Painting holiday

South West, Dordogne, France

7 days from
per person

Average user rating

Holiday Itinerary

Discover your full potential with a range of paints, time, inspiration and instruction on this 6 night / 7 day painting holiday in France. With trails, animals, an artisan workshop, night markets, local wines, and the finest foods, there is no end to what you can discover here, and what creation will come from it.

Packed with expert tuition and a free day to explore what the region has to offer further afield, this art holiday makes sure you get a taste of it all, while making you feel right at home.

Your host on this creative holiday is the talented and welcoming Jo, whose experience covers all forms of art; from painting with different mediums, to art restoration, conservation, bookbinding, and art history. Her pride and passion is helping you find your inner creativity; at any level you may be at. For the beginner painter, she will help you find the medium right for you and your own unique voice, and for the more experienced, she can help you go to the next level with new materials and a new way to see things.

Jo’s philosophy is that she herself is learning every time she takes on a new group, and loves the interaction with like minded people. Learning is a big focus of her holiday, not just techniques and painting styles, but spiritually and emotionally. She has created an interactive holiday for students to learn from each other, bounce new ideas around, and share various painting techniques.

You will stay in one of 3 double rooms in the farmhouse, all of which are warm and welcoming, decorated lovingly. There are no single supplements for solo travellers, as one on one tuition and small groups are more than welcomed.

In your free time, relax in the den, curl up by the wood burning fire with a book and wine in the winter months, and lounge by the pool in the summer. Whatever you do, be sure to make yourself at home, and be prepared to tuck into some delicious home cooked food.

Much more than a painting course, and so much more than a holiday, get the most from this French painting holiday that has thought of every aspect in stunning Bordeaux, and take home some original, framed art work for you, by you, that shows off your emerging talents.

Who is it suitable for?
- Suitable for all painting levels from beginners to advanced
- Minimum age 18
- During this holiday, you are free to work with whatever medium you like, however, the holiday mainly focuses on watercolour and pastel and the various qualities of acrylic and gouache

I'm a solo traveller - can I join?
- Courses have a maximum of 6 people in each group, singles are very welcome as you'll meet others with a passion for art and there are NO single supplements for those travelling solo

When can I start?
- Arrival days are on Saturdays or Sundays throughout most of the year
- Painting holidays are for 6 nights / 7 days
- If you wish to stay for extra nights, please email to check availability for your preferred duration and we will do our best to accommodate you
- All holidays are on request so please email us and we’ll check availability for your preferred day of arrival as quickly as possible

Typical itinerary
The itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change depending on the group’s needs and wishes but is typically as follows:

- After breakfast each day, there will be a morning session from 10am-12:30pm followed by a break for lunch
- Morning sessions will be a time for group discussion and experimenting with techniques, styles, and finding out exactly what you want to achieve
- Your afternoon painting sessions will be from about 2-5pm, and are devoted to studio or field work, depending on your preferences
- Gorgeous 3 course dinners are either in the dining room or on the terraces at around 7:30pm
- Evenings after dinner are for you to enjoy at your leisure

- Please note that Thursday is a free day, to use as you wish; therefore no lunch or dinner will be provided
- Thursday evening throughout the summer, your hosts visit the local night market in Ste Foy La Grande where you can dance to live music and taste freshly cooked local food, beers and wines
- If your departure time allows, a visit to the famous Ste Foy Farmers Market on a Saturday morning is a must!

About your painting tutor and host
- Your host and tutor, Jo Surridge, studied Art and Art History at Leicester University before becoming the senior paper conservator for Hampshire County Museums Service for 16 years
- She then went onto complete a teaching diploma in Art and Restoration and gained a certificate in Bookbinding and Papermaking with the Institute of Archival Conservation
- She moved to south west France with her husband and two children, and offered internships to postgraduate conservation/art students
- Amidst the vines of south west France, Jo refined her skills as a watercolour painter, exhibiting regularly throughout the region and winning several prizes for her pen and ink sketches
- In 2014, Jo moved to the Bordeaux wine region of Le Gironde and created her intimate and unique Chambre d'hôtes
- Jo has created the perfect environment to enjoy her art and animals; offering the ideal setting for those looking for an oasis of beauty and creativity; let’s not forget the fine wines and delicious food of the Bordeaux region

What will I learn?
- At the start of your art holiday, guests will meet with Jo and you can discuss your own personal goals and aims for the course
- If you have some painting experience, your tutor will help you to develop your existing painting and drawing skills as well as giving you useful tips to help you develop new skills and techniques, and explore new mediums
- If you are a complete beginner, your tutor will help you with the basics and will set you off on a path to developing your own artistic personality
- Observational drawing is an important part of all the courses
- On site, you’ll learn how to perceive the material world and objects around you through colour, form and perspective
- In studio sessions, you’ll look at the properties of various substrates, paper and canvass and practice colour wash techniques, brush techniques, shortcuts, and special effects
- There will also be some art history throughout the week, and your host has a collection of original watercolours and pastels which you can study in the studio (cotton gloves provided)
- Learn that in true creation, there are no rules other than the ones you choose for yourself with the medium of your choice; Jo will get you comfortable with the tools of the trade, and the rest is up to you

