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Postal Address - Alpha Painting Holidays, Office 6, Town Hall, 86 Watling St East, Towcester, Northamptonshire. NN12 6BS.

Registered Address - Alpha Painting Holidays, Unit 4A, Kirklea Farm, Church Lane, Bdgworth, Axbridge, Somerset. BS26 2QH

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June - Joanne Boon Thomas, North Devon Coast - Paint Cottages, Water, Boats & Coastal Scenes

Numbers were a little down as 3 people had to cancel, one due to tearing their Achilles tendon, which was a terrible shame for them and we wish them well. We turned up with winter coats and were blown about on day one but left with sun tans and shorts……

More >>>

#June13_JTNDC

Holiday Blogs 2013

In here you will find a selection of Holidays where we have produced Holiday Blogs for 2013. We have also included details of holiday destination reccy’s, holiday winners and exhibitions that we have attended.  The information is in summary form below or you can click on the summary to see more details and images of holidays you’ve been on.

Holiday Winner 2013 Journal

April - Joe Francis Dowden - Painting Water, Light & Reflections in Watercolour

We have just had our first holiday of the season, which was held at the Swan in Wells, which is directly opposite the Cathedral. We had a lovely studio with plenty of light and a stone floor, so I could relax while Joe was in his element demonstrating his splattering techniques as I didn’t have to worry what was going to happen to the carpet.

There were six of us on the course and Joe worked hard as usual and everyone enjoyed themselves and as is always the case, they learnt a lot from him and his techniques for painting water.

One lady who came, had mainly done drawing and sketching but has now got the bug and is coming on Sian’s flower painting course in June.


As you can see here on the left, the group have completed a lake scene.

On the last night, we all had a good time and Joe did a demonstration of a gorge with a river running down it, which reminded me of Cheddar last year with all the floods! (Matt)

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Joe is tutoring a holiday in The Wye Valley This Year - See Details >>>>

We managed to get out everyday with Jeremy’s group although we still needed to wrap up a bit to keep warm on occasions.  The guests enjoyed painting Exmoor cottages and old barns in villages around the hotel and sampling the local pubs and cafes for lunches.


May - Jeremy Ford, Exmoor - Quaint Cottages, Water & Moorland Scenes

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On the last day we went to Porlock Weir and met up with the group that was led by Rob Dudley as it was their last day too.  Rob’s group were more hardy and found shelter to paint but Jeremy’s group stayed in the warm in the pub and painted there. (Gill)


As you can see one day when we went to Withypool some of the guests, sat on a tiny shingle bank in the river to paint.  Good job the river wasn’t tidal! It shows what some artists will do for a good picture!!  Even Jeremy looks like he is sitting in the river or about to topple into it.

Also at Withypool, two ladies went up a lane to sit on the bank to capture a good angle of the bridge but no-one new it was private land and so they had to change their view point when they owner arrived.  I don’t know, what these artists do to get a good picture.


To see holidays that Jeremy is tutoring for us This Year - See Details >>>>

On this course we had a full house and in fact one gentleman was on the course as his son had bought the holiday for his 90th birthday. He was quite a character and full of beans and had us in fits of laughter at times.

On the first day, Steve did a demo in the studio as the weather wasn’t so good and we then went to Bishop’s Palace and painted the variety of subjects including archways, interesting architecture, formal gardens and the reflections of the Cathedral in the lake by the Wells from where the City gets it’s name.

At one point the Bishop appeared in all his finery and about an hour later, still with dog collar on but hard hat and fluorescent jacket this time, he looked completely different. Someone suggested that he could bless our paint water and maybe our paintings would improve.

On the two days out we had problems with road closures and some bad weather but everyone managed to get some painting done at Nunney and during Steve’s demo, he needed a hair-dryer, which was plugged into someone’s cigarette lighter in their car whilst the engine was running, which looked quite comical but it did the job…just!

The last day was spent painting around Wells, which was really good because people could pop in and out of the studio and those who wanted to stay in the warm studio could and those hardier souls went outside to paint. Actually the last day was quite sunny, if not a bit windy. (Matt)


One of our guests was painting the formal gardens as “Maisie” the Palace’s cat looks on.

Yet again we have a painter risking life and limb, well probably just a bad headache, painting under this tree….see the pole propping it up!

