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Watercolour Painting Holidays

A watercolour painting holiday at Gartmore House gives you the chance to either learn from scratch or develop your skills in relaxed company and comfortable surroundings. You’ll also learn about associated techniques, such as line & wash, and outdoor sketching.

Our painting holidays are for all abilities; our groups are small, to allow our tutors to give you personalised instruction based upon your level of experience. Both the historic house itself, and the extensive grounds provide endless possibilities for creativity, and our spacious indoor studios are well equipped, bright and comfortable. 

At the start, your tutor Steve Bretel will discuss the course programme, taking into account your own interests. You will focus on composition, tonal range and colour mixing, and use a sketchbook for recording and practice, learning at a pace that feels right for you. There will be a wide array of projected images, reference books, photo references, still lifes and outdoor subjects both natural and architectural to work from, also your own photos if you wish to bring them. 

Although you will often be painting indoors, we hope that (weather-permitting) there will also be the chance to work outside – sketching and gathering materials for work. The longer courses (5 or 6 nights) also give you the option to bring your sketch book and join your tutor Steve on a cruise on Loch Katrine (sailing is on Wednesday afternoons). Outwith the instruction times, in the evenings, Steve will also aim to be available if you’ve any questions you wish to ask about your work.

Watercolour painting breaks at Gartmore House are available from 2 nights up to 6 nights. 

Bloggers The Budget Savvy Travelers popped in on our Watercolour Painting course in October 2019 – read their blog here >>

Dates and prices 2020

Sunday 8th – Saturday 14th August – £745 per person (6 nights) – LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE – POSTPONED
Sunday 27th September – Friday 2nd October – £695 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Friday 30th October – Sunday 1st November – £385 per person (2 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Sunday 8th – Friday 13th November – £695 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE

Dates and prices 2021

Sunday 24th – Friday 29th January – £725 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Friday 5th – Sunday 7th February – £399 per person (2 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Sunday 21st – Friday 26th March – £725 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Sunday 11th – Friday 16th April – £725 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Sunday 2nd – Friday 7th May – £725 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Sunday 22nd – Friday 27th August – £725 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Sunday 26th September – Friday 1st October – £725 per person (5 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Friday 19th – Sunday 21st November – £399 per person (2 nights) – BOOK ONLINE

Above is based on single occupancy of an en-suite room (full board basis), should you wish to bring a companion who is not taking part in the course, then they will receive a reduction in the above price; please contact us for details.

Prices updated December 2019.

How to book

Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact our team.

Payment, Terms & Conditions
A £100 per person deposit is required to secure your booking. Full payment is due 6 weeks prior to arrival. For craft & activity breaks booked within 6 weeks of course start date, full payment is required at the time of booking. Craft & activity breaks are subject to availability and subject to change.

What’s included?
Courses are based at Gartmore House; all rooms are en-suite with tea and coffee making facilities and many have wonderful views over Flanders Moss Nature Reserve, towards Stirling. Your course includes full board; all meals are freshly prepared by our chefs. Enjoy a glass of wine as you relax in the dining room looking out over the views and discussing your day’s work. Bar facilities are available during dinner. 5-Night (or more) courses include an optional visit to Loch Katrine (with one hour cruise) or The Scottish Wool Centre in Aberfoyle (transport is provided).

Complimentary transfers from Stirling train station are available on the arrival and departure days (pick-up from the station at 15:30, departs Gartmore House at 10:00 for 5-night breaks, and 16:00 for 2-night breaks).

5 Night Course

Sunday
16:00 Arrive late afternoon to afternoon tea in the lounge
18:00 Welcome talk in the lounge and meet your tutors
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

 

Monday & Tuesday
08:30 Breakfast
10:00 Course begins (course will run until 16:00)
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
13:00 Lunch
15:30 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
16:00 Course ends for the day, however you are free to continue your work in the studio if you wish
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

Wednesday
08:30 Breakfast
10:00 Course begins (course will run until 12:30)
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
12:30 Lunch
After lunch there is an optional visit to either Loch Katrine (includes a 1 hr sailing on the loch) or the Scottish Wool Centre in Aberfoyle. Alternatively you can opt to stay at the House and continue your work in the studio (untutored)
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

Thursday
08:30 Breakfast
10:00 Course begins (course will run until 16:00)
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
13:00 Lunch
15:30 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
16:00 Course ends for the day, however you are free to continue your work in the studio if you wish
19:00 Celebratory dinner with entertainment
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

