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“Melissa…….Your studio workshops are unique in providing a beautiful working studio space filled with inviting sunlight and loving energy that invites the imagination to come out and play.  Your unique blend of psychic intuitive and compassionate teacher gives you the ability to tune in to each individual and honor the spirit of their exploration.  Your encouragement of our longing to express what calls to us is the magic wand that erases the fears and doubts and allows the inner child to explore the possibilities without being judged. 


Your workshops are always spirit centered and light hearted as you role model the steps in the creative process and provide the conditions that invite the imagination to explore the inner and outer worlds.   More importantly than how to paint, you have honored my process and showed me how to create sacred space within which I can paint whatever I choose or whatever chooses me as a vehicle. Because of your warm-hearted encouragement I feel more confident with each new painting and am starting to find my own unique expression at long last.’ -Ruth Cook, Gloucester MA

I’ve been gathering folks together since 1990 to celebrate, explore, discover and enjoy expressing what wants to emerge in an art-making capacity.  I started out teaching weekly classes in my lower East Side New York studio and have continued to this day here on my gorgeous 9 acres in the Catskill mountains. Planning these gatherings is one of my favorite things to do!

My land is forest and meadow and a lovely location to plant yourself for a retreat. We have lunches in my funky but nice and comfy old farm house. The groups are small ( usually 5 – 9 people) in order to be comfortable in the space as well as for me to give you lots of personal attention!

I invite you to join us as we gather together in sacred space, in a nurturing environment to discover what wants expression. I do not have an agenda for how your work will look, rather I prefer listening to you tell me what excites you and help you find your own unique language of expression.

What Will We Be Doing?

Here is sample of a workshop at Melissa’s 

  • We begin at circle in the morning –  with sharing and a teaching by Melissa 
  • Delicious healthy lunch and – weather permitting – relaxing out on the warm stones in my big fire circle
  • Dinner either together at a nearby restaurant or on your own
  • Fire circle – weather permitting

What materials do I need?

You may work in whatever you like except for oil paints since some people may be sensitive to the solvents. You are welcome to speak with me individually to discuss what to work in and I will send you more info after you register.

Some Logistics

We begin Friday around 5:30.   Plan to have your dinner before – but I will have some snacks on hand.

I have a friend sometimes can accommodate you for lodging at a nominal fee.  There is a Best Western in Kingston NY just 5 minutes down the road that is reasonable- as well as numerous airbnbs and other hotels in Woodstock.  My place is just 8 minutes from exit 19 off the New York thruway. You will receive detailed directions after you register. Sometimes folks like to come early or stay an extra day to visit the charming town of Woodstock.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time there! I adore how you are flexible with sensing the groups emotional needs, yet rigid with the wisdom to know discipline and keeping people on task is important when it comes to producing art. Of all the art instructors I’ve had in my lifetime, you are only the 2nd one I’ve ever experienced that “gets” this and utilizes it effectively.  The circle and spiritual time only adds icing to an already well built cake! I felt so comfortable and like I had been part of your group for lifetimes. I admire your style of teaching and hope to emulate it when I start teaching children again in the spring.    Marguerite  – MA

“I just returned from an amazing weekend surrounded by art, nature, love, talent and friendship. The retreat was everything I wanted and more. Time seemed not to exist while working on the process of getting in touch with ourselves. Through meditation and introspection we explored  the creative process. Melissa guided us gently, and enabled us to push past our own limitations.  The group of us worked blissfully..enjoying the breezes and music, surrounded by Melissa’s inspiring artwork. If that wasn’t enough, we were served a beautiful healthy lunch every day. with fresh mint tea and amazing brownies for dessert.  The experience was enlightening and inspiring. I can’t wait to do it again!”  Alison  Greenwod Lake, NY

“I am still gratefully  basking in the glow of the weekend!  I always feel brand new every time I come and I am always nourished and enlivened by the creative hatchery that you fill with love, laughter, music and guidance. I was able to go deep and allow the energy to percolate through me in different and fun ways this time.  Thank you for sensing my need to listen and feel from the inside out and savor what comes through where you can help me see different options to pull it all together in harmonious ways that both honor the original impulse and basic design elements. You are so so good at tuning in and watching the creative babies being born and training the midwives in delivery.”  Vickie Dash PA

“Nobody gets me going creatively like you do.  Your suggestions always move me miles down the road….Thank you so very much Melissa”      Robin R.  Bangor, ME