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June - Steve Hall, Wells - Watercolour Landscapes - The ‘Wow’ Factor

To see holidays that Steve is tutoring for us This Year - See Details >>>>

This was my first holiday this year in Lynmouth and I was looking forward to it although I had only got back from Patchings on Sunday evening about 10.30pm and had to be at Rock House for the next evening.  What a rush!!  Still I made it in time to meet the guests.

Monday we stayed in Lynmouth and although it was a bit windy during the day we were able to paint the harbour from the hotel garden and everyone ended up with good paintings.  

Tuesday it threatened to rain so we decided not to go to Watersmeet but paint down by the river.  Then we didn’t have too far to run when the rain did finally come. Everyone carried on painting inside the hotel in the dry and warm




After the course time had finished one day it was a lovely evening so Matt took himself off to do some filming of himself doing a demo for his website.  The photo looks like he has lost the group but one of the guests brought him a much earned pint.  The demo was on his website that evening.



Now the weather the next day was tricky.  The mist was over the moors but the forecast was that it would clear, so should we go to Lorna Doone Valley or not. We decided to chance it.

When we got there it was still raining but the café was happy for Matt to do a demo inside which the staff enjoyed watching too.  When Matt had finished the sun came out and we could all get outside again and everyone completed some lovely paintings of the little post box with ivy over it. The holiday always goes so quickly and the last day we spent at Porlock Weir.  (Gill)




Matt is tutoring a holiday in Exmoor National Park This Year - See Details >>>>

June - Matthew Palmer, North Devon Coast - Paint Cottages, Water, Boats & Coastal Scenes

Well this holiday in the Wye Valley was certainly a surprise for one person.  One guest had been booked on the course by his wife as a 50th birthday present.  However, he had no idea at all. All he knew was that he was going on a holiday.  In fact he was dreading that it would be a walking holiday as his wife liked walking so he packed his boots expecting to be up to his knees in mud.  So, it was left to me to spring the surprise with Tony by my side to welcome him.  Needless to say he was shocked and once he got over that he was looking forward to the week.  


All enjoyed the holiday and the “Birthday Boy” did very well and has now caught the painting bug so we hope to see him again.


The first day was cold and damp but we managed to do some painting at the Kymin and then down in Monmouth to paint the Monnow Bridge.  Then the weather improved and we had two really good days at Tintern Old Station, Tintern Abbey and St Briavels where it was so hot we were all trying to get some shade.  


Then the weather changed again, as we all expect for the UK!!  We used the time wisely with Tony giving a critique session in the morning and checking that everyone’s original expectations for the holiday were being met.  We managed to get out for lunch at Symmonds Yat and did sketching in the afternoon.  Well at least some did as quite a few went off for a boat ride up the Wye.  


June - Tony Slater, Wye Valley - Paint ‘Clean & Fresh’ watercolours in The Wye Valley

To see holidays that Tony is tutoring for us This Year - See Details >>>>

June - Joanne Boon Thomas, North Devon Coast - Paint Cottages, Water, Boats & Coastal Scenes

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On the last day we went to Porlock Weir and much of the group painted the yellow cottage on the other quay but Eric, Joanne’s assistance had just started painting the harbour, had done his drawing, done his washes and was starting to put the detail on when as you can see before and after a tractor pulled up right in front of his scene. Isn’t that just typical!


Numbers were a little down as 3 people had to cancel, one due to tearing their Achilles tendon, which was a terrible shame for them and we wish them well.

The remaining group had a good time. We turned up with winter coats and were blown about on day one but left with sun tans and shorts. One day I was sun burnt and Joanne asked where my sun tan lotion was and I said that was the last thing I thought of packing when I came!


On day one we painted in the garden of the hotel, which overlooks the harbour and was just perfect. As you can see from these photos everyone did a monochrome painting in blue of the white cottage in the distance. This was a good exercise in tones and values. In the afternoon we walked along the front and painted the hotel from the other side of the harbour.


Then we went to Malmsmead, Lorna Doone Valley, and the weather was glorious and it was so peaceful. Mind you Joanne lost a brush but we think a local dog ran off with it because we wouldn’t give him any of our lunch. We had people spread over 2 counties and Joanne and I had to go between Somerset & Devon to see people. As I crossed the bridge from Devon into Somerset one guest asked me what the weather was like down in Devon and I said “oh pretty much the same as it is up here in Somerset”


After the rest of the group had finished Joanne continued painting and 2 guests from Hong Kong wanted to watch Joanne paint, so after much deliberation we decided it would be a good idea for her to do some flower painting as they had been on a flower painting course the week before with us at the Swan Hotel in Wells with Sian Dudley. This was very much appreciated.


