I’m delighted to offer online opportunities for you to learn botanical watercolour painting with me. During our online workshops we will slow down, taking time to really look at the bright, fresh and vibrant colours of the changing seasons. Using first wet and then dry watercolour painting techniques we will experience the mindful process of botanical art while learning to capture the beauty of our natural world.
Demonstrations will cover:
colour mixing and matching,
capturing light and shade,
layering of colours,
painting fine detail
finishing with a WOW!
To make the experience as stress free as possible,
I will provide an image and a line drawing of a
simple plant subject for anyone who wishes to use it.
Week 1 – September 10 – 17, 2022 – ‘Wild and garden Mediterranean flowers’
Week 2 – September 17 – 24, 2022 – ‘ Fruit from a Mediterranean garden’
Would you like to take a break, to slow down, to escape the stresses of the past months, to feast your senses, enhance your painting skills and master new ones, to rest and nourish your body, your mind and your soul?
Join me on the beautiful Greek island of Skiathos in September 2022 for a botanical art escape.
During your time every effort will be made to ensure that you sleep well, eat well, rest, paint and explore.
Tutor – Mary Dillon
Many years ago, I was lucky to find ‘Painting Skiathos’, an art studio offered as a place of retreat by artist Yvonne Ayoub. It has been a place of refuge and inspiration to me and over the years I have grown to know and love this beautiful island and its people. I am excited and happy to share Skiathos with you on this Botanical Art Escape. I am sure you too will fall in love with it’s charm. I’m happy to guide you as you learn and as you paint the wonderful flora of the island. We will be joined by fellow artists Yvonne and Despina during our time. They along with myself, will be happy to do everything possible to make your stay very special.
Time for You!
More than anything , this will be time for you! Time to stop, to really look at plants, to smell, to breathe, to reflect and to immerse yourself in the process of painting.
Time to Paint!
Numbers will be limited to ensure that each person gets personal attention during our studio time. Instruction will benefit those with limited experience and also those with more experience who are aiming to enhance their skills and extend their competence.
Time to Learn!
We will cover simple techniques to accurately draw plants, by observing their structures and shapes. Learning about light and shadow will bring life to our drawing. Tips to create a dynamic composition will be followed by exploring colour mixing and matching and the simple layered wet and dry watercolor techniques needed to make a botanical painting. Learning, practicing and applying techniques will be our focus.
There will be an emphasis on examining plants, their structures, colours and textures. We will aim to capture the essence of our plant subjects with a combined focus on aesthetic beauty and scientific truth.
Skiathos with its verdant hillsides and turquoise waters, is a perfect fit for artists and nature lovers. It lies in the northern Aegean and enjoys average temperatures of between 20 and 25 degrees throughout September.
While Skiathos is familiar to us all as the eye watering setting for the film, Mamma Mia, it is an island steeped in rich literary, historical and cultural traditions.
Three of the island’s many beautiful beaches are within easy walking distance from our villa. Kolios lies half way along the island’s main bus route. A short fifteen minute taxi or bus journey away, the main town of Skiathos has an international airport with regular flight connections to many UK and European destinations, along with daily flight connections with Athens. The port of Skiathos has regular ferry services from Thessaloniki, Volos and Agios Constantinos.
Perched just above the bay of Kolios, home for our time in Skiathos will be this beautifully spacious villa. With it’s backdrop of olive trees, fig trees, citrus trees and pines and it’s panoramic views over the bay, Villa Kolios is the ideal location for a relaxing botanical art holiday. The infinity swimming pool is the perfect spot for an early morning or late afternoon swim. The terrace, which extends the entire length of the house is perfect for outside dining, offering spectacular views over the bay.
Our studio is situated on the ground floor and opens out to the covered pergola. Throughout our week there will be twenty five hours of botanical art tuition in the studio or in ‘the field’. During your free time the studio will be available for some personal painting whenever you wish. A simple art materials list will be provided, but we will keep this to a minimum to accommodate those who are travelling a distance.
19.00 Welcome drinks reception
20.30. Supper will be available throughout the evening to facilitate those arriving on the evening Aegean airlines flight from Athens.
