Hello Sal and Ellen,
This is a time when I wish I was a toastmaster to enrich and really make my words grab anyone who reads this. But, I am not, so I will go with my feelings, which usually is a good thing.
I have been to many many art retreats (Art and Soul, ArtFest, An Artful Journey, enough to have put myself through art school!) So I can validate what I have to say about my Petaluma experience and what truly placed that experience at the top of the ladder. And I don't think I can say it was any one thing or person, it was simply a warm cloud I walked around in everywhere we were, in class, at meals, in the bar and lobby, just passing by at the pool (I remember almost running into Sal who vented a minor frustration and it was enough to make us laugh...no downer feelings ever coming from either of you).
For the easy stuff, the hotel was fab, location location location. Rooms for classes with lots of natural light and relaxing views; who doesn't love a harbor and dream of sailing out on to the ocean. Fresh air and great food and a very pleasant and accommodating hotel staff. Close to town, and Petaluma has something for everyone and is a charming California treat. I could drive, so of course that is always a plus.
Teachers, well, what a cool group of Artists sharing with us and having as much fun as we were; variety, attentive, productive. When they participated in the panel, wow, that was awesome, they genuinely shared themselves and it just made us all even closer. Because that is what we come for right, to learn and feel the creativity they have to give to us. To get to know these incredibly gifted and courageous Artists.
And having that upstairs rooms to always go to and meet someone new that you had so much in common with! Did I forget to mention the fun we had with the activities you planned for us because everyday just kept getting better, crazy great.
So maybe it was you 2 that made the biggest difference. The way you do business, always pleasant (sometimes hilarious) and profession. The care you show by being there with us, and for us, and for the Artists/Teachers. You support what's going on, you are approachable and just darn lovable!
Art On! See you soon,
Anne C., California