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Holiday Blogs 2016

In here you will find a selection of Holidays where we have produced Holiday Blogs for 2016. 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.

#July_TWSWells

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#July_TWSWells

I think Thomas thought he had died and gone to heaven when he arrived in Wells. Not only is it his middle name but being an architect and loving historic buildings, it was the ultimate painting destination for him. When I was showing him around buildings that were well over 600 years old, he touched the stonework and said “Wow! There is nothing in the US this old!” Fired up with enthusiasm, the group were so inspired and it looks like he is looking to the…..

Exhibition Holiday Winner 2016

October - Paint the Amazing Light & Colour of the Western Algarve

We ran three holidays back-to-back using the new hotel, Villa Termal at Caldas De Monchique and they were fantastic, especially Joana, as for her and her staff nothing was too much trouble.

One of the waitresses in the tapas bar at Caldas took it upon herself to help me learn some very basic Portuguese so now I can read some of their menu in Portuguese and I told the guests they could only order what I could say in Portuguese!

There is such a tranquil atmosphere there and so much to paint and with the deciduous trees the chance to paint dappled sunlight and shade on white washed walls and Moorish architecture was amazing as you can see from these photos.

Right: One day on the first holiday some of the guests began painting a rustic looking fishing boat in the morning but whilst they were having their lunch and we were looking after their gear, the fisherman appeared, jumped in the boat and went off to sea to go fishing…I could do nothing, other than just take a photograph.

Another day at Praia Da Luz, a little puppy was running everywhere and didn’t notice the fact that one of guests had left their oil palette on the floor and he ended up with paint all over his paws.

Barry was so enthusiastic getting the group painting together and everyone had such a great time, that we thought he deserved a big glass of wine and here it is, it’s got nothing in it but it’s a big wine glass.

Why not have a look at Barry’s blog on his site to see more of his demos.

Left This demo of Barry’s was of Caldas at Night, which he did after the meal one evening. The paint was flowing, so was the wine and so were the silly jokes….I’m amazed how he managed to paint a picture as striking as this. Then another night we all got our whiskeys, brandies and medronho (fire water) and went to the lounge and Barry got his mandolin out and knocked out a few tunes…..I’m amazed any of us got up the following morning.

As you can see from these 3 photos at Camilo, we take health and safety of our guests very seriously. From Left to Right: All the guests painting beyond the danger signs, Barry pointing to a guest who has gone over the edge and lastly, the 2 remaining guests had the sense to paint from a safe point. It was worth the view and seriously, we made sure everyone was entirely safe.

Above: What a place to have lunch, with the painting spot just metres from the restaurant and look at the view.

Above: When we were at Alvor the tide was right out and the seagulls were having a great time feasting on whatever was available; crabs, mussels, school children. Mind you the tide came in whilst we were at lunch and one lady nearly lost her easel to the sea but Rob was guarding it for her, such was his dedication but we said, it didn’t work for King Kanute, it’s not gonna work for you!

Rob’s group had a go at all mediums. We had people painting in fast drying oils, acrylics, watercolour and even one lady painted in gouache. As you can see here a couple of the group are soaking up the fantastic views and the rays, while Rob is giving some tips on how to paint the rocks…or at least that’s what he told me he was doing.

Left: Rob is so dedicated to his job and has such a desire to teach anyone and anything to paint, he can get a little carried away sometimes as he can be seen here giving some painting tuition to a scooter, which seems to be smiling and has a bit of a surprised look on it’s face.

Right: It was one of the guests (and a good friend of ours) birthday on the last night, so the hotel organised a birthday cake for her and the whole restaurant sang happy birthday to her including about 50 Israeli’s. This was the perfect end to a great holiday where everyone had such a good time.

Rob spent some time in the studio with the group teaching them different tips and techniques in oils, watercolour and acrylics. When out on location he went around all the group giving plenty of tuition but his words when people went off to paint “I will find you”, worried us all a little when he had “taken” a long time. Actually, when we were at Lagos Marina, I had a go at painting as Gill looked after the group and I thoroughly enjoyed myself painting in oils and enjoyed it so much both Gill and I went to a workshop with Rob when we returned to the UK as he was tutoring water mixable oils in our neck of the woods. It was a great day out, thanks Rob for all your tips and thanks to Frome Valley Art Group for letting us join them.

