A celebration of cranes (virtual)

During the autumn migration tens of thousands of common cranes from Scandinavia and the northern Baltic states congregate in Hungary’s Hortobágy National Park to rest, feed... Read more

VIRTUAL Hungary £140pp
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05 Oct - 08 Oct 2021

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EUROPE / Hungary

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Tour content
Sketching, watercolour, pastels, birds and landscapes

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John Threlfall, Mary-Anne Bartlett

Join us for a feast of birds as we make a virtual visit to the spectacular annual crane migration in Hungary...

During the autumn migration tens of thousands of common cranes from Scandinavia and the northern Baltic states congregate in Hungary’s Hortobágy National Park to rest, feed and gather their strength before the last part of their journey to wintering sites in Northern Africa.

In this corner of eastern Hungary on the Great Hungarian Plain (Puszta), you feel as if you have stepped back in time.  It is an area with deep pastoral roots going back millennia, where herdsmen tend rare ancient breeds of animals like racka sheep with their corkscrew like horns, curly haired pigs and grey steppe cattle.  It is also a place to hear lively folk music, see traditional dances and eat some of the best goulash!

The scenery and wildlife of the puszta have inspired many artists throughout the centuries.  When we visit in October, the mosaic of grasslands and wetlands form a palette of autumnal yellows, brick reds, ochre and burnt sienna.  Dusk and dawn are particularly special times, as the cranes fly low to and from their roosts, wonderfully silhouetted against the rich colours of the boundless skies.

During this virtual workshop, we will encounter many special birds including Common Cranes, Great Bustards, Imperial Eagles, and Long-Eared Owls and spend time observing them and learning to draw and paint them.

We will have the chance to draw from stills and video footage as Mary-Anne and John share their techniques for drawing wildlife as well as how to capturing the essence of a landscape.


All sessions start at 2pm BST

Day 1: Meet Mary-Anne and John on Zoom for three hours of art demonstration and tuition time.

They will include a slide talk about some of the people who have painted in the region and show you examples of their sketches on location in Hungary.

You will have the option to paint from a variety of images to suit your taste from a library of photos you will receive as part of the course package.

You have time in between sessions to complete your work and submit images of your paintings for feedback on our private Facebook group or by email.

Day 2: We meet again the following afternoon to tackle a second painting through the same process.

Day 3: The third day is free for you to paint all day.

Day 4: We hold a slightly shorter final meeting (around 2hrs) to review and share your work and insights from the course.

The workshop will be recorded so you will be able to watch the video online afterwards.


To help you get prepared you will need:

  • A Laptop, Macbook, PC, iPad or tablet
  • Watercolour paper, canvas or canvas boards, up to A2 size or 16 x 20” you will need at least 4.
  • Cartridge paper, up to A2 size or 16 x 20” you will need at least 10.
  • Sketchbook/notebook and pen (there’s LOTS of ideas and stuff to write down!)
  • An assortment of paint brushes, suitable for your medium in different shapes and sizes
  • Drawing materials: Drawing is the best way to warm up, learn new shapes and to think about your environment. Bring monochrome (pencils and charcoal) and supplement it with colour if you like.  Water-soluble pencils work especially well with animals as you can draw in a colour water-soluble pencil and put a colour wash over the top.
    • Pencils / graphite sticks – a selection of e.g.  HB 2B, 3B, 4B, 6B (water-soluble & normal).
    • Conté crayons / Charcoal / Pastel – useful for quick drawings (only if you have them)
    • Rubber and putty rubber
  • Kitchen towel
  • Easel/table easel or other means of holding your canvas/paper at an angle (watercolour) / vertically (oil)
  • Paint palette
  • Jars for water or solvent (if you use it)
  • John will work in pencil and pastel, but you may use any medium. This course isn’t specifically about one media or about colour, so just use colours you are familiar with and those you already have.
  • Mary-Anne usually works in watercolour.  Mary-Anne is not too particular about which colours you use.  Her most used colours are the classic colours which give the warms and colds in each colour (a ‘double primary’ palette) comprised of Cadmium Lemon yellow, Cadmium Yellow Golden, Cadmium Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue with Cobalt Blue.  In watercolour for landscape and for the wildlife which blends into it, then earth colours are useful.  In MA’s box, earth colours are well used, including Burnt Umber, Sepia, Raw and Burnt Sienna.  But please just use colours you are familiar with and those you already have.


Day 114:00 BST: 3hr Live Zoom - including art lectures and art demonstration
Day 214:00 BST: 3hr Live Zoom - including feedback critique, art lecture and art demonstration
Day 3Time to develop your painting
Day 414:00 BST: 2-3hr Live Zoom - including feedback critique and chat
Ask for full itinerary
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This virtual Hungary painting tour costs £140pp


The joining point for your Hungary tour is wherever you have internet and feel ready and comfortable to paint.


All online Zoom tuition, copious resource material and ideas, recipes and email contact.


Art materials, internet access, personal expenses.

Enquire now on 01394 382235 or info@artsafari.co.uk

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