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

Art & Spirit in Ireland September 13 – 23 2022 ~ @ Two Magical Locations
Sep 13 @ 6:00 pm – Sep 23 @ 10:00 am


Art & Spirit in Ireland   – a Watercolor Pilgrimage to Sacred Sites in Magical Ireland –  September 13 – 23  

This is a very small group- only 9 persons, providing for an optimal small group experience

“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 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.

Sculpture by Patsy Preston

This will be a very small group.   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:

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 are prepared by a former London gourmet chef and will include all breakfasts, 1 or 2 lunches, and 2 specially prepared dinners with wine.
  • Relaxing here with sheep and peacocks and-freedom to roam the grounds enjoying views at the top of the hill or down at the pond.
  • Touring 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 surprise visits 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. 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 –  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 at pubs. Dingle is one of the most vibrant centers for this

I’ve managed to put this amazing retreat 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).  Shared accommodations ~One- time payment of $2650 in full  shared accommodations or 4 payments of $662.50   SINGLE in both locations:  SUPPLEMENT $500 – limited singles available – reserve quickly –  one payment of $3150 or 4 payments of $787.50   Partial single (single in second location only ~ One payment of $2,900 or 4 payments of $725   Small single off of a shared room– one payment of $2,500 or 4 payments of $625
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 by credit card there is an additional $100 to cover cc fees

$650.00$3,250.00Select options

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

What is included: 

  • all accommodations
  • 4 breakfasts, 2-3 lunches, and 2 gourmet dinners with wine at first location
  • all transport for day outings
  • transfer from 1st location to second location
  • entry fees to sacred and cultural 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 50  Euro for private coach pickup from Dublin airport
  • all meals in Dingle  (ballpark to add to your budget approximately $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 – 

A refund will be offered for any medical issue and/or emergency, less a $500 administrative fee. Non-refundable payments have been issued in advance to my vendors making it necessary for me to retain partial payment to cover these costs. With months of planning to make this a most special retreat, I will do my best to honor emergencies. 

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 required. It is suggested that you purchase this upon booking.  Check to make sure what your insurance covers.

  • If you need to cancel before June 15, 2022, your payments less a cancellation fee of $500 will be refunded.
  • There are no refunds after June 15th, 2022.
  • If it becomes necessary to cancel the retreat for any reason, all payments will be refunded in full

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.

Air travel to and from the retreat is not included. but we will have a “Share a Ride” van available 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

$650.00$3,250.00Select options

Art and Spirit: Art-Making Workshop
Dragonfly Acres Woodstock NY @ Melissa's Woodstock NY Studio
Oct 28 @ 5:30 pm – Oct 30 @ 4:00 pm

Workshop Photo
In 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. .  Melissa will supply 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.

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

Take Covid precautions as you like.- mask optional .  Your registration acknowledges that Melissa is not responsible for any illness 


There are many accommodation options. I have my own airbnb here on my property which gets nabbed quickly.  There are many hotels and airbnb’s nearby.   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.

Save the fees and pay by check –  ($350 )  Make it out to Melissa Harris and send to PO Box 56 West Hurley, NY 12491. If paying by check, contact Melissa to reserve a spot.

$365.00$460.00Select options