Plein Air Landscape Painting and Sketching in Extremadura, Spain

The beautiful Sierra de Montánchez provides the setting for this art course. Noelle is a professional painter and experienced tutor. She is keen to share her knowledge and experience helping guests to look and interpret the landscape in a deeper more meaningful way.

We spend each day sketching and painting in landscape. We also visit and sketch in the hilltop town of Trujillo, home of the conquistadors.

Observational drawing is an important part of all the courses. I also teach a number of creative exercises which are based on art school teaching and aim to be inspirational and challenging.

The holiday includes instruction and workshops, with people doing as much or as little painting and drawing as they wish. On Days 2, 3 and 4 I start the day with optional workshops - such as choosing a subject, ways of seeing, markmaking, colour and tone, composition. The workshops are adapted to the needs of the group or individual requests.

Suitable for all levels of experience

All drawing and painting media taught

Small groups of up to six guests

10.00-14.00 : tutored session sketching and painting. Lunch. Afternoons are free to continue painting or relax in the shaded gardens. 18.00-19.30 : sketching with creative exercises before dinner....see itinerary below.....all meals (except lunch in Trujillo) included.

"If you could see the olive groves right now! The foliage old silver and greenish silver against the blue sky...In fact, the rustling of an olive grove has something very intimate about it, something immensely old" Vincent Van Gogh

Single or twin accommodation with ensuite bathrooms. All meals (except one lunch in Trujillo) included. All transport in region, we meet you at Madrid or Seville airport and return guests staying 7 nights to the airport. Choose May, September and October see Costs & Dates

We spend time in the landscape drawing and painting at Finca Acehuche. We also walk along ancient paths and caminos sketching and painting the natural beauty of the area, guests can decide how far to walk.

For beginners: Noëlle will teach the basics of observational drawing and painting. For more experienced painters: she will teach how to improve existing skills and discuss how to develop your strengths and direction of your painting. Working in a small group, Noelle gives each participant individual attention.

Art boards, easels, sketching stools, tables, basic art materials including a sketchbook, poster and acrylic paints and A1 paper are provided. I will send you a materials list when you book.

What guests say:

“My painting holiday was like nothing I’d experienced before and that’s why I’d call it a Painting Retreat – it was sheer bliss. It was everything I’d hoped for, and more. From the peace and calm of the beautiful Finca, to the winding little caminos and olive groves, it was a week spent in Heaven. Noelle is an intuitive tutor and taught each of our group differently, she was patient and challenging and she encouraged us to explore our strengths and areas outside our comfort zone. I learnt a lot about art and my relationship with art"....continues Fabiola Lobo, 2019

"Did I die and go to heaven?  A week at the Finca with Noelle and Richard is pretty close.  It nestles amongst stone walls, boulders, wonderful, wonderful wild flowers, exotic birds and olive trees.  Endless subject matter for sketching and painting.  There is no village so you are out in the wild, a mile down a track from the main road.  Richard and Noelle produce fantastic food which we ate on the terrace by moonlight, candlelight or in glorious sunshine.  However the central part of the week was Noelle’s tuition and how she guided us through skills and techniques to enrich our painting"...continues  Sal Goldsmith, 2016

"The tranquility and solitude experienced at Finca Acehuche provided the inspiration for sketching and painting under Noelle’s excellent tutorage.  The sentinel-like granite boulders that littered the landscape in such a reverent way were very inspiring with their imposing presence on the hills, and among the olive trees, fig trees and cork oaks in the valley.  A perfect setting for painterly art!" Fred Alcock, Canada, 2015

...and see more testimonials and guests' artwork.

EXTREMADURA with its fine historic towns offers an enticing slice of unspoiled Spain. It is known for its wildlife and birds come from all over Europe and Africa to breed. The intense clear sunshine and evocative birdsong mark the changing seasons. Exhuberant wild flowers with the sound of cuckoos and hoopoes in the spring and early summer. Changing colours lead to the harvesting of figs and grapes in late summer and the departure of the bee eaters and golden orioles.

