We created our Artist Fellowship Program to help creative people find the space and inspiration they need to bring their ideas to life. Earlier this year, we hosted photographer, Amber Canterbury, at Getaway Big Bear outside of LA. Here’s what she had to say about her creative process, her relationship to nature, and her Getaway:
On Creativity I’m a freelance photographer and artist based in Los Angeles. I grew up in Florida and studied business and marketing in college. I was the quiet kid with ever-changing hair colors among a room of eager young professionals. I began experimenting with photography my senior year and completely fell in love. I learned how to shoot film on my late grandfather’s Canon AE-1 with a shutter button that only worked half the time. I’d lose hours in the darkroom, headphones in, watching images slowly appear in the developer. It felt like magic. I changed course and moved to L.A. with two suitcases and no contacts. It’s been 11 years and I’m so grateful for the life I’ve made here.
On Nature I feel most at home in the natural world. I think nature is the ultimate artist; it is all at once delicate and fierce, vast and microscopic. It continually amazes and inspires me. I often look for ways to incorporate elements of that in my work. Nature is also a great healer, I spend time outdoors to decompress and feel grounded. Trees are like medicine.
On Disconnecting My Getaway was absolutely lovely and so needed. I left any agenda at home and just allowed myself to play. I brought books, tree oracle cards, a journal, cameras and film, and my guitar. The first night I slept with the shade on the big window wide open and looked out on trees bathed in moonlight as I fell asleep. It sort of felt like all of the benefits of camping, but with a cozy bed and a hot shower.
Feeling stuck in a rut and out of ideas? Maybe Mother Nature has the solution to your lack of imagination.
People who don’t identify as creatives are often caught in a cycle of repeating phrases like I’m not creative or I don’t know how to draw—effectively, they’re stuck in this mindset.
A good way to combat this pattern of thinking is to actually remove yourself from your own everyday routine for a new perspective. Shifting your routine, where you go, how you spend your days, off time and weekends could be a key way to inspire some creativity. As creativity is often times described as making or discovering previously hidden connections, it makes sense that diverting from your daily routine could help you do just that.
Whereas city life can be swamped with patterns, ruts and cycles of doing what is expected; nature can be a powerful source of creativity.
A 2012 study explored the consequences of more time spent with media and technology over nature found that backpackers who spent a few days hiking showed higher levels of creativity in a word association test than before they immersed themselves in nature.
The Science Behind Nature + Creativity
Why is nature so beneficial to the brain? Scientists believe the state of “soft fascination” – in which you can find yourself as you appreciate your surroundings on a hike or watch the water of a river flow by – is believed to calm the prefrontal cortex, allowing the brain to access other regions that can lead to insights and new ideas.
Spending time in nature also inspires a sense of awe. This feeling that the world is so much bigger than you can comprehend leads to “expansive thinking,” which allows us to consider different perspectives and can lead to innovative ideas. This could explain why so many artists – from Ansel Adams to Henry David Thoreau to Georgia O’Keefe – have found spending time in nature essential their work.
Technology Versus Nature
In everyday life in the city, your brain can easily get overwhelmed, making it hard to focus. A simple way to combat the war for our attention is to simply take a break: turn off your phones every now and again. This is especially important if you’re trying to reap the benefits of nature: a study showed that people walking through an arboretum while talking on their cell phone had brain activity levels “consistent with attention overload” while those who strolled among the plants without their phones had higher recollection of detail.
Even a simple walk in the park can boost your creativity, but longer escapes are more beneficial. Three days out in nature seems to be the sweet spot for fully letting your mind calm down from a fast-paced life.
Try getting out of a rut and give your brain a break by taking a deep dive into the outdoors. What patterns can you break? Unplug from everything. Switch up where you sleep and spend a night (or several) in a tent or a cabin in the woods. Explore new natural terrain, watch the sunset and look at the stars – without Instagramming the view. Connect with the world through your eyes instead of through a lens for a while. Bring along your paintbrushes or pencils, and see what being in nature inspires.
Once you get back to daily life, your old routine will feel new again, which is key to sparking your creativity.
We created our Artist Fellowship Program to help creative people find the space and inspiration they need to bring their ideas to life. Earlier this year, we hosted photographer, Wisteria Warren, at Getaway Mount Adams outside of Portland. Here’s what she had to say about her creative process, her relationship to nature, and her Getaway:
On Photography I’ve been a photographer for over 10 years, currently I serve as a wedding photographer. My husband and I live in Austin, TX and both have a love for travel and adventure. As a photographer, light is everything. And believe it or not, light is different on the West coast. I felt inspired to play with shadows during the golden light (as you can see in some of my photos).
