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Residential Courses this summer and Autumn

Residential Courses this summer and Autumn




relax, recharge, refresh

“Our residential courses represent an unmissable

opportunity to escape, breathe, walk, draw and write freely to see where your thoughts and observations take you.” ~ Emily Ball

Images: beach near Salema, Algarve; Emily at Cuckmere Haven; artist working at the Ros Hodge's villa in Portugal.


Dear  ‍ ‍


This summer and autumn, we’d like to invite you to come with us to a creative space  where you will be looked after and nourished. A space away from the distractions of everyday life, a space to immerse yourself in and nurture your own creativity.


A‍s artists, as human beings, we all need to find ways to resource and nourish ourselves. Let us do that for you. This August and September we are offering three creative residential opportunities in two very distinct locations, each as beautiful and rich as the other:


  • An Artist Retreat: Walking, Drawing,Writing is set in the South Downs National Park in England with Emily Ball and Katie Sollohub leading you on drawing walks to engage with the sublime landscape whilst gently exploring your own creative impulses. (5 – 9 August 2024)


  • Located in a spectacular nature reserve on the south coast of Portugal,  Walking and Drawing in the Algarve with Katie Sollohub offers you new ways to creatively respond, absorb and travel through the landscape. (1 – 7 September 2024.   


  • Emily Ball’s Portugal-based course takes place the following week, and is  entitled Expressive Painting in the Algarve Landscape: exploring colour and mark making as a personal visual language. The focus of this course is helping you develop your confidence in transforming dynamic studies into expressive, personal paintings. (8 – 14 September, 2024)



As well as offering you a chance to recharge on a personal and artistic level, our residential courses also represent an investment in you and your art practice,  and can help to clarify what really matters creatively to you. 


Join us for one, or choose to come to all three.  It is worth stating that the two Algarve courses beautifully compliment one another; with Katie's drawing course proiding the perfect preparation for Emily's painting course.  To that end, if you book both Algarve courses you can enjoy a 10% discount.


Read on to find out more, or if you can’t wait and are ready to book yourself some quality, creative ’me’ time, click on the links below to head straight to our website:

Please note that for each of our residential courses, it is important that you feel physically able enough to walk for a few hours each day. 

Image: Cuckmere Haven (Katie Sollohub)

Image:‍ Ros Hodge's Villa in the Algarve (Emily Ball)

An Artist’s Retreat


Walking, Drawing, Writing on the South Downs



With Emily Ball & Katie Sollohub


5-9 August 2024 | £900


all of your materials, vegetarian food

and shared accommodation are included in the price*

“I loved the location and am obsessed with the meadow…There is certainly a great variety of landscape to

discover and interact with both through drawing and

writing.  I am looking at the landscape in a completely different way.”

~ Liz Pemberton, attended An Artist’s Retreat in 2023.‍

Image: The meadow on the South Downs, near Gayles Retreat Centre (Katie Sollohub)


Based at Gayles Retreat Centre in the South Downs National Park overlooking Cuckmere Haven and the Seven Sisters, this retreat invites you to become immersed in the landscape: using walking, drawing and writing to travel through it, absorb it, and engage creatively with it.‍

Images: artists working in the landscape during last year's retreat (Katie Sollohub)


You will be gently guided and supported in the space throughout by Katie and Emily in the form of practical exercises and demonstrations, guided mediations, one-to-one tutorials and group conversations. During the retreat, Emily and Katie will encourage you to use writing to inspire your drawings. Writing - like walking, like drawing - is a continual thread, a movement in thought, forming how we interpret the world.


“All the activities were useful for me and the duration of the course was exactly right. The supply of materials was very generous and it was great that we didn’t need to bring anything.”

~Katie Hughes, attended An Artist’s Retreat in 2023.

Image: Emily Ball and artist making studies on the South Downs (Katie Sollohub)


With all meals provided and comfortable accommodation offered by Gayles, artists have the chance to relax and immerse themselves in their creative

practice. Much time is available for independent work, but the retreat also

offers a sense of community with many opportunities to share thoughts and ideas about creativity with other artists. 


“I thought the structure and balance of the course was

really good – a perfect balance of teaching, led exercises and help and time in the landscape both alone and with

input from others.  The schedule meant the quiet times

between were long enough to get away or recuperate but short enough to feel it was a full-on good value few days.”

~ Liz de Pauley, attended An Artist’s Retreat in 2023.

Images: Gayles Retreat Centre, delicious vegetarian food, artists working indoors. (@retreat_to_gayles, Emily Ball)


“The food was exceptional, the location superb and the

retreat at Gayles perfect.  I really felt looked after by the owners.” ~Amanda Jackson, attended An Artist’s Retreat in 2023.


How wonderful to be able to stay for four nights in this inspirational location, with nothing else to interrupt your creative flow.  Join us for what will be a really positive, nurturing and soul-nourishing experience.


For more information and to book, please click on the button below:

*Please note that most of the accommodation is based on sharing with three or four others, in comfortable, spacious dorms.  There are only two spaces for single occupancy in the house and one room in the house for just two sharing.  Both of these options incur additional costs.  Please see the courses webpage for more details.

Image:‍ Cuckmere Haen and the sea (Katie Sollohub)

 Residential Courses in the Algarve, Portugal

“These weeks working with Emily and Katie are a dream come true.  To work on huge paper on the beach.  To take

morning walks, and sunshine swims in the long-lingering sunny days of Autumn. To have the luxury to slip deeply into my art practice. Bliss.” Rosalind Hodges, artist and owner of the villa in the Algarve.

 Image: Sunset in the Algarve (Emily Ball)


Our Portugal courses are set in the beautiful coastal Nature Reserve at the Western end of the Algarve - just a short walk from the fishing village of Salema with its rugged untouched coves, and wilderness paths leading to unspoilt beaches.  You will be staying in the comfortable and spacious villa of artist Ros Hodges where you will be treated to the most delicious food and relaxing surroundings, including extensive gardens and a swimming pool.

Images: Ros Hodge's comfortable and spacious villa


Please be aware that to get to the sea and the more remote areas of

landscape you will need to  be able to walk and carry a day-pack 2km and be able to walk on narrow, uneven, hilly coastal earth paths. If this is not possible then the gardens and landscape that surrounds the house are also beautiful and full of inspiration.

Images: The gardens surrounding the villa


Both Katie's Walking, Drawing, Writing in the Algarve and Emily’s Expressive Painting course  are stand-alone courses, but you might want to combine them and stay in Ros’s wonderful villa for two weeks!  Committing to both courses will be a magical experience as they feed so beautifully into one another. As an incentive to do this, we are offering a 10% discount if you book a place on both courses.


Please note that accommodation for both Algarve courses is based on sharing with one, two, or three others, in comfortable, spacious rooms. There is limited space for single occupancy in the villa, but can be arranged at a nearby B&B for those willing to pay a premium as these options incur additional costs.  Please see the courses' webpages for more details on the additional costs

assocaited with these options.

Image: beach (Emily Ball)


Walking & Drawing in the Algarve, Portugal



With Katie Sollohub


1 – 7 September 2024 | £1995


Arrive on Sunday, taught course Monday – Friday, leave Saturday


Course fee includes teaching, materials, food and accommodation

Image: the beach near Salema, Algarve (Emily Ball)


During the five days of this course you will be immersed in the spectacular,

expansive landscape of the Algarve, with Katie guiding and supporting you to  engage creatively with your surroundings. Upon arrival your will be given a sketchbook.  Think of this as a visual diary, with writing encouraged to

accompany your journey. Katie will introduce a playful and experimental

approach with exercises and materials suited to working fast and freely when on location, awakening the senses.  Some examples include: meditation,

walking drawings, taking a line for a walk, blind drawing, drawing sound, mark making and experimental collage.


“Armed with a pocketful of tools and a clipboard of paper or sketchbook we will set off each day to respond, notice and connect with our surroundings. We will find out as we go, celebrate the beauty, the physicality, the surprises; taking time to rest and reflect along the way.”

~ Katie Sollohub

Images:making studies at the beach (Emily Ball, Ros Hodges)


To make the most of the cooler ends of the late summer days, you will start early, leaving the hottest part of the day for rest and reflection, with evenings left open for optional yoga, starlit walks, and following your own practice. 


Whilst you will be sharing meals together, with the option of working into the evening, the grounds are large enough to find a space to retreat by yourself whenever the need arises. There is space to work in the shelter of the open veranda, tucked into the shade and shelter of the villa, as well as in the garden and grounds.

Image: students working on studies and paintings at the villa (Emily Ball)



By the end of the week you will have a sketchbook full of drawings, writing, collage and other experimental studies. All the work will be portable, small enough to take home with you, whether collaged into your bulging sketchbook like an unfolding scrap book, or in a folder of drawings on separate pieces of paper. The course will offer you an alternative way of drawing and a lasting visual memory of an unforgettable experience.




“This course is a brilliant way to experience a place creatively and with awareness, and will hopefully inspire new thoughts and processes that will feed your creative practice. You will come away rested and refreshed with enough inspiration to last you for the rest of the year!”


 ~ Katie Sollohub

Image: the red rugged landscape of the Algarve (Emily Ball)

For more information and to book your place, please click on the button below:‍


Expressive Painting in the Algarve Landscape

Exploring colour and mark making as a personal visual language.


With Emily Ball

8 -14 September 2024 | £1995

Arrive on Sunday, taught course Monday – Friday, leave Saturday

Course fee includes accommodation, tuition, all food and materials

Image:Beach (Emily Ball)







Making paintings that capture the place and fleeting experiences of the

dramatic, wild landscape of this part of the Algarve is a breath-taking


Image: Algarve landscape (Emily Ball)

Image: Algarve landscape (Emily Ball)






You will find yourself walking on

weathered paths brushing past wild fennel, navigating between

sun-bleached plants, across hills and then down to the beach and sea.

“Colour will be an important theme for us to explore during this week: seeking equivalents to the glowing red earth, rugged vistas to the sea, the wiry, bleached vegetation and beautiful light. Even the invisible and intangible sensations of heat, breeze, birdsong, space and your own mood can be translated into colour and marks.”

~ Emily Ball‍

Image: colour studies from last year's Algarve course (Emily Ball)


Making the most of the early morning coolness, you will start each day with a walk. Going out before breakfast to make studies of the landscape as the sun comes up gives you time to feel connected to the place and witness the changes and colours that come alive moment by moment. Using these studies and the experience you will return to the villa to work in your own space to develop your paintings.

Image: Emily's studies and paintings during last year's Algarve residential course.


"During the taught course I created a lot of very interesting studies…I think the exercises were very useful but also working with other painters helped me to overcome hesitation and uncertainty. And so did Emily. She encouraged me a lot and gave me a few practical tips. My way of painting changed; becoming more bold and expressive."

~ Luciana Meazza, 2022


Emily will provide practical demonstrations and exercises to enable you to unpack the painting process.  She will encourage you to have a dialogue with the work and be open to where it can take you.  She will invite you to play and invent; to be curious and inquisitive about the materials and the endless possibilities of combinations of marks and motifs. By the end of the course you will have a valuable  collection of painted studies and experiments that are expressive and personal to you and your experience of being in the landscape.


As well as primed canvas, beautiful papers and sketchbooks available to work on, there will also be generous quantities of oil paint or acrylics, inks, mediums and mixed media are provided.  Our aim is to provide all the kit that you need artistically along with nourishing food and a nurturing atmosphere, so that over the course of the week you can relax and really get into your creative flow.

 “Emily gave us some

direction and got us doing studies of the area. She would probe each of us

further into our why and what of painting. My biggest take away was that ok is not good enough - you've got to love what you are creating. I felt that my whole self was

nurtured with wonderful, home cooked food, and a beautiful environment.  A big thank you to Emily and Ros, who took care of our every need."

~ Deborah Pugh, 2022

 ‍Image: Deborah Pugh's paintings, Algarve 2022‍

For more information and to book your place, please click on the button below: