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An Apology For Idlers

Even though this essey was published in 1881, it is amazing to see time and again how contemporary and relevant is wisdom we have reachable at our fingertips. Just to reach out...

AN APOLOGY FOR IDLERS by Robert Louis Stevenson

"BOSWELL: We grow weary when idle." "JOHNSON: That is, sir, because others being busy, we want company; but if we were idle, there would be no growing weary; we should all entertain one another."

JUST now, when every one is bound, under pain of a decree in absence convicting them of LESE-respectability, to enter on some lucrative profession, and labour therein with something not far short of enthusiasm, a cry from the opposite party who are content when they have enough, and like to look on and enjoy in the meanwhile, savours a little of bravado and gasconade. And yet this should not be. Idleness so called, which does not consist in doing nothing, but in doing a great deal not recognised in the dogmatic formularies of the ruling class, has as good a right to state its position as industry itself. It is admitted that the presence of people who refuse to enter in the great handicap race for sixpenny pieces, is at once an insult and a disenchantment for those who do.

Doing art keeps the brain young - CBS News

A friend of mine retired from a university professorship about two years ago. He had been paid well for decades, waited until he was in his 70s to give up teaching, had invested astutely in real estate and stocks all along, and he is as a result worth many millions. Nowadays, he evidently spends a lot of time at home, alone, watching television, and worrying about whether he retired too early. In short, though the did a great job in cultivating his financial portfolio, he failed to similarly develop hobbies and interests along the way. Now he feels bored and lost. His situation came to mind when my mother forwarded me a link to a CBS News story, covering recently announced research results in a neurology medical journal, that documents how creative hobbies – specifically artistic pursuits – stave off dementia during the aging process. Over the years, quite a number of artbreak™ participants have enlisted with us in anticipation of retirement. They are like my retired professor friend, except that they have decided to try their hands at our arts immersion workshops to see whether they cannot stir up a habit that will last them in years to come. The happy fact is, this seems to happen, more often than not. Doing art keeps the brain young

Learning Art Alters the Brain

A recently published scientific paper validates the anecdotal evidence that artbreak™ participants have been telling us (and showing us) for years: Doing art makes us better able to do art. But the research, based on brain scans of university students enrolled in art classes, goes further: it establishes that creating art changes the way the brain is organized. Here is how writer Tom Jacobs summarizes the findings: "Creativity is another concept that is often thought of as something we are either born with or will never have," says Dartmouth College psychologist Alexander Schlegel, lead author of a paper published in the journal NeuroImage. "Our data clearly refute this notion." Schlegel and his colleagues report that taking an introductory class in painting or drawing literally alters students' brains. What's more, these training-induced changes didn't only improve the fine motor control needed for sophisticated sketching; they also boosted the students' creative thinking. "Their study featured 35 college undergraduates, 17 of whom took a three-month introductory course in observational drawing or painting. All underwent monthly brain scans using fMRI technology. The art students specifically increased "their ability to think divergently, model systems and processes, and use imagery," the researchers write. The results suggests that, in a matter of a few months, "prefrontal white matter reorganizes as (art students) become more able to think creatively." The full article can be seen here.

artbreak™ Going to Dresden in 2015

This autumn, artbreak™ is adding a day trip to Dresden during our regular week, meaning a chance to experience and compare two fantastic artistic cities – icons of Czech and German culture respectively – which just happen to be a short train ride apart.

A new website for artbreak™

Welcome to the new, updated web site for artbreak™ ARTS IMMERSION VACATIONS. We are thrilled to have gotten to this point, and grateful for the work of those who have helped make it happen. Three years ago, Richard and I realized that the artbreak™ concept had been fully proved out in Prague, and that we wanted to be able to say yes to the many artbreak™ alumni who have asked us when we are going to offer vacations in other locations. To do that, we have needed a web site that has the flexibility and capacity of the new site. We also wanted to have a vehicle for sustaining a community, hence this Journal.


Break Through Writer's Block by Living Your Own Fantasy

Snow swirled by the window and an empty fireplace taunted my blue fingers as I sat in the parlor of Lednice Castle, in the Czech Republic, listening to the tap, tap, tap of inspiration seeping from my soul into my brain.

My first novel was coming. Although a published travel writer, I hadn't ventured into serious novel writing before. A lucky break - meaning a boyfriend with a job on a movie set, filmed on location at Lednice Castle - led to my imagination being plunged into a ready-made atmosphere, just waiting to be peopled with quirky characters and magical adventures.


Next artbreak™


  • The perfect balance of the travelers’ opposites – discovery on your own and a peek into the insiders’ world. I would NEVER have found this on my own.

    Maryly S.
    Artist and retired Librarian, Berkeley, California, USA
  • My wife and I haven’t had such a fun adventure in years. We never could have experienced Prague culture like this on our own. It was an unforgettably stimulating and at the same time relaxing trip for us. Bravo!

    Thomas R.
    Architect, Toronto, Canada
  • Of all the vacations I have taken that included art this was by far the best! Anytime you want to use me as a reference, feel free.

    Sandra M.
    Governmental Affairs Consultant, San Francisco, California, USA
  • I'm thrilled I went – Artbreak expanded my horizons and re-energized me creatively by providing a totally unique, personalized, deeply engaging experience that I'll never forget.

    Jeff F.
    Marketing Consultant, Boston, Massachusetts USA
  • Of course the city itself is a wonder; but I doubt if I would have come to love it so if not for the experience you and Doug have so carefully, thoroughly and lovingly crafted.

    Mary Ann F.
    Chiropractor, Palo Alto, California, USA
  • Of course I will sing your praises!! How could I not?? It was an absolutely wonderful week!

    Fran G.
    Attorney, New York City, New York, USA
  • The trip was wonderful and I have so many wonderful memories and I appreciate all that you did for Judy and I. I have traveled a lot and this trip ranks high on my enjoyment scale.

    Janice S.
    RN, MS, New York City, USA
  • Thank you one and all for a GREAT week in Prague. I’ve had my ceramics glazed and fired and they look great. My children really loved the clay animation. 

    Sue S.
    Engineer and Homemaker, Doha, Quatar
  • Memories of Artbreak are still very much with me. Thank you both for a lifetime experience. You were gracious hosts and your care and planning were much appreciated.

    Susan H.
    Princeton, New Jersey, USA
  • In retrospect, I am glad that we had a day before and after the scheduled events, to acclimate to the city before, and after, to pursue things we hadn't had an opportunity to get to.

    Manuel J.
    Financial Analyst, Salamanca, Spain
  • Here is what stands out for me: overcoming insecurity about making art in front of strangers; making art in companionship with people who are now on the same adventure.

    Maryly S.
    Artist and retired Librarian, Berkeley, California, USA


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