Click here to view upcoming Workshops

I love teaching expressive drawing and painting and have been teaching in spiritual centers as well as privately since 1990.

My intention is to help you to access what it is that you would like or need to express and to find your own unique language to express that. In a safe and nurturing atmosphere we use meditation, visualization, shamanic journeying, and music to go within and discover what would like to emerge. We will acknowledge emotions, colors, or shapes that beckon.

Here are some common fears:
  • Feeling blocked
  • Tendencies toward perfectionism
  • Lack of technical skill
  • Fear of going within due to what we may discover there

Don’t worry! You will be in a safe place to explore.

If you are coming from out of town I have very inexpensive options for accommodations if you register early. If those are filled I can often connect you with someone to share a room at a nearby airbnb or hotel.  Just inquire

No, you don’t need experience to take a workshop.

I am used to working with folks with all areas of experience from none at all to those with an art degree from Yale. We are all in this together to provide a safe atmosphere to discover with no judgments. I have a strong classical background in technique and can help you develop your technique if that is your interest. I also have the ability to help you work from your head and discover what wants to emerge.

Click here to preview Art and Spirit: Art-Making Retreat.


If you are already working artistically with a particular medium, you may bring that and work in that medium. I have some basic supplies here -oil pastels, some acrylics if you are not sure if this is for you and don’t want to make the financial investment to buy supplies. My suggestions are oil pastels, (these can be the inexpensive craypas, which are like oily crayons), acrylic paints, watercolors, or soft pastel. Materials are not that critical. You are welcome to call or email and discuss with me.

The following are some questions that were asked of me during a radio interview on the healing effects of art-making:


It allows one to go into sort of meditative trance space whereby thoughts, emotions, ideas can most easily surface. Once identified, they are “brought to light” I like to say. Then one can give form to these intuitive insights releasing the inner light of the soul. Sometimes I find myself remembering something that seems irrelevant; however, if I then ask “what relation does this memory have to any current situation”, I might find a link that then allows me a better understanding. It’s similar to working with dreams to get answers to problems


I would say that this is one of the most important ways that art making can be healing. One will inevitably become frustrated but confidence comes in learning that we can face our fears and blocks and work through them. One becomes adept at discerning what is important to them by identifying subject matter and manner of expression.


Is a place where growth comes in. In expressing or revealing our inner world paint or drawing materials we give ourselves an arena to expose ourselves in.


can be lifted by using this part of the brain, accessing feelings and opening the heart.


comes by way of being able to “be with” a piece of work that didn’t come out the way we planned. We learn not to be a perfectionist. When I am accepting of myself, everything is working more smoothly. I am relaxed and at peace.

Doing artwork engages the right side of the brain, which is healing for my being. I get grouchy if I don’t use this muscle often enough. I hear this from almost every other artist I speak with. It has a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and body, thus strengthening the will to heal and opening the heart.

Informal discussions of our artwork with one another: help one get comfortable with the fact that we will not always create something beautiful or to our satisfaction. We come to understand that that is not as bad as we feared. The reviews and exposure help one find where their strengths lie, thereby increasing confidence. Everyone has strengths. Perhaps it is in being able to access images, or using color well, or having a nice loose expressive hand.


learning to work through blocks also promotes self confidence which can be applied to blocks in other areas of life.


is necessary if one’s goal is to integrate art-making on a regular basis in one’s life. Finding our discipline here can help us to carry it over to all areas of life.


Makes people happy.

Upcoming Workshops

Natural Living Expo- Marlborough, MA – BOOTH 1011 @ Best Western Royal Trade Plaza
Nov 11 @ 9:00 am – Nov 12 @ 5:00 pm

natural living 11-13The expo is a weekend for learning about body-mind-spirit wellness, healthy living, rejuvenating, healing and exploring the latest holistic and green products, fair trade shopping and information. With over 75 lectures, workshops and cooking demonstrations included in the $12 weekend admission, plus access to 225 exhibits including the famous Free Sample Bar — the Natural Living Expo is an incredible value at a bargain price. Be one of the first 200 people on Saturday or Sunday and receive a free gift bag!  I’ll be teaching a class on Developing & Using Your Psychic Awareness at 2:00 Saturday Nov 12 in Salon B.

