Awakening the Creative

Sept 15 – 20


Stewart Cubley

Stewart Cubley

Sept 15 – 20
Add 5 nights all-inclusive lodging and meals
Sept 15 – 20
September 20, 2019 1:00 pm
Retreat Type
Creative ExpressionCreative Expression
Featured PresentersFeatured Presenters
Retreat Goals
Get HappyGet Happy
Personal DevelopmentPersonal Development


The language of image, form, and color is like drinking from the source of a great wild river —exhilarating and deep beyond imagining.


Painting challenges us to let go into the unfolding, ongoing movement of creativity with all its surprises, delights, and vulnerabilities.


We invite you to explore the art of “process painting” with its founder Stewart Cubley. Discover a practice that focuses on the creative act itself and experience of painting, without concern for talent, skill, or accomplishment. “Process painting” allows you to transcend the rules and go beyond who you thought you were, taking you on a journey of inspiration, growth, and change. It is a practice of equanimity, presence, and learning to stay present in the face of whatever arises.

Through a series of painting sessions, group discussions, and presentations, you will experience:

  • A nurturing studio environment without critiques, analysis, or judgment of the creative work; only individual attention and gentle guidance.

  • The discovery of a creative voice that is entirely your own. Learn to trust your intuitive perception, not the mind’s critical chatter.

  • The instinctive intelligence of your imagination and how to use it as a doorway to deeper understanding.

  • How the creative process of painting can be used to overcome blocks in the mind and guide you towards a genuine path to spiritual awakening.

The experience of painting is far more important than the outcome. This workshop will outfit you with the tools and mindset to surpass artistic struggle so you can continue your creative process at home.

Items to bring: Comfortable shoes for moving and standing, water bottle, notebook or journal. If you’ve been working with a facilitator online or in a previous workshop, please bring your unfinished painting with you.

Open to all.


In this expressive painting workshop, everyone is a beginner. Whether you are a veteran painter or are picking up a paintbrush for the first time, the experience is about creative process and free expression, rather than technique, training, or expertise.


“Process painting” is suitable for people of all disciplines and experiences.

All materials provided.

CEUs available for therapists and nurses.



Through The Painting Experience, I have located crannies of resistance in my mind and opened them up. I’ve been freed from concepts of inadequacy, from limiting opinions of what’s beautiful, from censoring emotions and desires. At one point I bolted from the workshop to finish writing a chapter that had been giving me much difficulty and was suddenly revealed as my brush stroked the paper. ~ Natalie Goldberg, author & teacher

For as long as I have been teaching mindfulness, I have also been painting and exploring creative expression as a vital part of my spiritual life.  Just as we meet ourselves with mindfulness on the cushion, we also meet ourselves in the moment-to-moment movement of the brush on the page.  Stewart Cubley knows the delicate skill of entering the process with you and guiding you ever so gently and playfully into the deeper waters of your soul’s exploration.  The result is an expansion of being and creative possibility.
~ Anna Douglas, Spirit Rock teacher

I came to the Painting Experience a non-painter. I thought I would be staring at a blank canvas all week. But once I started painting I hardly stopped, losing track of time and place. A dormant, non-verbal self woke up and expressed a missing piece that I didn’t know was there. I am now painting everyday, starting to write again, and carry around an idea journal with me everywhere I go. 
~ Tammy Parks

 I wanted to thank you again for a terrific workshop – which, in case it wasn’t obvious, in the space of just a few days transformed my former feelings of anxiety and ambivalence about “”doing art”” into just plain fun — with a little residual anxiety still sprinkled in for extra energy. I’m really happy with the experience I had and a new appreciation for the creative process that it encouraged. 
~ David E


cubley bio image

Stewart Cubley

Stewart Cubley is a pioneer of “process painting” with over four decades of experience. His method is one of respectful questioning, inviting you to extend yourself into new areas of thought and feeling. Stewart travels throughout the world, teaching his unique approach to thousands of people at personal growth centers such as the Esalen Institute and the Omega Institute. He has brought his work to multinational corporations, programs in prisons, and many other public forums and is the co-author of Life, Paint & Passion, Reclaiming the Magic of Spontaneous Expression. He and his wife, Shae Irving, live in Fairfax, California and spend part of the year on their homestead near Denali Park, Alaska.  Learn more here:


matt belay headshot

Matt Belay, Senior Facilitator

Matt Belay worked with The Painting Experience since 2004. He has travelled extensively with the founder, Stewart Cubley, organizing and teaching workshops and retreats throughout the United States and Canada. Matt’s original training was in Landscape Architecture and he’s a creative builder with a special genius for bringing an inner vision to completion in reality.  He and his wife, Ginger Belay, live in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Rooms & Pricing

All options include daily vegetarian meals from dinner on the night of check-in through lunch on the day of checkout. (Rates below are per person.)

Private Hotel Room


$273/Night/Per Person

The private hotel room features either a king bed or two full beds, a flat screen TV, a refrigerator, a private bath and complimentary wifi.

Shared Hotel Room (2 People)


$216/Night/Per Person

The shared hotel room features either a king bed or two full beds, a flat screen TV, a refrigerator, private bath and complimentary wifi. One other person of the same gender will share the room with you.


Private Retreat Room


$210/Night/Per Person

The private retreat room has twin beds, a private bath and complimentary wifi.

Shared Retreat Room (2 People)


$175/Night/Per Person

The shared retreat room has twin beds, a private bath and complimentary wifi. One other person of the same gender will share the room with you. 


