Art Retreat with Erika Lee Sears

Art Retreat with Erika Lee Sears




See how Erika Lee Sears stays motivated to create everyday and grow as an artist as she gives you a sneak peak into her once a year retreat away from "regular life."

Article by Erika Lee Sears

Once a year I pack my car with as many art supplies as my car can possibly hold and take an anticipated art-filled adventure. I leave my kiddos and husband for the weekend and head out of the city and get the opportunity to connect with other women and make something. I feel fortunate that I am able to spend three whole days to just be creative. For a couple days, I can shed my skin of my regular life and immerse myself in just making art.

It's a big rowdy group of ladies and we all have different points of view on art making and everyone has a different discipline. We go into the art retreat with just wanting to make art but we all want to learn from one another. So, we all teach something, and since I am the only oil painter, I am always up for sharing and teaching an oil painting technique.

This year I was super excited to share with the girls my Bee Paper sketchbook. I have been painting out of the Bee Paper sketchbook for years and was thrilled when they wanted everyone at the retreat to be using my personal favorite sketchbook, "The Bee Paper Super Deluxe."  We all used it all weekend long and, as you can see by the photos, everyone was inspired with the amount of paint the sketchbook could hold.

In my teaching portion of the retreat, I had all the ladies make color wheels in their notebooks. You start by making a traditional color wheel which consists of drawing a circle and painting the primary color across from each other. Then, start combing the colors to make the secondary colors. It's a simple technique, but it's a great lesson on learning about color and how to mix oil paint. It's also fun to just play with paint and see what happens!

I can still feel the energy from the weekend and love how it inspires me that the act of making is such a big gift. The best part is in the coming months, I can follow my friends' journeys on how they fill their notebooks and see what art journey they happen to stumble upon.

Erika Lee Sears is an artist, mother and creative residing in Portland, Oregon. To learn more about her journey and work, visit her blog at and follow her on Instagram @erikaleesears. She welcomes email at

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