Joanne is tutoring a holiday for us in Portugal This Year - See Details >>>>

June - Patchings Art Festival

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We attended Patchings for the 2nd year this year and we had Jeremy Ford, Matthew Palmer, Noel Gregory and Tony Slater demonstrating for us. We also introduced £100 painting holiday voucher which worked very well.

We had many Search Press instructional art books for sale and a selection of greeting cards from work from previous holidays.

The weather was good – much better than last year when Jeremy’s easel nearly blew over.

Jeremy helped put up the stand with us, which was completely new and as you can see the poles looked very much like tent poles and it reminded me of my very limited camping experience…and took just as long!!!

We met a number of our guests as well as last years’ holiday winner, who was pleased to be on Tim’s course in Exmoor, for which we had 4 bookings on it on one day the week before we went to Patchings, so we had a good numbers.



We were very busy and didn’t have much time to walk around or take photos!. We did get to walk around occasionally and had chance to catch up with our contacts and other tutors who had their own stands like Tim Fisher, Terry Harrison, Tony Hogan, Linda H. Matthews, Gwen Scott and Peter Woolley. We also met David Bellamy, Jenny Keal and Charles Evans who were also demonstrating.


July - Jeremy Ford, Wye Valley - Paint the Beautiful Wye Valley

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On this holiday the weather was really good and each day improved until the final day when it was the start of the heat wave.


Our first day was at Tintern Old Station, where people painted the old station, train carriages and the old signal box.


At one point I thought we had lost one of our party only to discover that she was in amongst the bikers as you can see here in the photo on the right.



On a couple of evenings Jeremy did a session on colour mixing principles and how to paint trees. When he finished his colour mixing and his pad was awash with colour but a complete mess he said that he could enter the piece into a Contemporary Art Competition and would probably win but one of our group said but you’ve got it upside down!





We also visited Raglan Castle and Lindors Country House Hotel, both of which everyone loved and we were looked after very well at Lindors so thanks go to them for allowing us to paint around the grounds. We’ll be back next year, that’s for sure. There were some ducks at Lindors that always knew when it was coffee time or lunch time and were always ready for some tit bits.



I went for a walk around the grounds and made friends with the ducks and some cows and bulls as you can see here below, at least I think they wanted to be friends!



Here you can see the painters painting on the veranda and a painter painting the veranda!



On the final day, it was very hot and by the end all of the blokes decided to protect their heads from burning and chill out, see right.


At Symonds Yat, Jeremy painted a lovely picture of the garden path in the pub and the flowers and trees.

To see Holidays that Jeremy  is tutoring This Year - See Details >>>>

July - Steve Hall, Wye Valley - Watercolour Landscapes - The ‘Wow’ Factor

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On this holiday the heat wave continued and we had to ensure everyone was had plenty of cold drinks, sun cream, hats and shade. It was glorious weather.


Our first day was at St Briavel’s which was lovely and shady by and large and then on day 2 we went to Ross-on-Wye where we painted this bridge (on the right) and unfortunately the shadiest spot was all over grown with weeds that were not there on previous visits. We could have done with a bloke with a hedge trimmer that day, perhaps we should add that to our list of accessories for painting holidays.


It was a good day for splashing about in the river but none of our group took the plunge.  



Above: Everyone outside the church at St. Briavel’s. Were they Praising God or laughing at Steve’s silly hat!

One night I found it difficult sleeping and I opened the Bible beside my bed and it fell open at the Parable of the Sheep & the Goats and as I read about the sheep, I could hear “barrr..barrr”. I rubbed my ears and thought I was imagining it, as the hotel is on the edge of town and part of a Golf and Bowls complex. The noise got louder, “barrrr.barrr”. I then thought blimey, this Bible is good, it comes with audio too, but when it got really loud, I went to the window and saw at least a dozen sheep on the putting green. I thought oh well at least I can count sheep and then I went to sleep.

 I next woke up and day was dawning and I saw Steve painting near where the sheep were and I thought, does that make Steve an old Goat!


