The Heroine’s Journey of Gabrielle Dobrzelewski

What is the best thing that I love about my work? Creating paintings and drawings that will outlive me, hopefully.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? To make great work as well as being loved and loving.

What is my greatest fear? To make terrible work, to be constantly dissatisfied with everything, to be unloved, having absolutely no one like my work.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? My shyness, or rather my extremely quiet nature.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? Steven Assael, Adam Miller, Odd Nerdrum, Bo Bartlett, Maria Kreyn, Martin Campos, Colleen Barry.

What is my greatest extravagance? Books. I’m addicted to buy books, especially art books with beautiful full page reproductions.

On what occasion would I lie? To save someone’s feelings that in that situation didn’t need to get hurt.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? I feel like it isn’t emotional enough.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Now more than ever I finally feel like I’m growing and getting somewhere.

If I could, what would I change about myself? Physical appearance, a lot of things, but personality-wise I’d say less shy, more charismatic, less anxious, less timid.

What is my greatest achievement in work? I feel like the painting I’m currently working on of myself depicted as Lucretia is to this date one of my biggest achievements when it comes to painting, and it isn’t even finished yet.

Where would I most like to live? Florence, New York City, Crete, Barcelona, Rome, Tuscany. Anywhere full of art and culture and beauty.

What is my most treasured possession? I have several, and they all relate to people who I love who have deceased. Some are art books my grandfather gave me, items my friend mailed me, etc.

What is my most marked characteristic? To be honest, I’m not sure.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, PAFA’s Cast Hall, walking around in Fairmount Park. Anywhere where nature and beauty merge.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? Terakawa Ramen, Dim Sum Garden, I Tea.

What books influenced my life and how? What Painting Is by James Elkins – intensified my love for painting as well as and said the words I was unable to write but knew deep down were true in my soul. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran – it struck beauty and love into my heart as well as the contemplation of life and how to live properly. The Oresteia by Aeschylus – it’s my favorite Greek tragedy and has proved to be source material I continue to go back to again and again. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke – it reaffirmed my destiny of being a painter, and it’s a must read for any creative out there.

Who are my favorite writers? Oscar Wilde, Kahlil Gibran, Rainer Maria Rilke, Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Anne Rice, James Elkins, Paulo Coelho.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? The entire Florence + the Machine discography, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Vivaldi’s/Pergolesi’s/Dvorak’s Stabat Mater

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? He doesn’t fit the true definition of hero, more so tragic hero, but Orestes from the Oresteia. To me he’s my favorite character because he’s the most interesting. He serves as the meeting place and battlefield between divine law and divine command.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My parents definitely. My high school art teacher. My mentors I have now.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime? Anything by Ingmar Bergman – Hour of the Wolf, The Seventh Seal, Through the Glass Darkly, Wilde Strawberries, Virgin Spring, etc. Also Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête and Blood of a Poet, Milos Forman’s Amadeus.

What role plays art in my life and work? Art is everything to me, I’ll go as far and say that it is my life. It is all I have and cling to in this life.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Parents, mentors, friends, people I’ve made connections with over social media, etc. I don’t know where I’d be without them.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018? I don’t really partake in collaborative visual art but I’d love to meet and study under the wonderful artists at Studio Incamminati this year.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2018? Alex Kanevsky, Stephen Early, Noah Buchanan, Bo Bartlett, Bruce Samuelson, Scott Noel . . . people who are showing/have shown work in the area or have connections to PAFA

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? Finishing my self-portrait as Lucretia and then beginning a very large multi-figural composition that I’ve been planning for a while.

Where can you see me or my work in 2018? You can find all my work on my Instagram @gdobrzelewskiart. Currently I’m not showing in ay gallery but hopefully that will change soon.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Passion is unending . . . it can retreat, it can abandon you momentarily, but it will never permanently leave you unless you let it. Passion never retires.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Jamie Chiarello, Victoria Koursaros, and Jeanette Habash.

How can you contact me? You can contact me through my Instagram @gdobrzelewskiart, my Facebook page and profile, or email me at

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster,  the founder of the Heroine’s Journey 

The Heroine’s Journey Conference 2018 – Rome

The Heroine’s Journey is coming to Rome. We are bringing The Heroine’s Journey  Conference to the vibrant city of Rome on 12-14 October with a transformative and properly entertaining three-day event on the most important ideas we teach. Our conference aims to transform lives and build the best kinds of connections. It is designed to equip participants with a toolkit of creative entrepreneur skills that can revolutionise relationships, careers and self-understanding.

What to Expect

Our conference is hugely memorable and distinctive. For a start, you are not being taught in entirely standard ways. Peter de Kuster and his team of coaches on stage don’t merely lecture to a passive audience; they invite almost continuous interaction, getting participants to look inside themselves, to complete a variety of exercises and to share their stories with others.