8.00 Breakfast on the terrace
9.00 Studio introduction followed by a field trip to discover the local flora.
14.00 Free time to explore, go to the beach, work in the studio.
Monday/ Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday
15.00 Free time for rest, beach, town, walking, continuing in studio.
8.00 Breakfast on the terrace
10.00 Depart for those staying for one week
For those staying for two weeks there will be a choice of optional workshops on Saturday and Sunday.
PLEIN AIR PAINTING, with YVONNE AYOUB of Painting Skiathos, who will offer an acrylic painting day in the old town of Skiathos. Details to follow. www.paintingskiathos.wordpress.com
Numerous unspoiled beaches nearby within a ten to fifteen minute walk from the villa, with turquoise waters and golden sands for a relaxing swim, following our painting sessions.
Optional afternoon tour of the island’s monasteries and more remote areas, to experience the wild beauty of the island.
Take a boat trip to explore Lalaria and Kastro beaches. Lalaria beach with it’s white pebbles and crystal clear turquoise water and distinctive stone arch, has been named one of the most beautiful in the world. The secluded Kastro beach lies at the bottom of the hillside leading to the ancient city of Kastro. The family run taverna on Kastro beach is a must for a cool drink and delicious Greek snacks.
Choose to watch the original Mamma Mia movie in the outdoor cinema where it had its world premiere.
Enjoy a coffee or digestif at the Bourtzi Bar on the beautiful Venetian Bourtzi, with it’s stunning views over the town and the old port.
Sip a cocktail on the cushions of the steps leading from one of our two dinner locations in town.
All rooms have direct access to either a private balcony or patio with views.
All rooms are either double or twin. Non painting partners or friends are welcome if sharing a room.. Please inquire about the additional costs.
Breakfast will consist of locally made fresh pastries, fruit, honey, yoghurt, eggs, avocado and bacon.
Buffet lunch with delicious locally sourced fresh ingredients will be available in the villa from Monday to Friday.
Aperitifs will be offered in the villa.
Wine is included with dinner each evening.
We will enjoy a traditional Greek evening at O’Batis Taverna overlooking the port and the Bourtzi in Skiathos. O’Batis is run by Eleni who is also an artist and her husband Christos.
Another evening we will eat under the mulberry tree in the square at Taverna Alexandros, which is run by Magda and her family. We will be serenaded by Greek rembetiko music. Rembetiko is beyond a genre of music, it encapsulates the soul of Greece.
We have some excellent dining options in Kolios close to the villa and we will also eat at home some evenings.
We are very happy to accommodate any of your particular dietary requirements.
Guests are requested to book flights at your own cost. It may be possible to book a charter flight directly into Skiathos from some UK airports. Other flight options might be to fly directly to Athens in time to connect with the evening Aegean airlines flight leaving Athens on Saturday evening. For those wishing to fly into Volos or Thessaloniki, there are direct ferries from both cities into Skiathos most days.
On your arrival into Skiathos, we will arrange for you to be met and brought directly to the villa. Your transfer back to the airport or port will also be facilitated for you.
Cost for each week.
€1,950 – one person using double or twin room.
accommodation 7 nights,
7 x breakfast,
6 x lunch,
7 x dinner
25 hrs. botanical art tuition
Use of studio
Transfers to and from the airport or port.
Transfers to and from Skiathos town on the two evenings when we will have dinner in town.
Following registration Laura will send you a simple list of required materials. Before the workshop, Laura will send you detailed workshop notes available in English and in Spanish along with other supporting documents to help you prepare for your visit to Barcelona.
September is feeling like a new start, a tentative start… but one with more of a tangible sense of confidence and bravery than we have experienced for a while. My dear friend and fellow artist, Despina Mitselou from the island of Skiathos, Greece, yesterday shared the Skiathos tradition of celebrating the New Year at the start of September by throwing a pomegranate on the floor of their homes to bring health and happiness.
‘Bountiful – Punica granatum ‘Nana’ captures the pomegranates as I saw them growing on a tree in El Poblenou, Barcelona, where I was last teaching botanical art during autumn 2019. I just couldn’t take my eyes from the jewel like seeds glistening in these luscious fruits. Having completed numerous sketches in situ and taken lots of colour notes to record details, I began to work on the painting back in my studio at home in Ireland.