Shared Retreat Room (3 People)


$155/Night/Per Person

The shared retreat room has twin beds, a private bath and complimentary wifi. Up to two more people of the same gender will share the room with you.



Awakening the Creative: The Painting Experience

September 15th-20th, 2019 


Your Program Session Times (subject to change)

Arrival Day 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Monday – Thursday 9:30 am – 12:30 pm; 2:00pm – 4:00 pm; 8:00 – 9:30 pm

Departure Day 9:30am – 11:30 am (Room check-out is 11 am; Luggage can be held at reception) 

Arrival Day 4:00 pm Check-in begins; Rooms are ready by 4:00pm, but if you arrive early we will hold luggage at Reception. 6:00-7:00 pm Dinner 7:00-7:20 pm Guest Orientation Session (Venue: Dining Hall) 

Optional Onsite Activities

We hope you enjoy your stay with us at the Art of Living Retreat Center. While here, we invite you to immerse in the quiet peace of the Blue Ridge Mountains and connect with yourself. Apart from the activities in your program schedule, there are also opportunities to join daily yoga and meditation classes, restorative Ayurvedic spa treatments, guided hiking trails, pottery classes, evening Kirtans, the outdoor labyrinth or the weekly Bonfire. Here are more details for your stay: 

Optional Complimentary Activities (Please join only if above mentioned Program schedule permits)

7:30-8:30 am Hatha Yoga Class (Venue: Geeta Hall) During Program Dates only 9:45-10:45 am/4:15-5:15 pm Hatha Yoga Class (Venue: Sattva Studio)

11:00 am-12:00 pm Mind and Meditation Session (Venue: Sattva Studio)

1:30-2:00 pm Yoga Nidra (Venue: Sattva Studio)

Saturdays and Sundays only

2:00-3:15 pm Property Tour (Starts at Reception) Saturdays only

1:30-2:30 pm/3:00-4:00 pm Guided Nature Walk (Starts at Reception) Saturdays only

5:30-6:00 pm Guided Meditation Session (Venue: Sattva Studio)

7:30-8:15 pm Meditative Chant/Kirtan (Venue: Sattva Studio)

8:30-10:00 pm Bonfire (Below Veda 2; Weather permitting) Saturdays Only 


7:30-9:30 am Breakfast

12:00-2:00 pm Lunch (included on your departure day)

6:00-7:30 pm Dinner 

Ayurveda Spa Appointments We invite you to also make reservations at our award-winning Shankara Ayurveda Spa before arrival, in order to ensure availability. Please call (828) 264-8382 for details. 

Our Clay Studio is open Thu-Sun; Hand-building classes and Throwing classes are available by appt. Clay pieces can be glazed and shipped back as well. Please contact our front desk to make an appointment. 


639 Whispering Hills Rd, Boone, North Carolina 28607

Discover deep rest and rejuvenation in our tranquil sanctuary set amidst 380 pristine acres high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Boone, North Carolina—the perfect place to begin your journey to wellness.

NOTE Avoid using GPS—it will take you up a private road to a locked gate.  Please use the directions provided on this site.

Distance from Nearest Airport

Two hours by car without traffic


For room reservations, spa retreats, and Art of Living Retreat Center (AOLRC) signature retreats, we have the following cancellation policy:

  • Refunds are available (less a $50 processing fee) up to eight days before your program or stay.
  • Nonrefundable credit toward a future AOLRC program or stay (less a $50 processing fee) is available if you give notice between seven and one day(s) before your program or stay. Credit may be applied to any AOLRC program or stay for one year following date of issue.
  • No credit or refund is available if you cancel on the arrival day, if you do not show up, or if you leave an event early for any reason. No refund will be available if you attend a program and are dissatisfied with its presentation or content.  AOLRC reserves the right to cancel a program at any time. If AOLRC cancels a program, you will receive a full refund.  Some programs may have special cancellation policies; see individual workshop descriptions.  For all other retreats, please be sure to check the registration page specific to that retreat.

To encourage a healthy environment we ask that guest to not consume alcohol or meat in our public spaces, however, guests may enjoy these items in their rooms.

Our property is always smoke-free.

Yes, we ask that guests with food allergies simply inform us so we can communicate those needs to our chef. Typically, we label potential allergens such as gluten, dairy, and nuts.

Add 5 nights all-inclusive lodging and meals

Art of Living Retreat Center

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A Mountaintop retreat in Boone, NC

Learn more about upcoming workshops to help you towards deep rest and rejuvenation in the pristine natural setting of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Boone, North Carolina.

Couples Getaway

(Sample Schedule)


  • Gaze at the sunrise while filling your lungs with fresh mountain air and reminisce on the moments that connected you.
  • Bring a new level of calm and balance to your relationship with a Yoga or Meditation class.
  • Enjoy a delicious whole-foods breakfast together.
  • Walk or hike one of our beautiful nature trails and reconnect with each other, nature, and oneself.


  • Share a healthy and nutritious lunch.
  • Make a new memory by taking a workshop or educational class, or create a new experience together with a pottery*, watercolor painting, or cooking class (*additional cost).
  • Reduce tension and stress with a couple’s or individual Ayurveda spa treatment. Choose from the widest selection of Ayurvedic therapies in the US for whole-body nourishment and renewal.
  • Unwind in the sauna together.


  • Stop by our bookstore and explore our collection of self-care and spiritual resources or spend time reading in the cafe.