Friday
08:30 Breakfast then check-out
10:00 Latest check-out

Weekend Course

Friday
16:00 Arrive late afternoon to afternoon tea in the lounge 
18:00 Welcome talk in the lounge and meet your tutor 
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

 

Saturday
08:30 Breakfast
10:00 Course begins (course will run until 16:00)
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
13:00 Lunch
15:30 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
16:00 Course ends for the day
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

Sunday
08:30 Breakfast then check-out
10:00 Latest check-out. Course begins (course will run until 16:00)
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
13:00 Lunch
16:00 Course ends for the day. Make your own way home

 

We will provide all materials, boards, paper and brushes, but feel free to bring along your favourite materials if preferred.

Tutor Steve Bretel 

Steve Bretel, is a fine art painter, maker and enthusiastic educator. Following his studies at art school in Wales, then a career in London as a commercial artist, Steve moved north to pursue his love for creative adventure painting in the mountains, forests, villages and coastal towns of Scotland, where he is now based. He has also worked in outdoor and community arts education, greenwood crafting, and is a qualified mountain leader and musician. 

Steve has taught creative classes for nearly 20 years, and believes that understanding the needs of the learner is fundamental, and the key to success. His passion lies in developing the creative confidence and abilities of each person through progressing their style at a pace that suits them, and passing on skills through a blend of demonstrations, group and individual instruction and positive feedback. 

He is a past member of the Society of Industrial Artists & Designers, and holds a BA in Visual Communication. He exhibits regularly through galleries and open studio events in the UK, and has work in collections in the UK and other countries. When not working on location, he is based at his Fife home studio, and from his workspace at The Steeple in Newburgh, run by the WASPS arts organisation. He is currently Artist in Residence at Rahoy Hills nature reserve, Morvern.

Steve also teaches the Greenwood Spoon Carving retreats at Gartmore House.

Steve will be on hand throughout your course to give demonstrations and guidance, in a supportive and fun learning environment. For more information about Steve please visit his website http://stevebretel.com

 

‘Steve is a great tutor for beginners – always encouraging and helped me grow in the art of watercolour.’ Julie, Watercolour Painting Course, November 2019

‘Had a great time. Lovely to get away from it all for a few days or so.’ Watercolour Painting Course, November 2019

‘Will be coming back again, with friends!’ Danielle, Watercolour Painting Course, November 2019

‘I have had a great time and hope to be back!’ Joy, Watercolour Painting Course, October 2019

What an amazing experience. Lovely accommodation! I’ll be back!’ Marion, Watercolour Painting Course, October 2019

‘I would just like to say it has been an excellent stay and thank you to all the staff. Comfy, clean accommodation, lovely setting. Excellent food (compliments to the chefs) and good service throughout, especially at mealtimes. A special thanks to Alan for taking us on our excursions and for checking my tyres for me, very much appreciated.’ Chris, Watercolour Painting Course, July 2019

‘Thoroughly enjoyed the course, great tutor, wonderful staff.’ Watercolour Painting Course, May 2019

‘This week at Gartmore has been very enjoyable. We were made to feel welcome by the reception staff. The bedroom was very comfortable – good bed and pillows and was serviced daily. The food was generous and very good and the staff who looked after us were friendly and helpful. Many thanks for a good holiday.’ Mary, Watercolour Painting Course, August 2018

‘Highly recommended. Great surroundings and accommodation, excellent staff and tutors and great cakes! Must get myself back to Gartmore House soon.’
Paul, Watercolour Painting Course, March 2017

‘Exceptional value for money. You made us feel welcome from booking to departure. Nothing ever appeared too much trouble and that level of service is something to be exceptionally proud of. We will return next year to enjoy the house and crafting courses. With heartfelt thanks.’

‘A lovely old house brought back to life, well done.’

‘Lovely atmosphere for learning and relaxation. Afternoon tea ‘treats’ much appreciated.’

‘With regard to the accommodation, this was more than comfortable, the food delicious and plentiful and all the staff warm, friendly and helpful.’

Our team is here to help with any queries that you may have about the course or your stay at Gartmore House. You may also like to take a look at our FAQs blog post to see if we answer any of your queries there. Don’t forget that our team are happy to assist with any questions – please feel free to get in touch.

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