The Hero’s Journey

  • The Hero’s Journey

Claymont Retreat Center

Charles Town, WV

September 22 - 27, 2020

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The Hero's Journey provides a powerful roadmap for understanding the transformational potential of process painting. The first gateway encountered is Entering the Mystery, having the courage to step up to the blank canvas without knowing the outcome. The second is Going Through the Fire, encountering the inevitable moments of difficulty and challenge that require awakening and self-surrender. And finally discovering Opening to Space, letting go to the intuitive guidance and unobstructed flow of the creative process.

In this 5-day retreat at the Claymont Retreat Center north of Washington, DC, we will use the myth of The Hero's Journey to navigate the internal landscape of painting for process. Under the guidance of Stewart Cubley and his senior facilitators, Annie Rousseau and Matt Belay, you will explore the essential gateways on the path to personal challenge and creative breakthrough. 

Entering the Mystery

The courage to not-know | Listening from the heart | Following the energy

Going Through the Fire

The illusion of control | The crisis of self-surrender | The power of presence

Opening to Space

The pathless path | Beyond self-expression | Life as painting

It takes some training to equate complete letting go with comfort.
in fact, “nothing to hold on to” is the root of happiness.
There’s a sense of freedom when we accept that we’re not in control. 

~ Pema Chodron

Retreat Format

This retreat is open to anyone regardless of past experience in our programs. If you are a member of our online course, Introduction to Facilitating Process Arts, The Hero's Journey will provide you with guided facilitation experience and will count towards the prerequisite of three onsite trainings in order to apply for The Painting Experience Apprenticeship Program.

The first three days of this retreat will explore the Hero's Journey through process painting practice and group discussion. Each day's painting sessions will be supported by Stewart, Annie, and Matt, assisted by participants in Introduction to Facilitating Process Arts. At the end of each session, we will explore as a group the myriad situations that arise on the path of practicing and facilitating process painting.

The final two-and-one-half days will be in-depth process painting time where you'll be joined by painters attending the weekend painting workshop. During this portion of the retreat, Hero's Journey participants will have the opportunity to explore their experiences in a separate, break-out group led by Stewart Cubley and a senior facilitator.

Past participants have found these onsite gatherings to be both personally inspiring and professionally motivating.  Registration is limited, so make your plans early!

The cost of this 5-day retreat is $795. Room and Board is an additional fee. Commuters are welcome. Continuing Education Units for therapists and nurses are available.

Retreat Schedule

Tuesday, September 22 - Friday, September 25


Arrival: after 2 pm

Dinner: 6:00 pm

First Session: 7:30-9:30 pm

Wednesday - Thursday:

Optional Meditation/Yoga: 7-8am

Morning: 9:30 - 12:00

Afternoon: 3:00 - 5:30

Evening: 7:30 - 9:00


Optional Meditation/Yoga: 7-8am

Morning: 9:30 - 12:00

Finish after lunch


Weekend Workshop  Friday, September 25 - Sunday, September 27


Dinner: 6:00 pm

Session: 7:00 - 9:30 pm


Morning: 9:30-12:00

Afternoon: 2:30 - 5:00

Evening: 7:30 - 9:00


Morning: 9:30 -12:00

Afternoon: 2:30 - 4:30

Closing Session 4:30 - 5:30



Breakfast 8:00 - 9:00

Lunch: 12:00 - 1:00

Dinner: 6:00 - 7:00

Open Studio:

The studio is open for painting between scheduled sessions and at night.

Continuing Education Credits

26 CE Credits are provided by the Institute for Art and Living for:

  • MFT, LCSW, LPCC and LEP by CAMFT (California Board of Marriage and Family Therapists)
  • RN by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
  • Fee: $25.00

Read more here.

Discounts and scholarships

Partial tuition scholarships are available. Apply here

Work exchange is available. Apply here

Cancellation Policy

If you paid in full, you will receive a full refund minus a 25% handling fee if you cancel by one month prior to the start date. After that date, or if you paid a deposit only, your payment is nonrefundable and nontransferable.



Claymont Retreat Center

667 Huyett Road, Charles Town, WV 25414

Accommodations and Meals

The prices below are per person for the week. Lodging prices include 5 nights lodging and  3 meals/day beginning with Tuesday dinner, ending with Sunday lunch.

All rooms have shared bath.

Single Room - $650

Shared Room (2 painters) - $525

Dorm Room (3-4 painters) - $450

Commuter Fee - $75 (meals are an additional fee)

Meals (included in the accommodations fee): The kitchen prepares special diets for guests who prefer gluten free, dairy fee, vegetarian or vegan.

Day use meal cost: (5 days)

All meals: $275

Lunch & Dinners – $225

Dinners only – $150



Nearby Airports:

Dulles International Airport is located about 32 miles from Claymont Retreat Center.

Reagan National Airport, is located about 53 from Claymont Retreat Center

Baltimore Washington International Airport is located about 64 miles from Claymont Retreat Center.

Ground Transportation from PDX to Claymont Retreat Center

Anthony's Transportation Service

Continental Sedan Airport Taxi


Amtrak /  Harpers Ferry Station is about 7 miles from Charles Town, WV.


Greyhound / The Greyhound bus terminal in Charles Town, WV is located 300 Reynolds St.


Charles Town Area Public Transit Resources


Driving Directions

For driving directions, click here. Click on “Directions” and enter your starting address.

Or see the retreat center's directions here.

Ride Board

Ride Board: Go here to see about rides offered/requested for this retreat.

Extra Days

There is an option to arrive on Monday, September 21st and/or stay Sunday night September 27th.