On our 3rd day, we went to Symonds Yat and it was lovely and cool but I think Steve decided he wasn’t cool enough under the trees and decided to chuck his pint of Cider over himself.



Our final day was glorious at Tintern Old Station and some decided to paint down by the river. Some people dispersed after lunch as they had early evening appointments or long journeys but many didn’t want to go because the place was so lovely and the weather so good.



To see holidays that Steve is tutoring for us This Year - See Details >>>>

July - Tim Fisher, Exmoor - Quaint Cottages, Boats & Coastal Scenes

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Tim Fisher stepped in to tutor this holiday after Michael Sanders had to cancel following an operation on his hand.  This course was any media and different guests painted in watercolours, oils, acrylics and pastels.  This was the holiday that our “Free Holiday Winner” of 2012 chose as her prize.  See her comments about the holiday.


Well I was pleased that I had made it to Exmoor following the saga with my car, see Becky Samuelson’s IOW blog. All seemed well. We went out on the first day and everything was fine. We had a great day painting and enjoying the sun and everyone returned to their cars and disappeared up the road back to the hotel. My car would not start at all. I even got the garage opposite to have a go but to no avail. Fortunately two of the guests had stayed on to carry on painting and offered Christine and I a lift back. They had to rearrange the back of their car so that we could get everything in. I could not ring for the RAC as there is no mobile coverage in the village as it is in a dip and surrounded by hills.


I decided that as I could travel with Tim I would sort out the car on the last day of the holiday. The weather was still exceptionally hot so we needed to find shade at times to paint but it always feels so much nicer to be sitting painting when it is warm.  

On the last day at Porlock I had to arrange with the RAC when I could be back for my car and two ladies who stayed on at the hotel kindly gave me a lift back to the car. I didn’t have to wait too long for the RAC man to turn up.  I got slightly worried when he got out a hammer and started hitting the steering column.  However, he got it started (by brute force I think).  I managed to drive all the way home, well actually to the garage near home and left it there for them to sort out the next day.



At Withypool we seemed to be joined by the world and his wife during the day along the riverbank, what with dogs and children enjoying the river and splashing about and others enjoying picnics.


Tim is tutoring a holiday for us in The Wye Valley This Year - See Details >>>>

September - Terry Harrison, Wells - Paint Rugged & Atmospheric Landscapes

On this holiday, the weather was lovely and we got to some beautiful places around Wells, Cheddar and also Nunney including painting around the castle.

We visited Bishop’s Palace and everyone had a thoroughly good time.  Some days Terry would start with a quick demo, to get everyone thinking about what to paint and then he would spend a lot of time helping people with their pictures.

Above: Terry demonstrating in Cheddar Gorge, painting a picture of well known landmark, Lion Rock.

One of our guests painted a beautiful picture of Wells Cathedral in pen and wash, illustrating how a complex composition can be simplified and made to look impressionistic.

One of the rather strange sculptures in Bishop’s Palace on the left and Terry in a rather strange pose too. Was he trying to mimic the sculpture.

Terry is tutoring a holiday for us in North Devon This Year - See Details >>>>

September - Linda H. Matthews, Wells - Paint with the Freedom of Atelier Interactive Acrylics

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Linda’s holiday provided free Atelier Interactive Acrylics which was well worth it.  I was able to paint on this one so I had been looking forward to the holiday although I didn’t paint everyday.


The first day we went out the front of the hotel to paint across the green towards the cottages and cathedral.  Most of us managed to get the basis of our pictures started when the rain came down.  The rest of the day we spent in the studio completing the pictures based on photos and memory.



We went to Cheddar Gorge on day two and painted cottages and quaint shops.


It seemed to rain every other day so the next day we spent in the lovely garden room as our studio, which lets in lots of light even on a dull day.  Linda set up a still life for us in the centre of the room.

On the last day we went to the Bishop’s Palace, which is such a beautiful place.  It was a nice day and so we were able to paint all day in the grounds.  We even had special star guest to look after our equipment in the form of “Maisie” the Palace cat.  She visited us several times during the day, not sure if she approved of the progress in our paintings or not.



Linda is tutoring a holiday for us in The Wye Valley This Year - See Details >>>>

October - Noel Gregory, Bedar, Spain - Paint “The Best of The Med” in Oils & Acrylics

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This was a treat as this was our first painting holiday abroad and both Matthew and I (Gill) decided that we would join the group.  As both of us were there to help we could take it in turns to paint.  Matthew painted in oils and I painted in acrylics…I had got the bug now from Linda’s holiday in Wells!!!