For us this was an exciting set of holidays which we thoroughly enjoyed. We had so much fun, worked hard, had a few challenges but really enjoyed the new hotel and how well they looked after us and enjoyed meeting so many lovely people.

See Details of holidays in Portugal next year>>>>

May - John Hoar - Exmoor Valleys, Quaint Cottages & Harbour Scenes in Watercolour

During this holiday I was unwell, so the hotelier from Simonsbath House, Andrew, very kindly helped me run this holiday. He organised the lunch and drinks and I kept my distance from people to ensure I didn’t pass on anything!

We had fun and games at Lynmouth (Top Left) as people took too long over their orders when they came out and the seagulls seized the opportunity.

When we went to Withypool (Top Right) it was a great day and the tearooms looked after us so well but one lady wanted me to negotiate her mobility scooter down the hump, in the direction of the river!!! As you can see (Bottom Left) Andrew looks like he is offering rides for people.

On the last day, when I was some people were having lunch and 2 dedicated painters had returned to their easels, someone asked me what was going and I said a “Painting Holiday”. He said “but I can only see 2 people but a dozen easels with no artists”. So I said “The 2 people here are concentrating on their paintings and the rest of them are in the pub concentrating more on their holiday than the painting”

May - Steve Hall - Exmoor Valleys, Quaint Cottages & Harbour Scenes in Watercolour

By the time this holiday started, I had recovered and the weather was lovely and hot for the time of year.

Steve started the holiday with a demo of Lynmouth harbour (Top Left) which attracted attention from more than just our group.

Then in the afternoon the decided to go down into the harbour (Top Right) and whenever anyone wanted water, I rolled the bottles down the slipway. In fact, in the afternoon, it was so hot, a lady from Hong Kong actually took her coat off for the first time!

When we went to Winsford (Middle Left) and setup we noticed that all the trees had been chopped down. I said “Well we always try to vary the scenes for people on each visit”

We also went to Withypool (Middle Right) and Malmsmead (Bottom Left) and both were days had great weather.

Although, there was one worrying moment when we were at Malmsmead when a tractor drove through the Ford….very close to some of our group. I think they got wet but that was all and I think that was quite welcomed on such a warm day

May - David Bellamy & Jenny Keal - Paint ‘Lakes, Mountains & Rivers’ in Watercolour

What a pleasant surprise. We were blessed with the most beautiful weather with temperatures around the 30 mark, while the group in Exmoor had rain, we were basking in the wonderful sunshine for all 4 days.

We went to Elterwater for the first morning (Top Left) and after lunch took a trip down the Langdale Valley. The second day, we stayed at the hotel and David did a demonstration of the Langdale Pikes across Lake Windermere which is such a fabulously view from the hotel (Top Right)

On the final day, we were at Rydal Hall where everyone painted the waterfall from the bridge. The little hut down on the rivers edge was out of bounds due to a nearby unsafe tree. This scene appeared on “Secret Britain” recently. David did a pastel demo for a change which was enjoyed by all (Bottom Right)

May - Rob Dudley - Paint Historic Wells and the Somerset Countryside

Rob arrived with his usual sense of humour which was welcomed throughout the holiday. On the first day we spent our time in Bishop’s Palace around the grounds where there is plenty of variety of subjects to paint.

On the next day we took the two ladies from Hong Kong to Steve Hall’s place where they had a workshop with John Yardley. When we returned Rob told us that he had ordered the tea and coffee but it had not arrived yet. So Gill went to reception and the waitress said that she had taken the drinks to the painters ages ago but we said we hadn’t received them. We then discovered that she had in fact taken the drinks to the painters, the painters and decorators, not the artists!!! I expect the decorators were very pleased with this little mistake. Rob said that he found it all an emulsionable experience!


June - Jeremy Ford - Exmoor Valleys, Quaint Cottages & Harbour Scenes in Watercolour

Once we started this holiday, I was getting wise to the seagulls tricks.

