Mix-It-Up Mark Making .. a workshop with Jane Davies

September 5th to 12th 2020

We all make marks of one kind of another, whether doodling while on the phone, drawing a map or diagram, or making art. This is a Mark Making Marathon which will help you loosen up and step up the momentum of your art practice. In this workshop you will explore a wide variety of materials and discover techniques through which you can expand on your unique expression. Instead of going on autopilot when making marks, become conscious of their character, their expressive qualities, and then expand your vocabulary beyond the predictable.

Build dynamic images by emphasizing contrasting marks, rather than repetitive ones. Make lines, scribbles, masses, drips, splatters, transfers (transferring paint from one surface to another), collage, and more, using acrylic based paints, inks, drawing materials, papers, and your imagination.



I’m so excited to invite you to join me for an Art Escape to the west coast of Ireland where magic, mystery and myth enchant the very soil! This 7 night/8 day all inclusive creative journey will be hosted by Essence of Mulranny Studio, run and operated by artist, Lora Murphy and located in the quaint coastal village of Mulranny! A place full of rugged beauty, fascinating history and endless inspiration!

September 5th to 12th 2020

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Jane Davies is a full time artist working in collage, painting, and encaustic. She offers workshops at her studio and nationwide, focusing on helping people to find a personal and playful approach to art.

Beginning as a potter in the early nineties, selling her colorful hand-painted ceramics at craft shows, Davies gradually transitioned into freelance art, designing tableware, fabric, paper goods, stationery, and other products, using painting and collage as her medium. For the past several years, Davies has put most of her efforts towards teaching, writing, and making art.

Artist's Statement

Having grown up in the environment of art colleges, with contemporary art a part of my everyday life, it does not surprise me that abstract elements of art - color, shape, line, texture, for example - are the things that excite my visual sensibility.  Formal elements are my first and foremost source of inspiration.  I can be moved by a simple combination of color and line, or the relationships of shapes and edges, or the interplay between pattern and scale.  I look at colors, textures and images out in the world as well: rocks, rust, surfaces affected by age, by marks of the human hand, by time and tides.  But I also look at a lot of art in many mediums, and gorge myself on the infinite ways in which materials can be transformed into rich and expressive visual statements.

I begin with a loose idea as starting point.  For example, I may want to explore a particular color relationship, or a certain type of line with specific shapes, or the contrast of soft edges with hard edges.  I set up the parameters of my exploration, usually specifying some colors, and a few elements, and then work in series, trying out various permutations over the course of multiple pieces.  The parameters loosely define a starting point only, and I have no pre-conceived idea of what the piece will look like when it is finished. The piece develops as a conversation, a dialogue between my actions, and how those actions affect the painting.

In my own art practice, focus on process is an essential component of developing work that feels authentic and personal.  My process involves a back-and-forth play between spontaneous, intuitive mark-making, and careful deliberation and intention: I think of it as letting things happen, and making things happen.  I make a move, and then the painting reveals something new to respond to.  Each move changes the whole piece and sets up a new set of challenges.  It takes practice and continued effort to stay present to this dialog and not get carried away by the desire for a quick result or an easy resolution.  It requires trust in my own intuitive responses, and a willingness to not-know, to not have the route laid out like a road map.

I leave my paintings open to interpretation by the viewer, so I hope you’ll have fun looking at them

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that making art is a journey with very few hand-holds and only a general road map. Each participant has to find his or her own way, while at the same time remain open to learning from others. While I may teach a multitude of techniques, my focus is on the back-and-forth play of spontaneity and intention that characterizes the creative process. I try to pave the way into that precarious I-don’t-know-what-to-do-next zone, where you are challenged to forge a personal path, with guidance, to discover the satisfaction of making art that is truly your own. Cultivating a degree of comfort, or at least willingness, with that awkward territory of not-knowing, is one of the keys to finding your creative edge.

What would happen if you allowed the land, the sky and the sea to fully awaken your senses?

What would happen if you allowed the land, the sky and the sea to fully awaken your senses?

Excursion Destinations

“Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become.”John O Donoghue


From our host, Lora…

We invite you to imagine standing on the panoramic hillside of our studio, taking in the spectacular views of Clew bay and Croagh Patrick (Ireland’s holy mountain).

Open your heart to the profoundly moving drama of constantly shifting Atlantic skies, reflecting an ever changing light show on the bay. The wildness and drama of this spectacular area belie the peace and connection you will feel to Ireland and to this very special place.

Lay on a blanket in the heather and watch the stars emerge on a clear night or walk along the rocky shores, to gather shells, driftwood and memories. Find yourself letting go of the stress of everyday life, feel the mystery and beauty of this land, awakening your senses.

This unspoiled place provide a safe place of inspiration and experimentation to stretch your skills in whatever medium you are working on, in an amazing state of the art studio..



Being in Mulranny is all about being on the edge, on the edge of Europe, on the edge of land and the great ocean seas and the edge of yourself. Edges lead to new boundaries when invited to expand

DATES: September 5 - 12 , 2020





Your 8 days will be a beautiful blend of studio time, delightful excursions, cultural experiences and of course, plenty of free time to rest and explore! You can arrive, unpack your suitcase (and your art supplies) and truly relax, at the gorgeous Essence of Mulranny Retreat center , run and operated by artist, Lora Murphy.

We will be visiting enchanting villages, strolling along the beautiful coastline, touring ancient castles and ruins, picnicking in the heather fields and creating all along the way! The creative inspiration will be all around you!


Dream about the history of past times, evident in every field with old stone walls, every stoic castle and each abandoned cottage.


Meet the local people, warm, friendly and always happy to chat and share a story or a cup of tea. Shop in our local village of Westport and pop into a local pub or two!


Finding something to inspire you is not hard with the richness of the various eco systems surrounding Mulranny - from marine to mountain landscapes, with grasslands, bog and heather hills - this enchanted land casts a spell on any artist.


Visit historic sites, Learn about the infamous Irish Pirate Queen and visit one of her many castles. Hear the story of our Stone Age ancestors and experience the myths and magic of Irelands spiritual roots while standing in one of the ancient stone circles. This is indeed a land of legends!


Bring your camera , your sketchbooks and prepare to lose your heart in it all, your mind full of inspiration.



This beautiful learning center is complete with well equipped mixed media/encaustic art studio, private bedrooms, a cozy gathering room with fireplace and group kitchen for those midnight snacks! All meals will be included and prepared by an on-site private chef and will focus on delicious, healthy cuisine. For larger groups we house students in the village, in apartments with spectacular views.




DATES: Sept 5-12, 2019



  • Workshop instruction

  • Visit to our Old Irish Goat Sanctuary

  • Trips to explore Achill Island

  • Grainne OMalleys castle plus the deserted Village and Keem bay

  • Some art supplies (we be specified closer to trip)

  • 7 nights lodging in this lovely soulful place

  • Transportation from Westport to the Studio (it is recommended to fly into Dublin and get a train to Westport where we will meet you . Its very easy to get around in Ireland

  • All meals except - 2 lunches & 1 dinner

  • All tour & excursion fees

  • Shopping trips

  • Music and craic(fun)

  • Welcome Dinner

  • Long hours access to our state of the art studio

  • Wine with Dinner and beverages

  • Help with travel arrangements

  • Farewell celebration


    • Travel costs / Airfare

    • Passport fees, photos and processing where applicable

    • Additional nights lodging

Schedule of Payments

A trip deposit of $500  is due upon enrollment. This is non refundable . The cost of the trip is payable in 2 instalments The final payment will be due six months from trip date. A payment schedule may be arranged if required ; please contact us to set up a plan.