How much experience do I need? We welcome all levels of ability on most of the courses. The small group size means that Lionel can work with individuals to suggest ideas and demonstrate techniques. A typical group consists of people wirth a variety of levels of experience from beginners to more proficient artists. Occasionally we offer a course aimed at people wanting more advanced help and this will be stated in the course description.

How big are the class sizes?  Typical class sizes are 5-6 .  Eight is the maximum we take but even at this number Lionel has plenty of time to help everyone individually.

I’m interested in watercolour, are your classes suitable? Absolutely.  Lionel has experience in teaching in a wide variety of media and small group sizes mean you will get plenty of advice on using your chosen materials.

How fit do I need to be?  Many of the courses include sketching trips but with ample sources of inspiration on the doorstep it is not usually necessary to travel far.  However fitness levels required do vary between courses, so check out the amount of walking likely in the individual course details.  If you’re at all concerned just give us a ring.

What materials do I need to bring?  On painting and sketching courses we recommend that you bring your own materials if you have them and which you will be familiar with using. However you might want to experiment with either oils or acrylics before buying any and we can offer you the use of student quality stock here to try out. You will also need a surface to paint on and brushes. If you don’t want to bring your own canvas boards or stretched canvases we have a range of sizes and shapes here for you to purchase at very reasonable prices. Also available for sale are a variety of heavy water colour papers and canvas papers.

You can use the studio 150 gsm sketching paper, charcoal and pencils but we recommend that you bring a hardbacked sketch pad of around A4 size minimum and any other sketching materials you are interested in exploring with such as pens, coloured pencils water colours and pastels.

What’s included in the price? The price includes all tuition, some basic materials if required (see above), a tasty sit down lunch, coffee/tea and cakes during the day.  Accommodation and evening meal not included.

What happens in the evenings? The studio is available for you to use in the evening to continue with your work.  Lionel delivers an optional slide show on one evening and often the class goes out for a meal in a local restaurant or pub beforehand.

I’m not sure where to stay?  We’ve listed a number of options on the accommodation pages and if you’d like any help in choosing please get in touch.

What if I have a food allergy?  Catering for a food allergy is no problem at all.  You just need to complete the relevant section of the booking form.  The lunches tend to be vegetarian and we have in the past catered for vegan, gluten free and wheat free diets as well as various intolerances to particular foods or additives.

What about non-painting partners? There are ample activities for non-painting partners to participate in including golf, fishing, bird watching, sight seeing etc.  Alston itself has a number of tourist attractions such as the Steam Railway which is expanding its line this year.  Walking and cycling are of course major activities here and there are also numerous sites of cultural or historic interest such as Killope Mine and a little further a field Hadrian’s Wall. Non-painting partners are welcome to sit in on the evening slide show.

What other facilities are there in Garrigill?  We are lucky to still have our village Post Office which also operates as a village shop and has a good range of basic provisions.  We even have an indoor swimming pool which be hired out at a basic rate of £20 per hour for the whole pool.  There is no cashpoint in the village (the nearest being Alston)  although you may be able to withdraw money from the Post Office depending which bank you are with.  T

How can I get there if I don’t have my own transport?  As part of our Green Policy we do all that we can to promote car sharing and use of public transport.  The nearest rail stations to Alston are Penrith or Hexham.  Bus links are limited so just contact us if you’re thinking of arriving by train and we may be able to pick you up

What’s the weather like?  There is less rainfall here than in the Lake District, however we are at high altitude so its important to pack warm clothes especially if your course involves outdoor sketching.  The studio has underfloor heating and is kept at a comfortable working temperature. 

Where can I park?  You can park at the front of the house and studio if you are not staying in the village.

What if I want to cancel? The deposit you pay is normally non-refundanable unless the reason for cancellation is unavoidable such as illness or bereavement. We can usually offer you a place on another course later in the year or the following year if that suits you.

Frequently asked Questions