On Nature and Recharging Nature is where I feel most at peace. It’s where I can escape the hustle, and be intentional and recharge. My husband and I even got married in Yosemite so that we could draw away from the hustle to be intimately united. You can’t help but be present when you’re in nature, and you can’t pour out what you don’t have. Making sure I recharge means that I can pour the best parts of me into my art.
On Disconnecting Our Getaway was exactly what I needed to feel rested, inspired, and recharged. Getting time in nature away from my phone where there isn’t even cell service forced me to be present.
We know it can be hard to find the space to create art and get inspired, that’s why we created Our Artist Fellowship Program; to provide artists with the time, space, and permission to recharge by creating.
This month we’re featuring three illustrators who made time to Getaway to capture the inspiration that came with some extra time in nature. Here’s what each of them had to say about creativity, their connections to nature, and their Getaways.
I’m an artist and illustrator based in Hillsboro, Oregon. Creativity has always been an important part of my life, but I fell in love with artistic processes in High School and went on to get my B.A. in Art. I grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and have always been inspired by, and felt incredible peace, being in nature. Both of these themes of peace and nature come up frequently in my art as I strive to communicate the essence of a place through detailed pen and ink work.
I view both experiences in nature and the creative process as therapeutic in my life. They both provide a chance to step out of our normal responsibilities, take a deep breath, and focus on something beautiful. They are ways to create space in our lives for discovery. Because of this connection I am often inspired to use natural elements and landscapes as subjects for my artwork. I love being able to create something from an experience in nature and communicate the beauty and sense of peace that I get from nature to the people that view my art.
My Getaway was a wonderful reprieve from the business of normal life, especially in light of all that has gone on in our country and world this year. It was a treat to be in a space set out for the purpose of rest and disconnection. I was able to use the time to get away from the distractions of technology. The experience was a reminder to me to look for the simplicity and moments of beauty in my everyday life as well, and I am excited to see where this theme will take me in my next collection of artwork.
Growing up in a small, historic town outside of Baltimore, I spent a lot of time outdoors, barefooted and climbing trees. I chose to study illustration in Boston and after years of the busy, city life, I wanted a change of environment and pace. Austin incorporates the best of both worlds, offering a thriving urban lifestyle with the balancing presence of plenty of watering holes and green spaces to rest and reconnect with nature. Whittled Inklings came out of this transition, and this is the name I work under creatively, primarily in relief printmaking and commissioned illustrative and graphic design work.
Nature plays a prominent theme in my print work and I draw influence from the outdoors often. Inspiration for a future project can come from taking a walk around the neighborhood, venturing out to a local trail, or on a road trip collecting imagery from point A to point B. Living in Texas, I am finding myself forever enamoured by desert plant life, especially octopus agave and prickly pear cacti in bloom!
My stay at the Houston outpost exceeded all expectations. I can’t remember the last time I was surrounded by absolute darkness and could look up and see all the stars so clearly. It was a humbling reminder to unplug from the screens, disconnect from social media, and take a moment to feel small in comparison to the towering trees and visible galaxy above.
The Getaway Cabin experience is deeply thoughtful in architectural design, curated amenities, and a carefully chosen, safe, and peacefully remote location. It’s a stay I would recommend to family, friends, and creatives looking for a moment of pause.
I’m an illustrator and graphic designer from Baltimore, MD living in Brooklyn, NY. I create work that’s bold, colorful, and demands attention featuring Black Women, Women of Color, and the LGBTQ+ community. My goal is to create work that comes from an authentic place and resonates with my community.
Being in nature allows me to slow down and escape the hustle and bustle of life in New York City. I have fond memories of going hiking in the woods as a kid and the way I would enjoy conquering the forest, finding waterfalls, feeling disconnected from the world. I’ve gotten away from nature as an adult and being back in it was a reminder of how much a change in environment can do for your mental health.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Getaway. I especially appreciated being able to be still and reflect, which is what I ultimately chose to illustrate. Being in the cabin, I didn’t even want to pick up my phone or laptop, I wanted to be in the moment and just soak up the time in nature. I was inspired to get away from the city more often to give myself free liberty to create.
