Planning your holidays for the year? If you want to do something different, learn a new skill or try a new medium while enjoying an inspiring location, a painting holiday might be the perfect thing for you. We’ve gathered together some of the best painting holidays for you to choose from. These include a palette course in Scotland, holidays with day trips to various locations in Italy, a Moroccan retreat and a special pastel painting holiday in France. Each holiday is also an art course providing you with specialised tuition so you can improve your technique, learn how to capture a particular atmosphere and socialise with likeminded artists.
Simon Fletcher: Painting in Morocco, France or Dorset
Simon Fletcher’s painting holiday in Morocco offers four days painting in and around Essaouira in the spring. You can expect gardens and meadows full of flowers, the warmth and colour of an African landscape.
Accommodation is in the charming country riad of Dar Kenavo, ten minutes from Essaouira and the ocean. Transport from Marrakech to Essaouira by taxi or luxury bus can be arranged and there is a minibus at the riad for excursions.
Simon Fletcher’s career has been in painting and designing for over fifty years, including major sponsorships in Germany, Oman and Japan; several prizes; ten books published about his work in watercolour, drawing and pastel painting and running many workshops and seminars to promote the newer, brighter pigments and colours that make his water based work so vibrant and recognisable.
Although he has recently reduced his commitment to teaching he is still organising and running workshops in Morocco, France and, this year, in England, so you have the chance to learn from him in person even now.
The workshops are about seeing, looking and recognising the imaginative possibilities of a subject. This approach begins with drawing: quick notes leading to longer analytical studies using charcoal, pencil or brush. Brush drawing is one of the keys to Simon’s success.
He is also keenly interested in a painter’s approach to materials – the different creative possibilities of various papers for example or some of the newer pigments, such as Pyrol reds or Quinacridone pinks.
The workshops are enlivened by conversations around painters who have been an influence to Simon’s career and many of the painters who have worked with him over the years, who have a background in architecture or art history.
- Available Dates:
- 5 March – 8 March 2019 (Morocco)
- 27 May – 31 May 2019 (France)
- 18 September – 20 September 2019 (Dorset, England)
- Morocco: 375€ (accommodation and transport extra)
- Dorset: £240 (accommodation and transport extra)
- Dar Kenavo, Morocco / France / Dorset, England
Sonia Hawes: Painting Holidays in Holland, Portugal or Suffolk
Sonia’s painting holiday in the Netherlands is a seven night residential course. It is based in the North of Holland, above Amsterdam, so visits to the colourful fishing village of Volendam to sketch and sample the smoked eel and pickled herring is a must.
So that you can capture the essence of the country’s history you will also spend time in Zaanse Schansto, sketching the eighteenth-century windmills and houses and tasting some of the famous cheese.
Most of the time in Amsterdam will be spent at the Rijksmuseum. You will also be sketching in the quieter but equally as beautiful town of Haarlem, often dubbed “little Amsterdam”.
The last port of call to give you the chance to experience a completely different atmosphere will be the stunning Texel Island. It is the largest and most populated of the West Frisian Islands and offers a landscape a world away from the hustle and bustle of the town: sweeping sand dunes, salt marshes filled with lavender, and beaches lined with bungalows.
- Available Dates:
- 18 May – 25 May 2019 (Suffolk)
- 28 June – 6 July 2019 (Holland)
- 14 September – 21 September 2019 (Faro, Portugal)
- £800-995 (including accommodation)
- Amsterdam: Volendam, Amsterdam
- Portugal: Algarve, Portugal
- Suffolk: the Suffolk coast near Southwold, Aldeburgh and Snape
Le Perchoir des Paons: Exploring Pastels with Susie Home in France
This summer will be Susie and Mike’s fifteenth season of running painting holidays, but as Susie is always developing ideas to challenge both herself and her guests the holidays are continually evolving. This year for the first time you can spend the whole week exploring one medium – pastels. This is a particular passion of Susie’s as the following quote from her shows.
‘One of my real passions is pastel painting and I love sharing the knowledge that I have gained over 20 years or so of working with them. I first discovered pastels when I studied the Impressionists at Art College many years ago, but such was the way art colleges worked in those days that nothing like that was ever taught, so it was many years later that I decided to ‘have a go’ for myself – such a big learning curve which constantly continues. I have introduced many of my art holiday guests to the joys of pastels over the 15 years that I have been running courses here in France, but this is the first time I have decided to devote a whole week’s course purely to pastels.’
‘So if you are interested in learning more about these beautiful sticks of colour and the methods of making pictures with them, or want to develop your budding interest in them more & to produce more exciting pictures …this is the week for you. Don’t be shy, come along and join an adventure with colour, texture and maybe even mixing them with other mediums to create exciting and attractive pictures to be proud of, as well as a sound basic knowledge of their versatility.’ — Susie Home
Retreats at Le Perchoir des Paons include free use of their converted stone barn studio at any time, delicious evening meals, dips in the pool and trips in the area. You can find out more about their South West France painting holidays by reading our listing on them from last year.