“Your workshops are unique in providing loving energy that invites the imagination to come out and play.  Your unique blend of intuitive and compassionate teacher gives you the ability to tune in to each individual and honor the spirit of their exploration.  Your encouragement of our longing to express is the magic that erases the fears and doubts”.  Ruth Cook, Gloucester, MA

Cancellation Policy

I am a small business. Much of my work-time takes place on weekends. If I know ahead of time that I don’t have enough participants for a workshop there is often time to schedule other work. Because of the nature of this work life I am unable to accommodate cancellations. I can give you credit for another workshop to be used within a year from the workshop you miss. I understand that things change and problems occur so that if you do need to change your plans you can attend another time. If you decide need to do this you will need to let me know at least two weeks before the workshop in order to redeem a credit. Thanks for your understanding. I look forward to working with you.

Upcoming Workshops

“The Magic of Painting” with Melissa Harris -Creating Mystery with Paint @ Online
Sep 21 @ 7:00 pm – Nov 16 @ 9:00 pm
The Magic of Painting with Melissa Harris -Creating Mystery with Paint Improve Your Painting – Overcome blocks – September 21 – November 16 An 8 week Online Art Course You may go at your own pace. Zoom sessions will be recorded in case you cannot attend You will be inspired by specific emails on our topic, guided visualizations and personal preferences for the content of your artworks. You may choose to work from your imagination or from photos or life. I will provide you with photos upon request. The zoom calls are not lessons but for sharing and feedback from me and each other. Your lessons are through the videos and from guidance from myself and others on our private Facebook page as well as on the zoom calls. The course is appropriate for any skill level including complete beginners but those who have had some experience with supplies will be most comfortable. Contact me regarding any questions around this at and we can make a time to speak if you like. You may use any medium you like since the basic principles of composition, subject matter and getting movement into a painting are the same. The demo videos will be mostly in watercolor, possibly a couple in acrylic. Payment plans, scholarships or partial scholarship available – Financial crunch? Email me and we can work something out ~ $185 ( $175~ save on cc fees ~send a check made out to Melissa Harris to PO Box 56 West Hurley, NY 12491) $185 pay online. This is for you if: You want to know how to put more mystery and magic into your paintings
  • You want to learn or improve your painting skills
  • You are blocked and want to be able to approach your painting without fear or hesitation
  • You enjoy having an excuse for accountability
  • You enjoy exploring your creative process in a sacred community of likeminded souls.
What you get:
  • A list of suggested supplies
  • 3 emails with suggested ways to tune into each topic
  • 3 guided visualizations to inspire your process
  • 3 (or more) videos on technique
  • 4 zoom calls – not lessons- but for sharing and feed back
  • Private Facebook page for sharing and connecting
DATES FOR ZOOM CALLS Zoom Dates: September 21, October 5, October 26, November 16 Zoom sessions are 7:00 PM EASTERN TIME and typically an hour and a half but no pressure if you need to leave early or arrive late. In these sessions we will not be painting, but will be sharing about our work. They are recorded in case you have to miss. Art is a spiritual inner journey for me and your e-course is a perfect fit for encouragement to go within, The sacred circle reminds us of our sense of oneness, love and support for each other as women on a path to fuller expression. In your instruction, you come from a place of great respect and love for each opening flower and freely give of your spiritual midwifery. Others may talk of technique but without the spiritual connection there is not the vibrancy and inner stirring to join in the dance. You are certainly qualified to teach us all aspects of technique but go beyond that to light our inner flame. Yes, we are women on fire!! – Ruth C – Gloucester, MA Creative expression (painting, creative journaling) AND meditation “saved” me by igniting passion and helping me let go of a job that was suffocating me. Working through fear and insecurities, I am now intentionally giving attention to things that bring me joy.. Those in this online circle inspire and motivate me daily.” Melissa – your invitations / assignments are fabulous – always “stretch” us to process or express something we may or may not have in a different way! Thank you! – Kate B Richmond, VA I have never been a part of a group like this before. It is very special, sharing life, loves, and art with all of you. I have loved the friendships, support, and learning experiences with like-minded creative souls. I truly care about these women, and appreciate their opening up and sharing life experiences through the venue of this group. It has been better than I ever could have expected. It is become a sacred, special part of my life. – Sallie W – Tallahassee, F
Art & Spirit in Ireland New Dates- May 17 – 28 2022 @ Two Magical Locations
May 17 @ 6:00 pm – May 28 @ 10:00 am


Art & Spirit in Ireland   – a Watercolor Pilgrimage to Sacred Sites in Magical Ireland –  May 17 – 28   2022 –   

note-  I don’t know yet if we will take this trip in Sept 2021 or May 2022- therefore the cancellation dates below do not apply.  contact me with any questions.

