Painting and drawing holiday

South West, Dordogne, France

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Holiday Itinerary

This wonderful farmhouse setting offers a unique getaway with luxury accommodation and the chance to focus on developing your painting and drawing skills. Take time away from the busy pace of daily life to truly get inspired by a land contrast; of rivers & wide valleys of deep gorges and tumbling streams, rolling fields of sunflowers and plum orchards as far as the eye can see.

Don’t overlook the medieval towns perching on top of hills with views all around of rolling, rolling countryside. A land steeped in history with chateaux & castles, the painting possibilities are endless in this area of rural France.

Along with learning the fundamentals of sketching, you’ll be using the medium of your choice (pastels, watercolour, pencils, pen and ink) to bring the countryside alive in your art.

Your painting days will be filled with opportunities to capture the medieval architecture of the region, or the landscapes. Perhaps start with a simple flora and fauna and see how you develop from there. From the very beginner to the very experienced, this diverse landscape and history offers subjects for everyone.

Your artist of the week will be there during your entire holiday, so if you want to extend your painting hours but would like so more expert advice, feel free to use them! All of your meals will be provided, including continental breakfasts daily, fresh local lunches either on site or at the farm, and beautiful local French specialties on the terrace.

Your accommodation will make this holiday truly memorable, in one of two lovely gites surrounded by extensive private gardens. Spend your evenings unwinding in the heated swimming pool on the property after a bike ride through the countryside.

Get the most out of this painting holiday, and return home refreshed with new treasures that you have created. Upon return, you can have a memorable painting of your favourite spot. Enjoy the warm climate and hospitality, great food and wine, stunning surroundings and like minded company that stay with you a lifetime. The downside is, it will be very difficult for you to leave!

Who is it suitable for?
- Suitable for all levels from beginner to advanced artists and painters
- All ages are welcome, including children accompanied by a parent
- The course is focused on drawing and painting using mixed media

I'm travelling solo - can I join?
- This painting holiday make a great singles holiday as you have the chance to meet new people with similar interests during have group outings and meals
- Solo travellers will have their own private room with shared bathroom at no extra cost
- Upgrades to an ensuite room can be made
- Solo travellers who wish to share a room with another solo traveller can do so and a discount will be applied

When can I start?
- Painting holidays are for 7 nights/8 days and run on selected dates from April to September
- If you wish to stay for extra nights, please email hello@golearnto.com to check availability for your preferred duration and we will do our best to accommodate you
- If a date is 'on request', please email us hello@golearnto.com and we’ll check availability for your preferred day of arrival as quickly as possible

Typical itinerary
This itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change depending on the group’s needs and wishes but is typically as follows:

- Breakfast is around 8.30am and your host aims to start the day at 10am with instruction and painting through until 12.30/1pm
- There will be a stop for lunch then a further 2/3 hours tuition from around 2pm
- Art activities will finish at around 4.30pm each day
- After that, you will have free time to swim/relax, go for a bike ride or enjoy the facilities
- Pre-dinner drinks are at 7pm followed by a group dinner at 7.30pm

Important Itinerary Notes
- On the first evening there is general discussion with all of the guests to figure out personal preferences, so your weekly scheduled can be finalized
- The first couple of days are likely spent around the property, taking advantage of the views of the rolling Lot & Garonne countryside as well as the windmill on the hill above the property
- You’ll get to know each other, and the tutor, and will establish everyone’s level and you would like to achieve/get out of the week
- You’ll also spend time at the windmill taking in another perspective of the views, windmill, etc
- When working from Gigan, a light ‘help yourself’ lunch will be provided, laid out on the covered terrace and very relaxed; you’ll be free to sit together whilst you eat, grab a bite & continue your work, or put together a little picnic and find a shady spot in the grounds to relax for an hour or so
- You’ll have the opportunity to visit several locations, as you’ll be just 15 minutes from the river Lot and when on location there, there will be a picnic lunch delivered
- 1 day will be spent on location at Penne D’Agenais, a fabulous hilltop medieval village with Basilica, extraordinary views and incredible buildings
- Locations include striking markets, chateaux, bastide villages, plum orchards, vineyards, lake/nature reserve
- You will have one free afternoon and your host can help you arrange any extra activities you would like to do, such as, a wine tasting tour, beauty treatment, guided walks or village visit
- There will be a total tuition time of around 30 hours over the course of the week, although tutors will be around for the whole time, so likely to be more informal tuition

