Who am I?

your guide and tutorMy name is Mary King and with 'Vistas' sketching and painting holidays I hope to share with you some of my greatest passions: Art and creativity; natural beauty; travel and exploring.

A widely collected landscape artist with a BA (Hons) in Illustration I specialise in pastels, coloured pencils, inks and watercolours, with a particular love of sketching outside.

For many years I ran my own gallery 'Picture Shack' in remote NW Scotland, one of the most beautiful places imaginable and a constant source of inspiration for painters. Wandering spirits can never stay still, however, and looking for a new challenge I discovered Morocco, where I remained for 2 years. During this time the idea for 'Vistas' took shape, originally entitled 'Painted Desert' and focusing solely on painting holidays in Morocco.

On my return to Scotland I began designing and delivering drawing and painting courses in the Highlands before spending a few months teaching watercolours in the Italian Dolomites and continuing with my own art work, samples of which can be found on my gallery website www.pictureshack.co.uk.

I have always felt a compulsion to travel and am constantly on the lookout for interesting and beautiful new destinations. I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge with others as much as I love sitting and painting, although I am always inspired by the new, wonderful places I visit.

Expert advice
Expert advice

I accompany and lead all the trips and know the areas intimately, while my many years in the tourism / hospitality industry ensure that guests are treated like friends, as many of my clients have become. This combination of local knowledge, approachability and painting expertise ensures you get the holiday experience you deserve: a mixture of surprise, stimulation and comfort.

The teaching.

I often hear questions such as: Who is this person? Why haven't I heard of her? What is her style?

I can understand the uncertainty involved in booking a painting holiday with someone whose style and approach may be unknown, or different from what you're used to. Many artists lead holidays with the aim of showing their students how to paint the way that they do, in their particular style, and many clients are looking for this.

I tend to have a rather more holistic approach. You may - or may not - like and admire my style. It possibly helps if you do, but it's not the most important thing. My aim is NOT to teach you how to paint like me. My aim is to help you paint like YOU.

Enjoying the view
Enjoying the view

I have taught people who have never so much as lifted a pencil and while I initially show them the way that I approach things, I always marvel at how quickly they start to find their own voice, which I wholeheartedly encourage. While immitation is, of course, the sincerest form of flattery (so they say), I am not looking for hoardes of little disciples. I prefer happy and confident sketchers singing their own song. After all, expecting to adopt the exact painting style of your favourite artist is like trying to forge someone's handwriting. It's nigh on impossible: it's always going to be subtley different.

If you're a beginner, I'll help you get started, then let you do you, with as much ongoing support as you need. If that sounds as if I take your learning casually, you are mistaken. You can rest assured I have years of teaching experience behind me; I'm also a qualified TEFL teacher!

Experienced painters are free to go in their own direction as far as they want to although almost everyone can benefit from seeing things through another's eyes and, perhaps, learn a new medium or technique - including me!