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Experience Level



1-3 miles/day


4,000 ft.

Registration Fee


Slow down and observe the small, beautiful details in the world around you. In this creative three-day art retreat, you’ll use watercolor and ink to meditate on your surroundings, filling your very own watercolor sketchbook with landscapes and specimen studies. With guidance from artist Lora Spielman, you’ll explore how to mix paints, create compositions, simplify landscapes, and more. As you learn how to draw and paint outside, Lora will help you build confidence and enjoyment no matter what your artistic skill level.

This retreat is perfect for beginning artists! Start with the basics, and let nature inspire you as you join fellow artists for a fun day of painting outside. As you build skills and work toward creating your own piece of sketchbook, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the meditative nature of putting watercolor to paper. Though these three days will be packed with learning and creating art, it will be a relaxing and fun way to connect to other artists and practice some new skills.


  • Program dates: July 25 through July 28
  • Program location: Yosemite Valley
  • What’s included: An evening meeting (July 25), three days of progressive learning and painting en plein air with artist Lora Spielman (July 26 – July 28), park entry (as needed), and four nights of tent camping shared amongst participants July 25 – July 29 in Yosemite Valley, or upgrade to a tent cabin at Curry Village for an additional fee. There is no discount if you choose not to use the included gate pass or campsite.
  • Camping dates:  Participants can arrive on July 25 after 12pm and must depart July 29 by 11am. There are two shared campsites among all retreat participants. Please be prepared to tent camp. A picnic table, bear locker and firepit are provided at each site. Campsites fit 6 people and 2 cars per site, with overflow parking nearby. Please note:
    • Camping is for retreat participants only. We are unable to accommodate friends and family of participants in our group campsite; lodging arrangements for friends and family are the responsibility of participants.
    • Due to the shared nature of our group sites, we are unable to accommodate RVs or campers. If you desire a private campsite, have an RV/camper, or want to sleep in your car, you must arrange for your own reservation.
  • Campground Location: Upper Pines in Yosemite Valley
  • Lodging: Upgrade to Curry Village for an additional fee. Lodging dates match camping dates. Lodging blocks expire 30 days prior to the program. Information on upgrading accommodations will be included in your confirmation email upon registering.
  • Experience level: All painting levels welcome; must be physically fit to walk to painting locations with art supplies and essentials.  Please be prepared to walk 1-3 miles/day, as not all locations will be accessible by car.

What’s not included:

  • Gear or meals
  • Transportation

View the supplies list.
View travel tips.
View sample itinerary.