Your painting tutor
Mark Page
- Mark works with various media, focusing on drawing, sketching, paint, ink and pencils
- Mark is a Dorset based artist and designer, having run his own advertising agency and design studio for over 30 years
- Mark is a full time artist, selling his work in a variety of locations in Dorset and beyond
- Known for not just land & townscapes, he is well known for his quirky depictions of hares
- Over the years, Mark has had work displayed in many locations and several countries, including being a pencil portrait artist for Harrods in London
- Your holiday will include professional tuition with Mark and the opportunity to draw, sketch, work in pen and ink and colour with paint and pencils 
- Mark works with artists of all skill levels and beginners in particular will love his friendly hands on approach

What will I learn?
- Guests will learn a little about the history of the region and about current life there
- Complete beginners are very welcome; teaching the basics of sketching & drawing, then onto watercolour or acrylic painting
- For the experienced artists, there are plenty of things in the area to inspire you and guidance throughout
- The artists all have a wealth of experience and are on hand throughout the week to share their experiences & expertise

What should I bring?
- Swimwear
- All easels, basic paint, paper, and pencil supplies will be provided, however if you have favourite brushes/paper, etc feel free to bring them
- Please bring suitable footwear for walking as you will be spending a lot of time exploring the different areas

Where will I be staying?
- Accommodation is for 7 nights/8 days
- Check in anytime after 4pm on day 1 and check out by 9:30am on day 8

The Farmhouse
- The farmhouse has 5 rooms in total
- There are two double ensuite bedrooms on the ground floor or three twin/double bedrooms on the first floor that share a bath/shower room and a separate WC
- You will find a fully fitted kitchen, open living rooms and shady terrace
- The Farmhouse is a great choice when travelling in a group or a great way to get to know your fellow travellers if you are on a solo trip

The Old Barn
- Its main features are the newly renovated travertine tiled floors, fabulous Neptune kitchen and monumental fireplace
- There is an ensuite double/twin bedroom and a single room with ensuite shower room
- Outside, enjoy relaxing on an amazing terrace

The Bread Oven

- This building is a lovely cosy cottage with underfloor heating and an open living concept
- There is also a log burning stove to keep you warm in the winter months
- There are two ensuite bedrooms

Restricted mobility access
Please find below some information regarding the accommodation and location of the holiday which may be useful when deciding if this is the right holiday for you; should you have an further questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help
- There are 4 ensuite rooms located on the ground floor and one has wide doors for wheelchair access; these rooms do not have walk-in showers
- There is one ensuite room in the main house with a walk in shower
- On the property you will find a gravel drive and lots of grassy areas but it is reasonably level

Are meals included?
- Breakfast will be continental and consist of yogurts, muesli, fruit, croissants, french bread, homemade jam, coffee, tea and juices
- Lunch, if on location, will be a picnic lunch of french bread, pates, cheeses, tomatoes, salads, watermelon and fruit
- Lunch, if at home, is a ‘help yourself’ option of homemade soup with french bread, cheese, fruit, etc
- On the day you go to Penne d’Agenais, you will eat at Cafe des Arts, a very relaxed cafe with a good light menu of savoury pancakes, salads & pastas with local cider or wine to drink 
- Pre-dinner you’ll be served pink champagne & nibbles - or beer if preferred!
- Dinner will either be served on the covered terrace or in ‘Big Barn’ house if the weather is inclement
- Examples of meals include:
- Confit de Canard, home made chips, french beans
- Raspberry meringue roulade, cheese
- Coq au vin, creamed potatoes and vegetables
- Fresh strawberries & cream, cheese
- Boeuf Bourguignon and dauphinoise potatoes
- Tarte tatin
- If the weather is particularly good, your hosts will aim to cook dinner, at least twice, on the fire pit under the old oak tree; a perfect location away from the house, very atmospheric and perfect for catching the sunset serving typical barbecue food like steaks, home made burgers, local sausages, chicken and duck breasts

What can I do in my free time?
- There is a golf course, 5 minutes away, where you can hire clubs
- There are many walking maps for the region and a number of walks directly from the house including a circular walk taking in the windmill and another great circular walk around the local lake/nature reserve
- There are plenty of bikes and this a great biking region with lots of quiet roads around
- Between June & September there is boat hire on the river just 10 minutes away
- Wild swimming in the River Lot just a 10-minute drive away

Can I bring a non-participating partner?
Non-participating partners are welcome to come along and stay in the accommodation with you (for a charge) and while you paint, there are a variety of activities for them including:
- A variety of beauty treatments either at ‘home’ or locally
- Wine tasting tours
- Canoe/kayak hire
- Walking
- Cycling
- Trips to market, lunch, then wine tasting