Art and Spirit: Art-Making Workshop
Woodstock NY @ Melissa's Studio
Jan 12 @ 6:45 pm – Jan 14 @ 4:00 pm

Workshop PhotoIn my Art and Spirit workshops I combine my talent as an intuitive with my extensive background in painting to help you to work through creative blocks and learn or refine technique. Come and join a like minded circle of sisters as we explore what wants to emerge.  My large light filled studio and acres of forest and meadow is the ideal location to support you as you relax and explore what your heart and soul hold to be true. The workshop is for those with no experience as well as those who would like to improve existing skills. Students are encouraged to work with their own supplies if they have them (pastels, watercolor, acrylic, or other except oil – ).  Melissa will supply more complete information on materials upon  your registration.I have some very basic fill in supplies here at the studio if you don’t want to fully invest at this point but you will need to bring your own. Workshops include lunches. Weather permitting we often gather at Melissa’s fire circle in the evenings for some song, laughter and treats. There are many accommodation options. There are a few spaces at a friend’s home nearby that (an informal B & B) are very inexpensive and include breakfast but they go early!  There are also many airbnb’s nearby. There is a reasonable Quality Inn in Kingston NY that is only five minutes away as well as many other hotels and local B & B’s depending on your preferences.  Ask Melissa about accommodations. Stay or come early and explore the infamous and cute town of Woodstock. Click here for a full description of the Retreat.

Option is available to save the credit card fee and pay $325 by check, made out to Melissa Harris and sent to PO Box 56 West Hurley, NY 12491


Art & Spirit in Ireland May 2018 @ Two Magical Locations
May 22 @ 6:00 pm – May 30 @ 6:00 pm

Art & Spirit in Ireland   – a Watercolor Pilgrimage to Sacred Sites in Magical Ireland May 22 – May 30 2018

This trip is SOLD OUT. If you are interested in a trip in September 2018 please contact Melissa at 845.340.9632 or email

This is an invitation to those of you who would like to explore your creativity with like-minded, adventurous women in magical Ireland.  Come with us and experience the beauty of Ireland in its’ best season, when the bursting flowers add more color to the emerald green landscape and the dazzling coastline welcomes us.  We will delight in the charm of old Ireland, including some authentic Irish music while learning or fine- tuning the art of watercolor.  This is a spiritual retreat where we make art (both process painting as well as plein air).   No previous experience in art or with this medium is required.  A supply list will be emailed to you upon registration.

Don’t allow your fears of “I’m not an artist” or “I haven’t painted in years” to prevent you from missing this opportunity of a lifetime.  My gifts as an intuitive help me to create nurturing environments for the part of your spirit that wants to emerge to blossom.

We will convene in circles and at sacred sites to encourage our creative visions to emerge.  Meditation at these places will help us to connect with the spirit of the land.

Mullagmore castle

This will be a very small group.   If you are interested  register early!

Ireland is a very “thin place”.  What is a thin place?  It’s a place where the veils between this world and others are thin, a gateway to the other world, if you will.  Thin places are subjective.  For example, I may not feel particularly sensitive to strong energies in the same spot that you might.  I have selected places for us on this tour that affected me profoundly; I’m enthusiastic about sharing them with you.

My nomadic nature has taken me to locations that have tugged at the edges of my soul, including numerous thin places. The oldest Goddess temples in Malta, the many sacred sites in Cornwall England, Findhorn, and other thin places in Scotland have beckoned and received my curious spirit.  I’ve spent hours meditating at these spots, allowing the mystery and energies of the places to soak in while painting on site.  I’m forever changed each time I do this.

Now I am excited to bring the richness of this experience to you!

As with any of my events activities are planned but I follow the flow and energies of those attending so these plans are always subject to change.  The basic structure of the retreat will stay in place.  I chose our locations based on geography, beauty, and comfort.  The rates are based on doubles.  There are limited singles.  If you need a single the earlier you let me know the better and I will do my best to accommodate you.

During our days together I will be sensitive to your need to stay quiet at times or rest.  You will not be required to do more than you are comfortable with and I am including some time to be still and integrate.  You are welcome to opt out on any given activity if your body/mind says “stop, I need a break!”

What our time together will look like:

our home in the Magical Midlands
peacocks on site

STOP 1 –   THE MAGICAL MIDLANDS OF IRELAND – 4 nights in a luxury Bed and Breakfast (Lough Bawn House) in Ireland’s Lake district.  Here we will be able to relax and be pampered with food prepared and often raised by our gracious host.

