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In here you will find a selection of Holidays where we have produced Holiday Blogs for 2015. You will see 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.
We ran our first one day workshop with the Fisher 400 Paper at the Bells Hotel with Carol Kibble who did an excellent job in leading it and everyone had a great day.
We started the day with some tips and techniques on how to get the best out of the paper, then Carol did a quick demonstration and after morning coffee everyone got to work on their pictures…..
We started the day with some tips and techniques on how to get the best out of the paper, then Carol did a quick demonstration and after morning coffee everyone got to work on their own pictures from an array of reference material provided by Carol and some from our holidays in the Wye Valley.
The Tips & Techniques section included Carol showing everyone how to use the paper to it’s best which included the superior pastel layering, sgraffito, how easy it is to make corrections, the use of acrylic inks and water with the paper as the surface is waterproof. With the acrylic inks everyone had a go at tinting the paper and many used this as a backdrop for their main paintings later.
Above: You can see how Carol has put different layers on and then she used a knife to scrape out layers to get the effect of trees (Left) and cat’s whiskers (Right).
Carol put pastel on the paper and then with a wet brush applied water to give a wash effect (Above).
Then she added pastels with a damp brush to get interesting texture effects (Below)
Why not have a look at our video of some Tips & Techniques when using the Fisher 400 Paper
Carol’s Demonstration was of a waterfall, as you can see (Below). Firstly, she covered the paper with a light blue background of acrylic ink and then applied pastels over the top.
Above: Reference Photo
Below : Finished Painting. As you can see she has got some amazing colours into her picture and she blended the pastels for the effect of the spray.
Then everyone got under way with their paintings and quite a range of pictures were produced including wildlife, trees, landscape and seascapes.
Here is a selection of some of the completed pictures produced throughout the day.
Above: Carol advising one guest on his picture of an Owl. See the finished picture left.
All in all it was a lovely day, everyone enjoyed themselves and thought Carol was an excellent tutor and the hotel provided us with a lovely lunch with plenty of choice.
We have two 3-
The weather was warm for most of the time, although there was some rain but not a lot. The first day was spent at the farm and the second day we went to the quaint mountain village of Caldas de Monchique. This place was so lovely and the food, as always was gorgeous. As you can see Fiona is demonstrating to the group.
Above: Fiona demonstrating in the gardens at the Quinta
Above: Some guests painting an old cart at the Quinta.
Left: We bought some umbrellas and umbrella holders so our guests could paint out of the direct glare and heat of the sun. This was it’s very first use and it worked very well.
Left: Our youngest ever guest. A local lad who is the son of some friends of ours in Lagos. He had never painted before in watercolour and had a thoroughly good time. He spent some time looking at other people painting to learn how to do certain techniques…a good learner!
Above: Fiona demonstrating a still life, from life of some oranges that had just fallen from the tree.
Fiona also did some figure work with the group as seen in this scene of Praia Da Luz above.
Terry demonstrating at Lagos Marina and then giving one-
The weather was warm for most of the time, although there was some rain but not a lot. The first day was spent at the farm and the second day we went to the quaint mountain village of Caldas de Monchique. This place was so lovely and the food, as always was gorgeous……….
We ran two holidays back-
The first one was an any media course with Rob Dudley, where some people did acrylics and others did watercolours. Some people used acrylics for the first time.
The second one was with Barry Herniman where everyone did watercolours, many using Barry’s watercolour sketchbook and there were many really good sketches produced throughout the week.
On both holidays we visited Caldas De Monchique but neither tutor could pronounce it, so one called it “Pebble Dash” and the other called it “Caran D’ache”, but they both loved it so much that they cannot wait until next year.
Above: Rob giving some guidance to two guests on painting shadows and dappled sunlight at Caldas and (below) Barry’s group painting the traditional buildings and cobbled streets.
For various reasons we felt it was time to move hotels for next year and as everyone liked this painting location so much, including the tutors, we decided to base our holidays here from now on. There are so many facilities there.
Left: Rob was demonstrating painting a landscape in acrylics building it up in different layers of thickness. I tried to get a better vantage point around the back and everyone thought it was amusing when I kept saying “ouch” as I got caught in the cacti. However, at the end Rob bent down to clear up and stabbed himself on a cactus, which goes to show our tutors will even shed blood for the cause of teaching our guests, whereas Barry (Right) opted for a safer option at Lagos Marina.
We had some expat locals join us for a few days on Rob’s holiday which was good and they all loved painting at the Quinta.
Why not take a look at the hotels page.
