Finding Your Artist Voice Retreat Recap

I’m back from an amazing week in the South of France with Karen Hutton and her Finding Your Artist Voice Photography Retreat.

I wanted to do a quick recap of my week and the easiest way to do that is to share the images I chose to tell my story of the retreat which were presented to the group on our last night at La Verriére.


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The moment you walk through the doors at La Verriére you feel at peace.  It’s a quiet and restorative space.  One of our first ‘assignments’ was to wander around the space and take images of what we saw.  The morning glories caught my eye immediately as we sat down to make our introductions and get an overview from Karen on what the week would entail.


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This would be a week of growth, stretching, learning about ourselves, our health, each other and the area of France we were in.


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This would be a week of healing both the mind and body and I loves me some Tea!  Although I must admit the first thing I thought of when I saw these thé boxes was the band The The.  Didn’t you?  I also now want to find tea boxes like that!


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Meet Lieke Kay.  This woman is a force of nature! You immediately want to tell her your life story, spill your guts, tell her what ails you and be in her presence as much as possible.  So much energy!  Home cooked meals, health consultations and I’m pretty sure she had us all figured out within minutes of us arriving! She is an Alternative Health Consultant with 35 years experience in Nutrition.  There will be more information on Lieke and La Verriere at a later date.


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Calm. Peaceful. Refreshing. Rejuvenating.  What more needs to be said?


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In wandering and looking for things to shoot I was drawn (as usual) to the graphic elements, the lines, the shadows and the simple things.


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We were reminded to keep an open mind, to always look for new perspectives and to open our eyes to seeing differently.  This resonates with me as it is something I try to do at all times, whether I’m shooting or not.  In fact, I’ve recently taught two online mentorship programs helping others to do just this.  Stay tuned for this course to be offered online via my website after the first of the year!


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We wandered around Cannes the first day, soaking in the sun, the history, the people and the place.  All the while looking for new and unique to each of us subjects to shoot.  I don’t shoot a lot of people, but how could I resist this perspective?


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This was one of the first things I saw as we walked up the path on the Île Sainte-Marguerite.  There was a lot of love shared this week by amazing mentors and teachers Karen & Lieke and also by the participants as we got to know each other better.


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Another perspective shot (not all THAT unusual for me), but still fun to play.  Visitors on the Île Sainte-Marguerite, there will be more on this island later as well.


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We are emotional creatures, no?


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Capturing the daily life in Grasse.  A day trip well worth taking!  Again, stepping out and shooting scenes I would not normally capture.


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Looking up!  I have a whole little clothes pin series going on.  This was in Grasse as well.


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Grasse Cathedral was a beautiful place to practice some new perspectives.  It’s really quite amazing what you can see if you only look.


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Grasse Cathedral ceiling.  How many people walk into these amazing old cathedrals and never truly look around…..or up?


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One of the things Karen asked us to do several times was to make sure we got the whole story.  Wide, medium and small views.  Slices of life, slices of the city and scenery.  What do you need to tell YOUR story.   This is one of those medium views – how often do you shoot tall architecture horizontally?


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The smaller, more intimate view.  There was laundry hanging outside many of the windows as we wandered around Grasse.


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Change your perspective (again with perspective)!  I mean after all this is mostly how we saw the laundry hanging anyway!


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We had fun, lots of laughs and enjoyed our time together.  Plenty of light and color this week to feed our souls and our Artist Voices!


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I just like this guy on his bike in Ventimiglia, Italy!  Gorgeous day.  Of course, I couldn’t resist the lines and shadows either!  🙂


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A ‘statue’ in Ventimiglia, I threw a few Euro in his cup and he kindly posed for me!


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These two!  Separate they are each amazing people, artists, inspirational, fun, funny, caring and wonderful women.  Together – I’m quite sure there was a shift in the universe!


So, that’s just a quick look at the week.  There will be more to come, more photos and stories to tell, more about what we learned, what we worked on and what a wonderful experience this was in so many ways.  Thank you so much to Karen for making this happen and for bringing us on your journey with you, for pushing us each to do what we needed to do (except all that forced marching/walking stuff….haha).

What do you think?  What’s your story? We all have one to tell, we all have many to tell!

Thank you all for joining me on my path and being here to read my story of Finding My Artist Voice and the week in France.

P.S. If you’re interested in purchasing prints of any of these images, just click on the image and it will take you right to my website and you can buy them from there!

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Author: Lauri Novak Photography

I have been taking photos ever since I received my first Kodak X-15 Instamatic Camera at the age of 10. In grade school, my best friend's father was a photographer, we got to "play" with cameras and in the darkroom. With camera in hand I was fortunate growing up to have traveled around the US more than most at an early age. Traveling gave me an appreciation for the world around me. I started seeing in a different way, different perspective and appreciating what I saw. As I got older I had the opportunity to travel a little bit overseas which opened up my eyes to other cultures and even more ways of seeing the world. Capturing these views and perspectives on film at first and now digital and sharing them is my passion. I am finally pursuing this passion and as they say - if you love what you do and do what you love you'll never work a day in your life. I see the world in photographs and love that my photography helps others to see the world around them in a new and different way.

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