Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Brian Steventon returns from his first Authentic Adventure to Subbetica

Subbetica was the destination for our new tutor Brian Steventon on his first outing as a tutor for us. Brian has provided us with a brief summary of what he got up to and how he enjoyed his maiden trip.

Spoilt for choice at the Hacienda
I arrived in Zuheros two and a half days before the clients were due. We set off on a series of reccies and were spoilt for choice, choosing two very painterly locations to add to our itinerary. I had a few hours to spare on the Saturday so did some drawing and painting amongst the gorgeous scenery, I was even treated to a stunning spectacle as two huge eagles drifted above, a great start to the trip and I was very excited to meet the clients the following day.

Lunch in the gorge
After meeting & greeting the painters on their arrival at Malaga Airport, it was clear that we had a fantastic bunch and could really look forward to a brilliant week of painting and socialising. I couldn't have chosen a more diverse yet cohesive group and as the days moved on they began to produce some excellent work. Day one was spent painting in the Miradors around Zuheros, where we were based, the small streets and alleyways provided a very picturesque scene. The following days incorporated the ruins on the hillside near Zagrilla, the washed out houses and running water of the square in La Fuenta and the gorgeous painting opportunities looking back at Zuheros amongst the olive groves (accompanied by a delicious picnic!). One of many highlights of the week was the Hacienda Mirador, a converted olive farm with Moorish arches and an abundance of character. 

A few tips make all the difference!
Our free day was split between a few people heading into Cordoba by taxi, and the rest remaining in the village to continue painting, I was very happy to stay around the village and help anyone that wanted to do so. We had a variety of experienced artists and those that were less well seasoned but with my help, and that of the group the standard really improved throughout the week and it showed in the final exhibition, which was fantastic. 

We had lots of fun along the way and I am sure that we will all remember the week with great fondness as time goes by, I must also mention our hotel (Hotel Zuhayra) for the fantastically helpful service and great food they provided, a great first trip!

Those who joined Brian in Subbetica seem to agree that the trip was a great success! Brian now has two more holidays confirmed for next year, Cinque Terre in May and Sardinia in September of next year (2013). Follow the links for more details, or to look at Brian's profile.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Having just returned, Christine tells us why she can't wait to head back out to Madeira

Christine's gorgeous first piece of work from the trip, a pastel of Camara De Lobos
From February of next year Authentic Adventures will be running a painting holiday to Madeira in Portugal. Christine Russell, our talented and lovely tutor, has just returned from an exciting trip to the archipelago to see what it has to offer.

View from a room in the Hotel Pousada Dos Vinhaticos
I was so impressed by everything about my short stay in Madeira and very excited about sharing it with painters and walkers at the start of next year. I stayed at the Hotel Pousada Dos Vinhaticos (the hotel we will use), which has absolutely breath-taking mountain views from every room (see photo, right) and staff that simply can't do enough for you! There are rooms in both a main house and separate log cabin which are cosy and well equipped, without being overly lavish. The food on offer was delicious and presented with Carlos the chef's unique artistic flourishes (see below); not only is he passionate about cooking, he also an enthusiastic artist!

Artistic flare!
There are some beautiful and varied painting locations within 45 minutes of the Pousada such as Sao Vicente, a peaceful village to the north of the island, with its pretty church, cobbled streets and dazzling white-washed houses, shops and cafes. Camara De Lobos is a pretty working fishing village with colourful boats painted in primary colours, more white-washed houses, cafes & bars and racks of bacalhau drying in the sun (see below). We will be half following in the footsteps of Sir Winston Churchill who painted there more than half a century ago. Another spot I hope to visit is a deep river valley, only a short drive from the hotel. I named it the Valley of the Bullfrogs, since, when I was there in May the bullfrogs were making quite a racket! The mountain scenery close to the hotel is also just begging to be painted....I could go on!

Bacalhau are the fish hanging to dry above this boat
An option for our free day of the holiday will be Funchal, a small city that offers a vibrant flower, fruit & fish market, a cable car that takes you to the beautiful Botanical Gardens, possibly followed by a downward trip on a wicker toboggan - optional and not for the faint hearted! A visit to the cathedral could be followed by a relaxing stroll along the esplanade, pausing for refreshment, or a leisurely lunch at one of the cafe/bars beside the marina. Similarly, meander through the narrow, picturesque streets of the old quarter, the Zonha Velha, and stop of at the Fortaleza de Sao Tiago, now a museum of contemporary Portuguese art.

There are many more picturesque places to explore and I am really looking forward to heading out again in spring next year, I hope you can join me!