Join us for a fabulous early autumn Painting Holiday in a 400-year old Montenegrin stone villa, on the Lustica peninsula in the small village of Zabrdje, with unparalleled views over the famed Bay of Kotor and the Dinaric Alps.

The painting holiday will be hosted and taught by Alex Fowler NEAC, a portrait, landscape and still life painter and experienced art teacher. Long-time Montenegro resident Fiona Sawney will also be on hand to answer your questions about the local area and will be offering walks in the beautiful local hills and olive groves, should anyone want a distraction from painting.

The focus of the week will be the inspiring and dramatic setting of the Montenegrin coast. The views from Villa Stari Mlin are breath-taking and provide ample motifs for the week, and the opportunity is there to explore and paint the surrounding Venetian Republic waterside towns and traditional villages, including UNESCO World Heritage site, mediaeval Kotor. Alex will teach students how to view the landscape as a painter. Guests will be encouraged to work on quick “alla prima” paintings as a means of investigating how to capture the essence of their visual experience of the landscape in a short time, and will develop a working method that allows them to be open to the numerous possible directions that a painting might take. Focus will be placed on colour decisions and colour mixing to give guests the best chance to capture the beauty of this wonderful landscape.

Alex will both teach one-on-one and work alongside the guests demonstrating ideas and approaches, and there will be ample opportunity for discussion and critique.

There will be a dedicated chef providing all meals at Villa Stari Mlin. Non-painters are more than welcome to join spouses, partners or friends, enjoy the beautiful surroundings, and take part in the excursions.

It should also be noted that while Alex is primarily an oil-painter, the painting holiday will be suitable for those working in all media, and tuition will be tailored to the needs of individual guests. There will be a maximum of 8 guests in order to allow plenty of individual attention for each painter, and to encourage a relaxed, informal atmosphere, as this holiday is just as much about enjoying oneself as improving painting technique!

from £1,350pp including:

7 nights’ stay in this beautiful heritage property

Full board with dedicated chef, including:

Buffet breakfast

Two-course lunch

Three-course dinner

Refreshments available throughout the day

Transfers from and to the airport in Montenegro (Tivat)

All painting tuition

Painting and Tuition

Each day there will be two Painting Sessions (although you are of course welcome to paint as much as you want!), however exact timing will be flexible depending on excursions, walks, weather, light etc. For half the day guests will paint together as a group with Alex providing guidance and instruction. For the rest of the day guests will be free to venture off on their own to paint and explore. Alex will be painting alongside the guests and will always be available for guidance and advice.

There are a multitude of wonderful subjects to paint; some close to hand and others further afield: The Bay of Kotor, with The Dinaric Alps beyond, the mediaeval walled town of Kotor, the church above the house, olive groves, ruined villages and endless stunning landscapes in every direction. Guests explore these together over the first couple of days to discuss how to turn an interesting motif into a strong painting, and either over a drink in the evening, when the sun goes down and the paints are put away, or first thing in the morning, will meet to discuss their work, and Alex will talk about painting strategies and philosophies, and draw upon the work and methodology of artists of the past as a guide and inspiration.

During the week Alex will be covering:

Brush technique, mark making and paint application
Colour mixing and organising the palette
Selecting a motif and composing an image
Organising and drawing the shapes in the landscape
Selecting the most impactful value and colour relationships

“It's no easy task to corral a group of artists at different stages of their development and with sometimes differing interests, but Alex achieves harmony and progress with a mixture of example, good humour, reserves of enthusiasm and the occasional gentle prod”

Your Painting Tutor, Alex Fowler

Alex is a 43-year-old artist, who splits his time between painting and teaching in London and trips to paint abroad, with Italy, San Francisco and Jerusalem being amongst recent destinations. After a Foundation Course at Chelsea and a Degree in Art History at Edinburgh University, Alex studied painting at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art in London. In 2004 he was elected a member of The New English Art Club, one of the country’s foremost exhibiting societies, with whom he exhibits every year. Alex has over ten years of teaching experience in both figure, still life and landscape painting. He is a passionate and enthusiastic teacher who encourages experimentation and risk-taking, while promoting technical rigour and careful observation. All of his work and his approach to teaching is fired by a love of colour and a firm knowledge and love of the great art of the past.


A few of the lovely things the guests of previous painting trips have said about their painting holiday:

“Villa Stari Mlin provides the painter with the most majestic views of the mountains surrounding Kotor Bay in perfect comfort. There are many terraces to work from near the house, a dedicated room for storing wet paintings and washing brushes, and sheltered deep terrace should the weather be inclement. “

“We had such a brilliant time. There are so many wonderful views overlooking the Bay. Also the bedrooms were very comfortable and great cooking. What could be better for painters on holiday! Alex was a brilliant teacher and helped us all.”

“I got so much work done particularly in the hour and a half before, during and after the sun went down. The sunrises are fabulous too; perfect for capturing the light and transient shades on the mountains. Best of all are the beautifully comfortable bedrooms. All en-suite, and then the food! Delicious, healthy but not too healthy, and with unlimited local wine. “

“Nothing is too much trouble and with the most charming and generous host providing fascinating information about the local history and culture. Highly recommended.”

“I had a splendid and memorable week in this charming and comfortable villa. The food was above excellent and

Alex was a wonderful character, with a sense of humour even when I left oil paint on everything!”

Food and Drink

Elaine Brown, a former super-yacht chef, who has worked for some of the most demanding clients in the world, will be providing the food for your bridge break, offering a delicious and varied menu, which will be nutritionally balanced and using plenty of locally-sourced ingredients. For breakfast a cooked option is offered alongside a buffet of fruits, yoghurts, homemade bread, jams and cereals. Lunch is two courses with wine, and dinner is three courses with wine. Other refreshments (tea, coffee, soft and alcoholic drinks) are available during the course of the day.

Sample menus:

Crumbed prawns with Japanese tartare

Eye fillet steak served with sweet potato and ginger mash, and baked peppers with anchovies & red wine sauce

Chocolate fondant with a raspberry coulis

Courgette soufflé

Tuna steak with lemon caper sauce, served with fennel fritters & rosemary potatoes

Lime tartlet with fresh kiwi

For more details:

For more details and to receive a copy of the brochure please use our contact form or contact Jonathan ( / +44(0)7920 225706) or Alex ( / +44(0)7903 311563).

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