ART, ISLANDS & CULTURE RETREAT


    A Painting Workshop, Blended With Local Tourism Experiences 

    Research shows that not only are vacations good for you, they lead to healthier, more productive lives, and an increased sense of well-being and happiness. Periods devoted to relaxation allow us to take a break from stifling routines, and living in the moment reminds us to make the most of each day. Our weeklong adventure combines the joys of art making with visits to scenic places, and delightful cultural encounters around town, allowing you to focus on all the things you never seem to have enough time for.

    Students Say It Best

    • Yvette is a fabulous teacher and I learned so much about different acrylic mediums and techniques. Her studio is absolutely beautiful and she and her husband Derek are gracious hosts. I highly recommend the 3-day abstract painting course and I’m looking forward to taking another course from Yvette again! 💚

      –ANGIE HANNA, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

    • The dial in my minds’ eye is set to ‘artist’ and I see the design, lines, shapes and colors in all that I see. I have always been a ‘visual’ person, but the knowledge and experience I gained in these past few days, deepened my perception, wow, what could be better than that? 💚

      –ALICE JEAN RYLAARSDAM, SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA

    • The trip to Bellingham was fabulous. Creative Adventures with Yvette and Derek was amazing, very well-planned and perfect in every way. We were handled like friends with V.I.P. privileges at all times, and left each day wanting more. This was one of my most favorite weeks ever – I’m so glad I went! 💚

      –JANE SACHS RADOFF, HENDERSON, NEVADA

    • All I can say is WOW – This is the most amazing experience ever.💚

      –LAURA GOLD, VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

    • I want to somehow convey how much these days of art and creativity immersion have meant to me. Thank you for your generosity of spirit, your willingness to share your talent, heart, and knowledge to make the world, our community and our place in it, more beautiful.💚

      –ALLISON ROBERTS, BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON

    • My week with Yvette and Derek was beyond memorable and a treasure in every conceivable way. I am wowing all of my friends with details of my visit. Yvette possesses many gifts: phenomenal artistic ability, intelligence, boundless curiosity, and a genuine warmth that pours out of every pore in her body.💚

      –ANN WEISMAN, BINGHAM FARMS, MICHIGAN

    • I could not have asked for a more fabulous vacation than what I received from Yvette Neumann and her “team” during my 3-day Painting Retreat. Her beautiful and inspiring environment was perfect, and the instruction and support was exactly what I needed to progress along my path toward painting more professionally. (It is a very long path!) Yvette’s service was optimal too, including door-to-door pick-ups, fabulous lunches, excellent wines, and some much needed pet therapy from Logan and Amy –  thank you!💚

      –CAROLYN FRY, PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

    • I will cherish my experience at Creative Life Adventures always! Yvette and Derek Neumann made every aspect of our event memorable with a perfect blend of stimulation and relaxation! Thank you for sharing your talents and spreading joy to others!💚

      –DANEEN RACKE, BURBANK, CALIFORNIA

    • The week was sensational. It was just more than I thought it would be. The process of painting was more intricate than I imagined – Yvette and Derek were great. Yvette’s kind encouragement has made me want to paint again, so I’m coming to work with her next summer for a week.  I think I will learn more from her that week than having somebody here for a year!💚

      –SUZANNE HARTMAN, WEST BLOOMFIELD, MICHIGAN

    • Just returned from one of their ‘custom group adventures’–and every aspect was PERFECT!💚

      –LISA OLWINE, LAWRENCEVILLE, GEORGIA

    • The Abstract Painting workshop was fantastic! With Yvette’s encouragement, I felt safe enough to try a great variety of new techniques and to take creative risks. She is a born teacher, and as a teacher myself, I appreciated how she met the needs of all of the workshop participants right at their varied levels of knowledge and experience. I plan to take her classes again because I learned more in three days than I considered to be possible.💚

      –LORI VANETTA, BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON

    • I am still feeling so uplifted from my “week of art heaven” with you. Thank you again for your individualized instruction in your beautiful and inviting studio space, for the decadent and delicious meals, for all the extras – your extra time in facilitating wonderful visits with other artists, book recommendations, and gifts; it was exactly – EXACTLY – what I needed right now in my life!💚

      –JESS ARMSTRONG, GLENWOOD SPRINGS, COLORADO

    • I am still on cloud nine after the extraordinary art weekend with Yvette and Derek. I felt like a kid in a candy store as I walked in the door! A treasure trove of art supplies at your fingertips and the gorgeous work space was “home” for three days!💚

      –LAURA JONES GARCIA, ISSAQUAH, WASHINGTON

    • Absolutely enchanting retreat. From an orca whale watching cruise to relaxing in a beautiful remodeled old barn, the ambience was amazing to say the least. Yvette’s paintings seemed to always follow the lighting of the day. In the sunlight, crisp, clean and airy. And with the sunset, colors I didn’t notice before, warm, comforting and glowing. There’s not enough I can say about this hidden gem!💚

