Painting Holiday in Wales

Painting Holiday in Wales

Pembrokeshire Paintbox

With Claudia Myatt

16 – 22 May 2020

Price Per Person Sharing from: £1,317

This new Art Safari explores the spectacular Pembrokeshire coastline with its dramatic cliffs, vast expanses of remote sandy beaches, winding estuaries and tranquil towns and villages.

The format for this tour is creating a sketchbook diary as you go; working fast and loose in pencil, pen and wash, experimenting with creative ways to record a colourful visual keepsake of your trip and gather inspiration for future paintings.

Out and about, sketching and painting en plein air, we will spend time exploring headlands and bays along the coast path, St Davids Cathedral, Carew Castle, and the colourful harbours of Solva and Tenby.  There is also the option to take a boat trip to Skomer Island, a sanctuary for seabirds and seals. 

Immerse yourself in wild landscapes, experience traditional Welsh community and fill your sketchbooks with breath-taking sea views, idyllic open countryside dotted with traditional stone cottages, quaint harbours, and ruined castles….  

Suitable for artists of all abilities, join Claudia for days filled with creativity and inspiration.

Please note that this holiday will involve walking, sometimes on uneven ground, as some of the best locations are not always near car parks!

Painting Holiday in Wales

Saturday 16 May – Arrive Cuffern Manor, near Roch

Arrive and check-in to Cuffern Manor

Guests will be arriving at different times today – some by train and some by car.

For those arriving by train into Haverfordwest, Claudia will be available to pick up guests at the station at around 16:30 for a transfer to Cuffern Manor (approx. 15 minutes).

Cuffern Manor, a beautiful Grade II listed Georgian Manor House set in several acres of walled gardens and woodlands, is our home for the next 6 nights.  Most of the rooms feature an ensuite bathroom, with shared facilities in the others.   There is a cosy sitting area with a wood burner to relax in, an extensive library and a small bar stocked with Welsh beers, ciders and wines.

Dinners are included, and in the evenings, we can choose to go out to nearby pubs or restaurants or eat in and try some of Cuffern Manor’s delicious vegetarian meals cooked with homegrown organic ingredients.

We could spend the early evening sketching in the charming gardens.

Before supper, we will get together for introductions and a chance to discuss your plans and artistic aims for the week with Claudia.

Sunday 17 May: Penderry Farm

Today we plan to visit Penderry Farm – a traditional working sheep farm owned by an artist and her family. (approx. 45 mins from Roch)

Situated in the pretty Lampeter Vale, Penderry is surrounded by 50 acres of unspoilt farmland.  We can wander around the wildflower-filled meadows or woodlands with running streams, visit the studio and gardens, sketch sheep and chickens, and old stone buildings.

Monday 18 May: St David’s Cathedral

After breakfast, we head to St David’s (approx. 25 mins from Roch) this morning to explore the smallest city in Britain.

This area of Pembrokeshire is rich in early Christian heritage and St David’s is the final resting place of Wales’s patron saint and named after him.

The original monastery founded by St David himself in the 6th century has long since disappeared, but there has been a church on this site for the last 1500 years.  The present cathedral was built by the Normans in the 12th Century and became one of the most important shrines and pilgrimage centres in medieval Christendom.  Inside the carved wooden suspended ceiling is one of the best examples of its kind, and there are some fine ancient Celtic cross-slabs set into the altar and walls.  Next to the cathedral are the magnificent ruins of the medieval Bishops Palace.

We will spend the day sketching the cathedral and its surroundings and take a walk along the coast path to the ruggedly beautiful clifftop on which St Non’s Chapel sits.  The nearby ruined chapel and holy well mark the supposed site of St David’s birth.  The walk will finish with a visit to Oriel y Parc, gallery and visitor centre for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

As on any day, do remember that this is your holiday so feel free to wander off and explore.  Please inform Claudia if you are slipping away for a bit, so she isn’t searching for you.

Tuesday 19 May:  Solva

This morning we travel to the harbour village of Solva (approx. 20 mins from Roch) in St Bride’s Bay. 

