Posts Tagged ‘paintingholidays’

Paint Magazine November 2017

‘THE ACCIDENTAL TEACHER’

AS FEATURED IN THE NOVEMBER ISSUE OF SAA PAINT MAGAZINE

This is the full article I wrote about my experiences, please read until the end…..

My story about how I fell into teaching watercolour painting started when I moved to Bulgaria to semi-retire in 2008.

I had always wanted to be an artist, and after some life changing family events, I decided to take up my brushes. In my small Rural Village was another ex-pat who asked me if I would show her. During her ‘lesson’ her husband who was listening nearby said ‘have you thought about doing this for a living’?

Though I have no formal teaching qualifications, and am a self-taught artist, I looked for private work and ended up teaching Bulgarian Children. Whilst doing so, (initially to help me to learn the language) I found the reverse to be true. The kids coming to me, to practice their spoken English language skills.

During this time I also looked for an art club to join and found none, so I decided to start my own. Teaching ex-pats was a steep and valuable learning curve for me & I still run several art clubs to this day in Bulgaria.

I also decided to write a book and over a 6 month period (the coldest in living memory) I pounded away at the pc (wearing all my warm weather gear, and even fingerless gloves and a balaclava) and an e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ was born. I still give this away free of charge, hoping to bring art to those least able to afford it.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

Please email me if you would like a copy of my book

My experiences in those early days lead to openings in 5 star luxury resorts in Bali, Thailand and Malaysia where I taught for many years. Nowadays I prefer my workshops and painting holidays to be more ‘local’ concentrating on Bulgaria and Greece where we bought a small old English yacht (despite not being a sailor), so I can now be found on deck overlooking the harbour in the early and late season, painting and teaching.

During the Summer I run watercolour holidays from our White Boat Studio in beautiful Sozopol, Bulgaria, where I also invite guest artists and their students.

White Boat Studio Sign - Single

So that one chance encounter, all those years ago and the ability to be patient, adventurous and flexible lead to personal fullfilment in a totally unexpected way.  And thanks to that I realise that my skill being a plain speaking Yorkshireman, coupled with my ability to strip away the mystique has meant that I can literally change people’s lives, and add to their enjoyment of art.

As I say ‘give me 2 hours, and I’ll change your life’. And the hundreds of people who come on holiday, read my blogs, watch my YouTube channel and follow my Facebook pages will testify.

Sarah & Martin

Sarah and I

Incidentally, (and this is not something I wanted to share in the article) the life changing event I mentioned was the diagnosis of my dearest Sister Julie’s cancer. After a long battle we finally lost her. She was a lovely person and a teacher of teachers. After her loss I decided NOT to put off all the things I wanted to do until I retired.

I painted her a present of a scene from our childhood, which had been in my head for over 50 years. Sadly she went blind in the final stages and never got to see it.

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‘For Julie’

So I worked on my exit strategy, I sold my business’s, bought a small red sports car, drove through Europe in it, bought a house in the sun, and finally fulfilled my life long ambition to travel and become an artist. All the things that were on my bucket list.

Sarah and I met in Bulgaria.

When people wonder why I am so driven, giving and motivated… now you know. All the days painting (I try to do it every day),  filming, editing and encouraging others to paint is my way of giving something back, after all, that painting went unpainted for decades. Now in my advancing years there is no time to lose.

Happy Painting

Martin Stephenson (stevo)

ps Stevo was my nickname at school (not very original) but shorter to sign on my paintings, signed in the style of Zorro !

 

Introducing

Renowned Russian Artist

Ilya Ibryaev

It gives me great pleasure to announce that this fantastic Russian Artist

will be gracing us at the

with a Masterclass this Summer

I recently signed up for an online Masterclass with Ilya having been made aware of his fantastic watercolour paintings by a fellow artist. I was so impressed, that I contacted him personally to invite him to come to the White Boat Studio here in Sozopol and Ilya graciously accepted the opportunity.

On speaking to Ilya it turned out that he is good friends of other artists I admire. One of whom, a Bulgarian artist visits him in Moscow, though Ilya has never been to Bulgaria. But judging by the boat paintings below It’s hard to believe. But I can tell by his subject matter that he, and his students will enjoy everything Sozopol has to offer.

