Guest review: Ruth reignites her passion for painting on holiday in Cyprus
Ruth has been a painter for 40 years; she just wouldn’t say continuously. She likes to really get into painting for 3 years, and then perhaps take 3 years off…and so the cycle has continued for a few decades.
To fight the Christmas humdrum that can come to many during December in the UK, Ruth opted for something totally new and decided to head off on a learning holiday over the festive period. Time to pick up the brushes again and try her luck on a painting holiday in the charming rustic town of Lefkara, tucked away in southern Cyprus.
We caught up with Ruth on her return to find out her painting holiday in Cyprus went.
Who else was on the painting holiday?
There were 3 of us on the holiday in total – the perfect mix. One of us was so good he was practically a professional, we had a complete beginner, and I (depending on the year) would be somewhere in between.
What was your typical day like?
Each day was filled with wonderful excursions, inspiring new places to see, and different artistic focal points. It is a very laid back area, and it would be very easy to just relax and enjoy the wonderful food and drink, but we did awake with a purpose to each day.
Which day was your favorite and what did you do?
My favourite activities were just painting outside, or ‘en plein air’ as they say, and I am wondering now why I never did it before. There are so many different things to capture, from vast mountains and seascape, to olive groves, to detailed villages from a distance; even people.
One day we went to a local bar and had a drink while we sketched the local proprietor. You can see things that inspire you that you wouldn’t think of before, or may even get you out of your comfort zone, which is a great thing.
How did you spend your evenings?
We finished around 5pm, but dinner was usually at 7pm. In that spare time, you could relax, change, have a drink, or use the art studio (located right across the street) to finish a piece you’re working on. Dinner would be its own affair, with great food, drinks, and chatting into the night. If you wanted a change of scenery, the town is right at your doorstep and perfect for a stroll to walk off some of the meal, or a nightcap.
How did your painting improve during your stay?
This holiday really reignited my interest in painting. I had been off the painting for about 3 years, and this holiday brought me right back into it – I came right back home and joined a night class.
The teacher really pushes you to try things; encouraging you to try a 3 minute sketch of certain subjects, and trying new mediums you don’t usually use. This is very much a hands-on artist course that allows and encourages you to branch out.
I tried oils for the first time, as you are encouraged to use whatever you wanted in the studio – you can go have a play with anything. You’re all given a key to the studio to come and go as you want – overnight you become an artist with a room of one’s own.
What are some examples of your favourite meals during your stay?
So the hotel is run by an amazing, loving couple who cannot do enough for anyone, and boy can Aly (the husband) cook! I can’t even pick a favourite meal. It should be known that he will always discuss your preferences before he hits the local shops in the morning, and caters lovingly to vegetarians, or any other preference.
As other vegetarians were there (of course it wasn’t just us 3 in the hotel), I tried many veggie dishes and was gorgeously satisfied. I do recall a lovely Persian inspired curry with pomegranate, a tasty moussaka, along with some very simple, but beautiful meals. Nothing was disappointing there.
How was the accommodation?
The accommodation was your basic island accommodation, but with great vibes and run by, like I said, a caring, nurturing family. I was pleased to find new plush towels, a dressing robe, soap, and shampoo. There is no pool, and the beach is 30 minutes by car- however, depending on the time of year you go, this may not make a difference. You will be taken to great new places daily, and it does include the beach.
What did you think of your hosts and tutors?
Aylin (the resident artist and our teacher) and Aly at the hotel were both amazing. The chef would discuss what he would cook the next day, welcomed preferences, and catered to everyone. Then, he would go off and get the day’s food fresh in the morning. Aly is simply motivated by feeding and taking care of you – he’s simply a wonderful host and cook.
What was your favourite part of the painting holiday?
As this was my first Christmas overseas, I wasn’t expecting much. However, I was pleased to find the village all decked out. When I arrived downstairs in the hotel on Christmas eve, I found a large trestle table laid out by all of the hosts, and a Christmas potluck was thrown for all. Many friends, locals, and guests flooded in, champagne was flowing, and we had a fantastic Christmas meal and celebration. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people, and it was a very memorable Christmas for me. I can’t say that Christmas day was my most productive painting day…
What advice would you give to other solo travellers?
Absolutely go alone. The beauty of this holiday is you’re collected from the airport, taken to the hotel, and all you have to do is relax and get ready to explore new avenues in your art and be taken care of.
It is safe, friendly, and beautiful, and very easy going there. If you’re English, you will be pleasantly surprised with the cars driving on the left side of the road, 90% of the locals speak English, and finding that all of your electrics can be plugged in needless of adapters :) Also, it is great value for money in that you need not worry about anything, and you will get amazing, personalized tuition.
You can read more about Ruth’s painting holiday here.