      –PATRICIA SMITH, SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI

    • Thank you so much for the glorious experience.  It was a blast!!  I learned so much!💚

      –ANNIE WINDSOR, PORTLAND, OREGON

    Workshop Description and Overview

    Spend a week moving between lavish days of abstract painting instruction, and days spent exploring nature and other local sites of interest. This experience is the perfect balance between creative work and play, and combines the pleasures of a 3-Day Abstract Painting workshop with 2 1/2 days of leisurely scheduled field trips.
    Over 3 alternating days in the studio, create a personal masterpiece from the ground up using essential painting and composition skills and a design-driven methodology. Working with a range of art materials and a focus on form, color, and texture, apply principles and aesthetic considerations of good design to your project. Explore the art and science of color mixing, glazing, and popular textural techniques at your personal interest level and pace. No need for art materials, tools etcetera – all are conveniently provided. Catered lunches, healthy snacks, and Happy Hour Socials at the end of each studio day, offer an ideal balance of creative expression and socializing in a safe, collaborative environment. This workshop is appropriate for the beginner to experienced painter alike, and strives to meet you where you are in your personal practice and stage of painting experience.
    Field trip days include a Ferry ride to Friday Harbor, and a stroll of San Juan Island artisan shops, where you'll tour charming San Juan Islands Winery and enjoy a wine tasting, and visit Lime Kiln State Park to see Orcas and other whale populations frollicking in the Sound. Delightful cultural encounters in Bellingham include light boutique shopping, trips to Mindport Exhibits, the Spark Museum, and the Smithsonian affiliated Lightcatcher Museum, along with a visit to Bellingham's popular Farmer's Market - a curiosity feast worthy of inspiring painterly ideas. Intimate hosted lunches and dinners at some of Bellingham’s finest eateries provide a relaxing backdrop for conversation, connection and social interaction. The schedule on sightseeing days is somewhat flexible, and typically structured around activity, needs, and specific interests of individual groups.
    The outline of this workshop is loosely patterned after the traditional Atelier model, where a professional painter works with a small number of students to train them in visual fine arts. We've developed a meaningfully structured practicum with many different learning levels in mind, to challenge students of all backgrounds and skill levels within a single class. This enables students to focus on personal learning goals of their choice and discretion in a safe and nurturing environment, without the pressure to produce great art. This lightly free-form approach supports students returning again and again, for the purposes of honing key skills and maturing overall painting expertise and experience.

    Workshop Features


    Workshop Flow


    We offer a full service experience, where each adventure session has been carefully choreographed behind the scenes. A high-level overview of what to expect appears below, with the emphasis on ‘slowing your roll’. Upon booking, clients receive a detailed itinerary and comprehensive information about their specific adventure with us.
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    Our Time Together

    DAYS 1 THRU 7

    In a harried world, the opportunity to 'recharge' is essential. Our authentic Northwest experience combines the love of art, culture, and the great outdoors in a beautiful way. We've fused the pleasures of art making and self-expression with an immersive dive into the local scene. Forays into nature and visits to scenic cultural sights allow you to actively participate in the culture and community as an insider - not a visitor. Be touched by the places you visit and connected to the interesting people you meet.

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    Arrival Day

    DAY 1

    Your adventure begins when you check into your luxurious 4 star hotel on the water. Check out Squalicum Marina and stroll through Zuanich Point Park. Then meet for drinks and light hors d'oeuvres, and be introduced to your fellow adventurers. Make dinner plans at any of the area's fine Marina restaurants, then head back to your room for a lovely tub soak and a restful night's sleep. In the morning, enjoy a complimentary breakfast before being picked up for your first experiential day of studio painting.

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    Painting Workshop

    DAY 2

    Arrive at Yvette Neumann Fine Art Studio to begin work on your very own masterpiece. Divided into morning and afternoon painting sessions, the construction process will be broken down into easy, bite-sized lessons, throughout which you'll be offered invaluable prompts and exercises to support the design and composition of your work. Enjoy a catered gourmet lunch on the patio and a relaxing Happy Hour Social in the Gallery and garden at day's end. Enjoy a quiet evening on your own.

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    Artist Point at Mt. Baker

    DAY 3

    Experience the remarkable transition from Bay to Alpine Vista that scenic Hwy 542 is famous for. Visit Nooksack Falls and Picture Lake. Then stop at the Heather Meadows Ranger station to learn about local flora and fauna. Travel on to Artist Point where you'll enjoy a gourmet boxed lunch. Sketch a while or take a short hike. Then stop in at the rustic town of Glacier for a beer at the local saloon. Enjoy a hearty dinner at a hideaway gem before heading back to your hotel for a good night's sleep.