Ilya has planned three exciting days painting, which include light refreshments and full use of the studio. He will be sharing his unique techniques for capturing light mood and atmosphere in watercolours. Those like me that have tried will know that capturing those most endearing and fleeting moments of early morning mist, the way bright sunlight breaks through the cool of the tree canopy are the most difficult. The control of these wet in wet techniques are one of the things that causes the human spirit to soar. Capturing those moments, and still retaining the freshness of the medium, with the guidance of ‘Master of Light’ Ilya is the reason for this Masterclass.

ABOUT THE MASTERCLASS

DAY 1

Based in the studio where Ilya’s morning session will show him demonstrating, and following a break for lunch students will have the time to emulate one (or more) of his paintings.

DAYS 2 & 3

Plein air painting, at some stunning locations in the Town. These will be very personally and carefully selected by Ilya to provide artists with a challenging and interesting taste of the area. They may include the Fishing harbour, bustling with activity, the wooden houses and cobbled streets of the Old Town, or the rugged cliffs with houses precariously perched on top. There will be no shortage of stunning locations, that’s for sure.

The beautiful former Naval College opposite the studio, dominates Kirik Island, especially at sunset.

Evenings are your own to take in the atmosphere, to wander the Town, visit the many Art Galleries, or just enjoy the Sunset sipping local wine at the many Restaurants. So it won’t be all work and no play. The New Town area also offers all the trappings of a beach resort with sandy beaches, bars and clubs for those wanting to dance the night away.

Biserra the oldest and one of many Galleries in Sozopol

One thing visitors never fail to notice about Sozopol is that the price of everything is about half of the ‘more fashionable’ painting destinations. A typical meal with wine will be around 40 lev that’s about 20 pounds Sterling. The food here is International, and typically Mediterranean not surprisingly with Sozopol’s Greek roots and traditions. Don’t leave without trying Shopska salad and Rakia, and don’t forget to look the friendly locals in the eye when you bid them ‘Nazdrave’ !

Sozopol has always been a mecca for artists as is testified by the many art and music events, and Art Galleries in the Old Ancient sea port formally known as Apollonia. This culminates in the Annual Apollonia Festival in late Summer.

I’m sure Ilya and his students will enjoy painting the views that always drew me here, somewhere I have now made my home.  Sozopol, on the Black Sea (which is Blue in Summer by the way) has a charm of it’s own with it’s working fishing harbour, yacht marina’s and quirky cobbled streets and ancient wooden houses. It comes as no surprise that some of the best, and freshest fish restaurants are here. This includes Kirik the oldest and still the best, and happens to be right next door. For early risers you can even buy fish straight from the boat.

Our air conditioned studio and the balcony of Kirik Restaurant next door

During your stay the White Boat Studio, and it’s equipment are at your disposal.

Co- Owners of the White Boat Studio Sarah Astbury (Logistics, Yoga and Massage Therapies) and Martin Stephenson (Studio Manager Artist, Author and Teacher)

Yours hosts Martin and Sarah are experienced, helpful and friendly, and , are on hand during your painting holiday, to cater for your every need be it artistic or otherwise. Sarah is an Internationally renowned Yoga teacher and Massage Therapist and is available during your stay. We plan for your holiday to be informative, friendly and fun. An experience for your mind and your body, or you can just soak up the sun on the beach, the choice is yours.

We expect bookings to go fast for Ilya’s Masterclass, spaces are limited for each day to ensure that you receive the personal attention you deserve. So please book early to avoid missing out on this unique experience to learn with a real Modern Day Master of his craft.

PRICES

The price is 85 Euro per day, and you can book one day, two days or all three for 255 Euro

FLIGHTS AND ACCOMMODATION

If you need any assistance with flights or accommodation please let us know. Bourgas International Airport is just 40 minutes transfer time away. Sarah can help you with these arrangements at sarah.astbury@gmail.com

All tastes and budgets are catered for during your holiday, from family guest houses right up to 5 star hotels and everything in between.

TO BOOK

Sarah is in charge of bookings for Ilya’s Masterclass too.

ENQUIRIES

You can make any enquiries by filling in the form below or contact Martin or Sarah at whiteboatstudio@gmail.com

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN AUGUST

 

 

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Our air conditioned studio overlooking the fishing harbour

Here are some examples of what you will learn on your art holiday in Bulgaria.
In short if you are a complete beginner you have come to the right person, and the right place.
I can relate very well to many perceived issues some people have when they first start out on their watercolour painting journey. Here are some quotes from my past students, which you may be able to relate to. I know I could when I first started.