When we were at Praia Da Luz some bikers, or should I say trikers turned up. They run trike tours around the Algarve which got me thinking….this could be interesting way of getting to painting locations out in the Algarve.
On the day off we went to the Algarve stacks and everyone was blown away with the colours, shapes, archways, blow holes, the turquoise water and shear beauty of the stacks and the sea. Barry was so taken with them that he did this demo before dinner when the group returned from their excursion on the day off.
Above: Barry and one of the guests went for a paddle to cool off on our day off.
We ran two holidays back-
The first one was an any media course with Rob Dudley, where some people did acrylics and others did watercolours. Some people used acrylics for the first time. The second one was with Barry Herniman where everyone did watercolours, many using…….
The weather was not too good to begin with on the first day so we started with Rob doing a demo in the studio at the hotel. The weather brightened up about 11 so just after our teas and coffees we headed up the road to St Briavel’s. Rob was delighted with all the different painting opportunities that there were around the village and he got everyone painting really quickly and the day became really hot sunny, as you can see here, which everyone enjoyed….especially the dappled sunlight.
On the second day at Lindors Country House Christian Retreat Centre, it would appear that Rob was looking for some “Divine Inspiration” but it just seemed that one of our guests was suffering from “Desperation”.
However, it looks like it worked as in this photo he appeared to have to have took charge of the situation and regained their attention.
At Alpha Painting Holidays, we look after our guests extremely well and take Health & Safety very seriously.
Thursday was the day when the heavens opened and it rained all day. Actually everyone was really pleased to be able to use this time in the studio as Rob gave a step by step demo teaching lots of techniques. Everyone then got on with their own paintings and Rob gave individual tuition. One guest had come all the way from Ireland to learn how to paint sparkle on water and was delighted with Rob’s help.
Symonds Yat was stunning. The weather was hot and sunny and the river was perfect for the reflections and plenty of sparkle which Rob is well known for in his paintings. He was so taken with the area and the light conditions you can see him in taking plenty of material for some future paintings himself. Watch out for articles in A& I (which is where Rob writes) as I am sure he will use these photos for reference.
As you can see when Rob does studio work, he takes it extremely seriously.
Would you trust this man to run a painting holiday?
The weather was not too good to begin with on the first day so we started with Rob doing a demo in the studio at the hotel. The weather brightened up about 11 so just after our teas and coffees we headed up the road to St Briavel’s. Rob was delighted with all the different painting opportunities that there were around the village and he got everyone painting really quickly and the day became really hot sunny, as you can see here……….
Well the journey was a nightmare for many with long delays on the Motorway including myself who had to get from a holiday with Barry Herniman in the Wye Valley direct to this one with Steve in Exmoor. I had already left instructions with Andrew, the hotel owner and Steve to do as much of the course introduction as they could and I would give everyone the itinerary and chat about any other issues over dinner.
The first day we went to Winsford and everyone commented on how much choice of painting subjects there was and how spacious the village was in terms of being able to set-
Unfortunately, day 2 the weather was bad but Steve did some studio work with them including upside down celebrity portraits. The owner of the hotel informed me that it wasn’t raining but just a fine mist in the air. I took one look at the weather and said to him “You’ve been in Exmoor too long as this is classed as rain where I come from!”
Above: As you can see, one of guests wanted to get close to his subject and Below, here he is again, getting immersed in his painting.
The next 2 days were very hot and we got out both days.
Firstly, we went to Lynmouth and Steve decided he want to paint the boats in the harbour. Now when he said he wanted to paint boats “IN” the harbour I thought he meant just the boats in the harbour, I didn’t think me meant him and the guests IN THE HARBOUR!!!. I was not comfortable with this as Steve didn’t check the tide timetable, so I shot off and bought a tide time table and was re-
Mind you when it came to the teas and coffees I had to shout from the harbour wall and other people down in the harbour thought I was being very helpful asking them if they wanted a drink. Also, various suggestions were put forward including me lowering 2 buckets, 1 for tea and 1 for coffee with some empty cups on a winch system. I then suggested that I threw sugar lumps into their cups from the jetty.
Above: In the afternoon, the group retreated to higher ground as Steve’s attempts as King Kanute didn’t work although he managed to make a pint of beer disappear over lunchtime.
On the last day we went to Malmsmead as we were unable to get there on day 2 but this meant all guests had to drive down a narrow single track road. Some loved the chance to see sights not normally seen…others weren’t so sure and Steve took a wrong turn and some people followed him thinking he knew the way but he didn’t. Mind you everyone got there fine…in the end.
