Alpha Painting Holidays

Sketching and Painting Holiday , Western Algarve

with Barry Herniman

The Travelling


Barry Herniman


27th - 3rd November


Sat 27th October


Western Algarve


Villa Termal Das Caldas De Monchique




Sketching & Walking



  Single Room


  Single Occ


  Double Occ






Join Barry Herniman on TheTravelling Sketchbookwhere we will be sketching and walking, enabling us to reach parts of The Western Algarve that other painting holidays cannot reach…probably!

The Algarve is well known for it’s amazing light conditions and vibrant colours from the vivid blue skies and turquoise waters to it’s lush green and colourful vegetation as well as the rustic tiled and coloured traditional buildings.

The Western Algarve is more rural, rustic and peaceful than the hustle and bustle of the Central Algarve with it’s sleepy harbours, quiet mountain villages and unspoilt coastline.

The holiday will be based at Villa Termal Das Caldas De Monchique Spa Resort, which is in the National Park of the Serra De Monchique.

How will it work?

Each morning we will be dropped off by mini-bus and we will either go on a linear or a circular walk where we will walk a short distance and then spend time sketching. Lunch will probably be a packed lunch giving us flexibility and will be at a place where we can do more sketching.

We will then continue on route sketching and walking and will be picked up by mini-bus at our destination for linear walks or back at the start point for circular walks.

Walks will generally be on flat ground with some uphill. Some uneven ground will be encountered and good walking shoes are recommended. The walks are more of a stroll than a route march and each section will be around a mile and we will cover around 3-4 miles by the end of the day, so it is only suitable for those with good mobility.

Non-sketching partners can come on the stroll or go on a more strenuous route as they wish.

All materials including sketch-books will be provided but you need to bring your own brushes and a rucksack to carry all the equipment. We can provide trimmed down equipment from our normal watercolour sets but if you have your own travel sets feel free to bring these as we will not be providing specific travel sets.

However, some studio work will be included in order to produce full paintings from your sketches so please bring all your normal equipment with you on the holiday, a list will be provided nearer the time.


Where will we go?

Possible routes will be walking around Caldas where the holiday is based as there are many painting subjects within the village and complex including traditional Portuguese architecture, cobbled streets lined with deciduous trees and dappled sunlight. There are buildings perched down the valley giving various vantage points for painting.

We will also visit the coastal towns of Lagos and Praia Da Luz where you can paint anything from fishing harbours, old forts, traditional Portuguese tiled buildings, churches and town squares to multi-coloured fishing boats with palm trees, beaches and The Algarve Coast.

There will also be opportunity to spend time producing full paintings in the studio.





Our very first 'Travelling Sketchbook' Painting and Sketching Holiday in Exmoor !

This year I joined forces with Matt at Alpha Painting Holidays to run a 5 day Painting and Sketching Holiday in and around the wonderful countryside of Exmoor. Armed with our trusty sketchbooks we would set forth each morning with Andrew our Guide and Hotel owner to savor the delights of this magnificent area. This is my Blog of that rather unique holiday.

  On our first morning you could almost feel the excitement in the air     ( or was that the rain !!!) as everyone packed up their Daysacks ready for the day's walk ahead. Starting off at Hillsford Bridge we made our way down the wooded pathway towards Watersmeet. On arrival I set up and did a quick Demo in my small sketchbook trying to keep the ever falling raindrops away from my sketch ...and not always succeeding ! 
After a good sketching session we set off further downstream to the Memorial gardens at Middleham the small hamlet that was washed away in the flood of 1952,  and stopped for lunch.
On reaching Lynmouth later in the afternoon we set about sketching various aspects of the harbour front. The sun was coming out in fits and starts so we took advantage of this to do a sketch a little further up the shore to get this view of Countisbury Hill and Cliffs. What a great start !
It hammered it down all night and in the morning our original route had to be changed due to the path being waterlogged . After a tour round Simonsbath we headed through the wood to this lovely panorama out across the Barle Valley at Flex Barrow. The sun came out and we were able to capture the fleeting shadows across the scene.
Andrew had brought us to this spot via an almost 'secret' path which he knew about and we were able to set up on the top of the valley with this panoramic view.

