Singing, Sculpting & Painting Pleasures: Creative Travel Reloaded in Salzburg

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 …

Aktmalen auf der Alm, zählte bereits im Vorjahr zu den beliebtesten und mit der meisten Aufregung behafteten Kursen der Natura.Kreativ hier in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee. (LINK) Der Blick von der Reitlehenalm hier auf über 1.000 Meter Seehöhe ...

Nude painting on more than 1.000 metres above sea-level, is a creative course that continues to draw a lot of attention among visitors as well as the (international) travel media. Here, we are getting ready for the show at this pretty mountain hut in Salzburg …


... inspiriert in gleichem Maße wie die Muße, sich auf die Wiedergabe der Details des weiblichen Körpers zu konzentrieren. Spannend!

… inspired & focused in our attention on the view of … the female body against the Austrian mountains! Delightful, I must say. 😀


Unser professionelles Aktmodell kommt aus München, nennt sich „Rodin’s Muse“ und studiert nebenbei Philosophie. Kursteilnehmerin Lisi aus Wien bringt gekonnt auf Papier, was wir von dem talentierten und vielseitigen Kursleiter Alexander Mitterlechner lernen.

Our professional model originally hails from Munich, likes to call herself “Rodin’s muse” and happens to study philosophy. Here, one of our participants, Lisi from Vienna, shows great talent in drawing what our tutor Alexander Mitterlechner teaches us during the nude painting course.


“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!

Singen ist gut für die Seele. Am besten mit dem Brustton der Überzeugung in einer kreativen Gruppe & Atmosphäre wie dieser!

Singing is good for the soul: Let it best be practiced in a creative happy group such as this one!


Die zauberhafte Umgebung der Reitlehenalm ...

The magic ambiance of the Reitlehenalm mountain hut …


... mit ihrem gemütlichen Kursort lädt uns ein, aktiv tätig zu werden und unsere Freude stimmgewaltig zu veräußern!

… with its cosy atmosphere for us singers has us welcome to unfold our talents, as well as our creativity!


Tatsächlich „trauen“ wir uns, die einstudierten Lieder abends im Rahmen der Natura.Entfaltung in der die Werke aller Kursteilnehmer präsentiert werden, auch aufzuführen: Stimmung pur hier im Festsaal von Altenmarkt!

Indeed, we are happy to perform the songs we learned during the courses as part of the evening ceremony celebrated here in Altenmarkt: Moments to remember … !


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!

Los geht’s: Beim Aussuchen des „ansprechendsten“ Stück Schwemmholzes für unsere schöne Holzskulptur!

Off we go, choosing “our” piece of driftwood for creating our own, individual sculptures using looking materials from Salzburg.


Walter zeigt mir mit viel Geduld und Hingabe, wie ich auch die dekorativsten Elemente – hier eine Muschel – mit dem selbst angerührten Zwei-Komponenten-Kleber an meiner Skulptur veredeln kann.

Walter has a lot of patience in teaching me the little tricks to individualizing my sculpture, such as attaching this tiny little shell with special power glue.


Die Werks-Besprechung interessiert auch Klaudia Zortea (links im Bild), deren Engagement als Geschäftsführerin des lokalen Tourismusverbandes Entstehen & Werdegang der Natura.Kreativ geschuldet ist: Danke, liebe Klaudia & Team!

Klaudia Zortea (right), who is the managing director of the Salzburg destination Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, has also come to check out our work: It is thanks to her and the continuous commitment of her team that the “Natura.Kreativ” have evolved to be such a successful creative summer mountain event!


Gudrun, unserer liebe „“, ist mit ihrem Werk aber auch ein wahres Meisterwerk gelungen!

Gudrun, my dear friend and fellow travel blogger, has for once created a true masterpiece during this creative course!


Ganz zu schweigen von "Teilzeitreisender" Janett, hier mit ihrer mit leuchtenden Acryl-Farben bemalter Holzskulptur!

As has Janett, combining acrylic painting techniques with wooden sculpting: Another dear friend of mine and fellow creative traveller!


Nach so viel Aufregung brauchen wir erst mal eine Stärkung: Genuss gibt es beispielsweise im Hotel Restaurant Schartner direkt im Ortszentrum von Altenmarkt.