It is very peaceful at Malmsmead and the group were painting right by a ford when a lorry came through and couldn’t slow down as he needed momentum to get up the other side…I don’t think they got too wet and it was warm anyway, so no-
I took the opportunity of being in the studio, where as organiser I don’t need to do so much running around and looking after people to do some more pastels on the Fisher 400 Paper and I chose to do a painting of Tarr Steps but was having problems with some of the Steps and one guest was kind enough to give me some assistance, which really helped. I said, Steve will need to watch out…as he has competition!
Later in the day people were able to get out and paint the Barle Valley from the hotel grounds.
Well the journey was a nightmare for many with long delays on the Motorway including myself who had to get from a holiday with Barry Herniman in the Wye Valley direct to this one with Steve in Exmoor. The first day we went to Winsford and everyone commented on how much choice of painting subjects there was and……
All the guests were impressed with their rooms and the views of the Lake from the rooms did make us question whether we needed to get out of bed to paint or we could just paint from out beds but this could have made the tuition awkward. We had a full house and apart from two new guests all the others were like old friends.
Above: This was my view from my room!!
On the first day the weather was a bit unsettled which made us decide not to go out to begin with but the changes in the weather made some wonderful scenes looking towards the Langdale Pikes. Peter did a demo in the morning with everyone following the same scene. We went out to lunch at Waterhead Bay and managed to do some sketching (Right) before retreating to the hotel to complete the mornings paintings.
Above: Skecthing at Waterhead Bay.
Getting up the next day showed a much more settled sky. The trip today was the village of Elterwater which has so many painting possibilities.
As you can see (above left), the staff from the Britannia Inn where really helpful and brought our teas and coffees down to the bridge where we were painting, what service. At which point we all stopped for a much appreciated cuppa.
But then it was back to work.
Although some of the group decided to take some time out to watch Peter’s demo.
Left: Peter giving the group tuition at the lovely studio at Rydal Hall, which is just around the corner from Wordsworth’s cottage.
Everyone had a great four days at a wonderful hotel where the staff were brilliant, the food excellent and the views stunning. Here are a selection of views around the grounds.
Left: You can sit here, with paintbrush in one hand and a drink in the other and admire the view of the Lake and Langdale Pikes in the distance.
Left: Or you can get some protection from this lake side Pergolo whilst listening to the water lap against the shore.
Right & Above: Or you can stand on the jetty and have panoramic views of the lake and the mountains as well as admire the beautiful gardens and grounds of the hotel.
Well I have to say that as soon as I turned into the drive at Langdale Chase Hotel I remembered why we chose this hotel, as the stunning view across the lake just hits you, Wow!!!!
Waterhead Bay was our first day out and it was pleasant sitting in the pub grounds at the edge of the lake as here you turn one way and have the view of the lake and something to paint and you turn the other way and you have the pub and something to eat and drink….it’s all laid on for us there. And did I mention the Langdale Pikes and mountains in the distance.
Our trip to Elterwater was really enjoyed by all, with rivers, cascading water over rocks, bridges and I had to do a bit of posing for everyone so that they had a person on the bridge to add into their pictures.
Very shortly, I had to return to my duties and was assisted by the staff at the pub who brought out our teas and coffees to us, which I am getting used to and enjoying the help so much so that I even managed a small watercolour of the bridge myself.
We must have had the "most civilised couple going" on this painting holiday (Left). They assured me they were going camping after the painting holiday and therefore "just happened" to have a table with them for their painting.
Whilst the painters were all inside having lunch and I was looking after their painting gear I was struck at how busy the place gets although you are not aware of it whilst painting. We had numerous walkers with or without all manner of breeds of dogs, a group of pony trekkers with their ponies and a group of school children on a field study day. When the painters returned from lunch they were worried I might have been lonely but I assured them I had had a great time chatting to lots of people and could have done a roaring trade in selling all their pictures.
Rydal Hall was beautiful as usual but again we were inside in the studio there for a lot of the time. We all managed to get outside and take lots of photos that can be used at a later date for painting…I think the studio there is so good people prefer to be in the studio than braving the elements. Everyone still got lots of painting done and lots of help from Jeremy.
The first day was in Lynmouth, which is always a favourite with all who visit there. This was an any media holiday and Tim began the day with a demo of pastels as most of the guests had brought pastels with them. It was a little windy being near the coast, although there were plenty of spots out of the wind and in the sun, so we still managed to get a suntan.
Left: Tim starting his pastel demo of Lynmouth Harbour whilst in the gardens at Rock House Hotel, where we have lunch. It is a lovely spot being so close to the beach and harbour with views all around.
The finished demo which Tim completed on Fisher 400 paper.
We decided that Tim would do a demo each night before dinner rather than out on location. So on day one we had two demos. Tim did each demo in a different media using pastels, acrylics, pen and wash and a mixed media. Some of them were on the Fisher 400 paper and we got a couple of converts to the paper.
The owner of the hotel asked us if his daughter could join us for the demo as she was really into art and he thought that she would enjoy it. She thoroughly enjoyed the demo and was not frightened of asking Tim lots of questions. She joined us for two evening demos and didn’t want to go when we sat down for dinner. I think she has been inspired and was asking Dad for lots of art materials that she wanted. We think there will be lots of birthday and Christmas presents coming up. One of the guests left her acrylics that she did not need for her and Tim also left her some materials. I think we may have a young visitor on our holidays in Exmoor in the future.
The group setting up at Winsford, (Above) a lovely village with a large green with plenty of space and choice of painting subjects but there is always a new angle to be found (Below).
Left: The group loved painting from the gardens of the hotel looking down the Barle Valley, what a lovely spot.
It was a lovely sunny day when we went to St Briavel’s as you can see here (Left). Barry started with a demo of some cottages and then went around the group helping them. It was a bit of a shock for some of the guests who hadn’t been with Barry before when he told them he doesn’t use any earth colours, so everyone’s burnt sienna, burnt umber and the like were confiscated but I was selling them on the black market (well Paynes Grey market) to people when Barry wasn’t looking….I wasn’t really Barry.
Above: With the ever growing Painting Groups we decided we needed to invest in transport that would meet the ever increasing demands of our customers. Actually it’s Barry’s little run around.
Once I had fulfilled all my duties with sorting out chairs and easels as well as supplying lunch and drinks, I decided to have my first ever go at Pastels on the Fisher 400 Paper that we are now distributors for. I thought that I should try and understand the paper more from a painters point of view, plus I also thought that I will only have one pencil (or stick) in my hand at one time and therefore it is easy to put that down and attend to my duties as organiser. Well at one point I
When we went to Lindors, one of our guests was so taken by Raglan Castle that he decided to go back there and do some other compositions because there was so much choice. Just as well he didn’t expect me to take his tea and coffee all the way from England to Wales or for Barry to give him tuition.
Counted about a dozen pencils in my hand and I looked and couldn’t work out how I was holding them all.
Barry started with a demo by the house with the stream, bridge and waterfall and many did the same scene. Others were dotted about and when the sun shone the gardens and the trees came to life. Everyone really loved the place and they all commented on how peaceful the place was and that it had a sense of peace about it. Our thanks go to the staff at Lindors Country Hotel which is a Christian Retreat Centre for looking after us so well that day and every time we come.
On the day we went to Raglan Castle, I did my impersonation of Mrs Overall, delivering the teas and coffees. One guest was one side of the castle and a few were the other side and I climbed over ruins and steps, ended up getting lost in the Castle going into rooms without an exit and going down stairs into the dungeon and re-
Many guests painted down on the jetty up the river and the police search and rescue team had a training session and there was all sorts of jokes about painting. One guest said “If I drop my paint brush in the water will you rescue it”, another said “can you rescue my painting” and the police said “don’t step back and admire your work as we don’t want to have to rescue you”.
The day we went to Symonds Yat everyone had a good time in such a lovely setting with such lovely weather. That umbrella was for shade from the sun not from the rain.
Right: See the one in the red helmet, has he rescued a brush?
When the police had finished and were packing up, some canoeists came back and had lost their oars, so they asked the police if they had seen them and they said “Oh blimey, sorry we thought they were ours and they are in the back of the van”. Everyone thought that it was hilarious that the canoeists report their oars as stolen to the police and it’s the police that have stolen them!!!
The first day was in Lynmouth, which is always a favourite with all who visit there. This was an any media holiday and Tim began the day with a demo of pastels as most of the guests had brought pastels with them. It was a little windy being near the coast, although there were plenty of spots out of the wind and in the sun, so we still managed to get a suntan……
It was a lovely sunny day when we went to St Briavel’s as you can see here . Barry started with a demo of some cottages and then went around the group helping them. It was a bit of a shock for some of the guests who hadn’t been with Barry before when he told them he doesn’t use any earth colours, so everyone’s burnt sienna, burnt umber and the like were confiscated but I was selling them on the…….
All the guests were impressed with their rooms and the views of the Lake from the rooms did make us question whether we needed to get out of bed to paint or we could just paint from out beds but this could have made the tuition awkward. We had a full house and apart from two new guests all the others were like…….
