We offer a fabulous range of art courses and retreats. We can now offer an animal painting course, a landscape drawing and painting retreat, a printmaking course plus a still life: beginner’s drawing and painting course.

To clarify, retreats differ from courses in the aspect that they include accommodation and social activities. Furthermore, you can also choose a Saturday Introduction Experience from any of our course and retreat packages.

We have designed our courses and retreats to offer a varied and interesting programme. Whether you wish to develop your existing skills, or a beginner, our courses will meet your needs.

Finally, all of our art courses and retreats offer a well-designed programme of activity with expert tuition.

Please choose the desired area of study from the following quick links:

Animal Painting

Suitable for all ability levels

A course designed to develop your ability to create characterful animal paintings whilst also exploring a range of watercolour techniques.

Landscape Drawing & Painting

Suitable for all ability levels

A retreat offering an opportunity to immerse yourself in idyllic landscape and learn how to create effective landscape imagery.

Printmaking Techniques

Suitable for all ability levels

A creative course exploring printmaking techniques and expressive use of colour.

Still Life Drawing & painting

Aimed more specifically at beginners

On this course, you will learn how to develop colourful works of art enhancing your ability to manipulate watercolour successfully and use colour theory.

art courses example image of a hare painting

In this animal painting course, you can learn how to paint realistic and charming animal portraits in a range of watercolour techniques. Furthermore, you may also wish to paint your own pet portraits.

The course offers guided practice and practical demonstrations throughout ensuring that it is suitable for all ability levels.

Your course leader is Sharon Brookes who is a practising artist and fully qualified teacher with nearly 30 years experience of teaching art.

Animal Painting Overview:

  • Introduction to watercolour techniques through practical demonstration and practice.
  • Guided practice on how to complete accurate drawings of animals.
  • Step-by-step demonstrations on applying watercolour layers in order to build tone and texture.
  • Demonstration and practice on watercolour techniques to develop realism and fine detail.
animal painting course lion example

An example itinerary for the animal painting course:

DayActivity
Sat We will meet at the studio at 10:30am. The tutor will demonstrate a range of watercolour technique and support a practical session where the emphasis will be on achieving fun and experimental approaches.
The second half of the session will be spent on drawing and developing painting techniques. The aim of the session will be to complete an animal painting study.
The session will conclude at 3:30pm.
Please note that you can also opt for a Saturday Introductory Experience when booking.
Sun We will meet at the studio at 10:30am. The last day will be spent in completing a more detailed and final animal portrait painting. During this session, you may wish to paint a pet portrait from a photograph that you bring to the retreat. The tutor will guide you throughout the day and demonstrate how to add layers and more detail to your work with step-by-step tutorials. You will be fully supported throughout the day in order to complete a high quality outcome.
The course will conclude at 3:30pm

Animal Painting Course

  • A 2-day animal painting course with professional tuition, all materials, lunches and refreshments for just £170.
  • Or choose a 1 day introductory experience for £85.

We do not include accommodation within this package. Please visit our accommodation page to explore places to stay within the area.

landscape painting retreat example, landscape painting

Learn how to capture expressive landscapes in this art retreat.

You will have the opportunity to use the surrounding Herefordshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as inspiration for your work. There will also be plenty of opportunities to work “en plain air” outside amongst your surroundings.

Throughout the retreat, you will receive expert guidance on all aspects of watercolour painting. You will also learn how to improve your drawing technique. In conclusion, this retreat is suitable for all ability levels.

landscape painting example, vineyard painting

The Landscape Retreat Overview:

  • Offers the opportunity to explore the picturesque local landscapes and produce drawing and painting from direct observation.
  • Gives an introduction to watercolour technique with full demonstration and guidance in a range of experimental approaches.
  • Provides studio-based sessions where step-by-step guidance will support the achievement of detailed and refined quality pieces.
  • Has expert tuition in technical aspects of perspective in order to produce more accomplished artworks.

An example itinerary for the landscape painting retreat:

DayActivity
FriArrival at Backbury House Studio at 12pm for welcome refreshments and introductions. Afterward, your tutor will guide you through practical demonstration and workshops in drawing techniques. This will enable you to develop your understanding of how to achieve realistically tree and foliage studies.
Evening You will be invited to attend a social meal and wine tasting at Backbury House where you can sample some of our house wines from the Backbury Vineyard. Also, this will be an opportunity to get to know each other further.
SatWe will meet at the studio at 10:30 am. Your course tutor will demonstrate and guide you through various watercolour techniques and you will then fully experiment with the medium as well as gain confidence in its usage.
Afterwards, you will put in to practice what has been learnt by completing studies of the surrounding landscapes. Your course tutor will provide you with expert guidance and practical demonstration in order for you to build your skill level in drawing and painting landscapes from first hand “en plein air”.
The session will conclude at 3:30pm
EveningYou will be invited to join the course tutor at a local hostelry for evening drinks and a meal. This will also be an opportunity to discuss the day’s activity and share ideas.
SunWe will meet at the studio at 10:30am. On the final day of the course, you will be guided to complete a detailed landscape painting. This will be a chance to work on a more developed piece. You will be shown practical demonstrations and receive full guided practice in order to achieve quality final pieces.
The retreat will conclude at 3:30pm
landscape painting retreat example, sheep shack painting

The different booking options:

In order to offer flexibility, we offer three different booking options.

1: The full weekend retreat package offers a fully inclusive experience with the full course programme plus all meals and two nights accommodation in a luxury hotel included.

