Women’s ‘Symbol of Place’ trip includes rafting in Utah | VailDaily.com

Women’s ‘Symbol of Place’ trip includes rafting in Utah

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyParticipants work on watercolor paintings during last year's "Symbol of Place: Painting the Desert in Words and Art" workshop.

River water, its memory, history and ancient people, is the subject of the third women’s wilderness retreat to Utah led by award-winning Grand Junction writer Sandra Dorr and painter Martha McCoy, April 25 through 27.

“Symbol of Place: Painting the Desert in Words and Art” is for all levels of experience: new or professional writers, painters, or those seeking a weekend escape.

The group will carpool from Grand Junction into Utah, where they’ll raft the Colorado, stopping in a side canyon for a guided interpretive hike, and beaches to write, paint and eat lunch. Over the next two days, the women will stay in spacious cabins at Red Cliffs Lodge on the river in Professor Valley, under 1,000 ft. red rock walls.

Morning and afternoon writing and watercolor painting workshops will be held on decks overlooking the river and in plein air under cottonwoods. The group will have a guided hike up to rare petroglyphs, and will study the night sky in gatherings after dinner.

“I think when you get away with a group of women, not only do you lose all your daily chores, you gain faith, because a lot of people ” myself included ” think they don’t really have a talent for writing. They go away realizing they can develop a talent for writing,” said Terri Jones, a retired school teacher who attended the first “Symbol of Place” retreat. “People need to hear our stories.”

“This place is like a womb,” said Martha McCoy, after her first trip to Professor Valley. “The writing helps my painting ” it gives you visual ideas for painting.”

Much of the language of place ” the evaporated seas, the desert flowers, the rock formations of Moenkopi and Kayenta ” appears often in the poems and stories that are written during the “Symbol of Place” weekends.

“I love the combination of natural history, science and art that explodes in everyone’s creative subconscious,” Dorr said. “I wanted women to be outside and to be utterly free, because it’s freedom that brings about creativity.”

Retreat cost is $350, plus one of three lodging options ($60/$150/$300). The completely outfitted trip includes all meals and equipment except art supplies. Registration deadline is March 25. Call (970) 257-1498 or visit http://www.womenswildernesswriting.com for more information.

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