Tag Archives: silent retreat

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 http://www.MasterDabblers.com/store.


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How Silence Will Improve Your Creative Practice: Interview with Jessica Kung Dreyfus and Stéphane Dreyfus

Jessica Kung Dreyfus, Machine of the Body, 2010, Ink on paper, 5’ x 5’. Courtesy of the artist. A cosmic diagram depicting both the personal and the universal as tiny figures perform exercises specific to the particular region of the body/universe in which they reside.

“In the incessant hum of contemporary life, silence supports the emergence of the voice of the artist.”-Jessica Kung Dreyfus

This week MD asks artist Jessica Kung Dreyfus and yoga and meditation instructor Stéphane Dreyfus about silent retreats and how it deepens the creative process. Primarily through the medium of drawing, Jessica explores how the Eastern tradition of the energetic body informs our experience of body, building, and urban environments. Through her work, she brings together her training in western art and architecture and eastern philosophy and methodology. Stéphane is a writer, yogi, meditator, sanskrit enthusiast, and teacher. He has recently emerged from a year and a half long silent retreat with his partner, Jessica. Before the long retreat, Stéphane worked in television as an assistant editor. Big thank you to Stéphane and Jessica for sharing all their knowledge with us before beginning their two-week “maintenance” retreat!

How did you first discover silence?  Continue reading

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