The village is situated on a deep valley at the mouth of the River Solva.  In the valley is Lower Solva, consisting of a long street ending at the small harbour.  The more modern Upper Solva lies on the clifftop to the west of the harbour.

Solva is steeped in maritime history.  The rocks at the entrance to Solva Harbour made it one of the most sheltered anchorages between Fishguard and Milford Haven, and during the 18 and 19th centuries it was one of the busiest trading ports in Pembrokeshire.

There is plenty to paint here – colourful houses and shops, the lime kilns, the long tidal harbour with clusters of small fishing boats, and amazing views in all directions.  When the tide is out you can walk around the mouth of the estuary and to the next bay, rock pooling along the way for a glimpse of scuttling crabs or swaying sea anemones.  

It’s well worth taking the short but steep walk up to the top of the Gribin, the rocky headland overlooking the harbour, resting at the top to sketch and enjoy the spectacular views. Should we have a rainy day there are sheltered subjects nearby such as the delightful family-run Solva Woollen Mill (the oldest working woollen mill in Pembrokeshire), and a host of shops and galleries.

Wednesday 20 May:  Carew Castle

This morning we travel to Carew Castle, one of the most magnificent in Wales (approx. 45 mins from Roch). Entry to Carew Castle included

The size and scale of Carew Castle are very impressive.  The imposing walls are almost entirely built from local limestone and the castle stands prominent on flat land around the tidal reaches of Carew river, overlooking a huge millpond.  A tide mill stands on the causeway next to the castle – though no longer in operation, it is the only restored tide mill in Wales.

Its history spans over 2,000 years and dates to the Iron Age when it is thought the site was first fortified.  It is one of the most architecturally diverse castles in Wales with pre-Norman influences, Medieval towers and later Tudor additions to convert it into a splendid Elizabethan mansion.  The castle was abandoned by the de Carew family in 1686 and has remained unoccupied ever since.

On arrival Claudia will discuss composition and perspective before encouraging you to settle into a view of the castle exterior or taking a smaller section of ruins to work with, exploring the textures and tonal range of ancient flint work, light and shadow. 

We will break for lunch and in the afternoon visit nearby Cresswell Quay, a wooded creek with old stone quay and pub, with stepping stones across the river at low tide.

Thursday 21 May: Tenby

After breakfast, we travel to the picturesque seaside town of Tenby (approx. 50 mins from Roch).

Tenby has its roots in the Norman Conquest when south Wales was invaded and colonised around 1093, which prompted the town’s growth as a major port and trading centre.  As a port its heyday was in the 16th Century when it was so busy it was considered to be a national port.  It even sheltered the future Henry VII, during the Wars of the Roses, before he sailed into exile in 1471.

Its fortunes declined in the 17th Century when the town sided with Parliament in the English Civil War and was attacked by Royalists. A few years later an outbreak of plague killed half the population in 1650.  In the early 19th Century it flourished again as a Victorian health resort and centre for botanical and geological study.

It’s a charming town, with a lovely harbour, medieval walls and gatehouses, cobbled lanes, fine Victorian houses, sandy beaches and fabulous views that offer some great opportunities for colourful and varied sketching.

There are also plenty of wet weather options here if we need them.  The Tenby Art Gallery and Museum showcases local art and representations of Tenby through the ages.  Tenby was the home of Augustus and Gwen John and some of their works are hanging here.

Friday 22 May: Departure Day

This morning we check out of our rooms and spend our last morning sketching in the beautiful countryside around Roch.

For those departing by train, Claudia will be able to drop guests off at Haverfordwest station at around 13:00.

Skomer Island – if as a group we decide we would like to experience the wonderful island flora and fauna, and if the weather is kind, we can make a plan to replace one of the days above with a visit to Skomer.

Please note that visitors are limited to 250 per day and tickets are sold on the day only and on a first-come-first-served basis.  Landing trips depart from Martin’s Haven daily at 10am11am and 12 noon and return boats start from 3pm, then every half an hour after that.