Ciao, Bellas!

Something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time is share the amazing adventures we create here with all of you. I am consistantly blown away by the beauty of Mother Earth, the hearts of our retreaters, and the unforgettable experiences we have together on retreat.

That’s why I’ve decided to launch the new Bella Retreats blog! Here I’ll be sharing recaps from our retreats throughout the year, introducing new Bella Leaders, and keep you up to date on new happenings around here.

To kick it off, I’m sharing about one of my absolute favorite annual retreats that I’ve been attending for the past 6 years—SOUL PORTRAITS with the visionary painter Autumn Skye.

Here’s all the juicy details from our time on retreat:


Salt Spring Island is a little corner of heaven in British Columbia, Canada. An international destination for picturesque farm life, this island is known for its vibrant farmers markets, goat cheese, wineries, and local art. We love the authentic bohemian feel—the kind that comes from having lived this way for generations. They live, breathe, and share artisanal life. On the island, our retreat was hosted by the incredible Stowel Lake Farm. This place was SO special! It’s a vegetable farm run by lovely, down-to-earth women. Because it’s Springtime there, the flowers were blooming everywhere–which was super inspiring for painting. They would pull veggies straight out of the garden for our lunches. It’s such a magical, homey spot.


The activities on this retreat were pretty simple—we painted all day! Each day, our instructor Autumn Skye gave instruction and painting space for 6 hours a day. Most of our participants would come back after dinner to paint even more! To keep our bodies awake, we had morning movement practices, like yoga and dance. To connect as a group we had beautiful opening, closing, and New Moon share circles with the 29 women on the retreat which were so powerful. Everyone felt the shift. On Saturday, we had an excursion to the infamous, local artisan Salt Spring Market for fresh veggies and artworks. Aside from that, we took breaks for fresh meals prepared by the gardeners and chefs at the farm which were beyond delicious.


Autumn Skye is the nicest, coolest human you’ll ever meet. She’s a comedian, which makes the whole experience so joyful. But most importantly she’s a prolific artist. She’s been painting her whole life, and has known since she was a little kid that this was her calling. Over the past six years, she’s been refining her teaching process to allow people to leave with a completed portrait of themselves on these “Soul Portraits” retreats. She does one-on-one support every day at the easel with every student. Her energy is warm, supportive, creative, community-oriented. People consistently feel safe to explore themselves on the canvas. We’re so grateful to have her as a Bella Leader!


Something particularly special about this retreat is how deep everyone goes together. With the intention of diving into our own soul-identities to connect with what wants to be represented on the canvas, we ultimately share that with each other. It’s really potent work. Many of the women called to the retreat were working artists themselves, but some arrived not even considering themselves artists! One women, Amrita, who joined us this year was just this way. This retreat allowed her to connect to her inner creative spirit, and she walked away with a portrait that she didn’t know she had in her!

Thank you to every beautiful and gifted artist who showed up for this powerful retreat. Each of you shared your soul so purely through your paintings, and we know the connections made from that place of authenticity will last. ❤️

This retreat was such a success that we’ll be hosting it TWICE in 2020. In February, we’ll be going to Australia, and we’ll be returning to Stowel Lake Farm in June of 2020. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date when we announce!

If you were on this retreat, or you’re inspired by the capacity art has to connect us—please share this blog with your friends and loved ones.

Likewise, check out the upcoming Bella Retreats to say yes to a transformative experience this year! We have countless unique opportunities to travel, deepen your practice, and meet your tribe.

~ Una Bella