Looking for a blend of classic and modern for your road trip to Getaway? On her recent Artist Fellowship at Getaway Blake Brook, Claire Gohst of indie rock project Paper Citizen put together her ideal escape playlist.
With a mix of classic hits and new indie rock tracks, Claire’s playlist is a great listen for a pleasant, upbeat drive to our Outposts. Listen along for some tunes from the Beatles, George Ezra, and Paper Citizen herself.
If you’re looking for a gentle singer/songwriter playlist for your escape into nature, then we’ve found the perfect playlist for you.
Evelyn Frances, who’s escaping to our New York Outpost this August, put together her favorite tunes to listen to while she’s relaxing. Featuring Bjork, Maggie Rogers, Mountain Man, and more, her playlist is great for your mornings at Getaway.
Photographer and food blogger Katherine D’Costa spent her recent Artist Fellowship cooking up a storm at Getaway Chattahoochee. Katherine and her husband, a chef and recipe developer, came up with a three-course summer meal, all featuring Georgia peaches.
Now they’re sharing their recipes for poached peaches and corn salsa, bourbon barbecue pork chops with grilled peaches, and grilled peaches and pineapples.
Poached Peaches and Corn Salsa
What you’ll need:
2 ears fresh corn (shucked)
8 grape tomatoes (halved)
1/2 cup cilantro (finely-chopped)
1 cup lime juice
1 tsp kosher slat
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp red tomato (finely diced)
1 poached peach
What to do:
To poach the peach, grill the peach until it’s marked and slightly smoked.
Remove kernels from corncob.
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop with Bourbon BBQ Sauce and Grilled Georgia Peaches
What you’ll need: For Pork:
Medium to thick bone-in pork chops
2 cups Ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp & 1 tsp salt
1 cup & 4 tbsp bourbon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup butter
What to do:
Grill the pork chops to medium temperature.
Heat soy sauce, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar until the sugar is melted.
Add this mix into a blender, along with ketchup, pepper, salt, 1 cup bourbon, ginger, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
Mix in blender until fully incorporated.
Grill peaches until marked and mildly smoked (the color will darken a bit).
Add butter, peaches, 4 tbsp bourbon, and 1 tsp salt into a sauté pan and heat until peaches are fully tender.
Chop peaches and add to blender mix.
Spoon sauce over pork to taste.
Add cilantro to garnish.
Grilled Peaches and Pineapples
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp salt
What to do:
Grill 2 peaches and pineapple slices until tender.
Heat all other ingredients until melted.
Add peaches and pineapples until fully coated.
Chop and serve.
Ready to create a recipe of your own? Book your escape now. Find more delicious recipes from Katherine here.
With the hustle and bustle of city life, we know it can be hard for artists to find uninterrupted time to create. That’s why we created our Artist Fellowship Program, to give creatives a space in nature to work on their projects. We love seeing what our artists come up with and we’re excited to share some of our recent fellows.
Painter Amanda Nolan Booker has been painting and drawing ever since she was young. However, it wasn’t until 2016 when she decided to go back to school and pursue painting full time.
“My work deals with memory, perception, and experience,” Amanda said. “I’m inspired by the everyday, in the mundane, but I’m equally inspired by mythology and storytelling. I want to account for the things that make up a life which are not easily defined or depicted.”
Amanda prefers to escape anywhere that’s quiet, so our Atlanta Outpost was the perfect spot for her to take some time to create.
“I work best when I’m alone and can listen to music and/or have conversations with myself out loud,” Amanda says. “Even if I’m not actively painting and just need to brainstorm, it’s important that I find a place for uninterrupted reflection.”
Six years ago, Richard Bonasoro turned his backyard into a small farm in the hope of growing his own food and living a healthier lifestyle. During this project, he started thinking about what he was putting on his skin as well.
“I started looking into soap making and finally made my first batch of soap right in the backyard in my garden,” Richard said. “I wanted a bar of soap with ingredients you could recognize without Google: organic olive oil, organic coconut oil, essential oils, and herbs and sometimes even vegetables from my garden.”
As part of his fellowship, Richard picked up his work station and moved it to Getaway Blake Brook. The soap he made there, inspired by his stay, combined pine, fir, needle, cedarwood, and cypress together with a lemony scent.
Richard, who owns and operates the Backyard Soap Company, says his dream creative project is to build a backyard garden utopia that’s inspired by The Secret Garden.
Interested in tapping into your own creativity in nature? Escape today.