The Sierra de Montánchez is an imposing granite sierra, geographically almost exactly in the middle of Extremadura. The landscape is a mixture of drystone walled fincas of olives, figs, vines, almonds, oranges and wilder, untended areas. The slopes are extensively wooded with chestnut and deciduous oaks. The lower slopes have gentle pastures for contented grazing animals. There are many interlinking paths that criss-cross over the sierra and between small, pretty villages. There are intimate and grand views to sketch and paint, it is a landscape perfect for artists, photographers, birdwatchers, lovers of botany and those who simply want to commune with Nature.

The Sierra de Gata Art courses in this region are not available during 2020.

Sunday 10 - 17 May, Friday 4 - 11 September, Sunday 4 - 11 October 2020

DAY 1 : TRAVEL DAY : We personally meet you from Madrid or Seville airport (see costs & dates) and drive you to the beautiful Sierra de Montanchez. Time to relax before drinks and dinner at 20.30. Or choose to travel independently, full directions are provided.

DAY 2: DRAWING : 10.00 - 14.00 - We start the course with a session of observational drawing on the studio terrace and later in the landscape. I have taught life drawing and observational drawing for more than twenty years and developed a way to help you to look more carefully and draw what you see more accurately. This is a good basis for the week, however you choose to paint. After lunch there is time to relax, walk and sketch or paint. 18.00-19.30 : tutored session drawing. 20.00 : drinks and dinner.

DAY 3 & 4 : PAINTING AND DRAWING : 10.00-14.00 - We start each day with an optional workshop exploring different approaches and media. After coffee: painting or drawing with your media of choice with guidance from Noelle. After lunch there is time to relax or paint. 18.00-19.30 : optional tutored sessions with creative exercises. 20.00 : drinks and dinner.

~~~DAY 5 : Guests staying 4 nights : farewell and departure after breakfast (return to Madrid or Seville by bus).

DAY 5 : PAINTING AND SKETCHING : 10.00-14.00 - We walk and sketch locally ( or you can choose to remain at the Finca painting). After coffee: painting with your media of choice with guidance from Noelle. After lunch there is time to relax or paint. 18.00-19.30 : you can choose to explore Montanchez and have a drink on the Plaza instead of the pre-dinner tutored session. 20.00 : drinks and dinner.

DAY 6 : PAINTING AND DRAWING : 10.00 - 14.00 - Painting with your media of choice with guidance from Noelle. After lunch there is time to relax, walk and sketch or paint on the studio terrace. 18.00-19.30 - review of all your work with advice on how to progress. 20.00 : drinks and dinner.

DAY 7 : SKETCHING in TRUJILLO with Noelle : 10.00-16.00 - We visit Conquistador Trujillo to sketch and enjoy a leisurely lunch on the Plaza Mayor. We return to the Finca with plenty of time to relax before dinner at 20.00. (transport is provided). Please note this trip day can be on DAY 5 if we have guests staying 4 nights. If we have returning guests we offer a different location* to visit on this day.

DAY 8 : FAREWELL AND DEPARTURE after breakfast. We take you to the airport.

08.30: Breakfast. 14.00: Lunches are simple but plentiful salads, cheeses and cold meats. 20.00: Delicious dinners with local wine. All served on the terrace with fine views of the Sierra de Montanchez.

Please note: Lunch in Trujillo*, drinks and refreshments at cafes and bars are not included in the price.

VENUE : The art course is based at Finca Acehuche. This is a delightful country finca set in a walled 3 acre olive grove, tucked away in a varied landscape of olives, figs, grapes and pasture. We start the day with a leisurely breakfast, lunches and dinners are served on the large terrace with fine views. The large garden provides space with hammocks and loungers to relax, read or sunbathe.

Some guests stay at a nearby country finca or in a hotel we have chosen in the area, all rooms are ensuite. We try to book the same accommodation. We collect guests after breakfast and return after dinner. All transport is provided in the Sierra.

Finca Acehuche is a simple and contemporary house with two large covered terraces each with fine views of the Sierra de Montanchez. There are two twin or double bedrooms and two ensuite bathrooms. Both terraces provide studio space with easels, tables and boards. The surrounding land ensures a peaceful, rural atmosphere. For more photographs and information see

Finca Acehuche is also available as a self-catering cottage mid March-mid April and mid May-mid July each year.