Monday, 23 April 2012

Interview with Michael Gahagan- painting tutor in Tuscany and Umbria

Hi Michael,
Many thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
Having studied both Textile Design and Business Studies in Glasgow, I worked as a Personnel Manager in the Health Service and in Higher Education at the Glasgow School of Art, before focusing on Art Coaching. I have my own studio and exhibit in various galleries. My artistic subjects are mainly landscapes and wildlife and I run my own art courses in Arran, and teach Art in Italy and Greece. I am also trying to learn Spanish!

What do you enjoy most about being a painting tutor?
I love interacting with students and supporting their personal development as well as encouraging them to enjoy art and have fun in the learning process.

I was running my own art course in the Island of Arran and one of the participants liked my approach and style, and recommended me to Flavours Holidays. I had never been to Italy before and was delighted to be teaching in such a wonderful country that has been an inspiration to artists for centuries -painting in Italy is everything one could hope for as an artist!

What do you enjoy most about working in Tuscany and Umbria?
Everything! The magnificent landscapes, the buildings, the people, the food...the overall character, art and unique culture of these places… I could go on!

Do you find much time for your own work?
I think it is important as a Tutor not to become stagnant - doing my own art keeps me on my toes and encourages me to explore new ideas. I am currently working on paintings of Islay, a series entitled ‘the Italian connection’, as well as a Skyros series, and a compilation of dog sketches.

Where would you say most of your inspiration comes from?
There’s a quote from a book that I refer to in my classes called ”You Can Draw” by Kenneth Jamieson, which says: “as soon as your eyes are opened, your environment becomes a richer place”. My main inspiration comes from constantly opening my eyes and enjoying what I see.

Are there any painters or artists that really inspire you?
Lots, such as Monet and Cezanne – their style and approach inspire me. However coming from Glasgow I am perhaps biased and no one is more inspiring than the Glasgow Boys!

Have you ever been on a painting holiday yourself?
Lots of times! I have always built a bit of free time into my working life, where I can escape and paint to my heart’s content! It was on a painting holiday in Skyros in Greece that led to the company seeing my art and appointing me the following year as a facilitator.

Is there anywhere we can see some your work?
Come on a Flavours Holiday and I’ll show you some! Or you can also see my work and find out more about me on the Gallery page of my website:

And finally, what advice would you give someone who’s considering coming on a Painting holiday in Tuscany?

A lot of people would like to go on a painting holiday but don’t, through worry or self-doubt. My advice is to just “go for it” and you will be able to develop your art at a pace that suits you. In addition to the friendly company and excellent Tutors, the Tuscan scenery and food is to “die for”!!


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