- Available Dates:
- 28 April – 4 May 2019
- 19 – 25 May 2019(Exploring Pastels)
- 9 – 15 June 2019
- 30 June – 6 July 2019
- 1 September – 7 September 2019
- 15 – 21 September 2019
- 6 – 12 October 2019
- Le Perchoir des Paons, Tournié, 46250 Gindou, France
Belinda Biggs: Painting Holiday in Umbria, Italy
Internationally renowned Belinda Biggs is travelling from Australia to run two painting courses in Umbria, Italy. They are both is week long residential courses at Arte Umbria, a villa offering meals, excursions and a free bar along with art tuition and all the art materials you will need. There will be plenty of demonstrations and individual attention to guide you through your drawing and painting, using watercolour, graphite pencil, coloured pencil and pen & wash.
‘I have enjoyed drawing and painting since I was a child and was always encouraged by my parents. I love using watercolours and graphite to depict a variety of subjects. My background in graphic design has helped with the exacting nature of my work. I enjoy looking at form, the colours, but most of all the challenge to get it right!’ — Belinda Biggs
Belinda regularly exhibits and has won many awards for her painting and drawing, including selection for the prestigious ‘Focus on Nature XIII’ at the New York State Museum, the ‘Mortimer Art Prize’, the Margaret Flockton Scientific Illustration Award at the herbarium NSW and has works in private collections worldwide.
Belinda is currently teaching painting and drawing for the Tuggerah Lakes Kincumber Community College, and painting, drawing and botanical illustration classes at Morriset. She also runs workshops around New South Wales, and conducts regular painting holidays to Italy, France, India, Rarotonga, Norfolk Island and New Zealand.
Along with careful tuition, beautiful scenery and a warm atmosphere, there will be the opportunity to do some photography and learn Italian culinary skills. She will also be at Arte Umbria for their ‘Flavours of Art and Italy’ week which offers painting tuition with a selection of tutors allowing you to experience different techniques and styles. Beginners to experienced artists are welcome.
- Available Dates:
- 26 June – 3 July 2019
- 10 June – 17 July 2019
- £985 (all inclusive)
- Arte Umbria, Tenuta di Poggiolame, Vocabolo Poggiolame, 16
05010, Montegabbione (TR), Italia
Capturing the Magic of Cornwall: Tony Hogan
Fully experience Cornwall’s dramatic north coast, stunning beaches, quaint harbours and interesting landscape with Tony Hogan’s painting holidays in Cornwall.
Tony as a resident in the area will take you to some of the best locations and hidden spots for plein art painting. Each art course is only open to 6 participants meaning Tony has the time to devote the time and guidance each artist needs. While the courses are open to all abilities, any artist could benefit from Hogan’s knowledge. He is a regular contributor to leading art magazines such as the Leisure Painter and Paint & Draw and regularly works with leading art manufacturers to do demonstrations of their products and desirable techniques.
The course price includes packed lunches, coffee, tea and cake to keep you going as well as a four course evening meal. If you look at his website Tony has a list of recommended, local B&B’s for you to book as your accommodation, unless you already have somewhere in mind.
- Available Dates:
- 22 April – 26 April 2019
- 20 May – 23 May 2019
- 17 June – 21 June 2019
- 2 September – 6 September 2019
- 16 September – 19 September 2019
- 5 day course cost £495 per person
- Tony Hogan’s Studio, Wadebridge, Cornwall, England
Painting Holiday in Lake Garda, Italy with Charles Mitchell
Sheila de Vries has been offering painting holidays in Italy for 15 years and more than 85% of guests return each year. High quality hotels are used for all of the holidays and airport transfers, tuition, excellent food and wine along with interesting excursions are also provided on each one. These holidays are designed for those travelling alone as well as those travelling with a friend or partner wanting to do different activities.
While Painting in Italy offers a wide range of Italian locations and different tutors, we’ve picked out their Lake Garda creative holiday with Charles Mitchell to talk about.
As well as spending 6 nights in Torri del Benaco, you will also spend a night in Verona in order to see the opera Aida at the Verona Arena (within walking distance of the hotel).
Painting tuition will take place in the mornings around the hotel which is next to a charming small harbour along with great views looking out across the lake. The afternoons are left open to indulge in shopping, swimming in the lake continuing your work or just relaxing. Each evening the guests will meet to have dinner on the balcony of the hotel or in nearby restaurants.
Charles is an experienced artist and teacher who has taught in specialist art colleges and universities in the UK and overseas. He was Dean of the Faculty of the Arts and Humanities at the University of Cumbria before he moved to Italy five years ago.
The media he uses regularly to make large scale works on paper and canvas are pastels, watercolour and acrylics and he offers support and tuition in all these media.