Matthew and I went out to Spain two days early to finalise arrangements with the cafes for lunches and checking all the art materials for all the guests, as this holiday we provided all the art materials.


On our first day we went into the white village of Bedar to paint following on from Noel giving us a demonstration.  We picked a place that this huge dog wanted to sit and he spent most of his time laying next to us.


Day two we went to another part of the village, La Fuente, which is a fresh water spring from up in the mountains.  The restaurant above La Fuente was our place for lunch, which was absolutely delicious.

Cabrera was our next day’s painting location, which is another village in the mountains where all the houses are built in the Moorish style and we were all spoilt for choice both in terms of compositions for our painting and the food, which was also delicious.


We also went to the coast to Villaricus harbour to paint and were surrounded by lots of local stray cats and some very tiny kittens who seemed to live in the rocks.  It was very hot but there was a cool breeze off the sea.


On our day off from painting the guests all decided they wanted to go to Mojacar for some sight seeing.  We got back to the hotel for lunch and in the afternoon spent the time around the pool and hotel relaxing.  One of the guests (right) decided to finish off her picture that afternoon at the hotel. In the evening we went into Bedar and took part in a dinner and quiz night with the local ex-pats.



The holiday seemed to go so quickly and we had so much fun with Iris and Luc who run the hotel who attended to our every need and cooked lovely meals.  Luc even promised that he had taken the calories out of the food…but when we got home we realised he hadn’t.


See what one of our guests thought of the holiday and the hotel on Tripadvisor….Luc & Iris really do look after their guests well.

See Details of This Year’s Holiday with Noel in Bedar >>>>

November - Art Materials Live at the NEC

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It was our first exhibition as Alpha instead of Cheddar Painting Holidays and we also introduced £100 painting holiday voucher which worked very well.


We were opposite where Jeremy Ford was demonstrating for the SAA and I couldn’t help thinking that his light made him look like the Tin Man out of the Wizard of Oz.

We attended “Art Materials Live” exhibition at the NEC which was our sixth year. Noel Gregory and Peter Woolley demonstrated for us on Thursday and Friday respectively. Linda H. Matthews also demonstrated for us on Saturday & Sunday.


We had many Search Press instructional art books for sale and a selection of greeting cards from work from previous holidays, as usual.  We met a number of our guests and also tutors and other artists. It was a good time to promote our holidays and do a bit of networking.

April - Joe Francis Dowden - Painting Water, Light & Reflections in Watercolour

We have just had our first holiday of the season, which was held at the Swan in Wells, which is directly opposite the Cathedral. We had a lovely studio with plenty of light and a stone floor, so I could relax while Joe was in his element….

#April13_JDWells #April13_JDWells

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January - Bedar, Andalucia, Spain

#Jan13_BedarReccy

In Jan 2013, we visited Noel Gregory and his partner Sue and spent 4 days with them, looking at the painting locations and meeting the owners of the hotel. They have a lovely place in the foothills of the mountains with un-interrupted panoramic views across to the coast with views of Mojacar and Villaricus…..   

#Jan13_BedarReccy

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January/February - Lagos, Portugal

#Jan13_LagosReccy

After we had visited Spain & Gibraltar we drove across to Portugal and our first stop was the lovely coastal village of Tavira and then we drove onto Faro Airport to pick up Gill’s sister Linda, who didn’t want to miss an opportunity to spend some time in sunnier climes whilst there was snow on the ground in the UK…..  


#Jan13_LagosReccy

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#May13_JFExmoor

May - Jeremy Ford, Exmoor - Quaint Cottages, Water & Moorland Scenes

#May13_JFExmoor

We managed to get out everyday with Jeremy’s group although we still needed to wrap up a bit to keep warm on occasions.  The guests enjoyed painting Exmoor cottages and old barns in villages around the hotel and sampling……

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#May13_RDNDC

May - Rob Dudley, North Devon Coast - Watercolour Sketching & Pastel Painting

#May13_RDNDC

Well what a pleasure my first painting holiday that I personally hosted.  It was made extra special by the group and our tutor.  I had never been to Lynmouth and the surrounding areas before…I was “wow” ed…. !!!

