Friday, 7 February 2014

Tutor profile: Kevin Dean - our new Painting tutor!


We're really excited to be welcoming Kevin Dean onto the team in 2014, and looking forward to his new energy and commitment to our vision for painting holidays! He's got a tremendous C.V, lots of teaching and travel experience, with a varied creative flair. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Kevin has illustrated numerous books, designed textiles, ceramics and also much of the marble decoration of The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. He is a keen traveller and has exhibited widely. He is currently the Associate lecturer at Southampton's Solent University.

Read more about his interesting life below.....

Your name please....
Kevin John Dean. Not a very artistic name, (Kevin), it's a name that's often used on TV for petty criminals or stand up comedians but I guess my parents thought it was original at the time of my birth.

What's your special skill.....
If we are talking art, my preferred medium is watercolour, but recently I've been experimenting with adding gouache, ink and even pastel to my paintings. Also I really enjoy printmaking, especially mono-printing which is very similar to painting in many ways.

Otherwise, I am ok cook and with three hungry boys to feed - pasta, in large quantities, is often on the menu. I'm also a very fast walker, much to my wife's annoyance!

Why do you love being a tutor for Authentic Adventures?
Lots of reasons, I like people and hearing about their lives and experiences, I love talking about painting and imparting what little knowledge I have. Also there's the reflected glory of being part of a great holiday experience, which I hope will have happy memories for the rest of their lives.

What's your top tip for future clients on an AA trip?
Just to relax and enjoy the experience, I find people often put a lot of pressure on themselves to produce great work, which can be counterproductive. Sometimes the best pictures happen when you stop thinking about the outcome.

Which Authentic Adventures trip are you most excited about in 2014?
I've been to Italy quite a few times when I was working on some marble decoration for a Mosque in Abu Dhabi, a long story....but that was mainly around Pisa and Milan, so I'm really looking forward to seeing both Umbria and Cinque Terre to see how these regions might differ from the North of Italy.

Holiday Tales...funny anecdotes, memorable holidays - weird moments!
When I was much younger, I travelled all over S.E Asia. I met a zoologist who knew the Headman of a tribe living in the interior of Borneo. Carrying a short letter of introduction I boarded a small plane that landed on the edge of a village in the middle of the rainforest. After reading the note I was welcomed to the Headman's Longhouse, where I stayed for about three weeks, people were so generous. I did lots of paintings and just before I left I had my first one man exhibition. I gave most of the pictures to the villagers.

Tell us something we don't already know about you.....
I like painting the sea in the middle of a heavy storm, my brother was once a professional footballer and I never leave home without having had breakfast!

Where would you like to travel to next?
I know it sounds a bit unlikely as a painting holiday destination, but I know the United Arab Emirates very well and I think it would be a great place to try. Even Dubai, famous for it's huge malls and sky scrapers has a wonderful historic district that I've often painted. Not forgetting the deserts and mountains....

Tell us about any forthcoming exhibitions, masterclasses etc. that you are running!
I'm very excited about my latest project, designing all of the architectural patterns for a Mosque in Kano Northern Nigeria. It's an existing Mosque which was built about 100 years ago but has fallen into disrepair and generous benefactor is paying for it's renovation.

Another interesting point is that John (Brough) lived in Kano as a boy, as his Dad worked there after independence, although it sounds as though it was a rather different environment than now!

In the New Year, I'm planning to have an open studio, which will be a good excuse to finish some pieces of work and have a good tidy up.

Kevin will be leading painting holidays in Cinque Terre and Orvieto.

For further information please have a look at his website:

Grande Mosque in Abu Dhabi - awe inspiring decorated marble by Kevin Dean

The Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai