The inspiring seaside environment is a natural fit for any creative soul.  Your toes in the sand, salt air flowing through your hair and the sound of crashing waves will undoubtedly help melt all your worries.   We want to encourage growth and confidence in up and coming artists, as well as established artists. There are optional morning sessions that promote healthy lifestyle choices, delicious food, exercise options, and coaching to help define your artist style and goals.  You choose how to schedule your days so the spirit can feel renewed and your work as an artist flourishes.


“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

Jacques Cousteau

You are free to use the studio space and outdoor creative spaces in and around this unique island retreat home.  Plein Air painting, reading, writing and photography against the North Carolina coast will allow your spirit to soar.  


In the Nest, refers to the main house, where the studio space is located. You can come and go as you please to paint, draw or make. Here, you will also find many cozy areas to rest in. We have five porches for sitting and lounging, one of which is called The Widow’s Walk (A raised platform on the roof of a house, especially one on a coastal house originally used for viewing the arrival of ships). We encourage rest, reading and communing with other artists. Our home is open to you and the island awaits for you to discover its beauty.


Your accommodations are within walking distance to the main house, or The Nest. You will have your own room and most will have their own bathroom. Plus a full kitchen and living room with internet connectivity. We will be providing a light breakfast and dinners at The Nest. You are welcome to visit our local grocery store for items you might desire during the day. All linens are provided and parking is available. A place by the sea...every artists’ dream.

Your semi-private studio space will be assigned at The Nest once you have checked in. Chairs,easels and a small table or cart is available at each creative space. You are free to make it your own and encouraged to bring your own supplies. I will have some basic supplies available and can direct you to Wilmington or Jacksonville if you need supplies. You can take a plein air easel as well, to the sound, the point, the beach or into town. I will have outdoor creative spaces too, if the outdoors is calling. You’ll have the ocean waves in the background and seagulls calling from above. You create when, where, and what you want.

We understand that couples or families may want to attend together, but we do not allow children to attend in order to truly honor our mission here at Ravenworks Studio. We encourage you to make a bold move and attend alone to benefit from the purpose of this retreat. By unplugging or disconnecting from your everyday schedules and responsibilities you will reap the rewards of this special time. While it is not encouraged to bring spouses/partners, we will consider applications requesting that on a case by case scenario. There is a list of preferred weeks to attend on the application. A deposit will be due upon acceptance.

Fly Zones

The beauty of this retreat location are the many “fly zones” one has to choose from. In the spirit of the Raven, you are free to fly here. Explore the sound with a kayak, walk on the beach and collect shark teeth and shells, stroll around the southern tip of the island or simply just create in the beautiful backdrop of Ravenworks Studio. You can be as adventurous as you want. As artists it is important to immerse yourself in new surroundings and experiences and our island will help you meet that need. Collect memories and take pictures so that your work can develop long after you return home in your own studio. Remember, “It doesn’t matter if you fly alone, just so long as you are flying.”


JANUARY 2019: 5th - 12th, 12th - 19th, 19th - 26th, 26th - Feb. 2nd



Plan to arrive on a Saturday for check in time @ 3:00 pm.  Check out is @12pm the following Saturday. (hours are flexible)

We are about 45 miles north of Wilmington, NC and ILM International Airport.  We are also 2 ½ hours from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). If you choose to fly into ILM, transportation can be arranged with prior notice.  Plan your flight times to allow ample time to check in and make it for the meet & greet later that evening.


Once you have been checked into the beach house and have checked out your tranquil surroundings, stroll over to the main house for a local beer and wine tasting.  A light meal will be provided. The coastal area of North Carolina is famous for its seafood, especially the shrimp and oysters. We will have options for those allergic to seafood or for those that adhere to a plant based diet.  Breakfast and dinners will be provided by Rob and Leslie and occasionally invite guest cooks from the local areas to prepare meals. Pastries from our local bakery, Sugar Island, will be delivered daily to the beach house as well as fresh fruit and locally roasted coffee.