- Available Dates:
- 7 April – 14 April 2019 (Sicily, Charles Mitchell)/ (Florence, Laura Thompson)
- 24 April – 1 May 2019 (Frasassi, Charles Mitchell)
- 19 May – 19 May 2019 (Lucca, Fiona Graham-Mackay)
- 2 June – 9 June 2019 (Umbria, Jennifer Johnson)
- 3 June – 10 June 2019 (Cortona, Christopher Forsey)
- 9 June – 16 June 2019 (Tuscany, Jennifer Johnson)
- 16 June – 23 June 2019 (Umbria, Joe Dowden)
- 22 June – 29 June 2019 (Lake Garda, Charles Mitchell)
- 30 August – 6 September 2019 (Tuscany, Jennifer Johnson)
- 8 September – 15 September 2019 (Umbria, Charles Mitchell)
- 15 September – 22 September 2019 (Tuscany, Joe Dowden)
- More Dates and tutors available on the website
- Between £1640 – £1780
- Sicily, Florence, Frasassi, Lucca, Umbria, Cortona, Tuscany, Lake Garda, Venice
For more information on this holiday and for further details on their other holidays, and to book, please visit the Painting in Italy website.
Azenart Painting Holidays Tuscany & Florence
Azenart Painting Holidays run a series of stunning, very reasonably priced painting retreats throughout the summer. We decided this year to look at their painting holiday to Tuscany and Florence but every holiday features comfortable single room accommodation, restaurant meals, interesting trips and relaxed tuition from a professional, qualified artist.
This painting and drawing holiday is for artists of all levels and those working or wanting to work in watercolour, acrylics, oils, pastels, pencils and gouache. The trip includes painting in the gorgeous countryside full of vineyards, rolling hills and traditional Tuscan houses as well as two full days in Florence. Accommodation is at a Tuscan house with a charming atmosphere, that overlooks a picturesque village and has a swimming pool which you are free to use.
Tutoring on this trip will be done by the talented Marie Remond and will be at and around the Tuscan house. After the morning’s guidelines by tutor, guests will have plenty of time to relax, explore and paint the impeccably restored farmhouse, its gardens, its views and its swimming pool.
Marie Remond is a funny, uplifting, people-lover who makes her students feel immediately at ease while encouraging their technique. Established artists are free to pursue their own unique style while enjoying the landscape and companionship, as well as having access to critique and guidance.
- Available Dates:
- 14 April – 21 April 2019 (Cinque Terre, Italy)
- 12 May – 19 May 2019 (Tuscany & Florence)
- 19 May – 26 May 2019 (Rome, Italy)
- 15 September – 22 September 2019 (Venice)
- 22 September – 29 September 2019 (Capri, Italy)
- 29 September – 6 October 2019 (Amalfi Coast, Italy)
- 6 October – 13 October 2019 (South of France)
- from £390 (accommodation cost separate)
- Tuscany, Amalfi, Rome, Venice, Capri, South of France / varied
Plein air palette knife painting in Tregortha, Scotland: Zsuzsanna Pataki
This plein air palette knife painting holiday is set in a fabulous location by the Scottish coast. The base camp is an artist friendly B&B. The course includes learning colour theory, using a limited palette and working swiftly with painting knives along with more traditional tools. The course includes a plein air and a studio session each day, subject to weather conditions. From the wild seashore through to landscapes with castles and atmospheric local towns and harbours, there is a variety of subjects waiting to be discovered and captured by you on the canvas.
Advice from Zsuzsanna on tools and materials:
‘If you wonder what to bring: think Concise, Comfortable, Colourful… so a limited number of colours, a few basic tools, a compact easel and something to sit on, if you work that way (I prefer standing). The lot should be also easy to carry or wheeled around on uneven terrain. If you have a small watercolour kit and sketchbook, it’s a great tool for gathering materials in situ in case of bad weather, to be painted back home.’ — Zsuzsanna Pataki
You will need to arrange your one accommodation but the Tregortha B&B, whose conservatory you will be using for your indoor painting sessions throughout the holiday, offer double rooms. You can book them by messaging or calling Karmen (firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01700811132).
To find out about Zsuzsanna’s palette techniques you can read this article on our blog.
- Available Dates:
- 26 April – 3 May 2019
- 27 September – 4 October 2019
- Early Bird Offer £550 (excludes accommodation)
- Tregortha, High Road, Tighnabruaich, Scotland PA21 2BD
If these painting holidays haven’t caught your attention we have a fuller listing of art holidays on our Artist Calendar, click this link and then filter by ‘Art Holiday’ to see what art holidays are available month by month. You can also submit your own art holiday or one you’ve heard about by filling in the form at the bottom of the Artist Calendar page.
Struggling to pack for your art holiday? Then read our blogpost on 7 Art Holiday Essentials to find out what you need.
The top image is of a plein air guest painter on a Painting in Italy holiday.