Loli Alvaro discusses her fourth successful year of running painting holidays in Spain. To find out more, see Decembers issue of PAINT magazine.
Back In 2001 we, that is myself and my husband, decided to move back to my native Spain and we started the long task of finding somewhere to live. After five years of traveling back and forth from Heathrow to Valencia or Alicante we finally found somewhere that ticked most of the boxes on our list of must haves, want to haves and do not really need to haves.
Of course the property did not look like this when we bought it, this took a further two years of problematic difficult builders, and we are still finding things to improve. So it was not until 2009 that we were able to really start using our home as a painting holiday venue.
I had heard of so many people who were disappointed about their painting holiday experiences, that I was determined to make mine different, my dream future. Using hotels was a definite no-no, as would be half board, shared bathrooms and enforced shared bedrooms for single travelers.
The first year, of course was mainly people that we knew and we used these experiences to gain extra insights into looking after, as well as, teaching small groups of mixed ability artists. Of course we soon realized that people are all different and some wanted a ‘painting holiday` while others were more interested in a ‘holiday with painting’. We managed to adapt quite easily, while I concentrated on the ‘painting’ my husband catered for the ‘holiday’.
It all proved to be a very interesting, eye opening and most enjoyable time. We now have friends of those friends staying with us as well as people from all over the UK and around the world, including visitors from Australia, South Africa, The USA, Canada plus a large group of amateur and professional artists from Alaska.
Now in our fourth full year of running painting holidays, D’Alvaro Art,www.dalvaro.co.uk both I and my good friend and colleague Derek Oliver have been giving all the tuition and demonstrations For 2014 we will include workshops with well-known artists from the UK, including popular SAA professional artists such as, Charles Evans, Arnold Lowrey, Sue Ford, Paul Weaver, Trevor Waugh and H Moyano from Spain.
I hope that I have managed to keep to my original ideals of how a painting holiday venue should operate, that is, with honesty and sincerity, about our offers and most importantly, about giving all of our guests a relaxing and enjoyable opportunity to improve their art, no matter what level they are, in a wonderful relaxing, refreshing and inspirational environment.
Here are some comments from our guest book.
“…sumptuous food as well as expert tuition. I have learnt so much”. Sandra Q.
“Magnificent garden and a lovely place to make art”. Sandra W.
“Loli, I feel I came as a student and am leaving as your friend” Mary K.
“Thank you both so much for helping to make my holiday into a wonderful experience”. Fay C.
“This has been a week to remember, a shining gem, a vibrant experience”. Patricia L. A.
The complete original handwritten versions of these can be viewed on http://www.dalvaroart.blogspot.com.es/
So maybe, with a few more painting holiday guests I will have fulfilled my dream.