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Tree, Stone, Eye | Taos, New Mexico

  • Mabel Dodge Luhan House 240 Morada Lane Taos, NM, 87571 United States (map)
Painting in process:  Acrylic and mixed media on canvas L Doctor

Painting in process: Acrylic and mixed media on canvas L Doctor

The stone is contained, representing stillness and structure. The tree expands toward the sky, representing movement and expression. In developing one’s own voice in the creative pattern, there is a balance that needs to be maintained between form and expression. One must learn a form well enough to internalize it. This mastery of form leads to freedom of expression.

The eye is the third element, the observer, who notices and notates. In this class we will explore form, expression and observation in the continuum of drawing, painting and writing. Line is the unifying element.

What came first, drawing or painting?

How much closer do you get to a cloud by walking toward it?

How long does it take for the thing you are observing to become the thing itself, observing you?

My reference point, the masters, is to return to the cave paintings that are over 40,000 years old, and alive still, with immediacy and timelessness. These are the two qualities that Chagall identified as wanting to see in a painting: immediacy and timelessness.

In the cave paintings, there is no separation between drawing, painting and writing. Even the surface, the stone of the cave, is integrated with every line. The painting is the story. As Paul Klee said:

At the dawn of civilization, when writing and painting
were the same thing, (line) was the basic element.

From exercises in playing with line, we will learn to draw and paint. You don’t need to have any experience to learn to do this.

This is a favorite place to teach; the pigeon houses that Mabel built, the windows that D. H. Lawrence painted, and many of the structures from Mabel’s time here, remain. The retreat borders the sacred land of The Pueblo, which has been the home of these native Americans for two thousand years. And then there are the galleries, shops, and restaurants in walking distance, and the chefs at this retreat are spectacular.

The gate by the kitchen at Mabel Dodge Luhan Retreat

The gate by the kitchen at Mabel Dodge Luhan Retreat

The kitchen at Mabel's

The kitchen at Mabel's

To reserve your place in the class, click below:

Fee: $1975 for the class, room and board (breakfast, lunch, and two dinners). The meals are large and delicious.

To register: Fill out the form below and send a $500 deposit to Laurie Doctor: 8116 Wolf Pen Branch Rd., Prospect, KY 40059. Registration is complete once we receive your deposit. You can also pay by credit card or PayPal via my store:

Students are registered in the order in which their deposits are received.

Cancellations and Refunds: If you need to cancel your registration for any reason, please let us know as soon as possible by sending an email to If we can fill your spot, we will refund your payment, minus a $350 nonrefundable administrative fee. If we are unable to fill your space, we will not be able to issue you a refund.

Attendance Policy: Due to the meditative and structural nature of Laurie's classes, classes are reserved for students who are able to attend the entire time. Cell phones, smart watches, and other pesky gadgets are forbidden in the classroom.