Have you ever wondered why artists will sacrifice high salary jobs to pursue their art? It’s because they have stumbled upon the secret to happiness. We all live with too much stress, which eats at our health and well being. The artist has a different way of seeing the world. We see the forest and the tress at the same time. Get a new perspective on life that you will be able to apply even in the most difficult situations.

David Borden trying to work on a comic book but his cat is sitting on it
Artist, David Borden, happily working

In this free report, you’ll discover how to

secret to happiness

  • Put your stress behind and Relax
  • Gain new perspective on your problems
  • Get away from your routine and find peace
  • Find the solitude that you crave
  • Realize you have more potential than you thought
  • Tap into your creative side
  • Recognizing the abundance in the world around you
  • Learn how to live the lower stress life you deserve


Download the Free Report

(no strings attached, no email, no SPAM… because I’m not a desperate marketer)

7 Steps to Reducing Stress with Art (269 downloads)

Research shows that creating art improves medical outcomes and reduces stress and depression levels. And what’s more important… the stress reduction effect happens regardless of your skill level. That’s right. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or can barely draw a circle, creating art will make you feel better. Would you like to learn more?

Mindfulness Art Retreats

Several times a year, David Borden, award-winning author, artist, and educator, leads art retreats out of Austin.

The last retreat was May 19 and morning of May 20.

B&B reservations were for May 18 and 19 minimum.

in the sleepy, Texas shrimping village of Palacios.

The retreat will be hosted at The Nest, a charming Bed & Breakfast on the water (Rooms are blocked May 18 and 19 for Art Retreat Guests… and their Plus Ones).  He is planning on starting some in the Austin. These are all-skill level. The focus is not on becoming a great artist, the focus is on learning how to incorporate the techniques and skills that artists employ into your daily life. During the retreat, you will…

Shrimp boat painted by David Borden in Palacios, Texas
Painting behind “The Nest” in Palacios


  • Connect to nature
  • Learn to see in a new way
  • Meet like-minded people
  • Dedicate time to self-care
  • Learn the Secret to Happiness that artists know

Retreats vs. Vacations

  • Have your vacation planning done for you
  • Often, retreats are more economical (even with the instructor fee) than a regular vacation
  • Research shows that retreats have a longer-lasting positive effect on your mood than vacations

Artists must bring their own supplies.

Suggested supply list

  • A good, broad brimmed hat.
  • A camp chair (or similar) with an umbrella
  • a simple painter’s palate
  • paints (see below)
  • canvas (see below) or paper (if you bring paper be sure you’ve got a board or something for it)
  • a water well. (I use an old bouillon cube container with a screw-top lid)
  • a water bottle
  • sack lunch for Saturday
  • sun screen
  • brushes (see below)
  • paper towels, rags, or toilet paper for cleaning

Suggested Palate of Paints (acrylic or oil)

These are the paints I’ll use. I like a very limited palate. These will get you most places you want to go in a natural setting. You’ll notice there is no green or black. I like to mix green, so I can control it better. I also don’t use black. On the retreat you’ll learn how to mix color and hwo to mix a black that is better than black.

  • Titanium White
  • Cadmium Lemon Yellow
  • Cadmium Red Light
  • Pyrrole Red or Alizarin Crimson  (either are optional)
  • Cerulean Blue
  • French Ultramarine Blue (optional)
  • Burnt Umber
  • Raw Sienna (optional)

I like to prime my canvas with a mixture of Yellow ocre and titanium white, so if you want the same effect, you should pick up some Yellow Ocre too. This is optional.



I’ll be using either acrylic or oil, but if you love pencils, watercolor, etc. feel free to bring those… I may not be able to give much advice on their use, though. Remember, you should be happy and comfortable with what you bring.  I want you to enjoy your time, so don’t bring something that will cause frustration.


I like to keep things simple. For most paintings, I like to use the following:

Round 0 or 1. This is a small brush for any details.

Filbert 0 or 1 depending on how small you like to work. I would recommend a size 1 if you’re just getting one brush.

Filbert 6. This is a great brush for larger strokes and is versatile for many uses.

Feel free to bring other brushes. These are my go-to brushes that I use over and over and over. You can get a good idea of the kind of painting you can do with these brushes by looking at any of my work. You won’t see fan brushes or anything like that. But again, if you like that sort of thing, by all means bring it and do it.


Bring at least two 8 x 10 canvas (primed). You can usually get a good deal on a two-pack at Jerry’s Artarama or where ever you buy your supplies.

I also like to paint my canvas with a yellowish ground. If you look at the painting of the shrimp boat above, you’ll see some of that yellow bleeding through. It makes for a warm effect, especially  for painting a morning or evening light. I use a mix of 1 part yellow ochre to two parts titanium white. I brush that on the canvas the day before so it can fully dry. If you want to do that, go ahead. If not, I can help you with that on Friday night.

What will happen?

Friday night:

Guests arrive and get settled. There will be an chance to do your own thing or meet others attending the retreat. This will be an opportunity to get oriented. Chat with David or other participants. If you need to prepare canvases for the next day, this is a good time to do it. Dinner is on your own, or we can go as a group. It is up to you as a personal preference.


Up very early. Sunrise on May 19 will be at 6:32 am. I’ll be up to enjoy it and I encourage you to do so as well. Sunrise on the coast is always a peaceful and centering time. Come out on the canal and watch it with me. Drink some hot coffee and talk art, tranquility, morning light and get your day off to a great start.  We’ll set up easels soon after and start painting. We’ll take a breakfast break and get back at it. The light changes at 10 am so, we have to work until then. After 10 am those paintings have to be put away until Sunday morning or you’ll ruin them.

At 10 am we’ll take a break and talk about about the shift to mid-day light. We’ll put away our morning work and start a mid-day work. I’ll probably work on super small 4 x 4 studies at this time. I’m not a big fan of painting in mid-day light myself, so I’ll focus on more abstract and color study work.

Noon. Break for lunch. Afterwards you are welcome to relax, take a nap, or keep working. I often have to nap at this point from all the hard work of the morning.  Painting is actually mentally exhausting. This is the heat of the day and the light is harsh, so you won’t be missing much if you don’t paint.

We reassemble at 4 pm to paint evening light. We’ll draw our subject and paint until sunset if you’re up for it. Sunset on May 19 will be 8:11 pm.

Dinner is on your own or with the group, depending on how everything goes. There’s a fried fish joint and a Mexican restaurant in town.


Up again at sunrise. I know, you’re thinking, this sounds like being in the army. Well, painting is a discipline and the retreat is what you make of it. Morning light is indescribably wonderful. We’ll paint and take a break for breakfast, and paint again until 10am. At this point you will probably be completely spent (in a good way). Guests will probably start to pack up and leave. Your check out time is between you and The Nest, but they may be flexible if you want to chill and bask in your art triumphs of the last two days.


I am a firm believer in learning by doing. There will be very little lecture, if any. Groups will be small… maybe 5+- people, so I will give you a lot of individual attention. I’ll paint alongside you and we’ll talk, critique, and I’ll give advice as we go. I’ll talk to you about theory, color mixing, and such, but most of this will be through actually doing. I find this method to be more productive, more effective, and more pleasurable for all involved. The main point is to learn something, have fun, and enjoy the process.

I hope you join us.


Registration fee for the retreat is separate from your B & B booking.  2 day registrations are $70. 3 days are $95.


Get on the mailing list to stay up to date on the next Art Retreat, tentatively scheduled for fall with David Borden.


Learn more about David

You can also find David at:

Twitter @dsborden
Learn the Secret to Happiness that only Artists Know
Tagged on: