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 Britain I began designing and delivering sketching/painting courses in the Highlands, spending a few months teaching watercolours in the 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.

In certain destinations (notably Morocco and Sri Lanka) we also use local guides and/or drivers. They are chosen for their reliability, personality and local knowledge and will be a memorable feature of your time in the country.

For the twisting mountain passes, rough sand tracks and rocky pistes in Morocco we might use Hassan, Mohamed or Hamid, son of once-nomadic parents. All were born and raised in the region and know the desert like the back of their hands. Along with their native Berber, they speak a multitude of other languages which might include Spanish, French and German along with English and Arabic (the 'official' language of Morocco although in the desert regions the majority are of Berber origin). They can provide a unique insight into the local culture and history of the places you visit, having worked as tourist guides for many years.

Enjoying the view
Enjoying the view

Berbers love to chat and entertain. Their sense of humour and hospitality is legendary and their relaxed yet professional guiding style will put you immediately at ease.

In Sri Lanka we will use an English-speaking driver such as Chathura who is as skilled at tackling chaotic city traffic as the narrow mountain lanes and knows all the best 'rice n curry' joints. Proud of his country, polite and courteous, he possesses one of the smiles the country is famous for.

All the logistics for your trip are taken care of; just bring your enthusiasm and your open mind.

Let the creative journey begin!