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Why an 'art therapy' retreat in Greece is the perfect antidote to life in the 21st century.


I am standing at an easel under an olive tree gleefully squeezing globules of bright orange acrylic paint onto a mixing palette. I follow this with a cornflower blue and a forest green, enjoying the squidgy feeling of the paints coming out of their tubes. Then I take a brush and start to paint something random on the blank piece of paper in front of me.

Along with five fellow guests I’m loosening up at Bleverde, a marvellous estate graced with flowers, herbs and fruit trees near the heritage village of Gavalochori on Crete. It’s the base for art therapy breaks led by charismatic Penelope Orfanoudaki, a Cretan art therapist, who discovered the technique after a stressful 18-year corporate career.

“Art therapy uses ‘mark making’ to help you connect with yourself and whatever is going on in your life at the moment,” explains a beaming, tanned Penelope. “You don’t have to be traumatised or ‘good at art’ to come, just living in the 21st century”.

Jan, 2018

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