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#June13_Patchings

June - Patchings Art Festival

#June13_Patchings

We attended Patchings for the 2nd year this year and we had Jeremy Ford, Matthew Palmer, Noel Gregory and Tony Slater demonstrating for us. We also introduced £100 painting holiday voucher which worked very well.  We had……

More >>>

#June13_SHWells

June - Steve Hall, Wells - Watercolour Landscapes - The ‘Wow’ Factor

#June13_SHWells

On this course we had a full house and in fact one gentleman was on the course as his son had bought the holiday for his 90th birthday. He was quite a character and full of beans and had us in fits of laughter at times. On the first day……

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#June13_MPNDC #June13_MPNDC

June - Matthew Palmer, North Devon Coast - Paint Cottages, Water, Boats & Coastal Scenes

Monday we stayed in Lynmouth and although it was a bit windy during the day we were able to paint the harbour from the hotel garden and everyone ended up with good paintings……

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#June13_TSWye

June - Tony Slater, Wye Valley - Paint ‘Clean & Fresh’ watercolours in The Wye Valley

#June13_TSWye

Well this holiday in the Wye Valley was certainly a surprise for one person.  One guest had been booked on the course by his wife as a 50th birthday present.  However, he had no idea at all. All he knew was that he was going on a holiday…..

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May - Rob Dudley, North Devon Coast - Watercolour Sketching & Pastel Painting

Well what a pleasure my first painting holiday that I personally hosted.  It was made extra special by the group and our tutor.  I had never been to Lynmouth and the surrounding areas before…I was “wow” ed…. !!!

The day we went to Watersmeet was exceptionally windy even though it was a beautiful sunny day and the group decided that it would be lovely to go for a walk/drive to the local National Trust Tea Shop in order to get warmed up.

Some of the group got chauffeur driven by Rob.  I agreed to walk with the other part of the group.  I thought it would do me good. I think I was a little naive in my choice and walking abilities. It felt that I had joined an extremely more than capable group which could been entered into the next Olympics. I, however, was completely out of puff and glowing bright red. Phew !!!  

It was an extremely windy few days, could even be called bracing but there was nothing my “Hardy Ladies” couldn’t handle ! And a completely guilt free cream tea was shared and enjoyed by all.

Rob was always around giving tips, advice and his good humour was greatly appreciated. We would like to send our thanks to Rob for standing in for Jenny Keal and wish Jenny a speedy recovery.

Even a local farmer who is the “Local Super Hero” known for dropping everything, put in an appearance for our damsels in distress.   

Some outstanding work was produced and new techniques taught and learnt. This was a real pleasure to be a part of and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.  (Pinka)


Rob is tutoring a holiday in The Wye Valley This Year - See Details >>>>

In Jan 2013, we visited Noel Gregory and his partner Sue and spent 4 days with them, looking at the painting locations and meeting the owners of the hotel.

They have a lovely place in the foothills of the mountains with un-interrupted panoramic views across to the coast with views of Mojacar and Villa Ricus.   

On the whole the weather was good, with some lovely sunshine most days but it was very windy, especially at Noel’s place.

Noel took us around the beautiful white village of Bedar where there are paintings around every corner from beautiful doorways to wide panoramic views. We also visited Cortijo Grande and the quaint mountain village of Cabrera with it’s stunning moorish architecture. The four of us sat in a courtyard and had a coffee and it felt just like you were in Morocco, with ornate tiles and peachy coloured walls.  It was only a few miles away but was in complete contrast to Bedar. We can’t wait to take people there too as there is so much to paint and like Bedar, is so peaceful.

We also visited the harbours of Garrucha and Villa Ricus but we kept losing Noel as he was looking in fishing nets, containers and anything related to fishing really for shells, which is his other passion. He even gave Gill a momento of our trip of a fairly rare shell as we too like to collect shells but nowhere near on the scale which Noel does.

One day when I was taking reference photos in Villaricus an Estate Agent chased me down the road trying to sell me a hotel because I mentioned that we ran painting holidays. I had to explain that we only used hotels not buy them!

Noel & Sue took us further up the coast where we visited Carolina Bay, which is actually 2 beaches, one facing south and one facing north, both protected by a headland separating them. It’s probably a bit far for painting but it will make a lovely day out on the day off, as it’s not too far from the town Aguilas where there are plenty of shops. So some of the group can go shopping and some can sit on the beach. I know where I am going to be!

