County Road 12: Lake Martin artist retreat

The Tallapoosa School of Art offers something a little different. You can paint all day then...
The Tallapoosa School of Art offers something a little different. You can paint all day then stay the night with a room overlooking beautiful Lake Martin.(WSFA)
Updated: Jul. 19, 2019 at 2:40 PM EDT
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DADEVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - It’s a place where you can just get away, relax, learn, and focus on your craft.

“This is the Blue Heron, our family lake home,” said Dorothy Littleton.

Littleton retired from Auburn University a few years ago. She’s always had a passion for art and spent a lot of time traveling the country going to workshops. But there was something missing, something she wanted to add for artists of all levels.

“I just kept thinking this beautiful home we have would be perfect.” Littleton said.

So, she opened the Tallapoosa School of Art. She built it on the same property as the lake house. She gets master artists from all over the country to come in and host workshops. Here’s where her art school is different. They turned the lake house into the Blue Heron, a place where artists can stay overnight, with a beautiful view of Lake Martin.

“We have double occupancy suites, single occupancy suites, we have the meals catered, so we don’t have to leave and if we do, we leave by boat.” Littleton said.

It’s a painter’s paradise where you don’t have to travel back and forth. Just paint all day, get some good meals, go to sleep and then do it all over again.

“When I came here the first time, I thought where the heck am I going,” said art instructor Sharon Gates.

She says the peace and quiet and the surroundings make it an ideal place to learn and grow.

“If an artist can pick up the sounds of the birds, I know it sounds odd, but you can someway translate that with paint onto the canvas, you can really feel it come through on the canvas.” Gates said.

Littleton agrees, it’s just the perfect setting.

"You know you can paint a boat from a picture,” said Littleton. “But if you're there you can hear the water lapping off the side of the boat, and the leaves rustling. You can hear the Kingfishers flying and singing. You really feel like you know what this boat is about."

So, you can drive back and forth and go to the workshops, you can take the workshops and stay overnight in the Blue Heron, or you can get a group and plan your own artist retreat.

"The artist retreat idea is a lot about getting to know people and make connections in the art world,” said Littleton.

Making connections while enjoying beautiful Lake Martin at the same time. Sounds like a perfect work of art.

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