Japanese Black Ink Painting for Beginners and Yoga/Qi Gong and Shiatsu Retreat

Japanese Black Ink Painting for Beginners and
Yoga/Qi Gong and Shiatsu Retreat


YOGA, QI GONG and SHIATSU with Emer Mullarkey

Venue: Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat, Eyeries, Beara, Co. Cork, Ireland

Dates: Saturday, 26 October through Friday, 1 November, depart 2 November

Contact: For more information, questions and booking, please contact Karen at cashelblackinkpainting@gmail.com.

Sumi-e is the Japanese word for Black Ink Painting. It is a unique art form in which the fewest possible brushstrokes are used to capture the essence of the subject matter being painted. Sumi-e uses only black ink, handmade paper and a special brush. The use of the brush in innovative ways can convey a wide range of expression. Sumi-e is a calming, relaxing and enjoyable activity.

In this five-day workshop for beginners, students will be introduced to Sumi-e materials and will learn basic brush strokes and techniques for painting grasses, flowers, distant trees, mountains, and Zen Cirlces. Calligraphy will also be introduced with the writing of the formal Japanese character for ‘Eternity’ using basic brush strokes. No prior experience in art is necessary. Students will take these new skills away with them which will allow them to enjoy their own new painting practice and the further development of self-awareness that Sumi-e teaches.

Emer will offer hour long morning relaxation sessions, incorporating Yoga or Qi Gong before each Japanese Black Ink Painting class. The more relaxed one is, the easier it is for creativity and inspiration to flow and come with ease. Emer will also offer hour long shiatsu massage sessions in the evening to each participant (like acupuncture but nurturing touch is used instead of needles) on a thick, comfortable shiatsu futon mat on the ground or on a massage table, depending on the client’s needs (one session per participant overall). These practices give a real sense of wellbeing and contentment and you will come away from sessions feeling refreshed, recharged and more relaxed in body and mind.


Yoga is a very transformative process. Connecting with yourself completely through breath and yoga movement cultivates mindfulness in the present moment and gives balance, focus and awareness. Yoga helps our development at a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level.

Qi Gong

Qi Gong, a Chinese health practice is a series of gentle standing movements, meditation and breathing. It is based on theoretical principles that are inherent to traditional Chinese medicine. It has wide-ranging benefits, including improving your balance, lowering your blood pressure, relieving muscle pain, improving mood and easing stress. Qi Gong has an effect on the cultivation of balance, positively influencing a person’s energy and impacting what the Chinese would refer to as qi channels or meridian energy pathways in the body.


Shiatsu is akin to supportive acupuncture using touch instead of needles. A practitioner uses nurturing and mindful presence, pressure, stretching, cupping, moxa herbs, supportive rotations etc. to really connect with and meet the client’s needs and get their energy flowing in an optimal way. Shiatsu is fully clothed and takes place on a comfortable mat on the ground or on a massage table, depending on needs of the client. The effects of shiatsu are far reaching. These therapies can all support:

  • Relaxation and wellbeing in the body
  • Those who have been through a traumatic experience
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Unresolved grief and anger
  • Digestive issues
  • Neck, shoulder and back problems
  • Stress
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Menstrual and menopausal issues
  • Support through an illness

Karen Colbert

Born in Chicago, visual artist and teacher Karen Colbert has been based in Ireland since 1993. She received an MFA in Painting, MA in Studio Art and BFA in Illustration, later studying Sumi-e: Japanese Black Ink Painting with Professor Emeritus Shozo Sato. She is a professional member of VAI (Representative Body for Visual Artists in Ireland).

Karen has taught Japanese Black Ink Painting classes and workshops for beginners in both the USA and Ireland for many years and has been painting and exhibiting her own work for over 30 years. Her abstract watercolour paintings are committed to the use of shape, pattern and full colour. They are set in either geometric or organic patterns and are highly structured and expressive compositions. She has exhibited her work in various solo, group, invited, and juried national and international exhibitions in Ireland, Austria, Italy and the USA and has placed her work in public and private collections in Ireland and abroad.

“The impressions and perceptions gained through the direct experience of nature play a large role in my work – I am interested in conveying a sense of freedom, life, spontaneity, fluidity of movement, playfulness, and an expansiveness of space, as well as a sense of the present moment.” (http://www.karentcolbert.com/art-workshops.html)

Emer Mullarkey (Shiatsu Society Ireland, BA Trinity, MA Sorbonne, H.DIP Hibernia)

Emer is a fully qualified practitioner of shiatsu and a member of the Shiatsu Society of Ireland. She is also fully qualified in Yoga, beginners Qi Gong and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

She started yoga when she was sixteen years old and completed her yoga teacher training almost a decade ago when she returned from living in France for almost five years. She is passionate about shiatsu, qigong and yoga. She is a dedicated practitioner of mindfulness meditation.

She completed a three-year training with the Shiatsu College Dublin and went on to successfully qualify in Clifford Andrews Course in Advanced Energy Therapy. She continues to train in England with Clifford Andrews and Dinah John. They are both highly respected leading international experts in shiatsu. They were students of the renowned Pauline Sasaki who worked directly with both Masunaga and Kishi-the founding Masters of shiatsu. Emer is passionate about providing great health care for you. All of the practices she teaches offer great support in helping you feel well.

Workshop Fee Includes:

  • All-inclusive accommodation (accommodation, all meals, use of all the Anam Cara amenities and facilities including workshop space)
  • Sumi-e Workshop (five days including use of materials during scheduled workshop class times)
  • Yoga/Qi Gong (five morning classes)
  • A Shiatsu treatment (one treatment per participant)
  • the mini-bus tour of Beara Peninsula
  • An evening with an Irish Storyteller (‘Seanchai’).

TOTAL COST:  €1375

How To Book a Place:

To book your place, please contact Karen at cashelblackinkpainting@gmail.com; she will pencil you in and send along information about travelling and retreating to Anam Cara for the workshop retreat.  You can then confirm your booking by sending a 50% deposit by PayPal. The five rooms at Anam Cara are booked on a first-deposit-in basis; after those are booked, participants will be staying in individual en suite rooms at lovely nearby B&Bs (the cost of which is covered by the workshop fee).  Because of the increasing demand on B&B rooms in Beara, we recommend that you book your place as soon as possible. The rest of the workshop fee is due upon your arrival.  If you have to cancel your booking before two months from the start of the workshop, all but €50 (for handling) of your deposit will be returned; from two months before the workshop to the workshop, the deposit is nonrefundable.

Transportation and Insurance:

Each participant is fully responsible for her or his own travel to and from the venue for the Retreat at Anam Cara. Each participant is fully responsible for their own insurance, including travel insurance.  If we have to cancel the workshop for any reason, we will return your deposit in full.  Although no one wants to have to cancel travel plans, it is always wise to take out travel insurance to cover the possibilities.

Additional Information:

  • Participants may bring yoga mats if they wish. Alteratively, yoga mats will be available for use.
  • As the ink can stain, please bring and wear appropriate clothing.
  • Please bring comfortable clothing for the classes, workshops and Shiatsu treatment.
  • If you would like to practice outside Sumi-e class hours, please bring a beginner’s Sumi-e brush. The recommended brush may be purchased at the link below.* (Please choose the brush specified (large size Orchid Bamboo brush – code H2D.)

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