We had fabulous weather for the Sketching as Prayer retreat two weeks ago, so all of the participants and I spent quite a bit of time outside on the beautiful grounds of Holy Cross Monastery. The cloisters are lovely, peaceful places from which to look down over the fields to view the river and the hills on the far side of the river. There are also numerous places to sit, either on strategically placed benches or on convenient rocks or fallen trees by the river, where one can relax to the lapping of river waves, while watching boats and birds pass by. Once when I was sketching by the river I heard light steps behind me and turned to see a doe walking in my directions. I sat very still, and she came to about six feet from me and started browsing on low branches before she saw me. She startled and ran a short distance, then stopped to study me before ambling slowly on her way.
The monastery was in retreat silence, so other than in our meeting room and over dinner, there was no conversation in the building or on the grounds, so we had a very peaceful, meditative atmosphere– perfect for our retreat! I had prepared short power point presentations for each session, which included discussion of the various topics and approaches, and then we all dispersed to sketch and pray or meditate and just to enjoy our time of retreat.
Here are a few of my sketches (click on the image in order to view larger image):