Finally. Again this year. And indeed, each and EVERY year, the creative mountain destination Altenmarkt-Zauchensee brings together like-minded souls and creative talents as part of the so-called “Natura.Kreativ” – Creative Mountain Travel during the last weeks of August. For the fifth year in a row, Altenmarkt-Zauchensee has proven to be a true “hot spot for creativity” within Austria. I too count myself among the “regulars” already visiting since the summer of 2012: “Oh hello! So nice to see you again! How’s things?! And so, which of the courses will you attend this year?”
So many emotions. So many familiar faces. The “Natura.Kreativ” event resonates …
… with us on so many levels. For me, it is almost like a “coming home” for creativity, a trusted frame of regular visitors and familiar tutors who help me to “let go creatively” for the duration of an entire week, inspired by a most magic alpine scenery. Magnificent. And such is the welcome on our day of arrival in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee this year …
“May It Be. Bel Ami! Something Stupid. Can’t help falling in love …” Singing in the mountains, you really can’t help falling in love!
Dearest Annelie. What would we do without you. You make our voices carry out in unison and allow ours souls to travel freely! Actually, it is really quite unbelievable that we are able to sing three voices, ready for the stage, within only a few hours of training among more or less talented singers. I still get goose bumps when I think of our performance (and voices!) today: “Du hast Glück bei den Frauen, Bel Ami …!” – “Wise Men Say … Only Fools Rush In … But I can’t help … Falling in Love …” It must be love. And really down to the special atmosphere of all the inspiring mountain locations out here. Schmacht! “But then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like I love you …!” For two voices, mind you. Thanks be to you, oh Annelie!
Besides the fleet-footed inspiration of singing & nude painting, there are also other crafts to be explored here: Such as a wooden sculpting workshop with the eloquent Walter Puchmair.
“So. .. What do we do now?!” At some point, we all end up having exactly the same question. Our instructor Walter, however, has already expert-handedly arranged driftwood & stones from the local Zauchbach in front of us. As he turns to face us, his eyes are beaming with delight. A little hesitant at first, I move over to the natural materials and actually choose two for their beautiful appearance and unique shape. “Think about how you want to connect the existing materials to create your own individual artwork using hammer, sandpaper, drills, threads, colours, wires, glue: Everything is here for you to form a wooden stone sculpture!” In my case, the sculpture ends up representing world travel, special interests & creative diversity: Hardly surprising you may say! I do keep noting that creativity is exactly that: An expression of personality in every moment of our lives. To me, that is the very reason why it is so exciting, intense and instructive – even or especially when travelling!
“Natura.Kreativ” also means enjoying pure NATURE in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee. My favorite hiking trail leads from Oberzauchensee towards Gamskogel mountain, offering magnificent distant views up to the Dachstein massif.
Do you know what the best part about exercising in the fresh (mountain) air is? As a true gourmet traveller, I can really say that: It is the good food deserving compensation for physical training !!! Such is the pleasure of a glass of fresh buttermilk, served with a big plate of beef bouillon & “Kaspressknödel” cheese dumplings that you really have to stop at the mountain huts here. “Our cows graze on lush alpine herbs, whose particular spices find their way into the milk and even the cheese you taste here”, the friendly landlord of the Oberzauchensee mountain hut tells me. We are here at the famous ski resort Zauchensee, at approximately 1,500 metres above sea level. My hike leads me to climb the surrounding mountains for about 600 metres more, allowing my views and thoughts to wander as well as my calories to burn off gradually … The meditation of the quiet and lush greens around me does not miss its mark, nor do the melodies that I carry on singing from the past creative course inspiration: “Believe and you will find your way …”, a most beautiful song by Enya from “The Lord Of the Rings”!
Happiness. Pride. Satisfaction. Joy. How a true creative traveller can still be overwhelmed by her own creative joy!
It all started with an idea. Or an impulse, rather. Suddenly, from one moment to the next, there was this knowledge: I am going to paint this picture. This one particular image. Our creative course instructor Karin, a real “veteran” of the “Natura.Kreativ” creative summer event teaching the acrylic painting course, smiles just a tiny bit uneasily when I tell her about my plan: “You know, normally I advise students not to aim for such high marks, photo realism and such. But after three years .. I daresay I know you a little now, and I know that I need to let you continue simply because you are always able to reach your goals safely!” Karin’s words still ring in my ears, resonating with the essence of my own personality – just like the creative journey I am on! Thus I begin to implement my plan. First, I send an email to the tourist office of a special iPhone photograph that I take as a template for my creative work on acrylic, asking them to print it in A4 format for me. “Wow! That is … are you going to paint that?!” Admiration and slight concern are in the statements of my colleagues and fellow course participants. “Yes,” I say calmly knowing that I can – without exactly knowing how yet! I push all doubts aside and onto Karin: It is really thanks to her creative impulses, that I have gained the right inspiration in painting my picture in each of the critical phases. So now, 10 hours, a lot of attention to detail and many moments of self-forgetful devotion later (Flow!), I am pleased to reveal the result of my work to you!
Check out the entire display of colours taken during the Natura.Kreativ in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee this summer. See you all in 2015 I hope? 😀
Disclaimer: We have been invited by Altenmarkt-Zauchensee Tourism Destination in order to experience the Natura.Kreativ Creative Mountain Summer in Salzburg. All opinions are my own.