Animals & Art

November 2-4, 2018

Animals & Art

Are you a budding photographer or artist? Do you want to be? Forget bowls of fruit! Have fun with animals as your subject by joining us for the Animals & Art weekend retreat!

Come out to the animal sanctuary to learn the art of photography and painting in a peaceful environment. Capture the quirky personalities of these rescues with your camera or use the beautiful grounds and buildings as your subject. Either way, our talented and patient instructors will provide all of the essentials you need to unlock your artistic potential.

Burleigh Manor Animal Sanctuary

This retreat begins with photography lessons on Friday afternoon through Saturday mid-day. Saturday afternoon, you will choose your favorite photo to recreate in the painting lesson which runs through Sunday morning. All weekend long, enjoy the magic and serenity of this beautiful setting and its inspiring residents.

All levels of experience welcome, including beginners. This is a Rocky’s Retreats Signature Event.

Sounds great!

(Registration is now closed. Thank you!)


Andargé Asfaw - photography

Animals & Art Rocky's Retreats

Andargé is an award-winning commercial and fine art photographer. His powerful portraits and luminous landscapes have appeared in national and international publications, been exhibited, and are held in private collections. His images tell a story, sharing wisdom or revealing the soul of a place or person. His book “Ethiopia from the Heart” is no exception and this story continues through his nonprofit Canopy Ethiopia.

Andargé is a graduate of the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turner Falls, Massachusetts. He maintains a photography studio in Silver Spring, MD. Check out Andargé at

Racquel Keller – painting

Animals & Art Rocky's Retreats

Light, brushstroke, and the strength of her palette are vital to understanding Racquel’s work. She explores the relationship between people, objects, and the power of memories to create an emotional resonance for the viewer. Racquel has been actively exhibiting her work in the DC Metropolitan area for decades. She regularly offers workshops on a variety of mediums and subjects and is currently instructing at the Greenbelt Community Center (Maryland), the College Park Arts Exchange (Maryland) and for select art workshops at The Phillips Collection (Washington, D.C.).  She is an Artist in Residence at The Greenbelt Community Center (Maryland) and will be a visiting Artist in Residence at Chateau d'Orquevaux (France) in fall 2018.

Racquel earned her B.S. in Graphic Design, with a concentration in Fine Arts, from The American University and also holds a Certificate of Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University.  Check her out at

Want more? See examples of the their work and read their special message to retreat participants in the Sept 2018 newsletter.

I can't wait to do this!

(Registration is now closed. Thank you!)


The weekend will take place at Burleigh Manor Animal Sanctuary in Ellicott City, MD.  Learn more about Burleigh Manor and the residents here.

Rocky's Retreats

Many of the animals' stories are inspiring accounts of compassionate people and resilient animals. Read about Mac, a Nubian goat, and Cash, the Amish working mule, both on death's door when rescued but thriving today. For less dramatic tales, check out the donkeys Jenny and Jack.

If you are coming from outside of the area, accommodation is not included but discount codes for a local inn and a hotel will be provided after you register.


Burleigh Manor Animal SanctuaryFriday Nov 2, please arrive between 3:00 and 3:30pm for registration. We’ll tour the farm and start with some camera and basic photography training. Dinner is included. We’ll wrap up around 8pm.

Saturday Nov 3, we begin at 9am and finish at 8pm. The morning will including photographing the animals and the sanctuary, whatever the weather. We’ll break for lunch and discuss the photos people took. Mid-afternoon, we’ll begin with painting lessons and trace our preferred photographs. The evening will include dinner and wine social.

Sunday Nov 4, we begin at 9am and finish at 2pm. The morning will be spent painting. Lunch is included.

What’s included

  • Private access to the sanctuary with a welcome tour to meet the animals
  • Food (Friday dinner; Sat lunch and dinner; Sunday lunch; morning snacks)*
  • Wine social
  • Photography instruction
  • Painting instruction and materials
  • Your finished canvas painting
  • Goody bag!

*Food:  Out of respect for the sanctuary, its mission, and these inspiring animals, the food served will be plant-based. Whether you are vegan or not, you’re in for a treat! Expect tasty meals like:

  • Hearty sloppy joes
  • Mediterranean meze including vegan spanakopita
  • Yummy Indian food buffet
  • And more!

I'm in!

(Registration is now closed. Thank you!)

Pricing and Registration


A portion of your registration benefits the animals of Burleigh Manor.

Rocky's Retreats

  • The early bird rate of $779 is available until October 10, 2018.
  • After Oct 10, the standard registration fee of $879 will apply until registration closes.

We prefer that people participate in the entire event. However, after Oct 10 there are limited slots to participate in photography-only or painting-only. 

  • Cost for the opening reception and photography session from Friday 4pm to Saturday 2pm is $499.
  • Cost for the painting session from Saturday 2pm until Sunday 2pm is $559. This includes the painting supplies and wine social.
  • If you and a friend want to split one standard registration (one takes photography and the other takes painting, total=$879), this is possible but please let us know before you register.

The capacity for this event is 20 people so don't delay!

Be prepared

  • You must be 21 years of age or older.
  • You must be comfortable around animals, especially large animals. The sanctuary is a place of peace and calm.
  • You must have your own camera. Mobile phone cameras are not acceptable.
  • The sanctuary forbids smoking.
  • Please wear appropriate clothing and shoes. This is a farm so you may get dirty or muddy, especially when entering the animals’ pens. If the weather is wet, rain boots are strongly suggested! When indoors, we'll be painting and you may get paint on your clothes.
  • Bring your creative eye and be ready for some fun!

No previous experience necessary.


Accommodation is not included in the cost of registration. Special rates for The Columbia Inn at Peralynna and the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel will be made available to those who register. Participants will book their own accommodation and are welcome to choose any hotel they wish.


Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the sanctuary.

Yes, I want to do this!

(Registration is now closed. Thank you.)