Whether you are a novice painter or an experienced one, the chance to spend your painting holidays in France can be a considered a luxury on a budget. The South West of France is a picturesque part of the country known for its rolling hills and winding rivers. There are plenty of warm and dry days to appreciate the lush green scenery outside with a blank canvas and a couple of your favourite paintbrushes. You can find a variety of Painting courses offered by Chateaux dotted discretely around the countryside. If you choose one of these you will find yourself unleashing your creativity in surroundings steeped in history and character.
Before you choose a painting course you need to look at what’s on offer very carefully. For instance, a standard painting course package has the accommodation and meals bundled in with the tuition fee. This may not always include the meals that are served when painting at offsite locations so this is something to inquire about before you book.
Other things to look out for are: Is there a single person supplement? Is there a studio or is painting always out on location? Who are the tutors and what is their work like? What is the standard of accommodation? What’s the food like? What does it cost to get there? Will I be comfortable travelling alone? Are transfers from the local airport or station provided? A good website should give you the answers to all of these questions and more. If you still have questions then don’t hesitate to contact them directly and ask, many have UK contact numbers.
Staying in an old chateau does not mean that you have to suffer leaky pipes and sombre decors. In fact, quite a number of popular chateaux have been refurbished in recent times to add modern touches. Most bathrooms, for instance, are installed with modern fixtures to provide up-to-date comfort for guests. Lots of companies offer a free transfer from the local airport to the chateau is another service that can prove to be an immense relief when it is your first time visit to an unfamiliar place.
Even though you may want to bring your own personal painting materials such as brushes, paints, and favourite papers, the other painting equipment should be freely available at the chateau. A studio and the dedicated artist’s space it offers is an added bonus but, at a minimum, your painting holiday venue should provide easels and tables and a reasonable space to work in.
The old saying about holidays is that you should take “twice the money and half the clothes”. A careful check should tell you where the extra costs can be kept to minimum – ‘all inclusive’ should mean what it says. The advice about travelling light is sound and includes your painting gear. Streamline your painting supplies down to the bare essentials. Store them in zip-lock plastic bags and put them in your check-in luggage. The supplies that you cannot take with you can be bought from the Chateau or at the local art store.
Painting classes are usually in small groups under the guidance of a painting tutor. Under the guidance of a tutor, beginners will soon be comfortable learning the basics and the skills of the more experienced painters will flourish.
This kind of residential activity holiday is also ideal for people who are travelling alone. They enjoy the friendly atmosphere and camaraderie of the class and know they share a common interest with the other course members. For guests travelling with friends or family, they may be able to take advantage of other courses or fun activities on offer or to simply relax in the grounds of the chateau.
As you are likely to be outside a lot, make sure you take a good sunscreen and a hat as protection and remember to bring your swimsuit as most chateaux are equipped with a swimming pool.
The fantastic thing about going on a painting holiday in France is that you can improve your painting techniques in a historic setting while you revel in the local scenery. Sharing Chateau life and the process of painting and interacting with your fellow students and tutors can also create new friendships.
Some Chateaux painting holidays have extraordinarily high rates of returning guests and it is not hard to see why when you look at the accommodation, tuition and the ambiance delivered. The right Chateau and the right tutor could give your life a whole new dimension.