Arms Creek Artists Retreat is a place for seasoned and aspiring artists to come and enjoy the peace, beauty and amazing amenities of the Treasure Coast of Florida, to learn plein air painting techinques from another artist, and to share in as much fellowship or quiet time as you desire. “Arms Creek Artist’s Retreat” got its name from the creek that ran past where I used to live in Michigan, so it might seem strange that I would adopt it for my new place here in the Treasure Coast of Florida. But it was by that icy creek in the dead of winter that the idea for my current lifestyle was born. Now that that dream has at last became a reality, I am happy to share it with others who may have the same aspirations.

The Artist’s Retreat

Arms Creek Studio sits on a large lot surrounded by nature. The backyard features an artesian well that trickles into a stocked pond. The visiting artist’s suite looks out over the pond. It has a large on-suite full bath, a covered deck with a hammock and seating area and a sliding door to let in the warm breezes and cool night air. The suite is separated from the rest of the house by a split floor plan, but the entrance is through a common front door. The bedroom features high ceilings and a ceiling fan over a standard bed with a foam mattress. The bright and airy full bath has granite countertops and a tiled bathtub/shower combination. The bath is a Jack & Jill and joins to an adjacent bedroom that is also available for rent should you wish to bring a second guest. Otherwise, the bath is for your use only during your stay.

Preparing for your stay

Your first night will be uneventful. Just settle into your suite. You are free to arrive anytime after 2pm. If you would like to share an evening meal together, we can eat out or prepare something together. Just let me know your preference before you arrive. There is high-speed internet here for all your technical needs. No TV is provided in the room, but you are free to stream whatever you like through your laptop, tablet or phone. I have no data limits.

NUMBER OF DAYS & COST: You can decide how many days you would like to stay and how you would like to spend your time. There are two tiers of accommodation:

  • UNACCOMPANIED DAYS: Include coffee and one night of accommodation. You are on your own during these days. Maps and local attraction information is provided. Cost is $100 per day (minimum 3-day stay required) If you wish to use the studio during your stay, there is an additional $50 charge.
  • PLEIN AIR HOSTED DAYS: Include coffee, one-night of accommodation, painting instruction and coaching, transportation to a pleinair painting site, breakfast, pack lunch and free use of the studio. Cost is $350 per day. (must reach a 3-day minimum with a combination of either unaccompanied or hosted)

A TYPICAL PLEIN AIR HOSTED DAY: We begin at sunrise with a light breakfast (provided) and pack the car for the day’s plein air adventure. We will spend all morning on the paint out. (weather permitting) At about noon, we will take a break and eat a packed lunch (provided) and decide if we want to continue painting or take a break for the afternoon. I usually like to get in two paintings in a day if possible. But, you can have as much free time as you like. I can provide coached or solo studio time back at the retreat as well. In the evening, we can share a meal, or you are free to go solo to explore the local restaurants and night life.

CHECK OUT TIME: Please plan to check out by 10 am on the day of your departure to allow time for the room to be prepared for the next guest.

The Treasure Coast

Florida’s Treasure Coast is a special place. It’s not built up and populated like most of the rest of Florida’s coastline. The beaches are not crowded and there’s a laid back vibe that puts you into the vacation mood from day one. The Treasure Coast is called “The Gateway to the Tropics.” The landscape is unlike any other I’ve seen in the U.S. It ranges from ancient oaks to towering pines to palms and lush tropical plants. There are areas of arid savannahs to swamps and crystal clear inlets. Experience the overpowering beauty of a sunrise over the coast unmarred by high rises to the flat land that stretches out into an unobstructed vista of spectacular sunsets to the west. You can drive along the coast for miles without seeing anything but nature. The “Island” character exudes from this area and you’ll be hard pressed to find a franchise or big box store. They do roll up the streets here early at night. The street lights are dim, if on at all. It’s all about the turtles here. Bright lights bring them onto the land and not out to sea and they die. So, it’s dark in the city and along the shoreline and you can see the stars above the ocean. It’s truly paradise here if you have the heart and eyes to see it.

What to Bring

You may wish to bring all your plein air painting materials with you, or any portion of them. I can provide everything from an easel to paints and canvas if needed. You will have to tell me prior to arrival what medium you prefer to work in. There will be a charge for the use of certain materials. I work in oils, acrylics and watercolor. NOTE: I do not work in pastels, so you will have to bring your materials for that medium. If you want to come down as a photographer, you are welcome as well. I can show you the best places and times to catch spectacular shots. On the river, you can capture feeding dolphins as close to the shore as 25 feet, and the gentle manatees if you are lucky. And we have a glorious botanical jungle garden here that is a haven for photographers and painters alike.

