tutor on Flavours painting courses in 2013. ‘This year’ he says I am moving from Tuscany to Venice which is a departure for both me and the Flavours brand and I am really looking forward to doing some further research into painting city and townscapes as opposed to broad vistas; it will be a very different experience.’
Hugh counts himself as a lucky man. Having trained at Edinburgh College of Art in the 1960s, where he studied painting and drawing, he quickly became head of department and principal teacher and then went on to enjoy a successful career in educational management. ‘I missed art, design and painting particularly, after working in management, therefore when the artist Barbara Rae RA phoned me and asked whether I would like to become a tutor on a Flavours Painting course I jumped at the chance.
‘She literally called and said, ‘Could you go to Tuscany next week?’ How could I resist? It was a no brainer.’ he laughs.
‘I was actually taken on to cope with demand as Flavours was putting on a new painting and drawing course and there were so many people wanting to book it was necessary to add another class. It was an incredible experience and really I had a fantastic time.’
Hugh smiles when he remembers his first experience of teaching a Flavours painting course. ‘The whole thing was a real adventure. I took my role of preparing to teach and guide people to achieve their own personal level of success, while also working with their own individual painting styles very seriously. At the same time I think it’s really important for people to savour their week painting in Italy as it has so many different facets to offer. After all, they are on holiday and enjoying the experience is also very important as well as becoming lost in the whole creative process.’
Hugh says his main aim is to put everyone at their ease initially. ‘After all, people can sometimes feel rather intimidated at the prospect of working alongside a professional or so-called ‘expert’ and showing publically what they would term their own ‘perception of inadequacy’. For me I look at it this way; photography has its place but there is nothing like the personal touch of the painter. Therefore my desire is to provide the skills and tools to achieve just that; I love it and feel I occupy a very privileged position. I find people soon perk up, after their initial fears, when I say everyone will take home something to frame which will be a meaningful reflection of their memory of a very special painting holiday to Italy.’
‘You know’ he effuses, ‘the very ambition to come on holiday and paint is a starting point in itself. Where there is an enthusiasm and will I really love to give an opportunity to explore colour, materials and also capture the characteristic qualities of Italy, whether that’s painting the expansive Tuscan landscape or the challenge of working within Venetian cityscapes.’
He pauses for a moment before going on in his soothing Scottish accent, ‘I also think the word Flavours implies cooking holidays but in fact, it also relates to characteristics of a place or an event, so people will take and capture that flavour then carry it away with them, hopefully forever.’
Hugh is also happy that a wonderful sense of community develops very quickly and everyone says how the days simply fly by.
If you want to experience some of Hugh’s passion for painting then he will be running courses in Venice so click here and anticipate a holiday where the only concern when painting outdoors is how to avoid sunburned hands, not how to hold a brush wearing thermal gloves!