After my delightful trip on the sleeper train from the Scottish Highlands I just had enough time to repack and grab another, slightly less glamorous train to Devon for the painting course at Coombe Farm Studios.
The gentle, green hills and estuary around Dartmouth in the sunshine were calling out to take a stroll with pencil and sketch book. After getting to know each other over a delicious meal we all felt ready and eager to unleash our talents the next day. However the first day was approached tentatively, looking out for subjects around Coombe farm gardens and courtyard: the sun filled terrace with various flower pots, the little archway leading to the stream or the sunflowers behind the garden gate. Even the old coal shed framed by bushes and flowers made a good starter.
Our first outing was to the fantastic gardens of the sculptor Jilly Sutton and her family. The views from there across the waters to the small village of Stoke Gabriel are truly inspiring and we were also able to snatch a glance of some of Jilli's amazing wooden sculptures. Staying with the watery theme, we ventured to the small harbour village of Dittisham the next day. It was teaming with boats and the old cottage by the shoreline was just coming into view for painting after the tide went out when we arrived. After lunch some of our group enjoyed taking the little ferry and visited the famous house of Agatha Christie on the headland opposite.
Our last painting excursion to a near pub with gorgeous riverside views and tasty ice creams was a new location and prooved very popular with everybody and not just of the lunch time champagne! We spent our final day at Coombe Farm finishing paintings and getting ready for a little show in the evening, rounding off wonderful week's painting with scrumptious meal and more wine.
It will be a pleasure to return to Devon and the warm welcome of Coombe Farm in August.
With the best wishes for the summer, Bettina