I gave our guests a 15 minute warning of when the lunch was coming out and I told them that if they didn’t come when told to they would lose their lunch to the seagulls. They were then give a 5 minute warning and said “yeah, yeah, we’re coming” and continued painting. I then shouted “Come NOW or lose your lunch to the seagulls” They all jumped up together and came running.

Sometimes you just get some good pictures on painting holidays and other times you just get pictures that have a great caption to go with them.

Top Left: So what is Jeremy doing here? Is he applauding his picture, is he praising the Lord…oh no, he is trying to get all the mozzies!

Bottom Left: Some guests will take all sorts of risks to get the best composition…mind you it’s hardly very busy is it!

Bottom Right: It was suggested that the item on display in this photo could make a good Alpha Painting Holiday accessory…hmmm!

June - Terry Harrison - Wye Valley - Paint the Beautiful Wye Valley

June - Thomas W. Schaller - Exmoor Valleys, Quaint Cottages & Harbour Scenes

It was a pleasure to have Thomas tutor for us first in Exmoor and then the following week in Wells, Somerset. It was his first time tutoring in the UK.

The first bit of advice that he gave everyone (Top Left) was to not have the full glare of the sun on white paper and to not paint with sunglasses on, practice what you preach, Tom!

Tom absolutely loved the West Country and as we were driving down from Bristol Airport to Exmoor he was so taken with the scenery he was like a kid in a sweet shop and one time, he shouted “Wow!” And I said “What?”, He said “Look at that!” I said “Look at what?”, He said “That cloud, that is amazing, I love atmosphere, we just dont see that in LA”. I then said “If clouds is what you want, we can do clouds and you wont be disappointed and we can do atmosphere”. Problem was that by the end of the week I was apologising for the British Atmosphere.

I told him about the “Cloud Appreciation Society” which he said he was going to join and I joked with the group that he must be the only guy from LA that is part of the “Cloud Appreciation Society”.

I had just returned from Portugal and he had been in Spain and once when we were doing a reccy we BOTH went to get in the wrong side of the car. I panicked because there was no steering wheel and he panicked because there was one!

The day we went to Lynmouth was sunny and warm but a bit windy and when I was bringing the lunches out the wind took a lettuce from the plate, then another, then a cucumber and finally by the time I had got to the table, I then said to the guest…more salad!!!


July - Barry Herniman in Exmoor & Wells, Somerset

Above: One day in Lynmouth with Barry, we were walking through the car park and stumbled upon this “Coach Hotel”. What a good idea I thought…Alpha Coach Tours. We could paint almost anywhere with ALL facilities nearby.

On day two we were joined for the day by two ladies from Hong Kong and Matt as they had been on Steve Hall’s holiday with us down in Exmoor. We started in the village of Priddy (Above) and as the weather wasn’t so good we went back to the studio. (Below).

Above: Rob is giving some one-to-one tuition to one of guests in the walled garden.


On the last day we were at Cathedral Green in front of the hotel and for coffee I managed to surprise Matt with a birthday cake to celebrate his birthday. When Rob bought the two Fives to go on the cakes, the lady in the shop said “Oh is the little lad having two cakes”, Rob replied “Yes, and he’s not so little as he is not 5 but 55! Matt can be seen before (Above Left), smiling and afterwards (Above Right) regretting eating 2 cakes…..no he didn’t, we shared the slices around with all the guests, much to their surprise too.


One day when we went to Symonds Yat, there was a swan sitting on the side of the road but I couldn’t see how near to the car he was and he kept hissing at the car but one brave guest got out of the car to check all was okay.


These two pictures show Terry Harrison at Tintern Old Station doing a study of trees (Above Left) and giving one-to-tuition (Above Right).

