVEL & TRANSPORT:
The best airport to arrive in Fort Lauderdale Hollywood (FLL) airport, an international airport served by many different airlines. Miami (MIA) International airport is nearby but about an hour's drive depending on traffic.
I am happy to meet you at the Fort Lauderdale airport if you are coming for the Art is Life Experience, (unless you plan to rent a car), and take you directly to your hotel to rest and relax. I recommend that you try to arrive at least the day before the workshop or studio sessions open, to give yourself time to recover from the trip, though I realize that this may not always be an option for you.
Pick up and Drop off at Miami Airport is $75 each way (per trip not per person)
You may wish to rent a car for the duration, especially if you are accompanied by friends/family/partner, or you want to extend your stay – in which case I will come and meet you at the hotel to check that all is well. Car rental is best arranged with your flight booking, as the rates are cheaper, and you collect at the airport.
At the end of your experience, I will take you to the Fort Lauderdale airport if you are traveling directly from the studio.
Fort Lauderdale is a coastal city located in the U.S. state of Florida, 25 miles north of Miami along the Atlantic Ocean. It is the county seat of and largest city in Broward County with a population of 182,760 as of the 2020 Census making it the tenth-largest city in Florida
Fort Lauderdale is famous for its beaches, arts, culture, and events. The city is the capital of the worldwide yachting industry as well as an important shipping and cruise port. There is Fort Lauderdale's landscaped beachfront promenade, with its signature white wave wall and paved brick path, and, across the street, luxury hotels and restaurants. Its beaches offer 23 miles of golden sand, lively with the spirited antics of happy vacationers. The city was once known as a haven for spring break crowds and now attracts a more upscale crowd of shoppers and tourists from all over the world.
Brimming with charming boating canals, Fort Lauderdale has rightly earned the nickname “The Venice of America”. A trip aboard Fort Lauderdale's water taxi provides a prime view of the mansions and yachts dotting Millionaires Row. Sail the blue-green waters on a chartered catamaran, or sport fishing boat, or dive beneath the surface to meet and greet the local sea life. Shopping and dining al fresco on Las Olas Boulevard is one of Fort Lauderdale’s greatest pleasures, thanks to the trendy shops and prime people-watching.
The Life is Art Studio is located in Plantation a western suburb of Fort Lauderdale near the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. Plantation is known for its green trees and beautiful parks.
THE LIFE IS ART STUDIO:
The studio has tables for up to 6 students. There is also a painting area on the covered porch overlooking the pond for days when the weather is cool enough to work outside. Sliding doors open out onto the patio and sun terrace area, the swimming pool, and the garden with fruit trees for chilling out and a dock for Yoga and/or meditation.
There is a kitchen with a stove and a large fridge for storing snacks and drinks, and a double sink for cleanup with constant hot and cold water.
I have a large collection of art, painting, and mixed media books as well as books on art in general and artists, for people to read and relax – which they can do outside or in the quiet living area, which has a large sofa. This area can also be used for group teaching, chats, and group sessions.
Wifi is available throughout the house.
The studio is centrally cooled and heated. I have tried to make it light, spacious, and full of the ‘wow’ factor with a touch of zen!
The price may vary somewhat, according to numbers and materials, but these figures will apply for bookings of 1 to 5 days.
One person: $100 per hour (4 Hour Minimum per day)
Two people: $85 each per hour (4 Hour Minimum per day)
Three/Four people: $75 each per hour (4 Hour Minimum per day)
Please note that classes usually run from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm (very flexible).
Payments and Cancellation Policy for the Life is Art Experience
You may pay the full amount on booking, or pay 50% on booking and pay the remainder up to six weeks before arrival.
There is a non-refundable deposit of 25% of the total
If you choose to pay in installments, this deposit is included within the first installment
I advise that you purchase travel insurance to cover last-minute cancellations and most unforeseen circumstances
The last installment will be due six weeks before any workshop commences.
If you register after this date, please make the full payment
If you need to cancel up to six weeks before the course begins, I will refund all payments made until that date, minus the 25% deposit. If you cancel between four to six weeks prior to the course start date, then I will refund 50% of the payments, and this will become 25% if you cancel within less than six weeks. However, do get in touch should this situation arise, as it may be possible to arrange alternative courses, or find a better solution.
You can book any trips at the time of booking the studio, and the cost will be added accordingly.
If you would like to stay for a much longer period of time, from over five days to much longer, long booking discount rates will apply. Let me know if this is the case and I will send you the hourly rate for you.
Payment can be by Zelle, Venmo, or CashApp.