2: You can also opt for a 2-day course which offers the full course programme, but does not include evening social activities or accommodation.

3: Finally, you can opt for a Saturday Introductory Experience which offers a one-day introduction to the subject.

Landscape Painting Retreat Prices

  • A 3-day landscape painting retreat including professional tuition, materials, meals and 2 nights luxury accommodation for just £605.
  • or choose the 2-day course option which includes professional tuition, refreshments and all course materials for just £170
  • Or choose a 1 day induction experience for £85.

Printmaking is a wonderfully creative process where drawings can be translated in to print. Imagery can then be printed in a variety of different ways including the use of different colours and background ideas.

The resulting artworks offer both detailed imagery plus vibrant use of colour.

On this printmaking course, you will learn how to develop drawn imagery into print using the mono-print and dry point etching techniques.

The Printmaking Course Overview

  • learn how to develop designs suitable for print
  • learn how to recreate your designs using the mono-printing process
  • develop your designs further and create an etching plate.
  • have fun experimenting with a range of expressive colourful techniques to create vibrant backgrounds for your prints
  • accomplish a range of dynamic prints to proudly take home
  • all materials are included in this course
  • the course is suitable for all ability levels as indivually tailored support will be offered
  • a light lunch plus refreshments is included within the course price

An example itinerary for the printmaking course:

DayActivity
SaturdayWe will meet at the studio for 10:30am for welcome refreshments.
The course tutor will then introduce lots of visual examples of the printmaking process to inform and inspire. Following this, you will be guided step-by-step to create a drawn design suitable for print.
The second part of the day will involve exploring the mono-printing technique. You will learn how to transfer your design into print using this method plus use different papers and backgrounds for your prints. It is a very creative and fun method of working.
Day one will conclude at 3:30pm.
Please note that you can also opt for a Saturday Introductory Experience when booking.
SundayWe will meet back at the studio for 10:30am refreshments.
You will then be introduced to the dry-point etching process. Lots of visual examples will be shown from the tutor’s personal portfolio to inspire you. The dry-point etching process involves etching in to a hard surface with an etching needle. You will be able to use the design created in day 1 for this work. By the end of the session, you will have developed your etching plate.
The second session will start by producing colourful and creative backgrounds on to which to print. You will then learn how to effectively ink-up and print your etching plate onto to your prepared backgrounds. You will also learn how to refine your work and problem solve to ensure effective prints.
The course will conclude at 3:30pm

Printmaking Course

  • A 2-day printmaking course with professional tuition, all materials, lunches and refreshments for just £170.
  • Or choose a 1 day introductory experience for £85.

We do not include accommodation within this package. Please visit our accommodation page to explore places to stay within the area.

still life painting of a poppy, art course exemplar

Learn how to capture realistic imagery by effectively applying the elements of art. For example, you will explore the elements of line, tone and colour.

During the course, you will receive expert guidance with practical demonstrations and individual support.

You will learn how to master a range of expressive drawing and painting technique. You will also develop your ability to apply the rules of perspective in order to achieve depth and form.

Due to the fully guided practice and practical demonstrations offered throughout the course, it is suitable for beginners. However, the course tutor will tailor the course for all specific needs.

Still Life Course Overview:

  • Drawing tutorials to record line, tone and form accurately. These are the fundamentals of art.
  • Colour theory demonstrations and practice to develop understanding of how to use and manipulate colour in your work.
  • You will also complete experimentation with watercolour to develop skills and understanding in the medium.
  • We will explore how the masters do it in order to develop ideas for your work.
  • Lastly, you will be able to create a personal and accomplished final painting.
still life painting of a pine cone, still life course exemplar

still life painting course

An example itinerary for the still life beginner’s course:

DayActivity
Sat We will meet at the studio for 10:30am for welcome refreshments. The course tutor will then demonstrate a range of drawing and watercolour technique. The emphasis will be on learning and applying the elements of art. You will be introduced to a range of professional artist’s work to gain a fuller understanding of how the masters do it. Colour theory will be explained and experimented with in order to achieve lively and vibrant experiments.
The second part of the day will be devoted to completing drawn and painted studies of still life focusing on direct observation and developing personal style.
The session will conclude at 3:30pm.
Please note that you can also opt for a Saturday Introductory Experience when booking.
Sun We will meet at the studio for 10:30am. The last day will be spent in completing a more detailed and still life painting where you will refine and consolidate your skills. The course tutor will demonstrate how to effectively develop composition using perspective drawing. You will also learn about how to add layers and more detail to your work supported with step-by-step demonstrations. You will be fully supported throughout the day in order to complete a high quality outcome.
The course will conclude at 3:30pm

Still Life Beginner’s Course

  • A 2-day still life drawing and painting course with professional tuition, materials and also refreshments for just £170.
  • Or choose a 1 day introductory experience for £85.

Please note that there is no accommodation included within this package. Please visit our accommodation page to explore places to stay within the area.

Quick links to alternative weekend courses and retreats

For your convenience, we supply all materials and equipment during your art retreat. However, you may wish to purchase or update your own personal supplies.

We recommend Winsor and Newton products. A good starter range is the “Cotman” range. For more intense colour and pigment, you may wish to try their “Professional” range.

Winsor and Newton also have a great selection of brushes. The best kind for watercolour are sable or imitation sable. The Cotman Range sets are a good starter set.

If you would like further advice and assistance in suitable equipment and materials for watercolour painting, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Backbury House Retreats

Backbury House

Checkley

Hereford

HR1 4NA

sbrookes@bhretreats.co.uk

07584 081970