Fishing boats at Portsoy, by Rod Munro

The castle, its park and the surrounding scenery -- cliffs and sandy beaches, rolling hills, historic castles, distilleries, fishing villages with 17th century harbours, imposing railway arches -- contain thousands of subjects just waiting to be painted. And with our expert tutors here to help you all day, you’ll be amazed how your painting skills improve.

The accent at the castle is on comfort and informality and you’ll find a warm welcome from the owners Bill and Lois Breckon.   You’ll stay in one of the recently restored bedrooms, each elegantly decorated and beautifully furnished.  All the bedrooms have their own modernised bathrooms.  Two of our double bedrooms have four-poster beds. 

You’ll eat by candlelight in the castle dining room. Lois will prepare mouth-watering meals for you using fresh local produce, notably fish straight from the sea and the local beef, lamb and venison. Bill and Lois have run successful painting courses at their watermill in Italy for the past ten years.

And if you think it’s going to be chilly, forget it. The Castle is as warm as the welcome you’ll receive, with new central heating, should we need it.  And don’t think we’re stuffy either: the accent is on informality and fun.

Details about the principal rooms of the castle, and pictures
click here

For comments from some of our previous guests
click here

Your painting course

The courses at Castle of Park are designed to help both experienced painters and beginners to make the most of their abilities and, most of all, ENJOY their painting. The accent will be on working from nature:  particularly landscapes and marine subjects. Since there will only be ten or so people on each course, you can be assured of individual attention.  

The fishing village and beach at Sandend

Non-painting partners are welcome (at a small discount), but you’ll have more fun if you join in and dabble!

Boats in the harbour at Portsoy

As well as painting in and around the castle, our venues include the beautifully preserved village of Fordyce (tiny castle, ancient kirkyard, joiner’s workshop museum, harp maker’s studio), the fishing villages of Portsoy (17th century harbour, fishermen’s cottages) and Cullen (railway viaduct and arches, views over the Moray Firth), Duff House (William Adam’s classical masterpiece) and along the banks of the Deveron, a premier Scottish salmon river.

Park painters enjoy a day at Duff House

Wednesday is a special day. You can spend it at leisure or there will also be an excursion (at about £10 plus lunch) for a mill tour at Johnston’s of Elgin, famous for cashmeres and fine Scottish woollens and tartans.

We should emphasise that everything else is included in the cost of your holiday: transfers to and from Aberdeen, tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), all meals* (including wines) and local transportation. You find your way to Aberdeen (airport or train station) on the first Saturday, we do the rest! (and drop you back on the following Saturday).

Regarding art materials, you should bring what you think you might need (and we give you list of the bare essentials when you book). Heaton Cooper Studio offers an extensive choice of art materials on the net, so if we don't have what you want here (your tutor might only have a small selection), then you can order it up.

* We can cater for vegetarians on request. There are facilities at the castle for personal tea-/coffee-making.

Your tutors in 2003
We have been lucky enough to secure the talents of some excellent tutors in 2003. A few biographical details are given below. The dates of their course(s) are given in brackets after each name.  According to demand there may be more courses with your favourite tutor – please just ask.

John Christian (Saturday 31 May to Saturday 7 June)
John, an enthusiastic and experienced tutor, works in ‘pure’ watercolour in a fast spontaneous manner, to capture emotion, with a large brush and a limited palette.  The emphasis is on painting outdoors in a fast, free style, and in encouraging students to develop their own style. Each day begins with a technical demonstration before going out into the field to put theory into practice. John contributes to Leisure Painter and is currently writing his first book.  He has had several one-man exhibitions and is a popular demonstrator in the South of England, particularly for his acclaimed ‘wet into wet’ technique.

Keith Fenwick (Saturday 21 June to Saturday 28 June)
Keith’s major expertise is in landscapes. His courses, articles and videos have made him one of the UK’s most popular demonstrators of painting techniques.  Well known also for his workshops and seminars, Keith has made several TV appearances, including presenting Granada TV’s Art School. He has run popular painting holidays for many years.  Keith is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a council member of the Society for all Artists. 

