Play and Paint in Portugal!

A creative holiday week in the Algarve, Portugal

March 18 to 25, 2020 or March 25 to April 1, 2020

Please email me if you would like to reserve your spot!


(Click on the first photo to launch the slide show)

Imagine a week of having fun painting in Portugal! A relaxing holiday combined with creating and learning.

I was beyond thrilled to discover this amazing art school in the heart of the historically protected and picturesque fishing town of Olhão (pronounced ol-yowng) in the Algarve. The U.K. run School is a tranquil space that’s designed to inspire artistic creativity. The building’s historic vaulted ceilings and Roman brickwork have been carefully restored, and its studio and courtyard areas are flooded with natural light.

Anyone interested in painting in a fun, relaxed and informal environment with like-minded people is welcome to join this course, whether you are a total beginner or wishing to improve your skills.

As the title suggests, the focus of the week will be on painting, playing, and having FUN. Various exercises and ideas to start a painting will be suggested. Using acrylic, mixed media or watercolour, you can define your own style, work at your own speed, and get one-to-one feedback. Colour theory and technique will be woven throughout the class each day.

Olhāo is the Algarve’s biggest fishing port, with an active waterfront featuring a 60km lagoon system that encloses marshes (lots of wetland birds), salt pans, creeks and dune islands. It boasts a terrific fish and vegetable market (one of the best in the whole country!) and has pretty, narrow lanes threading throughout its old quarters. The flat-roofed Morrish-influenced neighbourhoods, with plenty of Old World charm and decay, are pleasant to wander. One could spend a whole week admiring and painting the beautiful old doors!

Olhão is less than 20 mins from Faro airport. Your tuition includes the transfer from Faro airport – there are direct flights to Faro from Toronto with Air Transat. March temperatures are around 18, and we hope there will be many sunny days.


There are two accommodation options included in the price: the School House or the Pool House. The School House has eight rooms in total – double, twin or single bedrooms, all ensuite – while the smaller Pool House has four spacious en-suite double rooms. You can have your own room, unless you want to share with a friend. Both houses have lovely indoor lounges and eating areas, an outdoor swimming pool, and plenty of terraces and courtyards where you can soak up the sun.

Bath and swimming towels are provided, along with premium botanical shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Your room is cleaned daily. Dinner is served by the School’s exceptional chef, or we will visit one of the many local restaurants along the seafront of Olhão. Wine is included for our lunches and dinners, with dinner served “Portuguese time” @ 8:00pm. We will do our best to accommodation any special dietary requirements, but please let me know your concerns when you register.



895 British Sterling (approximately $1,600 Canadian)
Everything is included, except your flight. I think it’s a great deal.



6 full days of art instruction with Kato Wake • 7 nights ensuite accommodation • ALL lunches and dinners, including wine • Airport pick up and return transportation • Daily room cleaning • Amenities: premium botanical shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, hair dryer, bath and beach towels • Mid-week excursion to the Island of Farol • Art trolley to use when out sketching • Introduction to Portuguese wine with Billy Munnelly

Tipping is at your discretion for a lovely young woman who prepares breakfast and cleans the bedrooms and house, and Margarida, the resident chef and #1 woman-in-charge.


WEEK 1 Getting there: Air Transat direct flight departs Toronto on March 17 at 10pm, arrives Faro on Wednesday March 18, 9:15am (7h 15m)
Returning to Toronto: Direct flight departs Faro at 11:15 am on Wednesday March 25, arrives Toronto, about 4pm (8h 30m)

WEEK 2 Getting there: Air Transat direct flight departs Toronto on March 24 at 10pm, arrives Faro on Wednesday March 25, 9:15am (7h 15m)
Returning to Toronto: Direct flight departs Faro at 11:15 am on Wednesday April 1, arrives Toronto, about 4pm (8h 30m)


I am planning on bringing jars of acrylic paint, watercolour paint, gel medium and a few other materials, which you can use at no cost. Bring paints, brushes, sketchpads, pens, pencils etc. – whatever feels right and can fit in your suitcase (not your carry-on). Each student is given a “dad’s trolley” to use – a pull-along bag on wheels which has a portable stool, portable easel, sun umbrella, thermos for chilled water and plenty of room for you to add your art essentials. Boards, easels, canvases, paints, and other materials are sold at the School’s Art Shop. We can share resources and I’m sure won’t be left wanting. Bring your camera, iPad or phone, and your charger. Dress is super casual. I’ll be emailing you all with more details.