I am very happy to chat by phone, email, or Zoom to discuss what you would like, and see if we can arrange this…the whole idea is to make the retreat EXACTLY the kind of art retreat you are seeking. Please email me with any questions, or make a booking, at SusanConvery.Art@gmail.com
The studio has everything most artists and students need for painting. Whenever possible, I will organize extra materials specific to a particular workshop and will advise in advance if a small extra payment is required.
Please ask me about any item you do not see listed, or you would like to try. I stock the studio as fully as possible for a range of activities, such as acrylic, watercolor and oil painting, mixed media, journaling, drawing, and sketching. While not a complete list, the following gives a good idea of the supplies provided:-
a range of smaller stretched canvases and canvas boards (please check with me if you are interested in a specific size/type and I can arrange this in advance. Larger canvases, above 16” x 20” or specific shapes can easily be ordered in advance for an extra fee.
A wide range of paper substrates including watercolor and mixed media
Floor and table easels
A full range of quality acrylic paints and inks, oil paints, and watercolors. If you only work with a particular brand or have a strong preference you are advised to bring a small selection of your favorite materials.
Artisan water-based oils are the only ones I use inside the studio for their ease of cleanup and nontoxic odor. If you need to use traditional oil paints please bring your own supplies.
A wide range of brushes for oil, acrylic, and watercolor
Range of acrylic and oil mediums, pastes, and gels
Materials for printing, stamping, and stenciling
Full range of pens, pencils, and markers, including Pitt pens and Tombows,
oil and soft pastels, charcoal, felt tip, and acrylic markers.
Brushes & bamboo pens for calligraphy.
Basics such as scissors, erasers, glue, sharpeners, and rulers.
Range of found and made collage papers
Full range of brushes, jars, and palettes
Water jars, spray bottles, wipes, paper towels, rags, and other tools
Rollers and brayers. Texture tools. Gelli plate.
Spray varnish and sealants, spray fixative
OPTIONAL TRIPS AND EXCURSIONS:
During your stay at the Art is Life Studio, I am sure you will want to dedicate some of your time to exploring the unique, vibrant and beautiful culture of South Florida. I will happily drive and be your tour guide for a day or half a day at the same rates I charge for studio days.
You may want to consider spending the day sketching or painting on site at one of these incredibly picturesque locations.
I can also combine two or three site visits into a single day trip if you are up for the challenge.
I drive a Toyota Prius which holds a maximum of four people.
Entry charges and meals are not included in this price however, I am happy to select a special location for lunch or dinner as part of the day out.
All payments must be made at least three days prior to the trip
South Florida Art Attractions:
Founded in 1958, NSU Art Museum is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs encompassing all facets of civilization’s visual history. In 2008, the Museum became part of Nova Southeastern University, one of the largest private research universities in the United States. The Museum is in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale’s active Arts and Entertainment District, the Museum is a short walk to the shops, restaurants and galleries of vibrant Las Olas Boulevard as well as to the picturesque Riverwalk waterfront promenade. NSU Art Museum’s 83,000 square-foot building contains 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 256-seat auditorium, a Museum Store, and a Cafe.
Flamingo Gardens is a 60-acre, not-for-profit wildlife sanctuary, aviary, zoo, and botanical garden located just west of Fort Lauderdale, Florida at 3750 South Flamingo Road, Davie, Florida, United States. It is open to the public for a fee
is accredited by the American Association of Museums and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 35-acre historic estate on Fort Lauderdale Beach is an extraordinary blend of art, history, and nature. The whimsically-designed house was built in 1920 and was home to artists Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett.
With 2.5 miles of beautiful beaches, an iconic pier and lovely ocean vistas, Lauderdale by the Sea is a small community that attracts visitors from around the world. Here low-rise downtown buildings and mid-century modern architecture exude old Florida charm, even as they celebrate the town’s present-day connection to the ocean — most hotels, restaurants and shops are just a few minutes’ walk from Anglin’s Square, a charming oceanfront gathering place.
Since opening in 1977, Morikami has been a center for Japanese arts and culture in South Florida. With magnificent gardens, rotating exhibitions, tea ceremonies educational outreach programs, and Japanese traditional festivals celebrated by the public several times a year, Morikami strives to spread appreciation for the living culture of Japan.
