Art Retreat

Farms, gates, grass, mountains….so much to paint

Sunday                                                                                                                                     We took a slow drive to Clarens watching the colours and scenery change as we got closer. We finally arrived in Clarens at about lunch time. The mountain views took my breath away set against that beautiful blue sky with fluffy white clouds everywhere. We arrived safely and hungry and headed for lunch at the Artist’s Café. How appropriate is that for the two student artists 😛

We shared a delicious lunch and then took a lazy Sunday drive to Sunnyside. It’s chilly, hope it warms up during the week. Miss the two boys that I left at home, hope they are ok tonight.

day 1 our work is completed

Monday                                                                                                                                We started off with a walk down the farm road early In the morning as the sun was rising, the frost on the grass looked like gold specs. Shiny little treasures everywhere.  It was cold but the day warmed up and turned out to be an awesome art day.

There were eight of us in the class and we painted indoor’s today – we all painted the same scene from one of Tina’s photos. We all received the same size board and the same picture (stone building and a poplar tree with mountain on the left side). I knew we would all end up with completely different paintings…and so it was. The end result was eight very different beautiful little paintings of an old farm building. Absolutely amazing results from all the ladies. 

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, I think we are painting outdoors from a live scene, something I have not done before. 

looking for spot to paint

Tuesday                                                                                                                          Another beautiful morning in Sunnyside, the baby blue sky is just too beautiful for words. A typical African sky, never-ending blue not a cloud in sight.

Today we received tips on painting outside. It’s very different to having a static scene or photo next to your canvas. So after looking for a special spot in the valley we all split up and sat with a sketch pad and drew our scene. I took my drawing pad and water-colour pencils and sat staring at the most beautiful blossom tree (a pear tree) right in the middle of a green meadow. When my drawing was done I took the canvas outside and sketched the scene again.

And then it was time to put down colour and paint a scene that is moving (horses that would not stand still) the shadows move, the wind flaps your paper and the sun go’s from warm to hot. It was a lovely day and I learned a lot from painting outside. I need to go out more and paint from what I see in front of me…

What a great day!

talking about our work – positive criticism

Wednesday                                                                                                                         We got up early again and went out for a morning walk. I would love to live here, I ♥ love farm life.

We painted from another of Tina’s photos today, a pic with sunflowers, something different for Wednesday. I watched her as she painted the sky on her own canvas and would like to spend a day watching her paint, you can learn a lot from listening to someone while they paint. The week is coming to an end so fast.

Every night when we go back to our room I look up at the sky and its glistening with stars. The most awesome sight is that I get to see the milky way. Another breathtaking moment and it’s bed time.

demonstration on painting trees 🙂

Thursday                                                                                                                               It’s our last day! I can’t believe it, we’ve been painting every day from 09h00 till about 16h00. We stop for lunch and two tea breaks, that’s it. It’s possible to be tired at the end of the day – nice tired – but we are tired at the end of the day.

Tina started off by reading a story on woman’s intuition and then she demonstrated painting trees. That was the easy part, after that we had to paint our own blue gum trees. Again all of them turned out completely different. Awesome, I love blue gum trees.

The horses in the valley are there every afternoon but today one of them came close to us, close enough for me to touch him. I’m a bit scared of them but do love these beautiful gracious animals, need to finish the year with a horse painting. We said good-bye to our new friends and exchanged numbers and email addresses. Hopefully when we return to Clarens we will see all of them or at least one of these ladies. One is 92 years old, what a cute little white-haired granny 🙂

this is how you pack wet paintings for safe transport


Last breakfast in Sunnyside. I love the breakfasts here, today’s morning fruit was rhubarb (double yummy) I need to buy some and try this out at home, its delicious.
We stopped at a few little stores in town and even visited two galleries before heading home. Robert’s Gallery – one day I will own one of his paintings and Richard Rennie also would not mind one of his, he is a real character. It was a wonderful week, this was my first art retreat and I hope it’s the first of many more.

good bye to the farm

The Sunny Side Experience                                                                                                     I have been to this farm-house before, we stayed here a few years ago and quite a few times too. Nothing has changed, the accommodation and hospitality is still the same, so is the food.

We brought some Fry’s food to make it easy for them to accommodate the vegetarians. Breakfast is huge, lunch is three course and dinner is a variety of fresh farm vegetables. It was all good. But by day 4 (Wednesday) we gave up on the soup. We felt like naughty children being punished – every lunch meal and every dinner meal there was tomato soup. Enough! No more soup, please.

The farm is huge and beautiful, everywhere you look is a painting waiting to be painted. We are surrounded by mountains. Farm animals and real pure fresh air, it’s all very relaxing and good for the soul.

Tina resting her raised eyebrows

The Tina Experience                                                                                                                I have a new friend. Tina has been painting for years, she owns a gallery and teaches. This art retreat was a feast. Tina likes to teach and gladly shares her tips. We were spoilt with all the attention and the detail she put into each day. She’s a pro with landscapes and more so with flowers and she promised to do a workshop just on flowers. Just no raised eyebrows please Tina 😀 


Happy to be home and ready and excited to try out new things, new colours and techniques in my own art journey.

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