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‘B’Dabble’ in new mediums at Bernice Deakins’ artist retreats

Local art venture B’Dabble Creations is hosting a series of artist retreats, designed to offer established and aspiring artists the opportunity to focus on their creativity and experiment with new mediums.

“The retreat takes you through workshops in color, drawing, watercolor and more. You’ll pull back from the hustle and bustle of your everyday world and find your artist side,” said Bernice Deakins, who founded B’Dabble Creations earlier this year.

Deakins was juried last year as a Tamarack artist, is art chair of the Capitol Woman’s Club, volunteer coordinator of the Arts Council and works with FestivALL as the leader of the ‘Musical Easels’ and the FestivALL Fish, as well as teaching at the Children’s Fair.

She’s taught art for Kanawha County Schools, Mountaineer Montessori and Uncork and Create.

She’s also co-founder of the Charleston Art Group.

In addition to art activities, the retreat participants have opportunities to visit local attractions and to learn about other creative outlets.

Upcoming retreats

- Mid Summer Art Retreat, July 18-20, High Pastures, Burnsville, North Carolina.

The retreat takes place on 732 acres of Black Mountain. The goal of the retreat is to feel revived and to have a new sense of purpose and vision, Deakins said. There will be plenty of time in the schedule to rest, mediate, draw, paint or take long walks on the many trials through the woods. Other area attractions include the Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, Mt. Mitchell, and Grandfather Mountain. Participants will stay at Carolina Hemlock House, the home of High Pastures founder Betty Motsinger. She wrote a book in 1995 about her life called “Into His Light.” It was illustrated by Deakins.

- Art Adventure Retreat, Aug. 15-17, James Wyle House, White Sulphur Springs.

The retreat takes place in a historic Greenbrier County mansion with two parlors where the artists will work. A large veranda will be another art space or a place to sit and sip iced tea on the swing and enjoy the fresh mountain air. A weekend of art, painting, learning, sharing and great food is planned.

“It’s a time to pull back from your everyday life and relax in a supportive atmosphere,” Deakins said.

- Fall Art Retreat, Oct. 3-5, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.

This will be a fun-filled creative weekend in the restored turn-of-the-century Pocahontas County logging town of Cass where participants will find an abundance of things to paint, draw or photograph, Deakins said. Retreat-goers will stay in restored houses that sit on the Greenbrier River Trail where walking and biking is encouraged. A steam-driven locomotive ride is planned for Saturday. At Whittaker Station, weather permitting, a picnic is planned.

The cost to attend each event is $200 for the entire weekend including meals, shared lodging, art supplies and instruction. Private rooms are available at an extra charge. Mature teens, 14 years or older, may attend at the regular adult fee. Registration is required prior to the event at or contact Deakins at or 304-546-0250.

Reach Judy E. Hamilton at, 304-348-1230 or follow @JudyEHamilton on Twitter.

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