When I left the corporate world of Deloitte, I was craving something creative and decided to apply for an Art Foundation. And not just at any College, either. I set my sights on Central Saint Martins, one of the most competitive but also most creative colleges in London. I decided to contact a teacher who I had taken a short course with at CSM one Summer – a Polish artist called Ewa Gargulinska. Her course was called Expressive Painting and involved no objects or still lives – only our imaginations. There’s something very therapeutic about painting from the psyche.
Ewa decided to help me prepare a portfolio for my application, which turned out to be a much more massive undertaking than I had anticipated, including 3D sculptures of Physics (drawing on my undergraduate degree) and memories of the faceless suits that marched by during my morning commute.
Unfortunately, my application wasn’t successful but I felt like I was already on a Foundation with Ewa, so we continued to work together until I found myself painting with her in the Polish countryside.
I produced my favourite piece of work at the start of the trip, perhaps because I really noticed the difference since many lessons in Ewa’s Richmond studio (the route to which is sketched below).
Working with Ewa involves a deep exploration of imagination and we start by painting a background, usually a greyish colour (sometimes with a suggestion of something else) and once that is dry we see what forms emerge. These figures came through in my first piece:
I’ll leave their meaning to your imagination! Ewa taught us (as we critiqued each other’s work) that the artist should remain quiet so as not to influence the interpretation of others. The trip also included authentic Polish cuisine and a walk through the mountains in Zakopane, which ended here:
I always thought of The Yoga Barn as the place for yoga in Ubud, until I was recommended to Intuitive Flow by Roam (the coliving space I’m staying at here in Ubud).
Intuitive Flow is a much more intimate experience, with smaller classes that overlook breathtaking Bali views. I tried a new style of yoga called Nidra, which is described as a form of relaxation that takes one beyond the limitations of their mind… Obviously I was interested! The teacher, Sandi, had a happiness that stretched to his students and reminded us to not stress out trying to relax!
I returned today for a little late-afternoon Yin with a teacher called Kay. As we held different postures in the typical Yin style, she gave a stream-of-consciousness sort of dialogue about her interpretation of the nature of the mind, which was fascinating. I was taken to a place of deep relaxation and (probably due to the heart-opening nature of the postures) felt a deep compassion but surprisingly towards myself!
Daylesford has it all: a shop that sells everything from farm-fresh food to beautiful homeware, a holistic spa and a restaurant serving sustainable produce. Its about an hours drive from London, making it the perfect escape from the city.
Waiting at the spa
Lunch is included in the Haybarn Destress package (that also includes a facial or massage!)
I opted for a selection of salads – super greens, heritage beet slaw and toasted grains. It tasted so fresh, like it had just been picked from a farm – oh wait..