Waterhead Bay was our first day out and it was pleasant sitting in the pub grounds at the edge of the lake as here you turn one way and have the view of the lake and something to paint and you turn the other way and you have the pub and something to eat and drink….it’s all laid on for us there. And did I mention the Langdale Pikes and mountains in the……..
Well I have to say that as soon as I turned into the drive at Langdale Chase Hotel I remembered why we chose this hotel, as the stunning view across the lake just hits you, Wow!!!!
There was a fair bit of drizzle on this holiday which was neither one thing nor another and this stopped us getting out to painting locations for a couple of days.
With many painting locations within walking distance John was able to pop out and do a quick sketch, then produce a full painting in the studio which he did on a step-
Mind you it wasn’t until half way through the holiday that a guest admitted to working for the Met Office, to which I said “You kept that quiet!” He then explained he was in IT not forecasting.
John taught some Pen & Ink with his distinctive style (left) and many people got some striking results too, including one or two on the floor but we cleaned it up.
Mind you, one day he took the group to the Cloisters (right) and I banned Pen & Ink as I didn’t want any spillages there.
On the last day we went to the Bishop’s Palace, where they were getting ready for a Hollywood Blockbuster and the Palace grounds was all being set-
We decided to paint over by the “wells”, which are pools of water that permeate through the Mendips and this is where the city gets it’s name. Here there are beautiful gardens and the reflections of the Cathedral in the water as well as the moat. This meant that I had to walk through the film crew by the ruins to our painting group and the film crew said “Tea Break” when I came past as they thought I was the tea boy…well I was but not for them.
Left: Steve Hall, one of our tutors and a few fellow painters including Jem Bowden, another tutor since then, turned up whilst we were painting and joined in as Steve and John are good friends.
We had a mad panic on the last day as 2 ladies needed to get back to Luton Airport on Thursday night for an early morning flight to Israel on the Friday. They were booked on a train and everything was planned until the railway decided to go on strike including the entire London Underground! We then had to book them on a coach from Bath and the only coach was 17:15 but we didn’t finish with the group until 16:15, so it was a mad rush to get them there in time, then there was a road closed….but we made it. I am glad we did as I wouldn’t have fancied taking them all the way to Luton….so I am sorry to anyone we didn’t say goodbye to but time was pressing!!!
On the first day there was more of that fine drizzle that we had in Wells and I told David that it was raining but he still wanted to go out saying “Oh, it’s just a bit of atmosphere”. To be fair, it was quite warm and humid and it didn’t really hamper people sketching.
We went to Symonds Yat and David & Jenny did a demo each in the morning. They positioned themselves a few feet apart and the group were like herds of Wildebeest going back and forth.
The following day we were in the studio producing full paintings and you can see David & Jenny giving some tips to the group.
Then after coffee everyone did some sketching, then after lunch we walked down to the rapids which is a flat walk along the river bank and gives a good view of the cottages and boats in the distance. (Left)
See Jenny’s demo of Symonds Yat in pastels. (Right)
The next day we went to Tintern Old Station in the morning but the signal box and the railway carriages were all covered in scaffolding so everyone painted the old station. Just as well we have a plan B so after lunch we went to Tintern Abbey and people did quick sketches of the Abbey.
On the left is David’s demo of Tintern Old Station and on the right David is giving some tips to one of our guests.
On the final day we were back in the studio completing our full paintings and I had chance to paint another pastel.
We had some glorious weather on this holiday, with people needing to get under cover away from the sun and the day at Malmsmead was just idyllic.
David started with a very quick loose demo of the pack horse bridge from the tea garden where we had our lunch.
I had another go with some pastels and was really pleased with the barn picture at Malmsmead but my picture of Countisbury Hill at Lynmouth was a disaster!
At the hotel there was a Dutch couple who had an 18 month old black labrador, who was so pleased to see everyone and would work his way down the lounge saying hello to everyone he passed and then would go into the bar, then he would go behind the bar..well they say dogs have a good nose!
There was a fair bit of drizzle on this holiday which was neither one thing nor another and this stopped us getting out to painting locations for a couple of days. With many painting locations within walking distance John was able to pop out and do a quick sketch, then produce a full painting in the studio which he did on a…..
On the first day there was more of that fine drizzle that we had in Wells and I told David that it was raining but he still wanted to go out saying “Oh, it’s just a bit of atmosphere”. To be fair, it was quite warm and humid and it didn’t really hamper people sketching. We went to Symonds Yat and David & Jenny did a demo each….
We had some glorious weather on this holiday, with people needing to get under cover away from the sun and the day at Malmsmead was just idyllic. David started with a very quick loose demo of……