Founded by artists, the Boca Raton Museum of Art was established in 1950 as the Art Guild of Boca Raton. The organization has grown to encompass an Art School, Guild, Store, and Museum with permanent collections of contemporary art, photography, non-western art, glass, and sculpture, as well as a diverse selection of special exhibitions. The museum is located at 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, Florida in Mizner Park
The Norton Museum of Art is an art museum located in West Palm Beach, Florida. Its collection includes over 8,200 works, with a concentration in European, American, and Chinese art as well as in contemporary art and photography. In 2003, it overtook the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, in Sarasota, and became the largest museum in Florida
Nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami is Hollywood, a classic Florida beachtown that’s enchanted visitors since the 1920s. A trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Winner, Hollywood Beach features a one-of-a-kind oceanfront promenade called the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk that stretches nearly two and a half miles along the Atlantic. Named one of America’s Best Beach Boardwalks by Travel + Leisure magazine, this brick-paved thoroughfare is a haven for joggers, bicyclists, roller-bladers and all who’d prefer to take in the action from the comfort of one of the countless eateries and cafés along the way.
WMODA is a non-profit museum founded in 2014 by Arthur Wiener and his family to inspire appreciation and understanding of ceramics and glass as art forms. This remarkable legacy enables us to celebrate an important aspect of our cultural heritage in an exciting and enjoyable environment.
The Wynwood Walls are a series of murals in Miami in the warehouse district of Wynwood. It is one of the largest open-air art installations in the world.
It all began in 2009 when the late Tony Goldman used the walls of the warehouses as canvases for artists to create art. He successfully built a bustling community out of the ashes of a forgotten neighborhood. What started with the 25th-26th Street complex has grown into a bustling art district. Every wall has been transformed into a giant canvas,
The Miami Design District is a neighborhood dedicated to innovative fashion, design, architecture, and dining experiences. The Miami Design District embodies a singular dedication to the unity of design, fashion, art, and architecture, and a commitment to encouraging a neighborhood comprised of creative experiences.
MOCA North Miami presents contemporary art and its historical influences through exhibitions, educational programs, and collections. Inspired by its surrounding communities, MOCA connects diverse audiences and cultures by providing a welcoming place to encounter new ideas and voices and nurturing a lifelong love of the arts.
A breathtaking Gilded Age estate on Biscayne Bay surrounded by ten acres of formal gardens, a mangrove shoreline, and rockland hammock. Be inspired by Vizcaya’s natural beauty, connect with Miami’s past and discover this unique cultural gem. A National Historic Landmark, Vizcaya offers an experience to delight your senses.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an 83-acre botanic garden with extensive collections of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees, and vines. It is located in the city of Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, just south of Miami, surrounded at the north and west by Matheson Hammock Park. There are many wonderful spots perfect for Plein-Aire painting, a nice cafe, a butterfly pavilion, and frequent special events..
The Miami Beach Boardwalk is a must-see when visiting the Miami, Florida area. It is a beautiful and scenic pathway that stretches uninterrupted from the southern point of South Beach (South Pointe Park) northward for 7 miles to the Surfside border! You can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Atlantic ocean on one side and views of lavish Miami Beach hotels, condos and parks on the other.
one of the foremost fine art museums in Southwest Florida. Emphasizing modern and contemporary art, the museum hosts several traveling exhibitions annually to complement installations of works from its permanent collections.
a 170-acre world-class garden paradise that features the plants and cultures of the tropics and subtropics between the latitudes of 26 degrees North and 26 degrees South including Brazil, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Florida. The Garden also offers 90 acres of beautifully restored natural habitats and walking trails.
Susan Convery is a Florida-certified art teacher/coach who recently retired from teaching advanced drawing and painting to high school students at American Heritage School in Plantation, FL.
She now enjoys leading art workshops & art adventures at home, around the country and overseas. Susan continues to guide private students in portfolio development online and from home.
Her home studio is a place for people interested in art to come and paint, and also to find fun, friendship, and growth, to have a unique experience.
Most of all, this is an opportunity for her to get to know every student, to make individual connections, to share her passion for all things art related, and to present the studio both as a venue and a place of retreat.
This venture has given her new energy, focus, and a renewed zest for life!
Susan was raised on Martha’s Vineyard, and is a fourth-generation native and artist. She moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1997 where she now lives with her two sons. She sees herself as adventurous, creative, optimistic, a born survivor, strong and independent. Susan is hopelessly addicted to traveling. She spent much of her twenties exploring the world and trying out a variety of careers. Susan enrolled in graduate classes in art at the Boston School of the Museum of Fine arts, and at 40 she shifted her concentration to watercolor painting with Dianne Nance, a local artist. and watched her passion evolve into the focus of her life. Susan studied teaching at Broward College and developed her knowledge through intense reading, practice, and a vast array of in person and online workshops. She paints mainly in watercolors and has created a number of unique composition techniques which she incorporates into her teaching and work.
Come and paint with me!