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    Painting Workshop

    DAY 4

    Continue refining your work in AM and PM painting sessions, as you explore methods for abstraction, composition, color theory, and more. Progress reveals a maturing work, taking form. Another catered lunch, followed by another soothing Happy Hour Social in the gallery and garden; this is relaxed living at its best, and you're now two-thirds of the way to completing your visual opus. Enjoy a quiet evening on your own.

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    Fairhaven Stroll and Shop

    DAY 5 (MORNING)

    Beginning at Boulevard Park, you'll be treated to a history talk on the walk to historic Fairhaven. On the way, stop in at a local favorite coffee shop before heading over to Taylor Dock, a quarter mile long boardwalk and restored trestle over Bellingham Bay that connects the park with the old Fairhaven district. Arriving at Fairhaven, you'll visit Village Books, Renaissance Celebration Glass, Good Earth Pottery, Artwood Gallery and other beloved boutiques on Harris street. Lunch at a local bistro in the heart of old town.

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    Whatcom Museum Tour

    DAY 5 (AFTERNOON)

    After a relaxing lunch in Fairhaven, shift gears and head back into downtown Bellingham for a docent-led tour of the Lightcatcher Museum, a Smithsonian affiliated institution that is sure to delight and inspire you. Spend a little time studying the architecture, designed by noteworthy Olson Kundig Architects, and browse the Museum's gift store. Then head toward the electrifying Spark Museum and Mindport Exhibits nearby - two local inspiration favorites.

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    Spark Museum

    DAY 5 (AFTERNOON)

    Arrive at the Spark Museum featuring a world-class collection of unique objects, highlighting inventions and innovations that changed the course of human history. Let your curiosity run wild with these compelling, interactive exhibits, spanning four centuries of scientific achievement and cultural heritage. Head around the corner to Mindport Exhibits for more fun, or choose to explore some of Bellingham's more eclectic downtown shops and businesses.

    Mindport Exhibits

    DAY 5 (AFTERNOON)

    Mindport Exhibits offers an inspiring blend of fine art and hand-built interactive exhibits to spark awareness and stimulate thinking. This is a great 'off the beaten path' place to immerse yourself in science and art, technique and expression, and a bevy of physical and spiritual modes of understanding the world. End an exciting day with a relaxing, hosted dinner at a local fine restaurant, located in the heart of town.

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    Painting Workshop

    DAY 6

    Finalize painting refinements on your final day, and with plenty of one-on-one help to put finishing touches on your one-of-a-kind masterpiece, complete the creative process begun at the start of your adventure; Tips for hanging, framing, cleaning and more will be shared, along with vendor sources for materials used throughout your journey. A final gourmet lunch, followed by a Happy Hour Social and gallery show celebration closes out the day.

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    Departure Day

    DAY 7

    On your final adventure day, visit Bellingham's Farmer's Market, bustling with musicians, street performers, and local craftsmen. Ample time to explore eclectic Railroad Avenue, with its interesting shops and diversions. Meet for a farewell lunch in a final celebration of your week long exploration and discovery with your new friends and fellow adventurers. Your creativity in bloom, head home in time to receive your newly-created masterpiece, sure to dazzle and delight your friends.

    What's Included


    Art Materials

    All art materials needed to develop your personal masterpiece:
    Level 2 (Artist Grade) and 3 (Professional Grade) acrylic paints and mediums. Sketching + practice materials. Paint apron, brushes, rags and assorted tools. Gallery quality canvas. Supplemental supplies include acrylic inks, pastels + more (Store value $300)

    Local Transportation

    We cover transportation to and from all scheduled field trip activities and YNFA Studio daily from a central pickup point in Bellingham. Students may also drive themselves if preferred.

    Food & Drink

    Daily gourmet lunch, healthy snacks and beverages throughout the day, two hosted Happy Hour Socials at the conclusion of days 1 and 2 in the Studio, and two hosted dinners.
    We work with local restaurants to bring you healthful, locally sourced and wholesome foods. Gluten-free, vegetarian, as well as other dietary needs are no problem.

    Friendship and Support

    Welcome gift and other surprises await you - enjoy our studio library, meditation path, (it's a labyrinth!), expansive garden, and feeding a bevy of beloved 4-legged friends.

    Art, Islands & Local Culture Workshop

    $1125

    per artist

    *lodging and transportation to Bellingham not included

    Check Available Dates
    Please refer to our helpful FAQ’s for additional information about our popular art-inspired adventures. Space availability for each session is limited to just 8 adventurers at a time, so we encourage you to book early. Travel Insurance helps you plan for the unpredictable, and we highly recommend you obtain policy coverage when booking an adventure with us. Refer to our Policies/Limitations page for any questions concerning your adventure tour booking – a $250 deposit is required to hold your reservation. We will contact you about payment arrangements upon confirmation of your booking with us.