Actually, we had lunch in Aguilas and Gill & Sue went to the ladies leaving Noel and I to pay the bill. We mis-read a number, thought we were leaving a tip but in fact had under paid. Noel went off shell hunting and I was in the harbour and Gill & Sue were left to pay the difference without us in sight!

After leaving Noel & Sue we drove down Spain to Gibraltar to see some old IT work colleagues from the days before we did painting holidays when I used to work there. When I say we drove down, Gill drove down Spain and I drove down Gibraltar, well that’s fair, we did one country each!

After a couple of days we drove to another possible holiday destination in Portugal……watch this space. That’ll be my next blog!

Have a look on the Bedar page for photos from our trip.



January/February - Lagos, Portugal

After we had visited Spain & Gibraltar we drove across to Portugal and our first stop was the lovely coastal village of Tavira and then we drove onto Faro Airport to pick up Gill’s sister Linda, who didn’t want to miss an opportunity to spend some time in sunnier climes whilst there was snow on the ground in the UK.   

We then had 3 days of visiting hotels and it was non-stop, hard work. Many of our friends were jealous and thought that we were just having fun in the sun but we were working really hard, honest!

We saw some really lovely hotels and we thought it was going to be a difficult decision until the final day of appointments when we went to Vivenda Miranda, which is a delightful 4-star boutique hotel on the cliff top between Porto De Mos and Ponta Da Piedade. It certainly had possibilities but then the owner wanted to take us to his Quinta (Farm!)  in Odiaxere. It was just as well one of our guests last year lives out there and told me how to say it. (FYI it is pronounced Odiacher)

We thought we’d give it a go, as this was the last hotel we were due to see. Well when we got there we instantly realised that this was the place. It seemed that we had saved the best till last. The location was great, the setting in a peaceful valley was perfect, the variety of subject matter at the Quinta was unbelievable. We spent ages with him and he showed us around the hotel, the rooms and the restaurant and also showed us around the grounds and all the farm animals both on land and in the pool. We instantly made the decision because we couldn’t have imagined anything better than what we were presented with. In many decisions there are pros and cons, or as Phil and Kirsty would say, a compromise but there was no such thing here, it was simply perfect!

We visited both Vivenda Miranda and the Quinta a second time on our visit as the owner had suggested to take some photos so you can all see what it is like and he also suggested that we went to his 5-star Cascade Resort which is a mixture of nearly 100 Suites and Villas. One is even called the Presidential Suite and when I told Jeremy he suggested that, as the ex-President of the SAA, he should stay in there. I had to point out that I didn’t think it was for that type of President.


We then spent a few days visiting painting locations both on the coast and inland, mainly around Lagos. The weather was amazing for January, peaking at 20 degrees most days and only half a day of rain. We then took a couple of days off and drove into the mountains of Monchique and went to the West Coast which has got some stunning coastal scenery. We decided to take a detour onto an unmade road, well that was an understatement! On the way back from there the police pulled us over, we suspect because we had Spanish number plates and they were surprised and confused when we started speaking in English and as the Portuguese like us English more than the Spanish and so they let us go.

On the day we were due to drive back to Spain, Gill got an infection in her tooth, but we managed to find a dentist who dealt with her almost immediately and she was very good. So if you have any problems with your teeth when you are out there, we can recommend a good dentist! This meant that I had to drive across Portugal and most of Spain. I guess Gill was getting me back for my comment about driving down Gibraltar.

We were due to stay in an airport hotel in Malaga and drive off from there but we got hopelessly lost in the enormous one-way system.  We finally found the hotel but the hotel didn’t have an on-site car park, so we got lost again looking for the car park.

At one point we stopped in a lay-by to look at the map and there was some people arguing on the side of the road. Next thing we knew the Police were there with their flashing lights and guns. It took a little while for the penny to drop as we were so tired and we decided that rather than ask the friendly policeman with a gun for directions, we would rather remain lost. Still it could have solved the problem of not being to find somewhere to stay for the night.

When we finally got back to the hotel and asked for more detailed directions and they exclaimed that it was “easy”, we said “Where is it?” They said “It’s up the steps”. At which point “I said it’s not the Italian Job!”

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#July13_JFWye

July - Jeremy Ford, Wye Valley - Paint the Beautiful Wye Valley

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On this holiday the weather was really good and each day improved until the final day when it was the start of the heat wave.  Our first day was at Tintern Old Station, where people painted the old station, train carriages and………….

