Art retreat in Scotland, April 2020

Hidden treasures ~ painting and creative retreat with Kate Cunningham in Arbroath, Angus

Dates:  3 – 10 April 2020
Tutor: Kate Cunningham & guest tutors
Location: Arbroath, Angus, Scotland
Activity: Painting (main activity, various media), yoga, creative writing
Cost: £1690 per person, based on two people sharing (+£250 for single occupancy)

Please note that because of the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus situation we have decided to reschedule this art retreat to Sept/Oct 2020. The new dates will be available soon.

This week-long art retreat is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all and immerse in all things creative. In the surroundings of our venue Rosely in Arbroath on the Scottish east coast, which is somewhat of a hidden treasure, artist Kate Cunningham will guide and inspire you in her daily painting workshop sessions. The focus is on exploring the sky and sea around us, the grandeur of nature. The art course in combination with restorative yoga sessions, walks, some creative writing and delicious meals will make this small-group retreat an experience that renews your spirit and reconnects you with your creative self. 

Book your space!

Art workshop: The Sky as the Consciousness of the Landscape

Painting the sky, the sea and clouds are Scottish artist Kate Cunningham’s speciality and one of the main workshop themes. ​Seeing shapes in clouds is one of her favourite things to do and there’s even a name for that: Pareidolia. In a combination of plein air painting and studio based work, Kate will guide you through the creative process of really seeing your surroundings and producing your own personal interpretation with your paints.

Which medium you use is up to you – we will provide basic materials, including oil and acrylic paints, but you may also want to bring your own. If you’ve never worked with oils before this retreat could be your opportunity to try it! Even if you then decide to continue working with acrylics or watercolours for the rest of the course. For any work that’s not dry enough for transport by the departure day we offer a service where you can have it shipped to your home address (shipping costs not included).rosely-064

You can find out more about Kate on her profile page.

Beautifully rendering the sky as the consciousness of the landscape, John Constable stated, ‘We see nothing till we truly understand it.’ (Hamblyn 2008: 10)

After discussing different artists and their styles and techniques we will go over some basic meteorology and the importance of experiencing the atmosphere elements you are trying to convey in a painting.​ Learn how to start a painting, using a view-finder to create the perfect composition, the pros and cons of working au-plein-air vs from a photograph and working alla prima (wet on wet). ​

Scottish artist and Wild at Art tutor Kate Cunningham

Starting with the basics of painting clouds, skies and seascapes the workshop will cover:​

Understanding a cloud’s general form, the position of the sun and your relationship to both​
The Chiaroscuro Method (applying value to create the illusion of a three-dimensional solid form)​
Linear perspective in clouds​
The importance of soft edges​
How not to be a slave to the photo​
Understanding colour temperature variations and cloud shadows​
The pros & cons of including a foreground/land/sea​
Understanding of sea foam
Angles of waves on approach and at land
Reflections and shadows (if any)
Use of different texturing mediums
Colour Temperature
Au Plein Air painting
Producing colour references and sketches

We will explore the beautiful surroundings in the grounds of Rosely and nearby beaches. Packing up our paintbrushes we head to Arbroath Cliffs and the beach front to practice some plein-air painting soaking up the raw atmosphere of the sea at the coast. Make sure to wear cosy clothes and waterproofs as it might get a bit wet! There’s also studio time to develop your work using the painted sketches and photographs taken at the coast or simply explore the building and its grounds. There will be plenty of inspiration for botanical works or still life should that take your fancy! ​The small group format allows for lots of personal attention.

Kate Cunningham_Original_Oils_Clouds over Pitskelly_12 x 39 (2)

Other treats: yoga and creative writing

We meet on the mat to start the day with a yoga session to get the juices flowing. Participation is, of course, optional. We just think it’s the perfect way of settling into the new day. We’ve also built a bit of creative writing into the programme. No previous experience required!

Nearer the time we may invite some local artists for an evening of music, poetry and arty chat.

This ultra-relaxing, insightful, fun retreat is for adults with any level of art, yoga or writing skill – including those with none. There will be plenty of free time for you to relax and unwind.


Our venue: Rosely Country House Hotel – a hidden gem

Rosely is a small, family-run hotel with just 11 bedrooms, all of them ensuite. The décor is unique – old furnishings, stained glass windows, beautiful bar with a log fire. If you fancy a change from the normal clinical hotels and want to step back in time and enjoy some good old-fashioned Scottish hospitality delivered with a personal touch this is exactly the place to go.  

Cost and inclusions

The cost of this retreat is £1690 per person, based on two people sharing (+£250 for single occupancy) and includes:

6 days of artist-led painting workshop
6 morning yoga sessions
Intro session to creative writing
7 nights accommodation
7 breakfasts
6 lunches
7 evening meals
Some snacks and nibbles in between
Round-the-clock access to art studio
All workshop materials
Sketchbook journal
Pick up and drop off at Arbroath train station on arrival/ departure day
Minibus transport during excursion to explore the nearby area
Additional programme items (such as a musical and poetry evening) might be added to the programme later.

This art holiday starts and finishes in Arbroath, Angus (2 hours from Edinburgh by train. Tickets cost around £25 return). We will arrange pick up and drop off at Arbroath train station. We will advise on travel options where required. If you’d like to arrive in Scotland a bit earlier or stay some extra nights after the Wild at Art vacation we can assist you with finding accommodation.

Not included: flights to and from Scotland and transport to Arbroath. Guests are required to take out personal travel insurance. A non-refundable deposit of £300 secures your space.

Book your space!

nearby lunan bay

In 2020, Scotland celebrates its Coasts and
Waters with a year-long programme of events and
activities which will shine a spotlight on these vital
elements of our landscape.
Join the conversation #YCW2020


2 Comments on “Art retreat in Scotland, April 2020

  1. Hi.
    I am enquiring if it is possible for both myself and my adult daughter could attend this workshop, without the accommodation, and what the cost would be? We live locally and do not need to stay.
    Please let me know

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