Friday, 3 May 2013

What you can learn from an activity holiday such as painting. Or put it another way: how Italian painting courses changed my life.

You get to a certain age and I’m not going to say what age that is exactly, as you can decide, but things can seem somewhat predictable. New experiences are in danger of becoming quite rare and in fact it is important not to become too sedentary in mind, body or spirit. So, what is the solution?

It may not be as difficult as one might imagine and it certainly doesn’t have to be a Titanic moment of difficulty in changing an inexorable course, honest! With a little curiosity, the odd small bottle, labelled ‘Drink Me!’ we can easily catapult ourselves into another world just like Alice. I didn’t meet a white rabbit when I booked painting holidays in Italy but I did discover a brand new landscape.

I admit to becoming a little stale and last summer I made a rather ad hoc decision to book an activity  holiday. My life had become steeped in routing and upon reflection I realised there were still a number of things I wanted to achieve in my life and this ‘old dog’ wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

With some trepidation, I have to admit, and having read an internet article entitled: ‘What you can learn from an activity holiday’ I decided to embark on a trip to Tuscany to paint. When I had plucked up enough courage to book I found myself giggling like a school girl imagining all the mischief I might get up to and suddenly I had something highly significant to look forward to ringed in green on my calendar.

Booking these painting holidays changed my life; it’s as simple as that. Who would have thought that painting holidays in Italy would have such an impact? Within a week I was in the National Gallery studying some fine watercolours, I booked myself onto a life drawing course at the local college and found myself devouring every website and article I could find about painters, painting and becoming somewhat obsessed in the process. It was great fun.

One afternoon I went to London and dropped in at the biggest art specialist shop on the Charing Cross Road and felt my spirits lift the minute I walked in and saw the vast array of artists’ materials. There is something so attractive about tubes of colour, pastels and other artists’ paraphernalia and I was totally smitten.

Therefore, what did I personally learn from painting holidays? Well, lots of things really. A Flavours painting holiday really does give a student a flavour of another way of seeing, experiencing and feeling. My tutor was reassuring, inspiring and quietly demanding and I made a lot of progress.  I also learned that it is never too late to indulge in a passion or a new hobby. I also understood that stimulating conversation with like-minded individuals is very intoxicating and that the flush of pleasure I still get looking at my Tuscan landscape that is now hanging in my sitting room, is worth much more than money can buy. If we make the right decisions we can make such a positive difference to our lives.

All I can say is that if you are pondering, sitting on the edge afraid to jump in, a painting holiday in Italy, for example, is one of the most re-invigorating types of activity holiday you can embark upon and guess what? I have booked for Venice this year; it’s my self-satisfying and guilty pleasure and I am so glad I took the plunge. Why not come and join me this year?

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