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Fiddling in the extreme

Q. I find myself fiddling with very fine drawing instruments but don’t find it enjoyable.

A. I did exactly the same thing, as it seems much easier to control. At the outset you will be encouraged to ‘think big’ using large brushes, and dishes of paint.

Q. I can’t even draw

A. Depending on the subject matter you choose to paint, there is very little drawing during your holiday, and sometimes none at all.

Q. Isn’t watercolour the hardest medium of all ?

A. It has been described as being like a wild horse. But there are very few ‘rules’, master these and you will be up and running usually after the very first lesson.

Q. I have tried watercolors before and everything turned out muddy, not fresh like watercolours I have seen.

A. This is the most common problem for beginners to watercolour, and ‘avoiding mud’ has a whole section in my free e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ given free with every booking.

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Painting with just one colour

Q. My paintings always look flat.

A. Another very common problem, and one so easy to correct. It’s so important that the very first lesson of your painting holiday is covered here. Painting with just one colour, and how to mix different tones is the first building block.

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Q. When I look at that big blank piece of paper I just freeze especially when considering painting the sky.

A. For most beginners to watercolour skies can be daunting, but by the first few lessons you will be painting skies with confidence, even stormy ones.

Close up of The Old Windmill & The Islands

Q. There seems so many ‘rules and dogma’ attached to watercolour like you can’t use white paint why is that.

A. It seems to be true, but strangely only in recent years, the great watercolour masters used everything at their disposal to achieve a particular result. Just look at Turner’s or Monet’s paintings and you will see what I mean. During your holiday you will be taught how to paint ‘pure’ watercolours, but towards the end of your holiday you will also be encouraged to experiment with goache, ink and gesso. We will even be using some more ‘unusual’ techniques using normal household items like salt and cling film.

Q. When I have tried watercolours before I always end up with ugly stains on my painting.

A. Most beginners have this problem, and avoiding ‘backruns’ or ‘cauliflowers’, and even how to control them is covered in lesson 2 of your holiday.

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Some artists even use them in their work to great effect

During your painting holiday, even if you have never painted before you will end up with all the knowledge you’ll need to make you into a confident painter, whatever subject matter you chose when you go home. But my help doesn’t end when your holiday does. You will have my e-book to guide you on your way, and serve as a reminder of your experience with me.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

My painting workshops are limited in size to ensure everyone gets the personal attention they deserve. My style of teaching is simple, step by step at a pace to suit you. I also like to have fun so you should find the whole experience one to remember. My students from all over the World tend to come back year after year, whether it’s in Bulgaria, Greece and even throughout Asia.

If you want to read about what my students say about my lessons and my e-book please have a look at my other blog by clicking this link http://wp.me/pQX5h-5t

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Sketching at the harbour

Q. What is the best time of year to come to Bulgaria ?

A. My holidays run during June, July, August and also October. A lot depends on whether you like the hot weather, Bulgaria has a typical Mediterranean climate and some of the best beaches in Europe. There will be lots to do here in Sozopol after your morning painting session, which is normally from 10am until about 1.30 with a break for refreshments.

Q. What about my accommodation during my holiday.

A. We normally use a 3* family run hotel which includes breakfast. The rooms have fantastic views overlooking the Sea and the Islands of St.John and St.Peter. There is also a restaurant at the Hotel, a great place to watch the sun go down listening to a classical guitarist. Sozopol, with it’s Greek roots has many fine Restaurants, especially in the Old Town. The Diamanti Hotel is located just a few minutes walk through the old cobbled street to our Studio.

To have a look at the hotel, please click on this link http://hoteldiamanti.com/

The last thing to mention, is value for money. Unlike more ‘fashionable’ painting holiday destinations, everything here is about half the price of the UK. That means that a nice meal with wine will be about 25 lev (around 10 pounds sterling).

If you would like to find out more about Sozopol, just try a Google search.

If you would like an e-brochure with more details of your painting holiday, please fill in the form below.

I look forward to seeing you in Sozopol to start your personal art journey.

Martin Stephenson aka Stevo