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Green Gulch Farm Illustrator's Getaway

Jul 12, 2024 - Jul 14, 2024

Green Gulch Farm, 1601 Shoreline Hwy, Muir Beach, CA.

This weekend provides *time* to focus on your art in the company of like-minded picture book illustrators, surrounded by the lush forest and scenic beaches of West Marin County. As a special treat, Bay Area artist Shirley Ng-Benitez will guide some sketchbook fun on an outing to Muir Beach. Shirley is an established illustrator who is the perfect guide for this creative exercise as she shares her experience with us.

Event Info

Dates: July 12 - 14, 2024 (with option for July 11 add-on), members only

Price: Single room occupancy Fri-Sun (incl. meals!) $365

Add-on: Single room occupancy Thurs $165

Location: Green Gulch Farm, 1601 Shoreline Hwy, Muir Beach, CA

Directions: Getting to Green Gulch Farm

About Your Getaway

What is planned

This weekend provides *time* to focus on your art in the company of like-minded picture book illustrators, surrounded by the lush forest and scenic beaches of West Marin County. Picture book authors who are new to illustration are also welcome!

What is provided

Peace & Quiet: Green Gulch Farm is a residential Buddhist practice Center, and they try to maintain a quiet, calm, contemplative atmosphere. They request that guests and visitors do not use their cell phones in the central area. Cell phones and pagers do not work at Green Gulch Farm. Calls can be made by enabling Wi-Fi, which is available at the Wheelwright Center, Still Water Hall, and the Guest House.

Nourishment: Meals, snacks, coffee & tea in the guesthouse all day, along with gluten free meal options. Lunch is prepared by the Green Gulch Kitchen and served buffet style from the dining room at 12:15pm. Meals are vegetarian; vegan and gluten-free options are provided. 

Where you're staying

Green Gulch Farm is part of the San Francisco Zen Center. The farm is located off of Highway 1 north of the Golden Gate Bridge, in a valley that opens out onto the Pacific Ocean. The accommodations for the retreat are at the Lindisfarne Guest House: a distinctive octagonal building with twelve (12) individual rooms on two floors surrounding a 30-foot sky lit atrium. The atrium provides a relaxing sky lit sitting area where guests often gather to read, sketch or sit with a cup of tea by the fire. The building is constructed in a traditional Japanese style and heated with a central wood-burning stove and passive solar system. The Guest House rooms are simple, yet comfortably furnished, with large windows opening onto landscaped grounds. Each pair of rooms shares a half bathroom and there is a centrally located shower. There is WiFi, with limited cell phone reception except down on the beach.

Getting to Green Gulch Farms

On Driving & Parking

  • Please consider carpooling to Green Gulch.
  • Cell phone service is spotty over the last few miles of Highway 1.
  • Those who are unfamiliar with the area should print a map.
  • Note: Due to recently clarified pedestrian and car routes, as well as ADA accessibility improvements, there is less parking overall at Green Gulch. 


  • Driving directions are available online at
  • Take Highway 101 to the Highway 1/Stinson Beach exit.
  • Turn left at the FUEL 24:7 station onto Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway).
  • Follow the green signs for Highway 1/Stinson Beach.
  • After 2.5 miles the road forks - bear left and down towards Muir Beach.
  • Continue on for 2 miles. Make a sharp left into the driveway at the large wooden "Zen Center/Green Gulch Farm/Wheelwright Center" sign.
  • (If you find yourself at Muir Beach and the Pelican Inn, you've gone too far. Turn around and go back up the hill. Green Gulch Farm is on the right, about 1/2 mile up.)

Meet Our Guest

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Shirley Ng-Benitez

Shirley Ng-Benitez is an award-winning author/illustrator who has illustrated over 30 books for children. Her creative journey includes graphic design:, and hand-letttering for American Greetings, Inc. A love for all things handmade, she’s continually experimenting in traditional media including watercolor, gouache, and painted & cut-paper collage. Earth, its creatures, and a deep wish for more compassion and connection in the world, are inspiration for her art and stories. In ’20, she founded the art auction @AWEtober on Instagram which has raised tens of thousands to support victims of the California wildfires, and coral reef restoration efforts around the globe. She lives in the Bay Area with her family and two black cats, and is thrilled to be working on her debut picture book, DOWN, THROUGH, UP by Quill Tree Books releasing Winter ‘25. Visit for more.

Meet Your Hosts


Zu Gong

Zu Gong (she/her) is a picture book illustrator based in Berkeley, California. She is a 2023 We Need Diverse Book mentee and is currently seeking representation. Zu is enthusiastic about drawing characters with big feelings and crafting storytelling illustrations using a mix of media, including pastel, ink and digital tools. You can find her art at her portfolio or her Instagram (@zuzu.draws.creates).

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Maritza Ruiz-Kim

Maritza Ruiz-Kim is a Bay Area artist and writer who specializes in children’s literature. Her current projects include picture books, an early reader graphic novel, and a hybrid illustrated middle grade book. She has published comics and an illustrated essay in MUTHA Magazine. In prior years, she exhibited her fine art studio work in gallery shows in New York, Miami, Santa Fe, and San Francisco. She can be found on Instagram (@marzkim_illustrated) and Bluesky (@marzkim).