The group started painting by the landing base next to the river and when I came back from ordering the morning drinks Terry had two visitors sitting around him.  (Right) Two swans who refused to go back into the river and kept hissing every time anyone moved.  One went back to the river but left the other one with us, who we named Sid (because he seemed a bit vicious).  When everyone went off to lunch I stayed to look after the painting equipment with the company of Sid who was not keen I was there and made sure that I moved out of his way.  He chased me all the way to the top of the stairs.  When the guests came back from lunch we all had to negotiate passed Sid to get back to our paintings.  He was persuaded to go back to the river and we thought that was it.  However, another swan came along and made a fuss so Sid came back out of the river and walked up the steps between us and the car park.  We left him there and just negotiated our way around him any time anyone need to go to the hotel and at the end of the day.  He hissed every time we got too close.  


July - Grahame Booth - Wye Valley - Paint the Beautiful Wye Valley

The first day of this holiday was the hottest day of the year at 33 degrees. As you can (Top Left) everyone is getting some much needed shade under the trees. Only one hardy soul sat in the sun all day long. We also had a good time at Symonds Yat (Bottom Left) and at Tintern Old Station (Top Right) and you can see Grahame putting the finishing touches to his picture (Bottom Right).

One evening the group were asked to judge the Classic Car and the winner was a Hillman Minx. (Bottom Centre).


Above: “Hmmm….I think I am gonna need some blue but which blue do I need.

July - Thomas W. Schaller - “The Architecture of Light” in Historic Wells & the Somerset Countryside

I think Thomas thought he had died and gone to heaven when he arrived in Wells. Not only is it his middle name but being an architect and loving historic buildings, it was the ultimate painting destination for him. When I was showing him around buildings that were well over 600 years old, he touched the stonework and said “Wow! There is nothing in the US this old!” Fired up with enthusiasm, the group were so inspired and (Top Left) it looks like he is looking to the heavens for divine inspiration inside Nunney Castle.

The demo he did of Wells Cathedral with the reflections in the “well” pools was an inspiration to all. (Top Right).

Above: It’s lovely to see that all our guests take note of local signage…to be honest it was safer for everyone that she painted there rather than on the narrow footpath.

Above: Tom took full advantage of the weather on market and produced a lovely picture of Wells Market that was full of light and colour

Of all the things to bring on a 4-day painting holiday was this book…a little bit ambitious, maybe “How to Paint a Cathedral” not How to Build one

Above: Tom on the edge of the Valley of the Rocks, simply amazed with the British atmosphere!

Above: This was the welcome we got at one pub we went to in Exmoor..why wouldn’t it be open whilst we are there painting…or maybe it means something else.

Right: On this day, there was atmosphere all day in the form of fine drizzle but thanks to the canopy of trees we didn’t get wet at all, although Tom did find it cold!

We had a great couple of holidays with Barry in Exmoor and Wells. The one in Exmoor was our first sketching and walking holiday which was very good and the other was a blisteringly hot 4 days in Wells, which everyone loved too.

This is just such a lovely spot to paint and the shade was so welcomed.

Left: The group painting on Cathedral Green.

Right: This was a very hot day, well into the 30’s which was quite a shock for everyone, especially when I went into the Castle with my jeans on and came out with my shorts on!

Above: The hotel obviously heard Barry was coming and needed to be prepared. After all the hot weather, I think Barry took their strap line too literally and he wouldn’t stop pestering me!

#May_JHExmoor

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#May_JHExmoor

During this holiday I was unwell, so the hotelier from Simonsbath House, Andrew, very kindly helped me run this holiday. He organised the lunch and drinks and I kept my distance from people to ensure I didn’t pass on anything! We had fun and games at Lynmouth as people took too long over their orders when they came out and the seagulls seized the opportunity. When we went to Withypool it was a great day and the tearooms looked after us so well but one lady…

#May_SHExmoor

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May - Steve Hall - Exmoor Valleys, Quaint Cottages & Harbour Scenes in Watercolour

#May_SHExmoor

By the time this holiday started, I had recovered and the weather was lovely and hot for the time of year. Steve started the holiday with a demo of Lynmouth harbour which attracted attention from more than just our group. Then in the afternoon the decided to go down into the harbour and whenever anyone wanted water, I rolled the bottles down the slipway. In fact, in the afternoon, it was so hot, a lady from Hong Kong actually took her coat off for the……..