  • Beautiful home, grounds, and food locally sourced and prepared by our gourmet host.  Meals  here will include all breakfasts and 2 specially prepared dinners.
  • Relaxing here with peacocks and-freedom to roam the grounds enjoying views at the top of the hill or down at the pond.
  • New Grange, Ireland’s 5,200 year old passage tomb located in the Boyne Valley in Ireland’s Ancient East.
  • Tullynally Castle and Gardens – A seventeenth century Gothic revival castle with an eighteenth & nineteenth century park. and tearoom.
  • Loughcrew – Loughcrew House and Gardens are a 17th and 19th Century Irish landscape steeped in compelling history, with numerous scenic gardens. This surrounding country is also home to some of Ireland’s oldest archaeological treasures, and a site of enormous historical and religious significance. The Cairns are megalithic structures originally built about 4000 BC as burial chambers. There are stone circles too, one that particularly affected me.
Tullynally Castle

Next, we are off to Dingle Peninsula by private bus.  On our drive we will stop at the wonderful  Burren Perfumery – featuring their home made perfumes, lotions, soaps and more.  We will enjoy a spot of tea at the rose covered tearoom and you can also walk through their herb garden.

We arrive at our privately owned lodge in Dingle Peninsula and head off to a fun dinner at a local tavern.  By the time we arrive here we may need some down time or retail therapy so besides the below skeleton structure I am building in time for our other needs.

The Lodge is located on the Dingle Peninsula just 30 minutes drive from Killarney and Tralee, and 20 minutes east of the coastal tourist and holiday town of Dingle. It is in a fantastic seaside location on an elevated site above four miles of sandy beach and dunes called Inch Strand.

In Dingle we are housed in a large retreat center complete with conservatories and a large lounge with spectacular views over Dingle Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and Ireland’s highest mountain range, the MacGillicuddy’s Reeks.  The lodge has a huge private kitchen.  We will take turns making breakfasts and lunches (lunches when we are not on outings).  Dinners will be at a local Inn 5 minutes walking distance, a clean and friendly restaurant, a real taste of Ireland.

  • Time at Inch Strand – a 5km-long sand spit and dune system extending into Dingle Bay. This stupendous beach has attracted film directors as well as surfers– it has appeared in the movies Ryan’s Daughter(1970), Excalibur (1981) and Far and Away (1992), among others.
  • meditation in the beautiful sun room before we begin our creations, both inner and outer
  • scenic drives such as the one around Slea Head Loop
  • enjoying some music! Dingle is one of the most vibrant centers for traditional Irish music

I’ve managed to put this amazing pilgrimage together at a very reasonable price of $2100

One- time payment  of $2100 in full or $300 deposit and 6 remaining payments of $300 each if paid by check (preferred and no credit card commission).  Add an additional 4% commission as noted below if paying online. If you need to make different arrangements connect with Melissa  Make checks out to Melissa Harris and send to PO Box 56   West Hurley, NY  12491   Call 845 340 9632 with any questions.

If exchange rates vary significantly there may be a slight increase as we approach the date.


What is included: 

  • all accommodations
  • all breakfasts and 2 dinners at first location
  • all transport for day outings
  • transfer from 1st location to second location
  • if you fly out of Shannon your last night at the lodge is covered
  • 7 days of my watercolor instruction and circle leadership, meditation, (the workshop itself)

 What is not included:

  • airfare
  • transport from your arrival in Ireland to first location ( contact Melissa for options on how to get there)
  • lunches and 2 dinners in our first location
  • entry fees
  • all meals in Dingle
  • transport back to Dublin if you are flying out of Dublin
  • last night hotel in Dublin. Melissa can make affordable airport hotel suggestions

 Refund policy is stated below:

With months of planning to make this a most special retreat, I will do my best to honor emergencies. A refund will be offered for any medical issue and/or emergency,  less a $250 administrative fee, before January 1 2018. After that time a refund cannot be offered.

Your first payment authorizes that you understand this refund policy, commit to payment in full and take full responsibility for your personal choices and safety while you travel.

Travel insurance is reasonably priced and recommended when you book your flight. 

Air travel to and from the retreat is not included. but we will have a “Share a Ride” bus from Dublin  on May 22 available and a return private coach from Dingle to Dublin with a stop at the Cliffs of Moher available on May 30th if enough people are interested.  There are also public buses that serve both areas.  For any travel questions consult Melissa 845 340 9632

This trip is SOLD OUT. If you are interested in a trip in September 2018 please contact Melissa at 845.340.9632 or email

$312.00$2,184.00Select options