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July - Steve Hall, Wye Valley - Watercolour Landscapes - The ‘Wow’ Factor

On this holiday the heat wave continued and we had to ensure everyone was had plenty of cold drinks, sun cream, hats and shade. It was glorious weather. Our first day was at St Briavel’s…..

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July - Tim Fisher, Exmoor - Quaint Cottages, Boats & Coastal Scenes

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Tim Fisher stepped in to tutor this holiday after Michael Sanders had to cancel following an operation on his hand.  This course was any media and different guests painted in watercolours, oils, acrylics and pastels.  This was the holiday that our “Free Holiday Winner” of 2012 chose as her prize. …..

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#July13_AIA

July - Art in Action

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We attended Art in Action for the first time this year and we had Jeremy Ford, Peter Woolley, Noel Gregory and Tony Slater demonstrating for us. We also introduced £100 painting holiday voucher which worked very well. We had many…….

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August - The Ilkley Art Show

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We exhibited at the Ilkley Art Show for the first time this year. The exhibition went well and a number of people were interested in our foreign holidays…..

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#Nov13_NEC

November - Art Materials Live at the NEC

We attended “Art Materials Live” exhibition at the NEC which was our sixth year. Noel Gregory and Peter Woolley demonstrated for us on Thursday and Friday respectively. Linda H. Matthews also demonstrated….

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October - Noel Gregory, Bedar, Spain - Paint “The Best of The Med” in Oils & Acrylics

On our first day we went into the white village of Bedar to paint following on from Noel giving us a demonstration.  We picked a place that this huge dog wanted to sit and he spent most of his time…..

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#Sept13_LMWells

September - Linda H. Matthews, Wells - Paint with the Freedom of Atelier Interactive Acrylics

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Linda’s holiday provided free Atelier Interactive Acrylics which was well worth it.  The first day we went out the front of the hotel to paint across the green towards the cottages and cathedral.  Most of us managed to get the…….


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September - Terry Harrison, Wells - Paint Rugged & Atmospheric Landscapes

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On this holiday, the weather was lovely and we got to some beautiful places around Wells, Cheddar and also Nunney including painting around the castle. We visited Bishop’s Palace and everyone had a thoroughly good time.  

Holiday Blogs 2013 - Full Details

July - Art in Action

We attended Art in Action for the first time this year and we had Jeremy Ford, Peter Woolley, Noel Gregory and Tony Slater demonstrating for us. We also introduced £100 painting holiday voucher which worked very well.

We had many Search Press instructional art books for sale and a selection of greeting cards from work from previous holidays.

It was so hot, that exhibitors and visitors were nearly passing out and the organisers very kindly came around with drinks to keep us hydrated. It must have topped 100 degrees.

We met a number of our guests and our stand was opposite Linda Wain’s who we got to know and her husband Kevin and we hope to be working with them in the future…watch this space!

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August - The Ilkley Art Show

We exhibited at the Ilkley Art Show for the first time this year. Some people were surprised to see us this far north. In fact I thought I was going to get a nose bleed but when some people said that this was down south to them, I said why are you Scottish?


The exhibition went well and a number of people were interested in our foreign holidays and in particular the one in Spain with Noel Gregory. In fact he bumped into 2 ladies who also live in Bedar, Spain as well as the UK. He couldn’t believe he didn’t know them.


Jeremy also demonstrated for us as he lives nearby and we are considering doing a holiday with him and Peter Woolley further north than we’ve ever been, yes even further north than the Wye Valley.



When we were packing up I suddenly had an excruciating back pain and couldn’t even stand up. It was chucking it down with rain, we needed to load the car up and drive back to Cheddar and I was in this state.


Gill helped me back into the hall which fortunately we were by the disabled access and I sat on the stairs while Gill had to load up, although a very big thank you goes to Peter Woolley who helped Gill finish the job.


The officials in the hall got some strong pain killers and after I had taken them they checked when I last ate and I said oh breakfast time, suddenly they went into a panic and said you need something to eat, so they made me 2 egg mayo rolls and a Kit Kat, so I was sitting on the stairs eating this food whilst Gill and Peter were loading up the car, which didn’t go down too well until I gave her a bit of my Kit Kat.  


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January - Bedar, Andalucia, Spain

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