This was a really good holiday for us: Mark likes to do something, and I like to sit somewhere nice and stare at my surroundings. Painting in and around Kalkan fitted the bill perfectly for both of us.
Neither of us had done painting before, but the course worked well for beginners as much as for those with more experience. Anna our teacher was brilliant at encouraging us, combining demonstrations with constructive comments and lots of compliments. We really felt we were learning to ‘see like an artist’, as Anna showed us how to bring colour out of the landscape. It didn’t matter that neither of us can draw: we began to be able to bring form out of colour. We were using acrylics which dry quickly so are easily transportable. Where our locations were in the hot sunshine, we needed slow-drying medium to prevent our paints from crusting on the palette too quickly. It meant we had to work fast: we were in a different location every morning and afternoon, so with only 2-3 hours to create a painting, we had lots of opportunity to try different styles and effects.
The locations worked well. Our first morning at the villa we learned about mixing colours, and immediately started painting the fantastic view from the terrace of wooded hills and islands curling around a gorgeous blue bay. In only five days of tuition we painted beaches, gardens, the mosque and harbour, and the ancient Lycian ruins at Xanthos and Patara. On our last day we reviewed all our work – and were very pleasantly surprised by how much we had achieved. Having set out just to ‘have a go’, we both came away completely enthused by the process of painting. Our sessions were becoming visual meditations, and an excellent therapy from busy schedules back home.
Sue is an excellent host, and when we weren’t painting we were usually eating or enjoying the local wine. Sue took us to the most interesting restaurants in Kalkan, where the food was always freshly prepared and fantastic. It’s a great place for vegetarians as Turkish cuisine specialises in meze – appetisers, salads, soups, and dishes made from seasonal local vegetables, legumes, herbs and leaves. The market is a delight to visit for anyone who loves cooking, and the restaurants serve fish which really is the catch of the day. Back at the villa or at picnics on location, Sue’s food was excellent – even better than eating out – and we were well supplied with local wine. The Lal rose was a particular favourite, though more than a glass or two at lunchtime could lead to a postprandial ‘Lal lull’, which didn’t always improve our paintings.
Turkey is a fabulous country to visit – beautiful and varied landscapes, delicious food, and friendly people. Sue has created a really varied programme that still manages to feel totally relaxing. Much of this must be due to her skills in organisation: her ability to keep us to a rough programme, make sure we all did what we wanted to do, and yet remain calm through all eventualities, was remarkable. Transport, picnics, lifts back from town, even sunshades, all appeared like magic. The villa was comfortable and the garden smelled serenely of orange blossom among the olive trees. And on our day off, a visit to the local Turkish bath – complete with massage – was luxury.
We would both recommend the painting holiday unreservedly. It feels great to come home with paintings that we created – a real achievement. Professional teaching in a beautiful place with delicious food and good company is hard to fault. Most of all, it was great fun.
Monica and Mark Painting Holiday in Turkey in 2015 with Creative Getaways