We could build up some nice transparent washes on our sketches as the weather was much warmer unlike the cold and damp conditions we were working in yesterday!
Moving a little way down the hill we came to Beach Cleave Wood, the highest beech wood in England, and did another sketch. Every now and then the sunlight came through the trees and really lit up the scene which I have tried to capture in this sketch. Lunch back at the Hotel then we did a few more sketches nearby : one at the bridge and another in the water meadow.
We woke this morning to bright sunshine which was a welcome sight after all the rain and wind we were having. Our route today would follow along the coastal footpath from above Broomstreet Farm  to Porlock Weir. Our first Sketching stop was at Silcombe Barn perched on the side of the hill with the Severn estuary out in the distance.
The jewel in the crown was Culbone Church, the smallest church in England, where we had a leisurely lunch and a relaxed sketching session. Afterwards we carried on the path which led us through Yearnor Wood and a down a fairly steep and twisty track to finish up in Porlock Weir. Time for a welcome coffee or ice cream ... and a quick sketch of course !
It's our last day and we are headed for the lovely town of Dunster. We started off on the coast at Dunster beach and walked along the shore past a long line of chalets before making our way inland. Our first sketching stop was the quaint railway station where we were graced with the arrival of two lovely old steam locomotives. 
On reaching Dunster Castle we set up in the grounds for our lunch and another sketching venue before setting off for home.
If this Painting Sketching Holiday appeals to you and you would like further information about our next trip please contact Matt or Gill at ALPHA Painting Holidays 
01934 733877 or email :
Copyright © 2016 Barry Herniman Art, All rights reserved. 
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Barry Herniman Art
Spring Cottage
Ross on WyeHerefordshire HR9 6NQ
United Kingdom

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I am a full time artist and have been painting landscapes and seascapes for many years both in the studio and ‘ en plein air’ with my trusty sketchbooks. My favourite medium is watercolour, its immediacy and transparency is hard to beat and I never tire of watching the colours mix and mingle on the paper. There can be few things more challenging and exciting than painting and sketching in front of my chosen subjects. Whether I am in the heart of the country, perched on a coastal cliff or in the middle of a busy city taking in all the sights and sounds is a pure joy. Landscapes are my first love but I am at home painting anything from portraits to steam locos.

I travel extensively both home and abroad doing demonstrations and workshops to Art Clubs and Societies. I also arrange a variety of overseas painting holidays to some fascinating locations which include Andalucia, New England andWyoming, Ireland and Italy.

My new book ‘Barry Herniman’s Travelling Sketchbook’ is now available as well as my new DVD ‘ Painting Watercolours in Andalucia’.

Check out my website for all my holiday details, books and DVD’s, gallery and painting news.    Enjoy !!


Move your cursor over the pictures below to find out more about upcoming holidays.


Earlier this month I took a group to the lovely island of Menorca. I had taken a group there last year and had such a good time I decided to re visit the island, this time staying in a much smaller, and quieter , hotel perched on the cliff overlooking the Mahon estuary. 
After consulting the forecast we decided not to go to Alcaufar today but went to the next bay round from the hotel which was Calas Fons.  A lovely little harbour with lots of boats and a huge variety of small tavernas. The day started off a bit chilly but around lunch time the sun came out and it was great for the rest of the day. So much for forecasts !
After consulting the forecast we decided not to go to Alcaufar today but went to the next bay round from the hotel which was Calas Fons.  A lovely little harbour with lots of boats and a huge variety of small tavernas. The day started off a bit chilly but around lunch time the sun came out and it was great for the rest of the day. So much for forecasts !
Today was our artists outing where I hired a coach to take us to the other end of the island to the lovely old port of Cuitadella. The sun was out so we needed shade and Rob sought out this tiny Italian restaurant on the waters edge with great views across to the old walls and the houses on the opposite side.Our restaurant was called ' MandiMandi' and not only did they let us use their chairs and shade but also had a lovely meal there at a VERY reasonable price.They even made me  a lasagna which was not on the lunch menu and Ash joined me. It was DELICIOUS !
Our next painting venue was the quiet little waterside village of Alcaufar which we visited last year and were blown away by it. To quote Mollie and Sid who  came here last year as well  'we  always thought it was a magical place' and so it is !
We had bright sunshine all day but a little further up the coast they had torrential rain and hail and it was cold as well. But not us...magical or what !! This is a painting I did as a demo in the evening back at the hotel.
Another plus for our hotel was the fact we were only a short hop on the local bus away from Mahon city centre where we spent an interesting day painting the different views afforded us by this super city . I originally went back to the small bar where we were last year but it was taken over by a much less forthcoming owner ( rather miserable in fact !)  so we joined Matthew who had sought out 'higher ' ground with almost the same view and finished off the day there. So all in all it worked out rather well !
This is just a quick snapshot of our painting holiday which everyone agreed was rather special. And to cap it all my article 'Sunlight and Shadows'  in the July 16 issue of the ARTIST also featured last years painting of Alcaufar on the front cover.