Superb scenery, expert instruction — it’s a picture-perfect holiday. Just one problem: Tom Fordyce can’t paint. One of GoLearnTo.com’s painting holidays at the amazing eco-chic Los Gasquez retreat in Andalucia was featured today in the Sunday Times.
I never really could draw, on my first day at nursery school I have my mother eight fingers on each hand. Aged 7, I sent a picture every week to Tony Hart and never saw a single one appear on TV. At 11, I was kicked out of art lessons permanently, after rendering a horse so badly by teacher thought it was a fox. Such reserves can make a man brood. Can any fully functioning adult really be so bereft of artistic skill?
The hard evidence says yes, but my heart says no. Maybe I just needed the right creative backdrop to bring my latent talent to the surface. An Andalucian paint safari sounded like a promising place to start.
Instead of sitting in a classroom, my subject would be the epic open spaces of the Parque Natural de Sierra Maria-Los Velez. My safari guide is Royal Academy alumnus Simon Beckmann and his base is Cortijada de los Gasquez, a nest of whitewashed farm cottages standing stark against a dark green smudge of aleppo pines. The whole setting seems designed to bring out one’s inner artist.
Simon is a convivial and confidence-boosting teacher and time passes quickly. The charcoal scratches and crunches, crickets hum in the long grass and the smell of wild rocket peppers the air. Fat blobs of paint are curled onto my palette to reflect the spectrum around us – raw umber, burnt sienna, yello ochre and apron on, three brushes poking out of my pocket, I lose myself in concentration.
By afternoon, I have paint on my knees, forearms and face and my apron has suffered a terrible battering but the picture is taking shape. Compared with the fearesome fox-horse, its a real breakthrough.
GoLearnTo.com offers a fantastic choice of great value painting holidays at the magical Los Gasquez. All include accommodation, all meals lovingly cooked from organic local ingredients, all painting tuition and materials.
Combining ecology and creativity, this is a location aimed at those who love peace, inspiration and the natural world. A Los Gasquez painting holiday is an ‘off-grid’ destination for those looking to be inspired to unleash their creativity high in the mountains of Andalucia.
1. A 1 week paint safari that will leave your senses stretched and fulfilled and your artwork scaling new heights costs £1416.
2. Short on time? Be inspired by your location on a fun and unique 3 night painting course for just £297
3. One week ‘themed’ painting holidays range from Botanical illustration, en-plein air, art forms in nature and more for £802 per person.
Superb scenery, expert instruction – its a picture perfect holiday….