Vistas Sketching Holidays

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'Vistas' offers a variety of sketching and painting experiences for all levels in some of the world's most stunning locations,.chosen for their natural beauty, interesting/unique culture and exciting yet achievable painting experiences. The unique, active 'sketchbook journeys' (where I aim to cross the bridge between conventional 'painting holiday' and 'soft adventure' exploration), the relaxing sketching breaks and structured short courses are all led by myself, professional artist and teacher Mary King. The holidays are aimed at travellers who love to paint (or who would like to learn) and painters who love to travel, or wish to explore an exciting new destination with someone who knows the area intimately. Small groups, small hotels and lots of local knowledge (including the best painting spots!) ensure a perfect sketching holiday.
Member since: 05 Apr 2016

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

  • All the accommodation is carefully chosen and it is all small and locally owned and run.
    Sandfish auberge in the middle of the desert, Morocco or auberge Dunes d!or in Hassi Labied.
    In Morocco all desert auberges come complete with local youth who would otherwise be on the streets unemployed and they all work with a local cameraman, usually someone poor and undereducated whose family has a few camels.
  • The desert auberges have electricity generators so don't overuse. Water is scarce in the desert so most put up a little notice about being sparing with it.They all buy their food from the local market, again all stalls run by locals. The chefs are all local and the cleaners/ housekeepers local women from the village. The buildings are made of adobe by local builders and furnished with local rugs.
    In Sri Lanka, the Rainforest Lodge in Deniyaya grow most of their own vegetables.
  • In the countries where we have drivers, these are locals who work for themselves, not for a large company. In Italy we use public transport (ie buses). In Scotland, where a car is necessary, we car-share and use as few as possible.
    Where meals are included they are taken at the overnight accommodation or small, local restaurants and where they are not included I always recommend small, locally run places which are known to me.

Environmental responsibility

  • I provide my clients with a sustainably-produced sketchbook from Khadi paper imported from India.Virtually all the marketing and publicity for the business is carried out online so there is minimal paper usage.
  • I am passionate about controlling litter and would come down very heavily on any client or driver who littered in front of me. I am seeking local anti-litter organisations/campaigns to become involved with (this is already taking place in Langkawi)
  • In Sri Lanka a visit to a sea turtle project is part of the itinerary. The turtle project is in a small beach settlement called Kosgoda. It is very small and run with the help of volunteers and donations, and the small entrance fee. They rescue turtles which could not survive in the wild eg blind damaged flipper, and hatch and release eggs. Despite being badly damaged by the tsunami in 2004 this small project trundles on.
  • Many of the hotels we use are attempting to reduce their environmental footprint and have their own policies. Most of the accommodation used have fan cooled rooms as opposed to air conditioning.

Social responsibility

  • All clients are issued with a 'Facts about the country' information sheet at or before the time of booking which outlines cultural considerations such as what to wear and how to handle the inevitable attention received while painting.
  • I am always quick to point out whose country we are visiting and that we have the responsibility to adapt as far as possible to the culture of the host country and not expect them to adapt to us (beyond common politeness and decency of course!) Cultural differences are very much part of the fun and interaction is always encouraged. This is pointed out in the pre-booking literature and travelling with an open mind is always emphasised.