Do you like to paint? Do you like to travel? Do you like to talk Art?
A great combination of all these three is the painting workshop vacation:
The two main categories;
They provide an art experience, which falls into two categories; Painting with some holiday time and the holiday with some painting time. Depending on your desired learning expectation, you can have an intensive seven or ten days with one of the best art tutors, the masters, who specialize and concentrate on one particular media. Or have a less intensive and much more relaxing time with a renowned, fully experienced tutor who specializes in courses for beginners and improvers. Whichever is your preference, the one main connection will always be that you will be with like minded people who are there because of their interest in and willingness to talk art.
Choose your tutor
Whereas some tutors do not take beginners at all, others relish in teaching people from scratch. “Absolute beginners do not have bad habits to lose” as some art tutors say. Some workshops will focus on a single media, such as watercolors, oils, acrylics or pastels, while on others you can spend your time concentrating on landscapes, cityscapes, portraits or life studies.
For busy people;
These days of rush, rush, rush, not everyone can spare the time they would like to, to paint daily or even once per week but find painting a relaxing hobby that they would like to improve their skills on. Therefore a hands-on week with a tutor they admire, with little else to distract them is a great alternative for busy people.
There does seem to be a vast number of painting holiday workshops about these days, making the correct choice a difficult decision at times. The costs vary immensely depending on a multitude of facts, from a couple of hundred euros to three or four thousand. Depending on the length of the workshop, the popularity and skill of the tutor and what else is included. If the accommodation is included, what the standard is. The same applies of course to the meals are they sandwiches or five star. Are art materials and equipment supplied, or do you have to carry everything with you? Could be a problem if travelling abroad, navigating through airports is tough enough these days without the added burden of carrying easels, chairs plus paper etc.
So let’s try to sort through this sometimes confusing assortment of choices. What is the first step? Well, before you start, you need to know four things, your painting level, your preference of a painting holiday or holiday with painting, a relaxing time or someone to take you out of your comfort zone and of course the media you would like to partake in.
Where in the world;
Once these are decided you have to think about “where”. To stay at home, as it were, a couple of hours car drive away, or to travel further afield. Europe is a popular destination, with residential workshop opportunities in many countries. Most use nearby hotels or guest houses but there are a few who offer accommodation within the art venue itself, just roll out of bed, have breakfast and into the studio, if you wish.
Single or shared?
The accommodation in these can vary immensely, from the rough and ready end of the market up to four or five star. Word of mouth is probably the safest way to find out which grade they are, as websites have been known to bend the truth. Do you wish to share or will you have to pay extra for that option, some places may not offer single accommodation at all, which are alright so long as you do not mind sharing with a complete stranger, or charge a supplement for the privilege having your own private space.
A few may offer all meals included and others just two meals a day, you having to find your own lunch. Are you travelling alone or with a painting friend or a non-painting partner? The cost for a non-painter is usually discounted if they share. Some places specialize in singles weeks or ladies only workshops.
At first glance the hundreds of workshop vacations advertised can appear quite daunting, just look through any of the art magazines around today. However you can use that volume to your advantage. Just looking through them can give you fresh ideas on locations, media and tutors. If one of the top tutors goes back to the same venue year after year, that can be a good sign that the venue organiser is one of the top ones with a good reputation.
Not sure? ASK!
As a prospective student, do not hold back in asking relevant questions of the organiser, you probably will not be asking anything which has not been asked before. Ask about the amount of individual attention you are likely to receive and how your work is assessed by the tutor, whether there are demonstrations, the recommended painting level of the workshop participants, the amount of studio space, the maximum number of students in the group, how many hours tuition is included and whether the week is more likely to feel like a vacation or an intense week of learning. Still unsure? Try this checklist.
Who goes on painting holidays?
There was a time when it could be guaranteed that the participants on painting workshop vacations were mostly middle aged or older and single female. This criteria seems to be changing these days with as many under 50’s as over, both male and female, although still more females, for some reason. Also the trend seems to be more people traveling with a partner or friend, either a painter or non-painter.
So if you like to paint, like to travel, like to meet people from other places around the world and enjoy the interesting after dinner company of like-minded people, begin packing your art gear and start looking for your ideal painting workshop vacation.