PA Gordon Brady discusses painting holidays

It was in 1996 that my wife, Carol, persuaded me to enrol in a night-class for watercolour painting, we did it together and have painted regularly – except for a few years concentrated DIY after we moved to France in 2003 – ever since.


I sold the odd painting at a local gallery here in France, the owner, Suzie, at that time wanted to put on painting and drawing courses and asked me to do a series of 6 watercolour lessons.

I was very nervous – having taught adults radar and navigation systems in the RAF and secondary children design and technology this may seem surprising – but being nervous I think improves performance.

Anyway I found it was a very good way to improve my own work as I had to analyse each stage of a painting and organise it so it flowed in an ordered manner, each painting we did together followed a similar system and I think made progress for the ladies (it was/is mainly ladies) easier.


At the beginning of the 2011/12 winter season I had two beginners classes and one 'improvers', by the end of the season I realised I needed something more. Carol and I went on a painting holiday with Alan Kirk. Alan added a new dimension to my work – you will have seen his drawings in Paint – and this I added to my lessons – everyone enjoyed it.

We did not go to Alan's with the intention of starting painting holidays, but, I thought, “I can do that”, and with a friend who has a big house nearby and was more than willing to do the accommodation and catering, we decided to set up a website and advertise the holiday.

The SAA extended this by asking us to provide a painting holiday as a prize, which we did with pleasure. SAA members as well as having had the opportunity to win the holiday also get a 10% discount.


I hope to provide our guests with a whole painting experience, from the initial sketch to a completed work, in watercolour, there will be some technical bits thrown in of course – types of paper, colour contrast and perspective for example – depending on the experience of the guest.

It will be necessary also to enjoy some of the delights of living in rural France.

What could be better after a hard day's painting than to sit in the shade with a group of like minded people and watch the sun go down with a cool glass of the local wine.

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