#May_DBLakes

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May - David Bellamy & Jenny Keal - Paint ‘Lakes, Mountains & Rivers’ in Watercolour

#May_DBLakes

What a pleasant surprise. We were blessed with the most beautiful weather with temperatures around the 30 mark, while the group in Exmoor had rain, we were basking in the wonderful sunshine for all 4 days. We went to Elterwater for the first morning and after lunch took a trip down the Langdale Valley. The second day, we stayed at the hotel and David did a demonstration of the Langdale Pikes across Lake Windermere which is such a fabulously view from…….

#May_RDWells

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#May_RDWells

Rob arrived with his usual sense of humour which was welcomed throughout the holiday. On the first day we spent our time in Bishop’s Palace around the grounds where there is plenty of variety of subjects to paint. On the next day we took the two ladies from Hong Kong to Steve Hall’s place where they had a workshop with John Yardley. When we returned Rob told us that he had ordered the tea and coffee but it had not arrived yet. So Gill went to reception…..

#June_JFExmoor

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June - Jeremy Ford - Exmoor Valleys, Quaint Cottages & Harbour Scenes in Watercolour

#June_JFExmoor
#June_THWye

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June - Terry Harrison - Wye Valley - Paint the Beautiful Wye Valley

#June_THWye
#July_GBWye

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#July_GBWye

The first day of this holiday was the hottest day of the year at 33 degrees. As you can everyone is getting some much needed shade under the trees. Only one hardy soul sat in the sun all day long. We also had a good time at Symonds Yat and at Tintern Old Station and you can see Grahame putting the finishing touches to his picture. One evening the group were asked to judge the Classic Car and the winner was a Hillman Minx.  


#June_TWSExmoor

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#June_TWSExmoor

It was a pleasure to have Thomas tutor for us first in Exmoor and then the following week in Wells, Somerset. It was his first time tutoring in the UK. The first bit of advice that he gave everyone was to not have the full glare of the sun on white paper and to not paint with sunglasses on, practice what you preach, Tom! Tom absolutely loved the West Country and as we were driving down from Bristol Airport to Exmoor he was so taken with the scenery….

#July_BHExmoor&Wells

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July - Barry Herniman in Exmoor & Wells, Somerset

We had a great couple of holidays with Barry in Exmoor and Wells. The one in Exmoor was our first sketching and walking holiday which was very good and the other was a blisteringly hot 4 days in Wells, which everyone loved too.

#July_BHExmoor&Wells

October - Paint the Amazing Light & Colour of the Western Algarve

#Oct16_Port

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#Oct16_Port

We ran three holidays back-to-back using the new hotel, Villa Termal at Caldas De Monchique and they were fantastic, especially Joana, as for her and her staff nothing was too much trouble. One of the waitresses in the tapas bar at Caldas took it upon herself to help me learn some very basic Portuguese so now I can read some of their menu in Portuguese and I told the guests they could only order what I could say in Portuguese!


May - John Hoar - Exmoor Valleys, Quaint Cottages & Harbour Scenes in Watercolour

May - Rob Dudley - Paint Historic Wells and the Somerset Countryside

Once we started this holiday, I was getting wise to the seagulls tricks. I gave our guests a 15 minute warning of when the lunch was coming out and I told them that if they didn’t come when told to they would lose their lunch to the seagulls. They were then give a 5 minute warning and said “yeah, yeah, we’re coming” and continued painting. I then shouted “Come NOW or lose your lunch to the seagulls” They all jumped up……

These two pictures show Terry Harrison at Tintern Old Station doing a study of trees and giving one-to-tuition. One day when we went to Symonds Yat, there was a swan sitting on the side of the road but I couldn’t see how near to the car he was and he kept hissing at the car but one brave guest got out of the car…


July - Grahame Booth - Wye Valley - Paint the Beautiful Wye Valley

June - Thomas W. Schaller - Exmoor Valleys, Quaint Cottages & Harbour Scenes

July - Thomas W. Schaller - “The Architecture of Light” in Historic Wells

Holiday Blogs 2016 - Full Details