Re-treat the Voice of the Artist

Photo Courtesy of MasterDabblers

By Glendalys Medina

Retreats can take many forms, so I ask myself what are they essentially? Aren’t they just structured moments to allow the flash of inspiration to strike? All of us need time alone for reflection. To ask ourselves such questions as ‘Who am I? What do I want? What does this mean?’ and ‘How am I going to achieve my dreams?’ We all seek our inner being, whose voice can be easily drowned out if not cultivated. To keep in touch I have learned to slow–down, to think and listen before I speak, to keep a close eye on what I let out into the universe. A mind with mental clarity and focus is a powerful tool, so it can only help to learn to control it right?

So let me ask you this, have you ever been creatively stuck, emotionally stuck, mentally stuck or any type of stuck? If you are alive then the answer to this question I assume is yes. Life is a beautiful adventure and the best adventures have great challenges. One must collect an arsenal of tools to overcome these challenges and reach the mountain of inner stillness, to become the vehicle of purposeful creation. I write this post today to share with you a tool that came to me when I was all of the above STUCK. The tool is simply silence.


This practice was introduced to me by Jessica Kung Dreyfus and Stephane Dreyfus in late 2012 while I was a visual arts fellow at the American Academy in Rome. I was in my 4th month of an 11-month residency and I hadn’t made a thing. I was completely overwhelmed and emotionally and mentally exhausted. I had all this time and space and inspiration was on a vacation. I couldn’t hear myself and I craved solitude. So I gave it to myself and with written instructions from Jessica and Stephane I went on a silent retreat for four days in my very own studio at the Academy. I kept a schedule, gave myself some basic tools to make artwork, had meals brought to me, said no to my computer and started playing. In those four days I learned a lot about myself, I felt completely free and energized, everything calmed down and I began a completely new body of work that I am still working on today. Inspiration finally struck!


Glendalys Medina “Alphabet Series: #6 of 26, (F)” Pencil and marker on paper. 126cm x 172cm 2013

Since then MasterDabblers has been working with Jessica Kung Dreyfus and Stephane Dreyfus to bring and share with you this transformative gift called ‘Unspoken’. ‘Unspoken’ is a silent retreat-in-box that contains everything you need to begin your retreat today.  I must tell you that this practice has been a godsend and has become a frequently used tool in my arsenal. So, if you are in need of this priceless gift today or you want to arm yourself for the next rainy day  please visit


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The Clothes We Wear

Courtesy of Samantha Palmeri

Courtesy of Samantha Palmeri

“What’s the saying, the clothes make the man?” The saying refers to what others will think about you based on what you’re wearing, but in this case, I’m talking about the clothes actually causing one to act differently, making the man, or for me, the woman.


A few years ago I purchased my first workman’s coveralls for painting in my studio. At the time I was sick of ruining all my clothes with oil paint. I’d go into the studio at night just to sit and look at the day’s work, and I’d get up with paint all over my pants. At one point I couldn’t even enter my studio unless I put on my studio slippers because the floor was so filled with splattered paint. More importantly than the mess though, I was starting to realize that unless I had the proper attire on, it was harder for me to get to work.

What you’re wearing effects your state of mind.

Courtesy of Samantha Palmeri

Courtesy of Samantha Palmeri


Slipping this heavy dark blue suit over my clothes and zipping it up is a remarkable transformative experience. It all of a sudden transforms me into a painter again, no matter what I’m doing. I love the fact that the Dickies brand I purchased can be found at a web site called ‘tough weld’. It adds to that indestructible feeling I get when I’m wearing them.

Changing outfits throughout my day has become a necessary habit. I need the right get-up for everything now.

Like this morning I had to drive my daughter to the bus stop. So I’m dressed and ready for the day, which is great, but if I want to exercise now I have to get undressed, put my exercise clothes on, take a shower and get dressed all over again. If I take a shower I’m not going to want to put a dirty paint filled smock on afterward to go in the studio and work. So at this point there’s a good chance that I may not get any work done at all, all because I’m wearing the wrong clothes.

That’s what I mean by art wrestling. I am compelled to do my work the way I am compelled to eat and sleep, yet it takes an enormous amount of discipline and will power. And with all the things in life, like…getting dressed in the morning, I am so easily distracted. 

Do the clothes really make the woman? I think most artists are quite clever in finding little tricks to keep themselves motivated, and this is no exception. My coveralls are hung on my studio door ready to go, and yes, I do find that I end up in the studio more often. After all, us artists are a resilient bunch!

Thank to Samantha Palmeri who contributed this post to MDSamantha has her own blog about art and life called art wrestler. Please visit her blog at

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