Thursday, October 21, 2010

More on the New Zealand Painting Holiday

We've had an amazing response to our painting holiday in New Zealand. Tentatively, we only have space for a couple more and we haven't even started to promote it other than here on my blog. So we've decided to see if we have enough people interested for a second week. The dates for the first painting holiday are February 26 - March 4, 2012. We'll have two days off and we'll repeat the workshop from March 7 - March 14.  Note that this is 2012 sixteen months from now.

Sandspit, New Zealand
Painted on location

This is a brief synopsis:
Enjoy a late summer painting holiday with Joe Garcia and Adele Earnshaw in Adele's home country of New Zealand.  Spend a week exploring and painting the beaches, island and rain forests of the Kowhai Coast where Adele spent her childhood, just an hour north of Auckland.  Unlike traditional painting workshops, your studio will be the beautiful New Zealand countryside.  Paint as  much or as little as you like.  Artists will be encouranged to complete at least one small watercolor each day that can be bound into a finished journal when you return home.  We will also work on sketches and notes in your travel diary.  You don't have to be a painter to participate.  Non-painting companions are welcome and it will be fun for everyone.  

Following is an idea of what our schedule and activities will be like.  This is our tentative plan for the first day.

Continental breakfast at the Retreat followed by orientation and a watercolor demo by Joe or Adele. We'll take a scenic drive on the way to Leigh Fish & Chip Shop (which is even recognized in Wikipedia as 'well-known for the quality of its offerings!) where we'll have good ol' NZ fish and chips served the old way, wrapped in newspaper.  

After lunch we're going to Goat Island where we'll take a 45 minute trip on the glass bottom boat before spending the afternoon painting on the beach.  If you're not a painter or don't feel like painting, you can rent snorkeling equipment and have the experience of a lifetime as the area is a protected marine reserve.  There's also a two hour hike where you follow the clifftop through coastal forest with views to the outer Hauraki Gulf.   For those who are diligently painting, a mid-afternoon swim will get the kinks out of your back!

On the way back to our retreat, we may stop at the Matakana Pub & Bistro for dinner.  That evening, I may take a small group to the top of Morrison's Hill to listen for moreporks.  This is the sound of the New Zealand bush at night - and more than anything else, makes me realize that I'm home.   While we're looking for moreporks, perhaps we'll see The Southern Cross in the night sky.

If you'd like to add your name to the first or second painting holiday, send me an email at:  For more information, you can go to the workshop page of my website.

Q & A

Do I have to be an experienced artist for this painting holiday?
No.  Joe and I will be there to offer our help, but we won't be hovering over you as we do in traditional studio workshops.   Other than the first day, we won't be doing 'demos' but you are welcome to watch us paint when we're out on painting excursions.  We will offer assistance (if you want it), daily critiques, painting locations and the camaraderie and fun of painting with other artists in one of the prettiest places in the world.   Non-painters are welcome and won't be bored.

 What does the painting holiday cost?
The cost of the painting holiday will be about $2500, give or take $100.  This includes seven nights accommodation (based on double occupancy). We have six two-bedroom, two-bathroom baches reserved at a retreat in Matakana.   (if you click on the link, you'll see images of the resort and baches) You can travel with a friend and have a room with twin beds and your own bathroom, or if you're traveling with your partner, you'll have a king or queen bed.  The cost also includes breakfast, lunch and 4 of your 7 dinners.  We will provide transportation on our daily painting excursions which includes a day trip to Kawau Island, the glass bottom boat at Goat Island and a sheep dog show.

Bach = New Zealand vacation house, cottage or cabin.  Pronounced 'batch'.

What isn't included in the price?
 Not included in the price is your airfare to New Zealand, three dinners, wine or liquor with the exception of the first dinner (we'll stop at the local market where you can buy beer, wine, etc), an optional Maori concert and museum visit on the last day if it works into your schedule, and transportation from Auckland Airport to Matakana if you cannot be at Auckland Airport for two pre-arranged meeting times.  Optional activities, such as snorkeling, are not covered. 

What does it cost to fly from the U.S. to New Zealand?
Depending on where you fly from, the current rates for late February 2011, on Air New Zealand from Denver to AKL (Auckland) is about $1400-$1500 roundtrip.  From Los Angeles, it's about $1350.    Keep in mind that these are 2011 prices as 2012 prices aren't available yet.

How long is the flight?
Eleven to twelve hours non-stop from the West Coast.  The flights leave in the evening - so you board your aircraft, have dinner and a glass of wine and hopefully sleep all the way to New Zealand!  The flight lands in the early morning hours - 5:30 am - 8:30 am.  If you have trouble sleeping on a flight, on Air New Zealand you'll have your own monitor and an unending selection of movies.

Will someone meet me at the airport in Auckland?
We will be at the airport in the morning to pick up passengers arriving from the U.S.  You'll be driven to the retreat where lunch will be waiting for you and you can spend the afternoon unpacking, napping and taking it easy or take a dip in the pool.  We will also be at the airport in the afternoon to meet those arriving from other parts of New Zealand.

Will I have jet-lag?  What is the time difference?
To reach New Zealand you cross the International Date Line, so you will lose a day but you'll get the day back when you travel back to the U.S.  New Zealand is a day ahead and about four hours back from Pacific Time.    If you're coming from the East Coast, you'll notice the time change more.  It is 9:00 AM on Thursday as I write this - and 5:00 AM Friday morning in New Zealand.

Do I have to drive in New Zealand?
We drive on the left side of the ride with the steering wheel on the right side of the car so some Americans prefer to leave the driving to others.  We will pick you up at the airport, drive you to all the painting locations, take you to the supermarket if you need snacks or a bottle of wine and we'll return you to the airport seven days later.

Can you recommend a way for me to see the rest of New Zealand after the painting holiday?
We'll provide you with information on what you can't miss seeing while in NZ.  We'll also give you information on available tours.  For those interested, we're hoping to put together a custom tour with a Kiwi friend who does tours in New Zealand. 

This is where we will be staying.  We have reserved the group of baches cloest to the river.

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