On the road in Ibiza: Drawn to the good life as inspiration kicks in

 

Today a few fellow travellers and I are taking part in an art class in the cute garden studio of Can Amonita, a quiet Ibicencan villa in the north of the island overlooking the San Juan valley. It is stunningly hot and I am glad to be inside, standing at a giant easel with a smooth piece of charcoal in hand, pretending I'll be able to draw the heavily pregnant naked woman in front of me.

The class is part of nutritionist Vicki Edgson's Vital Energy break, a healthy week of nutritious food and holistic activities designed to help us get back in touch with what makes us feel alive. Will this do it? Our teacher, Joel Rice, certainly thinks so. A handsome and relaxed graphic designer from Seattle who has been living on the island for years, he gently encourages us to make our first mark by showing us coffee-table books full of paintings.

Look, he says, Picasso often used just an arc of black for an eye, a scrape of red for a mouth – so why not have a go?

I make my first mark, then another, till I'm sweeping black and grey all over the page and getting quite into it. The model takes a rest; we sip redbush tea and I admire the rather brilliant line drawing rustled up in a few minutes by my neighbour, a tanned lady in funky shorts who is here on a permanent holiday. The model moves to a sofa strewn with vibrant throws and cushions and I eagerly reach for some colour. Purple, orange, bit of brown, bit of green – before I know it I'm as absorbed as a child colouring in.

After an hour my painting looks nothing like the woman's real body, but who cares? Joel says he loves its lush, resplendent lines, and I've spent, I realise, the most inspiring hour I've had in ages. Ibiza may be a party island, but it has got a creative vibe and is packed full of people such as Joel who have given up the rat race for a life with a better balance. I feel nicely tired and quite peaceful after class, and the quality of light outside helps sustain my mood as we make our way to a table laid with a simple pasta lunch.

Further information

Footprint's Body & Soul Escapes (£19.99) and Body & Soul Escapes: Britain & Ireland (£14.99) are available now. Caroline Sylger Jones runs queenofretreats.com. Vicki Edgson's next Ibizan retreat is in June (see vickiedgson.com).

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