Classes typically start at 9:30am, and finish around 4:30pm, with a break for lunch. This is an art holiday – you can go at your own pace.

DAY 1: Wednesday
Arrive in Olhão, unpack and settle in before a welcome ‘meet and greet’ in the Art School at 6:30pm. We’ll discuss the week’s itinerary over drinks, followed by dinner in the School House.

DAY 2: Thursday
In the morning we’ll take our sketch books to the lovely old cobbled streets of Olhão. You won’t be at a loss for inspiration with its wonderful old doors and windows, roof lines, tile work and unusual door knockers. Portable easels, chairs and sun umbrellas are provided. Lunch is back at the Art School – typically a buffet of fresh salads and a selection of local dishes. The afternoon is spent working in our studios creating a painting using our morning drawings or photographs as a springboard for paintings. An opportunity to hone your composition skills.

DAY 3: Friday
Our day starts at the fabulous market on the seafront. One building showcases a fresh fish market, and the other offers all kinds of fruit, vegetables, meats and cheeses. You’ll spend around an hour here (you can do some sketching and take photos). For the afternoon, a selection of fish, fruit and vegetables will be brought and set up for still life painting in the studio.

After breakfast, we will take the 11am ferry to the island of Farol, part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. In the morning you will be drawing or painting the lighthouse (dated 1851) or beach scenes, followed by lunch on the island. Our afternoon muse is the island’s exotic plants, unusual flowers and trees. The ferry home is around 17:30 but if you would like to stay for longer there are later crossings to choose from.

Sunday is a slow and relaxing day, but we’ll honker down and delve into more abstract imagery. Using paint or and mixed media – collage, charcoal, pastels, ink, photo-transfer, watercolours and acrylic paints – using Portuguese tiles as our inspiration.

Wander down to the local harbour in the morning and capture some of the fabulous subject matter here – boats, nets, and views of the islands. After lunch, use these images to create a new painting, or work on the paintings you’ve started this week.

After breakfast we’ll head to a local fishing village called Fuseta, either by train or by taxi (for a small supplement). Choose your own location and subject for painting or sketching in this small, pretty village. After lunch in Fuseta, the afternoon will offer some free time to buy gifts or explore the shops before heading back to the studio for final painting hours. We finish our week by celebrating with an exhibition of our work at the Art Bar, followed by dinner at one of Olhão’s local restaurants.

After breakfast, it will be time to head to the airport – or move on if you’re extending your trip.


This painting holiday is ideally designed to add-on additional days to explore Seville in Spain or Lisbon (both about 3.5 hours away) – or more of the Algarve (we like Tavira). Billy and I have taken many tours to Lisbon (, and will be happy to pass on travel tips and information to you. (It will be possible to fly into Faro and fly out of Lisbon with Air Transat.)


My partner or friend wants to come but does not want to paint.
What’s there for them to do?

Golf is a hugely popular sport amongst tourists with an excellent range of golf courses all with-in a 15-45 min drive of Olhao. Faro has plenty to see, including a beautiful walled city in the old town, as well as a large shopping centre. The islands of the Ria Formosa are a stone’s throw away from Olhao and provide stunning quiet empty beaches for kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, diving, and bird watching. There is also a tennis club in Olhao. The cost for a non-painting partner is £695, including accommodation and all meals.


SIGN UP NOW! Only 12 students per week.

Email and we’ll proceed from there.