After this much of creative inspiration, we need to get our own creative juices going again by stopping for lunch at Schartner Hotel & Restaurant right in the town centre of Altenmarkt.


Hier weisen gar die allgegenwärtigen Kühe auf die Veranstaltungsreihe der Natura.Kreativ hin!

Even the local “cows” keep announcing the creative summer event of the “Natura.Kreativ”!


“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”!

Gemalt oder fotografiert? Wieder und wieder, die Faszination der Natur als Künstler vor unseren Augen ...

Is it a painting or a photography? Once more, nature is such a powerful artist I believe …


Ich gönne mir eine „kleine Stärkung“ auf dem Weg zum Gipfel: Hüttengenuss mit Buttermilch & Kaspressknödelsuppe!

Enjoying my lunchtime stop at the mountain hut before setting off to climb further with a big glass of buttermilk and this delicious cheese dumpling beef soup! Oh, heaven.


Blick ins Tal von Zauchensee ...

View into Zauchensee valley …


... und etwas weiter oben vom Gamskogel.

… and a little further up from the Gamskogel mountain.


Auf knapp 2.000 Meter Seehöhe fällt die Temperatur auf knapp 10°C, doch den glücklichen Kühen hier scheint auch dies nichts auszumachen! Ich freue mich jetzt ehrlich gesagt schon auf die nachfolgende Sauna im schönen Hotel Laudersbach. Das Glück liegt eben auch, oder gerade, in den kleinen Dingen des Lebens.

At about 2.000 metres above sea level, the temperature, even during summer, has dropped to some 10°C but the cows still (appear to be) quite happy! True mountain delights … I must say I am rather ready for the sauna in my lovely little Laudersbach hotel right now.! Happiness is in the small things, truly.


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!

Zunächst: Das Ambiente unserer Kreativität in der großen Gemeinschaftshalle der Gemeinde von Altenmarkt ...

First of all, here is to introduce you to the backdrop of our creative workshop right here in Altenmarkt in the Austrian mountain district of Salzburg …


... schafft, lichtdurchflutet und inspirierend, wirklich einen schönen Rahmen um kreativ tätig zu werden.

… flooded by light and large enough for all of us, it offers a true haven for becoming creative under the guidance of our expert tutors.


Inspiration hole ich mir unter anderem auch von den Techniken und der Präzision weiterer kreativer Gäste und Kursteilnehmer ...

Other participants and creative travellers are also responsible for teaching me new techniques and inspiration for painting …


... bevor ich schließlich zur Verwirklichung meines eigenen Werkes schreite: Das Bildnis der Stadt Porto vom „Miradouro da Vitória“ auf Leinwand zu bringen!

… before finally, I start realizing my very own masterpiece: The painting of the city of Porto as seen from “Miradouro da Vitória” on canvas! My visit of the city as well as its adjoining Douro river valley has truly left its mark.!


Wir beginnen mit den Wolken im Hintergrund sowie den schemenhaft hellsten Stellen im Bild: Leichtfüßig erscheint ein erstes Stadtbild aus dem Wolkenmeer.

We start off with the clouds in the sky, then move on to sketching a few first, ghost-like appearances of what are some of the lighter spots in the painting of the city.


Viele Farben, Formen & präzise Hingabe zum Detail später ...

Many hours of study, mixing colours and watching out for different details later …


... ist das Meisterwerk vollendet, und das traue ich mich hier voller Stolz auch wirklich zu sagen! Noch nie habe ich in meinem ganzen Leben ein solches Bild geschaffen. Ich bin wirklich glücklich, mir dies selbst – und vielen anderen! – zum Geschenk gemacht zu haben! DANKE, liebes Team der Natura.Kreativ für all Eure Hinwendung und Unterstützung: Ihr seid spitze !!!

… I am proud, so proud, to show you my masterpiece and share it with the whole world !!! Really, I cannot believe “it happened to me” – I have never in my whole life painted anything quite like this before. Thank you so much, dear team at Natura.Kreativ in Altenmarkt, for all your inspiration and support: You guys have been absolutely fantastic !!!


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.

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