Talks are peppered with films, art, pieces of literature, pieces of music and visual prompts; all the senses are properly stimulated to keep the mind fresh and receptive. Furthermore, there is an enormous emphasis on friendship. We are not merely seated quietly on our own, isolated from other participants. We are guided to mingle, form smaller and larger groups and reveal meaningful things to one another. It is impossible to leave after three days without having made quite a few firm friends.

Conference Leaders

The Conference, led by The Heroine’s Journey founder Peter de Kuster together with a team of coaches specialized in working with creative people  takes participants through a three-day immersive experience.

Programme Details

Day 1 FridayThe Heroine’s Journey:  Career Management for the Creative Person. 

We begin with a look at what the life and career of a creative professional is, how it can be taught – and what we can acquire of it in the days ahead. We consider our particular position in history: living with the desire for creative fulfilment and career success – and we propose that The Heroine’s Journey has a distinctive set of answers to the opportunities, disappointments and dreams of our time.

We identify that a core task of any creative professional is to achieve self-knowledge. To this end, we take you on a journey around your own mind, paying particular attention to the stories you tell yourself about you, your creative work, your time, your money, your self promotion, your relations. Which of these stories brings you to what you want and which of these stories has to be rewritten, transforming in the process your business and life?

Next we consider your meetings with others – clients, friends, business partners. We admit to our longing for sincere connection with others, but also to the challenges of finding this.  We learn about the art of connecting, about ways to listen to others fruitfully and how to overcome barriers to intimacy. We teach strategies that help remove excessive superficial contact from our lives, and put all these into practice at a social event with our newfound acquaintances to close the day.

Day 2 Saturday Morning The Power of your Story

On our second day we study why we have the creative career we do – and how our early experiences give us scripts of what, how and whom we are passionate about in our creative career. We learn that there are always more possible paths in your creative career than we initially believe and that we can broaden our unconscious scripts of how we can make money doing what we love by understanding our past stories more clearly.

We also look at the techniques that can make creative careers work in the long term. The Heroine’s Journey firmly believes that passion is ultimately a skill, not an emotion. We learn about how to communicate, how not to sulk, how to allow others to get close to us, how to understand and explain our distinctive way of creating, how to promote ourself and our creations, how to negotiate conflicts through humour and how to deal with conflicts and awkward desires.

We’re reminded that many of the answers we need are within us already, waiting for the correct story to extract them.

Day 2 Saturday Afternoon Creative Confidence

We move on to consider the emotional dimension of our work; what impels us to want to do a certain sort of creative work, and why it is often so hard to align our emotional desires with our practical requirements. We explore our working personalities and sift through our authentic interests.

We consider a variety of blocks and inhibitions which prevent us from pushing forward with our hunches, with particular attention paid to parental and societal expectations.

We pay particular attention to the idea of creative confidence. The difference between success and failure often hangs on this almost humiliatingly small and elusive concept that standard education never touches. We spend vast amounts of time acquiring confidence in narrow professional fields, but we overlook the primordial need to acquire a more free-ranging variety of confidence which can serve us across a range of tasks in professional, but also in personal, life.

Day 3  Sunday They Created Happily Ever After

Passion has a natural and deep appeal. Most of us long to be more passionate and creatively confident, unruffled, at ease and capable of reacting with quiet good humour to life’s setbacks and irritants. But we are often still only at the very beginning of knowing how to be passionate and confident. This morning will give us a range of the most effective answers.

Next we consider passion & happiness. A passionate life is close to, but at points importantly different from, a happy life. It draws upon and exercises our higher capacities, for example, tenderness, care, connection, self-understanding, sympathy, intelligence and creativity. We investigate how to orientate our lives in a more happy direction.

In our final hours together, we go back over the journey we have been on and recap its most fundamental lessons.


Friday 12 October
14.00 Doors Open
15.00 Introduction
17.00 Break
17.30 The Heroine’s Journey
19.15 Close and Welcome Drinks Reception
Saturday 13 October
9.00 Doors open
9.30 The Power of your Story
11.00 Break
11.30 The Power of your Story Continued
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Creative Confidence
15.45 Break
16.15 Creative Confidence Continues
18.00 Close
Sunday 14 October
9.00 Doors open
9.30 They Lived Happily Ever After
11.00 Break
11.30 They Lived Happily Ever After Continues
13.00 Close

Who Should Attend The Heroine’s Journey Conference

The Heroine’s Journey Conference is ideal for those looking for an in-depth experience that covers three main areas of our creative lives; Career Management, Creative Confidence, Happiness.

What you can expect:

  • A rich programme drawing from the key insights across our core curriculum

  • A learning experience combining lectures, films, music, art, exercises and continuous audience participation

  • Three-days of engaging content written and led by storyteller and writer Peter de Kuster, supported by inspiring coaches specialized in working with creative professionals

  • Daily educational programme and curated morning and evening social activities

  • An opportunity to make new friends in a community of like-minded individuals

The Heroine’s Journey Conference 2018 – Rome

Early Bird Price:

Euro 999 (Standard Price Euro 1099) excluding VAT

How to book:

Send us a mail at 

Fri 12th Oct 2018 (14.00)
Rome Hotel de Russie

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