It was a work in progress over the long months throughout 2020 when all of life had changed for us all.
It brought me to the warmth and colour of the streets of Barcelona and the rolling hills and turquoise waters of Skiathos, Greece where I first fell in love with these abundant trees . It brought me to the warmth of the people I’ve met in these places.
It was a place of joy and solace as I worked in my studio listening to stories on the radio of sickness and death – of resilience, togetherness and hope. It was a place of bounty and focus, a beckoning force taking me to a place apart when there was nowhere else.
Online Workshops – Autumn, 2021
Workshop 1, October 8 and 9, 2021
Warm, Rich and Deep 1.
Workshop 2, November 5 and 6, 2021
Warm, Rich and Deep 2.
Workshop 1 and Workshop 2 – Cost €280
Both workshops will be happening from 14.00 hrs to 19.00 hrs GMT each day to facilitate artists from the west coast through to east coast US and throughout Europe.
Following requests from artists living in Asia and Australasia, I will give an alternative option time wise for my next set of online workshops.
This was one of my Dad’s favourite sayings, usually quoted as he stood washing dishes looking out the kitchen window at the birds, the hedgerows and the fields here on the outskirts of Kilkenny in the south east of Ireland. He had a fascination for nature, people and all of life so who knows what thoughts he mused over as he reached for his synopsis of Darwinian theory.
Had he lived, Dad would have been ninety this past week. I’ve wondered over the past few months what he would have made of the huge challenges we have been faced with. I think, like so many, he would have been wise, resilient, resourceful, self reliant but empathetic and very conscious of others. He would have adapted. We’ve all had to adapt, to change our plans, our ways of working and being – with the hope of better things to come.
Wintering Out- Acanthus mollis
As a botanical artist, I am fascinated by the notion of temporal change in the plant world. Every moment in the life cycle of a plant is just that, a moment in time, even when it seems that all life has left the plant, change continues to occur. The dynamism of growth, from the first sprouting of a seed to the last moment of change in colour and form of the dying plant, utterly captivates me.
While walking in Birr Castle Demesne last winter, I was captivated by the shiny gloriously coloured seedpods of the acanthus as it faded back into the herbaceous border. Moving from warm yellows to greens and into inky deep blues, I was drawn in both by the colours but also by the complex twisty spiked forms. From the first moment this acanthus caught my eye, I thought of the Seamus Heaney anthology ‘Wintering Out’. How apt that his words ‘if we can winter this one out we can summer anywhere’ have encouraged us during these challenging days.
Initially, I intended to make a botanical illustration of Nerines bowdenii. However, life and other commitments prevented me from following my original intention. I kept the flowers in my studio and after about two months I realised that they had continued to change into the most mesmerising colours and forms. I was completely blown away by their beauty as they became more and more frail and delicate in the process of dying.
Bountiful- Punica granatum ‘Nana’
Bountiful- Punica granatum ‘Nana’ is twice life size. It captures some pomegranates with one dangling precariously from a tree. I found them growing in El Poble Nou, Barcelona, where I was teaching botanical art during autumn 2019. I just couldn’t take my eyes from the jewel like seeds glistening in the fruits. Having completed numerous sketches in situ and taken lots of colour notes and photographs to record details, I began to work on the painting back in my studio at home in Ireland.
It’s been a work in progress over the past few months when life has changed for us all. It brought me to the warmth and colour of the streets in Barcelona and to other pomegranate trees, particularly those I’ve seen in Skiathos in Greece where I first fell in love with pomegranates. It’s brought me to the warmth of the people I’ve met in those places. It’s been a place of solace and focus, a beckoning force taking me to a place apart when there was nowhere else. It’s been a place of joy and solace as I worked in my studio listening to stories on the radio of sickness and death – of resilience, togetherness and hope.
Wintering Out – Acanthus mollis, is currently showing in ‘Through the Artist’s Eye – Birr Castle Demesne’. www.birrcastle.com
Nerines bowdenii and Punica granatum ‘Nana’ will both be shown in ‘Exploring Botany – Botanical Art from Europe and Japan, Past and Present’, The Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, Krakow, Poland. The exhibition will open when current restrictions have been lifted in Poland. www.manggha.pl