This is an Art Tour. Every day, we will be painting in a different locality in nature, together with our mentor, professional painter Karmen Bajec. On some days we go on guided walks in nature. With our work, we present the Slovenian forest as the Living area of the Lynx. During the tour, we practise our Art Skills and at the same time, we get to know the life of the Slovenian Lynx.
Somewhere in the largest forest of Central Europe, the warm autumn sun shines through the leaves. All we can hear is the water of a clear forest stream, buzzing of insects and the soft sound of paintbrushes on canvas. We are on a unique Art Holiday for Nature Lovers, which connects Painting with Wildlife Conservation. For this holiday, we travelled to Southern Slovenia. Here, the forest is alive with animals. On our morning walk, we have seen footprints of Deer, Bear and Wolf. Lynx also live here, and these Lynx need our help: there is only a handful of them left. Our Art Holiday is, in fact, part of an ambitious project which aims to save the Slovenian Lynx. Like all cats, wild Lynx are shy and we may not see them. Our task is to show the beauty of their living area to the world!
Each day we paint outdoor, at a different area in the living area of Slovenian Lynx. We are accompanied by Karmen Bajec, a Slovenian Professional painter, who instruct us about different painting techniques. This tour is meant for painters of all levels of experience, and both hobbyist-painters and professionals are encouraged to apply. On the last day of the tour, we organise an exhibition of our work.
Arrival and departure from Ljubljana Brnik airport.
This is an Art Holiday. Every day, we will be painting in a different locality in nature, together with our mentor, professional painter Karmen Bajec. On some days we go on guided walks in nature. With our work, we present the Slovenian forest as the Living area of the Lynx. During the tour, we practise our Art Skills and at the same time, we get to know the life of the Slovenian Lynx.
Our daily program is adapted to the places where we will paint, but follows the same basic pattern:
9.00-10.30 driving to the location, either an excursion or a combination of unpacking, preparation and a short presentation about painting techniques
10.30-12.00 painting on location
12.00-13.00 lunch, often in the form of a picnic on-site
13.00-16.00 painting on-site
16.00-17.00 packing, driving back to the accommodation
19.00-evening: mostly free time, but on some days there will be a presentation
Note that in case of bad weather, we will change the program and paint indoors.
We arrive at the Ljubljana airport where our tour organiser and guide Paul is waiting for us. From here, we go with a minibus to our destination in Southern Slovenia. This drive takes a little over one hour; we may make a stopover on the way to look at the beautiful Slovenian landscape. At the accommodation, we meet Slovenian artist Karmen, who will be our mentor during the week. Once we have settled in, our Slovenian dinner awaits. In the evening, we discuss the program for the week.
We start our time in Slovenia with a refreshing walk through the forest. Soon, we leave the village sounds behind and experience the serene natural atmosphere. In autumn, few birds sing, but the clear song of Robins can be heard every now and then. Unseen animals have left their traces here and we may see footprints of Roe- and Red deer as well as European Hare: all are on the menu of Lynx. Of course, the forest is an excellent place for inspiration as well.
We return to our accommodation for lunch and a presentation about Nature as a motif for Art. In the rest of the afternoon, we prepare canvasses with acryl, so we can use them during the rest of the week as well as making sketches of our painting ideas.
The area where we are is part of the Slovenian Karst. The term “Karst” comes from the Slovenian word “Kras”, and is internationally used for limestone areas where water creates a unique landscape. Rivers and streams run underground and appear in spectacular Karst Springs. Under our feet, there are literally thousands of caves. In the middle of the forest, we suddenly stand in front of a steep cliff, where the underground has collapsed.
The karst landscape provides a unique background for today’s painting day, where we concentrate on composition and landscape painting. We start the day with an exercise in sketching, with special attention to on composition principles. We do this on the spot, outdoor, in a most spectacular site, the valley of Rakov Škocjan. Here, we then continue painting the landscape as well.
