This week-long all-inclusive art retreat is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all and immerse in all things creative. In the magical surroundings of our venue Hospitalfield 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 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.
Painting the sky 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).
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).
You learn about the basics of painting clouds and skies such as:
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
We will explore the beautiful surroundings in and around Hospitalfield House. 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 beautiful building of Hospitalfield House and its extensive gardens. 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.
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.
Dedicated to contemporary art and ideas, Hospitalfield is a place to work, study, learn, visit and enjoy. Overlooking the North Sea, Hospitalfield House is the house of artist and collector Patrick Allan-Fraser and his wife Elizabeth Fraser. The couple were visionary in the way in which they ran and developed the estate and supported artists through collecting their work. Allan-Fraser bought or commissioned works by artists that were part of his network and he worked closely with crafts people of Angus to create the extraordinary early arts and crafts interiors within the house. The house, collections and estate were left in trust in 1890. Today nationally and internationally significant residency programmes for artists, curators and writers, continue to be accommodated within the house and use the purpose-built studios. You’ll find yourself surrounded by exquisite artwork wherever you turn at Hospitalfield.
All meals are freshly prepared on site by in-house chef Simon, using local produce as much as possible. The retreat price includes full board catering, all of it delicious!
The guest bedrooms are all different and a mix of en-suite facilities and others where two bedrooms share one bathroom. Hospitalfield is an organisation that hosts artists and students. So the bedrooms are set up as ‘study rooms’, equipped with a desk and present as functional rather than luxurious hotel standard. En-suite bedrooms will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
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 at Hospitalfield
7 evening meals
Some snacks and nibbles in between
Round-the-clock access to art studio
All workshop materials
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 at Hospitalfield 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.