What to bring
- Although supplies are provided (watercolours and acrylics), feel free to bring your favourite brushes, paints, or paper
- Please bring suitable footwear for walking
- Swimming costume if you are visiting during pool season

Your host provides the following:
- Watercolour Paper
- Watercolours (tubes)
- Acrylics (tubes)
- A selection of brushes
- Use of easels and other studio equipment
- A3 acid free mount
- A3 beech frame for your best work

In addition, your host can provide:
- Canvasses
- Cotton boards
- Watercolour in pigment form (blocks)
- Fine sable brushes

Where will I be staying? 
- The farmhouse is lovingly decorated to high standards with an air of history, exposed beams and tiled floors
- There are 3 bedrooms available for guests:

- Named after the whimsical mermaid, this spacious master bedroom has lovely views of the garden and surrounding valley
- Sirene has a super king size heated waterbed, along with a private shower and toilet

- The Marie Antoinette is decorated to seduce you with its comfort and elegance
- It has access to a shared bathroom with a Jacuzzi bath
- This room can work in suite with the Globe Trotter room

‘Globe Trotter’
- The Globe Trotter bedroom will fascinate all ages, as it comes equipped with a telescope to make the most of your evenings away from the city
- It has access to a shared bathroom with a Jacuzzi bath
- It can work in suite with the room Marie Antoinette

- On site there is a bamboo forest, a garden pond, and wonderful spots to relax in or by
- Pool, plenty of walks, orchards and vineyards surrounding your French home
- Your hosts have 2 friendly dogs, 2 cats, a pot bellied pig, 3 horses, and 13 doves - perfect for those missing their beloved animals while on holiday
- Honesty bar provided and stocked with local organic wines, beers, fruit juices and sparkling water for your convenience at any time
- Art studio on the terrace so you can be inspired by your surroundings
- Accommodation is included for 6 nights / 7 days
- Check in and check out time is flexible; however please note that only breakfast is served on day 7

Restricted mobility access
Please find below some information regarding the accommodation and location of the holiday which may be useful when deciding if this is the right holiday for you; should you have an further questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help

- Although this location does not have official disabled access, the front door is wide enough for a wheelchair
- The main bedroom and ensuite are all on one level and on the ground floor
- There are no cobblestones, however there are slopes. Although not the easiest venue for wheelchairs, your host would be happy to help any way she can
- The shower in the ensuite has one step up into it
- If a person is able to walk but has 'some' restrictions then we would need further information concerning their needs and would be very honest if we felt the person could not participate in the activity holidays

Are meals included?
- Breakfasts will be continental; including cereal with seasonal fruits, a choice of soya, semi-skimmed or whole milk with yogurts, served alongside croissants and pain au chocolat, homemade bread and home produced jams
- Coffee, tea (herbal, English breakfast, or Earl Grey) and fruit juice are all included
- A full English breakfast is also available for a £10 supplement
- For those who really want to start the day on a high, your hosts offer a Gourmet breakfast with eggs Benedict, pancakes, and Buck’s fizz (additional cost, please book this 24 hours in advance)

- Lunches during tuition days are taken on the top terrace and are a buffet style lunch with wine or beer and soft drinks
- You can expect local cheeses, charcuterie, salads, and homemade quiches and bread, all made with the best locally sourced products

- Evening 3 course meals are included each evening (Thursday aside) and are served at around 7:30pm
- Your host will always have a vegetarian option, however for any other dietary requests, please let us know at the time of booking

Sample dinner menus
Starter: Leek and potato soup
Main: Honey and mustard roast beef / Beef Ragout served with roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, beetroot, leeks cooked with bacon and broccoli
Vegetarian: Stuffed red peppers
Pudding: Fruit crumble and creme anglaise

Starter: Homemade hummus with biscotte and vegetable sticks
Main: Lamb chops cooked in lime and mint served with roasted vegetables and couscous
Vegetarian: Spinach and feta parcels
Pudding: Cheese board with crackers and grapes OR Lemon delight

What can I do in my free time?
- There are some lovely walks right from your door, as your hosts are on the Route de La Compostella
- Jo can show you a three hour walking route around the valley, or you can walk into the village to visit the two lovely churches
- For wine lovers, there is a big wine cooperative in the village, and for animal lovers, a pony club 20 minutes walk from the house
- Those wanting a day further afield can take a train from Sainte Foy station to Bordeaux (1 hour), St Emilion (20 minutes), or Sarlat (1 hour 20) (Jo would be happy to arrange a taxi to and from the station at a good rate)
- As your French home has three hectares of land, you can walk through the orchards, explore the bamboo wood, or just relax by the pool or sit on any of the three terraces with paints or a beloved book