“I’m in heaven!  If you ever have a chance to go to a workshop with Melissa, do it. Her inspiration, guidance and teachings have changed me. The retreat was one of the best things I have done!”      Katie Crommet – MA

“I am still LIVING ON FAIRY DUST!    IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST TIMES OF MY LIFE !”  Connie Judson   Montauk, NY

“I loved the Irish music, it was authentic and in a really intimate setting – wonderful.  Seeing the sheep grazing – I never realized that the sheep could make such an impact on me.   And of course the ocean and Dingle – the breath taking views, breathing the salt air and walking the beach. AND the food!!!”   Linda S.  Woodstock, NY

This retreat has been rescheduled until May 2021  If you are interested email me at with any questions you may have

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.

With each year I’ve taken this journey I’ve added more details and sacred sites to make in an especially magical and potent experience.

Mullagmore castle

This will be a small group and filled very quickly last year.   If you are interested register early!




paint overlooking the ocean!

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



  • 4 nights in a luxury Bed and Breakfast 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.
  • Painting at Sacred sites (circles, burial cairns etc.)
  • Painting visits to castles, gardens and tea rooms.
  • Authentic Irish music in our own parlor

paint in the castle gardens
















Next, we are off to Dingle Peninsula by private bus.  There are surprises along the way which I will share upon  your registration!

In Dingle we are housed in a large retreat center near the town of Dingle 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.  It is in a fantastic seaside location on an elevated site above four miles of sandy beach and dunes.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 or out and about.

  • 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 to sacred sites
  • retail therapy in the shops
  • enjoying some traditional Irish music! Dingle is one of the most vibrant centers for this

I’ve managed to put this amazing pilgrimage together at a very reasonable price.  .  I will do my best to accommodate your sleeping requests.  First come, first serve.

For payment by CHECK. (preferred and no credit card commission or admin fees).  One- time payment of $2450 in full  shared accommodations or 8 payments of $325   SINGLE:  SUPPLEMENT $500 – only one single available.
Make checks out to Melissa Harris and send to PO Box 56 West Hurley, NY 12491. No need to fill out payment form online, just email me to reserve your spot and to let me know you are sending a check right out.

For payment ONLINE:  One time payment of $2,700 or 8 payments of $340.  SINGLE SUPPLEMENT $500 –

$287.50$3,070.00Select options

If you need to make different arrangements connect with Melissa Call 845 340 9632 with any questions

What is included: 

  • all accommodations
  • all breakfasts, one lunch, and 2 dinners at first location
  • all transport for day outings
  • transfer from 1st location to second location
  • entry fees to sites and gardens
  • my watercolor instruction and circle leadership, meditation
  • an evening of traditional Irish music

 What is not included:

  • airfare
  • transport from your arrival in Ireland to first location – allow approximately 40 – 45  Euro for private coach pickup from Dublin airport
  • two lunches and 2 dinners in our first location
  • all meals in Dingle  (ballpark to add to your budget approx $200 depending on how much you tend to spend on food and drink.)  Restaurants nearby are reasonable and our shared food at the house maybe $50 each max.
  • transport to your departure airport (either Shannon or Dublin – Melissa can make affordable airport hotel suggestions

Cancellation Policy – speak to Melissa as dates have changed and new dates will be determined by Covid improvements

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.

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.

  • If you need to cancel before January 21, 2022, your payments less a cancellation fee of $500 will be refunded.
  • If you need to cancel before January 21 and March 21st, 2022, your payment less $1,300 will be refunded.
  • There are no refunds after March 21st, 2022.

In the event of cancellation, you may find another person to take your place on the trip provided they agree to the terms of this agreement and after an interview between the person and Melissa whereupon it is decided that the trip is agreeable with both parties. Written cancellation is required to process a refund.

Travel insurance is reasonably priced and required for the trip and recommended when you book your flight.  Check to make sure what your insurance covers.

Air travel to and from the retreat is not included. but we will have a “Share a Ride” bus from Dublin.  Melissa can make suggestions on return travel.  It is suggested that you may want to do your flights “a la carte ” and fly into Dublin and out of Shannon if at all possible. There are public buses that serve both areas.  For any travel questions consult Melissa 845 340 9632

$287.50$3,070.00Select options