28th February - 10th March 2016
Arriving in India from Abu Dhabi was surprisingly chilled out. Not sure what chaos I was expecting, but arriving in Goa to see a man holding up a lovely yellow hand written sign with 'Welcome Carolyne Hill' was the best feeling ever!
After driving through various towns and villages to get to Khhaama Ketna retreat I arrived up a dark dirt track and at the bottom of a small gate which looked like the entrance to the jungle, I was left with my rucksack to make my way up (glad I didn't take the suitcase!). At the top I was greeted by Saskia, Sandra and Tiago... what gorgeous people I thought! Then I met David who was also so handsome, looking like Mowgli from Jungle Book! I was shown to my hut which was the furthest out into the jungle... OMG Its proper jungle out here... they were not joking! The jungle backed onto my open air bathroom... WTF...I can only laugh at this point as i'm not sure what i'm more scared of; the Indian clay hole in the ground toilet or the thought of monkeys or snakes or what ever else is in the jungle jumping on me while I shower or sleep in my hut with open windows. Turns out I was just fine and this was the most amazing place I've ever stayed in! I loved my open air shower and the feeling of taking a midnight shower with the trees and stars above my head became the best end to a day ever.
The art retreat was an amazing experience! There were 8 of us in total including David's Mum Suzie. Bev, Lisa and Kat from the Art Academy in London Bridge, Nicky a exec from the TV world, Andrea from Hungary and Alex who both live in London. Such a lovely and varied bunch of people. We had a great time, full of art adventure, beach visits, jungle spice farm tours and lots of eating!
Every day we'd do some artwork under the banyan tree which was a beautiful and perfect setting. Who can draw? Who is really good? I was nervous to begin with, but very soon under the banyan tree we were all getting stuck in and enjoying the adventure!
For me this was a chance to leave the mac behind and remind myself that I can draw and paint and that I enjoy it... I was surprised by some of the work I produced and also felt at times that i'd not moved on much from A-level art! Over the 10 days we were guided by Saskia and David through various activities of painting, drawing, jungle foraging, sculpture as well as various tours to the beach, spice farms, waterfalls and more.
Saskia and David were the perfect hosts and friends to have made. Such inspiring individuals who decided to set up this magical art retreat in the jungle!