Find out if we’ve got your favourite pastime covered in our dedicated special interest vacations travel guide or just search for a few more ideas to help you have a really worthwhile week away rather than just a boring break at the beach. This page is all about what special interest vacations entail and how you can choose between small group and tailor made options to ensure you get the most out of your vacation.
PAINTING HOLIDAYS IN SPAIN
Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot; others transform a yellow spot into the sun
- Pablo Picasso
Spain exudes the qualities that alfresco painters long for: warmth, tranquillity, sunlight and abundant subject matter. Joining a small group turns a painting vacation into a sociable affair with an experienced artist and tutor ensuring everyone gets to learn, practise and develop at their own pace. Non-compulsory tuition, daily practise and free time to explore, encourage a relaxed approach to painting and sketching.
WHERE TO PAINT IN SPAIN
The landlocked region of Extremadura is relatively unheard of by causal tourists, which is why its oak groves, green hillsides and rural villages provide plenty of options for artists. This is where Iberian pigs snuffle freely for acorns and supper is served at seven to complement summer’s endless natural light. The Extremeños have always had a strong connection with their landscapes and on a painting vacation here, tucked against the Portuguese border, artists are sure to develop this bond for themselves.
From flamenco dancing to fishing ports, the Pueblos Blancos (white villages) to the Alhambra – Andalucía captures the soulful essence of southern Spain. This is the birthplace of Murillo, Velázquez and Picasso, and artists looking to extend their brushstrokes will be blessed with an eclectic choice of locations. Sun-dappled olive groves, remote mountain villages and gently bobbing boats against the beach; a painting vacation in Andalucía ensures colourful canvases and sketchbooks bursting at the seams. Torrox Pueblo and Frigiliana make ideal bases for painters.
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SEASCAPES, LANDSCAPES & FLOWERS
A day at the beach in Andalucía will bring out the best of an artist’s palette with seasonal changes creating depth and atmosphere. Capturing seascapes on canvas has long been a quest for aspiring artists and the fishing boats, rocky outcrops and mountain backdrops create dramatic focal points. At the botanical gardens close to Málaga, your paint-mixing skills will be put to the test as you’ll need infinite shades of green – and lilac – to capture palm trees, bamboo forests and flowering tunnels of wisteria.
There’s just something about a tumbledown, abandoned building that sets artists’ brushes all of a quiver. Couple rural relics with the laid back charm of the Extremadura countryside and you’ve got the makings of some great expectations when it comes to choosing subject matter. Whitewashed villages bedecked in vibrant bougainvillea, plus olive groves and fruit orchards combine to create a truly inspirational canvas. In spring you’ll discover a colourful carpet of blossoming wildflowers. Purple pimpernels, bright yellow gorse and camouflaged-coloured rock lichen will have you reaching for your colour wheel, while a wild Spanish rose is perfect for a landscape centerpiece or a Georgia O’Keeffe-style macro study.
Small group painting vacations in Andalucía are hosted in a nine-bedroom country house, a shared village house or a luxury hotel. All are easily accessible from Málaga, and airport transfers are included. Solo travelers are more than welcome on these trips, and there is no single supplement. If you are joining this vacation as a solo traveler, standard accommodation is a private room and private bathroom in the shared village house, with the option to upgrade to the local boutique hotel for a supplement. Non-painting partners are welcome too, sometimes at a reduced rate.
These accommodations are typically Moorish in style, and the country house boasts Mediterranean gardens complete with swimming pool, fountains and numerous pockets of peace, perfect for relaxing, socialising or seeking solitude. The nearby mountains, beach and traditional villages encourage guests to immerse themselves in southern Spanish life. Picnic lunches are provided and evening meals are served in local restaurants.
Painting vacations in Extremadura occupy a seven-bedroom guesthouse on a finca (rural estate) with en suite bathrooms, private balconies and communal dining and living spaces. Guests can make the most of the swimming pool, Jacuzzi and private grounds scattered with sculptures. Artists traveling solo can share a twin room with another group member of the same sex or with a non-painting partner, or opt for their own room for a single supplement. The finca also features an artists’ studio and a welding workshop, and all meals are included.
WHEN TO GO ON A
PAINTING HOLIDAY IN SPAIN
Weather conditions in southern Spain are fairly convivial all year round with wild and windswept coastlines in the winter hosting only dog walkers and fishermen. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to paint in Extremadura and Andalucía as the rural landscapes are filled with wildflowers or industrious olive farmers and fruit pickers. Summer, on the other hand, will require shade and sun protection if painting outdoors (temperatures can reach 40°C). Stick to painting in the mornings and evenings, and save midday for a swim in the sea or pool before a glass of sangria and a siesta.
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