Why a Sketching Holiday ?Which type of holiday?What should I expect?

Many artists agree that some of their best work can be found in their sketchbooks.

Sitting outside in an inspiring location, surrounded by the sounds, smells and sensations, and working quickly using direct media can capture the true essence of a place far more effectively than back home in a cold, grey studio or front room when some of the memories have faded. That is not to say that finished drawings and paintings don’t have their place! But sometimes in striving to produce a ‘complete,’ finished result, some of the vitality and spark can be lost, and a sketchbook produced on location can be a delightful and insightful record of a wonderful holiday as well as a substantial source of future inspiration. Indeed, many artists take a sketchbook with them travelling instead of a diary and use it as their highly personal and evocative travel journal.

On many of these painting holidays you will have the opportunity to produce some larger, completed works in addition to your sketches, and sometimes to experiment with other media. The sketchbooks, and the ‘tasks’ I set, are designed to get your creative juices flowing, but at the end of the day it’s your holiday and nothing is compulsory. The most important thing is to have fun! You are always free to ‘do your own thing’ if you choose to, within the confines of safety and travel/accommodation arrangements.

The unique ‘Sketchbook journeys’ were devised by an artist who loves to travel, for other artists who love to travel, and for travellers who love to paint or who like the idea of a focus for their journey – an added dimension. Although we travel and sleep in relative comfort, a journey is by its very nature an adventure. The aim is to discover as much as time allows, to soak up the very best of the country, immersing ourselves in the landscape and culture so that the sights, sounds, smells and whole atmosphere of the place entwine within us and our experiences manifest themselves onto the pages of our sketchbooks.

While none of the holidays are exclusive and all are open to everyone, the Sketchbook Journeys will appeal to those who are culturally curious, and for whom the travel experience itself is as important as the painting; they bridge the gap between ‘Painting Holiday’ and ‘Adventure Travel’, albeit ‘soft’ adventure. Non-painting partners are more than welcome on these trips and will find much to delight in. If your partner or friend fancies joining you, please ask for details.

The ‘Sketching Breaks’ are a slightly more conventional type of holiday in that we stay in one place, yet as the focus is still on sketching, we will aim to explore all aspects of the surrounding landscape with a visit to a wonderful new location every day. All the destinations are specially chosen due to the wealth and variety of scenery they offer within the immediate area, with many idyllic sketching spots reachable on foot.

This does not mean we forget the cultural/historical aspects, and time can be made for nearby optional visits and of course you may choose to extend your time in the country for independent travel.

On the whole these breaks will appeal to those for whom painting and sketching is the main focus of the holiday and/or to people who are less keen on covering great distances and changing hotels whilst away.

The ‘Sketching Courses’ I offer focus intensively on sketching, drawing and painting. They are aimed at total beginners or those completely new to the medium. While we will become intimate with the immediate area during our daily sketching forays, there is no time put aside for exploring the destination with anything other than an artist’s eye. For this reason, these holidays are not suitable for non-painting partners unless they have their own agenda during the day.

In some cases it might be possible to combine a ‘Course’ immediately followed by a ‘Break’ or ‘Journey’. If this idea appeals to you, please ask.

The majority of these trips are designed as ‘holidays’, rather than ‘courses’ (except where stated!) and are therefore not a fully-structured learning experience, although beginners will be fully supported and you will undoubtedly have the chance to develop your sketching skills. Guidance will be on hand whenever it is needed and new techniques and approaches are built into every itinerary.

The ‘Sketchbook Journeys’ are as much about immersing oneself in the place as they are about interpreting it and are a balance between the two.

The ‘Courses’ themselves are mostly about learning although they take place in a relaxed and fun environment, with time set aside for having fun, too!

Many guests on the holidays are travelling singly. All the prices given are per person, for single travellers and where accommodation is included, you will have your own room. Sometimes people like to bring non-painting partners with them. They are always welcome; however, due to the small-group nature of the trips I regret I cannot usually offer a discount (except where stated on idividual itineraries) or an alternative to the day’s events. If your non-painting partner is a keen photographer, however, they will be in their element!

The language of all the trips is English. They are open to people of all nationalities, living anywhere in the world and a cultural mix will be highly welcomed, but to get the most out of your holiday you should have a decent understanding of conversational English.

The trips are not suitable for children under the age of 16.

The AIM of these holidays is to :

  • Stimulate the senses in a new and exciting painting environment
  • Practise sketching and drawing outside using a variety of media in various scenic situations; gain confidence in working quickly to capture the essence of a place
  • Challenge yourself as an artist by tackling unfamiliar subjects and a different palette
  • Learn new sketching techniques and receive valuable feedback on your progress
  • Enjoy the company of likeminded people as you share your experiences, difficulties and discoveries
  • Build up a sketchbook full of vivid, colourful observations, ideas and memories that can stand on its own or provide inspiration for future work
  • Have a great holiday to remember in a beautiful, fascinating destination; enjoy an element of adventure as we journey through lesser-visited parts of each country
  • Embrace the idea of long days outside in a perfect climate. (In Scotland this is compensated for by the clean, healthy sea air and long summer evenings.)
Detailed itineraries are available for all the trips. I have also produced a factsheet of useful information, written from my own personal experience, for every destination featured here, in which I detail everything from climate, dress code, health, safety, food and drink to costs and what to expect while painting in your chosen destination. I highly recommend that you request this information if you are interested in booking a holiday and it can help you decide which one is right for you.
Above all, I want you to enjoy your holiday experience – for you, for me and for the people we meet along the way. If you are still undecided as to whether these holidays are suitable for you, or are confused about which to choose, please get in touch with me by e-mail and I will be happy to answer all your questions.

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