In the evening, there is a presentation with the theme: living with Lynx, Bear and Wolf in your back garden.
Lynx is a top predator, which mostly eats wild animals: roe deer and hares. Sheep can be an easy prey as well, so they need to be protected. For this, some farmers keep large guard dogs, which are which are day and night together with the sheep. Today, we visit one of these farmers, and we paint his sheep and guard dogs!
After a short drive, we arrive in the half-open landscape which is where lynx and sheep sometimes meet. We will probably not see the elusive lynx, but we can almost feel his presence here. Throughout the day, we will stay in the surroundings of the sheep flock and their dogs. After a while, the animals ignore our presence and behave as if we are no longer there: the sheep are grazing and one or two large dogs lie down in the surroundings. Whenever there is an unexpected sound, the dogs jump up, full alert. With loud barks, they announce their presence. If needed, they defend the sheep with their life!
We start again with sketching, this time we concentrate on animal anatomy. We then continue with painting in acryl, using the flock and their guardians as a motif. The rugged dry karst landscape forms a phenomenal background which of course we use in our paintings as well …
Lake Cerknica is like no other place on earth. Here, the water comes and goes and in summer, the lake can be entirely dry. In some places, dead fish attract Brown Bears in the middle of the night: in the morning, we may find their footprints in the mud. Lyx and other secretive forest animals come to hidden springs in the forest edge to drink. Later in the year, the autumn rain fills the lake again and water starts bursting out of the otherwise quiet springs!
The Half-open landscape of Lake Cerknica is never the same, as the water level, the light and the colour of the vegetation are constantly changing. However, the Lake is spectacular in any season. Today, we sketch and paint the Lake landscape, with special emphasis on linear perspectives in the landscape. For this, we choose one of the best vantage points at the side of the lake. Of course, we visit various places around the lake as well to get an impression of this speciacular landscape.
The spotted fur of the Lynx melts away in the patchwork of sun and shadow in the forest. Even when he is sitting in plain sight, he is easily overlooked. Today, we focus on the interplay of light and shadow in the great Slovenian forest, the living area of Lanx. After a short drive, we enter a narrow, steep valley. Where the unpaved forest road ends in the middle of the forest, we set up out painting easels. We are at an idyllic, place, besides to a small mountain stream. The sun filters through the leaves of the trees, which start to show the first autumn colours. Today, we concentrate on the interplay of structures of the water, earth and plants with the sunlight. All the while, we enjoy the silence and the wonderful atmosphere in the Slovenian forest.
Throughout out painting week, we gained an understanding of the mysterious Lynx and the area where he lives in the Slovenian forests. We expressed this in our paintings, which we show today in a one-day exhibition. The exhibition provides us with the opportunity to reflect on our work. It will also be will be open to visitors.
Our art tour has already ended and we look back on a unique week. Every day, we practised our art skills while we learned about the plight of the Slovenian Lynx. Today, all which is left is to pack our best work of the week and depart for home. It was a week which we will never forget …
This is an easy tour. Every day, we drive to various locations with a van, where we unpack our art material to paint on-site. We also have short excursions, mostly these take no longer than one or two hours. During the excursions, we walk over unpaved forest roads and smaller paths in the forest.
While painting we may be standing for a longer time. Please indicate if it is easier for you to have a foldable chair: we can arrange this! We are outdoor regardless of temperatures and wind, so please make sure that you can dress appropriately. However, in case we get constant rain, we move to an indoor location at our accommodation.
During the tour, we will stay Hostel Ars Vivo in the valley of Lož, in Slovenia. The hostel offers a variety of quality rooms, as well as a large room for painting. Most importantly, the owner of the hostel is an accomplished painter as well! You can find more information about Hostel Ars Viva on their website: http://www.youth-hostel-ars-viva.si/index.php/sl/
During this tour, we will use a van (up to 8 participants) which will be driven by the tour organiser.