Depending on the beach house assigned to you - most will have a private bathroom. You will have your own bedroom (may be twin/queen or king)  Bathrooms are private and artists will have a shared living, dining and kitchen area. Towels and linens are provided.  Housekeeping is provided and there is a laundry room on site.

Consider the vision of our retreat when making arrangements for your stay.  Couples are welcome, but do keep in mind that artists are encouraged to utilize valuable studio time to participate in workshops (when available) and to take advantage of the opportunities for rest and solitude.  The moments we have alone to really explore and immerse ourselves in a new environment is where we grow as artists. If your spouse or partner is also an artist, photographer or writer, this will be a slice of heaven.


The main house offers semi-private art studios with easels and other supplies.  Ravenwork's Studio is the main gathering place for artists to read, relax and create.  We have several creative spaces on the property to help foster your artist practice. Additionally, we provide private access to a gazebo located on the intracoastal waterway and private beach access.  It is here you will discover the true essence of island living. Keep your eye on the horizon and watch for dolphins and whales breaching the surface of the ocean.  Watch the Carolina blue sky as pelicans, osprey and other shore birds fly overhead. Topsail Island is a Sea Turtle Sanctuary and is home to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

While you are here, there are opportunities for adventure on the island.  We can arrange for bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, surfboards to be delivered.  There are also fishing charters available.

There are a couple of evenings built in for visiting one of our local restaurants.


Easels will be provided for studio and plein air painting.

We also have a small store that will carry basic supplies for purchase.  There are several art supply stores located in Wilmington and Jacksonville.

If you choose to ship your supplies prior to your arrival, we will provide you with an address to ship to.

We also have 2 post offices in town for sending artwork home after your stay.


Photo by:  Ali Haney

Photo by: Ali Haney


Ravenworks Studio was created years ago traveling around as a military spouse for 27 years. I was affectionately referred to as a Raven by a friend’s child and the name stuck. Could it have been my black hair? Or corny sense of humor? In any event, I held the bird in high regard, especially during our time in Alaska. The Ravens captivated me and my imagination. The legends and lore surrounding them gave way to a new perspective of looking at things and I tried to learn as much as I could about them. Every new military assignment allowed me to create a new studio space. I’ve made due with closet space, carports, and basements. More recently though, upon my husband’s retirement from the Army after 27 years, I have a wonderful space that I’ve always dreamed of. With this retreat, it allows me to share this studio space with other artists and grow a community that is inspiring and creative.


While visiting the Topsail area, you will enjoy some of the most pristine, uncrowded beaches along the east coast. The area boasts the greatest simple pleasures life has to offer. Here you will witness coastal wildlife flourishing in its natural environment.


Crossing the bridge over the channel you’ll arrive on Topsail Island, a 26-mile barrier island rich in both pirate history and maritime beauty. Time seems to slow to a crawl and worries vanish once you arrive at the “Best Little Beach Town in the USA” (Trip Advisor 2016 National Poll). Driving to the retreat you’ll catch your first glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean, world-class beaches warmed by Gulf Stream waters and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. We’ll greet you and lead you to your room where you can unpack and unwind. Take in the ocean and the views right away if you desire with a tiny stroll to the beach or atop our house on the widow’s walk where you can see both sound and ocean. Dine that evening in our home on local North Carolina cuisine and spirits and meet locals, and other artists who have joined us for the week. Your days are yours. Do as you desire. Let inspiration, island beauty or a new-found artist friend be your guide. Start your days with a miracle morning of yoga, meditation or just sleeping in! Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast of pastries, coffee or tea. You’ll have your own space where your creative juices can flow. We’ll host dinners each night. Our island is your island, our house is your house. Do as much or as little as you like. Rent a bike, kayak or surfboard. Watch the sun come to rest across the sound or rise on the ocean each day. Seek inspiration in your own way. Grow amongst other artists. Gain confidence in your craft. At the week’s end you have achieved all of this in your own way. You’ll reflect on an amazing experience and make new friends which will be sure to leave a lasting impression.