As far as the winter weather here, It gets down as low as the 30’s at night in the dead of winter, otherwise it’s a temperate 70 to 80 degrees during the day. It’s a good idea to bring a jacket for the winter nights. We will be walking in some Savanahs and brush areas to paint, so long pants as well as shorts are a good idea. We are just a few miles from a huge community aquatic center that has fountains and a pool with about 30 swim lanes, plus we are 12 minutes from the Indian River and 18 minutes from the coast. If you like to fish, swim in the ocean or pool, boat or just hang out by the sea, this is the place to be. Bringing beach wear as well as clothes that you can layer is a good idea as the temperatures can vary greatly in the winter. Extra blankets will be provided with your bedding should you need them.

In the summer, well, it’s hot. So pack lightly.

What is Provided?

Warm sunshine & hospitality, towels, bedding and a coffee maker will be provided. As well as some convenience items. If you’ve forgotten to pack something, just let me know what you need when you arrive. If you’ve chosen the Hosted Days, I will provide breakfast, lunch, transportation to and from the plein air painting sites, studio time and instruction.

Special Provisions

RV’s: I have a circle drive and plenty of parking space, so RV’s are welcome. If you choose to sleep in your RV, the fee for parking, plug in, unlimited WiFi is $35 per day. If you want a plein air hosted day with RV parking, add $250 per day.

Maestro at Jaycee Beach at sunrise

SPECIAL ACCOMMODATION FOR PETS: I love traveling with my dog, especially when I’m going to paradise…so I want to make that option available. A dog is welcome here provided we discuss it prior to booking. I have a 12 year old Weim who loves everyone, but not all dogs are compatible. There is a damage deposit required with a dog, and special “doggie friendly” towels and bedding will be available instead of the pristine white that is usually provided. Some places we will be painting and dining allow dogs, others do not, so your pet must be comfortable being left in an unfamiliar environment for several hours without separation issues. There are several incredibly beautiful dog parks here. People love their dogs in this area and restaurants encourage them to dine with their owners in outdoor patio areas. A final note: there is no fence around the retreat, so your pet must be on leash while on the property. They can be let off to swim and play ball if they are under voice control. (I’ll provide doggie towels to wipe them down before they come back in the house). Maestro (my dog) I’m sure would love the company.

How to Schedule a Retreat

Just call me and we’ll discuss the dates you have in mind. The most glorious times to be here weather wise are October through May, but I can accommodate you for other times of the year as well. You can reach me via my cell (734) 417-0141 or my new Florida line: (772) 676-0113. Or just email me at divalarson@aol.com with your preferred dates. A refundable deposit will be required at booking. Credit cards are accepted. I look forward to welcoming you as a guest and fellow artist!

Meet The Artist

I started painting en plein air back in 2008 during an artist-in-residency at the Porcupine Mountains. It was an exciting adventure full of unexpected forest guests, a close call with a falling tree, being drenched in rain, bitten by every bug possible and walking for a couple of miles in wet boots after falling into a creek up to my knees. It was love at first attempt, and I’ve been doing it ever since, but I’m a little smarter than when I began. Painting in plein air puts you into the rhythm of nature, and you realize pretty quickly that you are not in control of anything, and that’s ok. If you’d like to see a couple of my paintings created live on youtube, please visit my pleinair site American Paint Out.

As far as credentials, here are a few:

“Featured Artist” Main Street Vero Beach Gallery, Vero Beach, Florida, September 2021

“Power Box Art” 2018, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Winner Exterior Power Box artwork “Blue Fish”- October 2018

“Blue Man Group” 2016, In Living Color Art Competition, Chicago
Winner Exterior Mural and Interior Display “Vessels”- October 2016

“Reaching for the Light” Invitational Exhibition hosted by The Rackham Graduate School of U-M,
Artwork “Vessel 2” featured on poster: November 2014

“Our Town” 2014 Exhibit, Birmingham Michigan, Winner Silver Award – October 2014

“State Street Fair” Ann Arbor Art Fairs, Ann Arbor Michigan, July 2012 and 2013

“Paint Out”, Competition, Howell Michigan, Second Place Award, August 2012

“Waterfront Wine and Art Festival” Thunderbird Artists, Scottsdale, Arizona- February 2012

“Glen Arbor Art Association Paint Out Exhibit” Glen Arbor, Michigan
Winner People’s Choice Award “The Grist Mill”- August 2011

“Light through the Eyes of Nature”- HVCA Gallery, Highland, Michigan, Solo Exhibition- March 2010 “

“Artist In Residence”- Porcupine Wilderness Park, Ontonagan, Michigan, 2 week residency- July 2008

Visit https://www.katherinelarson.com for a more complete list of competitions, awards and commissions.

I’d love to share what I’ve learned with you and to introduce you to the beautiful Treasure Coast of central Florida.

Katherine Larson, Host and Plein air painting Instructor