Judi Hill (Saturday 7 June to Saturday 14 June) 
Judi has a degree in Graphic Design from Newcastle upon Tyne College of Art and a teaching qualification from London University.  She is an excellent teacher, with an ability to identify and develop the artist within.  Her style is informal and relaxed, with a strong emphasis on technique, particularly in watercolour (although she does work in pastel, too).  She also teaches drawing and pen-and-ink drawing, and encourages all her students to keep a sketch diary.  Beginners have been particularly delighted with their results, even after a short course. 

Anne Lang (Saturday 30 August to Saturday 6 September)   
Now in her 19th year of teaching in watercolour, initially at Adult Education classes and now privately, Anne provides sensitive and patient structured tuition at all levels.  Anne is also a popular demonstrator to Art Societies throughout the North of England.  As a practising artist, Anne’s work has been exhibited widely, with many successful exhibitions at North Yorkshire galleries.  Her paintings have been commissioned by ICI, Philips Petroleum, Trusthouse Forte, the Duchy of Lancaster, St Peter’s School York, and many other businesses and private individuals.

Rod Munro  (Saturday 5 July to Saturday 12 July)
A local artist with an international reputation, Rod paints in watercolours and in oils and also uses the lovely red chalk known as ‘sanguine’. He lives close to Castle of Park and loves painting the landscapes of his native North-east of Scotland. Rod is a sympathetic and experienced teacher and has run painting courses for more than 20 years, both in Scotland and abroad. He paints landscapes, marine subjects and portraits. Rod has had more than 20 one-man exhibitions and his paintings are in private collections around the world.

Muriel Owen  (Saturday 12 July to Saturday 19 July)   
Muriel is a leading watercolour painter.  She has been running her painting holidays worldwide since 1987.  Her impressive credits include: the purchase of 28 paintings by English Heritage, now on permanent display at Yarmouth Castle, Isle of Wight; running the art department of a well known London Tutorial; and, for many years, being a prominent member of the Society of Women Artists.  Muriel exhibits regularly and has had many important commissions.  Her speciality is architecture and landscapes.  Printed handouts accompany some of her demonstrations.

Bettina Schroeder  (Saturday 19 July to Saturday 26 July; Saturday 26 July to Saturday 2 August)
Bettina, who escaped with her family from East Germany in the 1950s, moved to London in the early 1980s to resume her Arts studies. She is a professional painter who exhibits regularly in Britain and Europe. She also teaches in England, West Coast of Scotland, Sicily, Jersey, Greece and, for the past 10 years, has been the painting tutor for our courses in Italy.  She instructs in all media, but it is her wet-on-wet watercolour technique that is the continuing inspiration to all her students.

Claire Smith  (Saturday 17 May to Saturday 24 May)   
Claire holds a BA in Fine Art from the University of Reading and an MA from the Chelsea School of Art, also in Fine Art.  She was lecturer at St Martin’s College of Art and has held many exhibitions of her work, which is in both private and public collections.  Claire is an experienced painter and teacher, in watercolour and oils, and knows how important it is to be sympathetic to the needs of the student.  She does not rely on ‘this is how to paint like me’ solutions but will go through every step of your painting with you, concentrating, in particular, on colour and structure.

Ronald Swanwick  (Saturday 10 May to Saturday 17 May)   
Ronald’s passion for drawing and painting started early. At 13 he won a scholarship to the Portland House School of Art where he carried away all the art prizes, and then on to Burslem College of Art. For many years, he was a commission artist and illustrator for private and commercial clients, which led him to travel widely in Europe and parts of America. A decade or so ago he began teaching, and found it was something he really loved. The demands of commission work have made him very versatile, which lets him teach with authority in a wide variety of media.

Bobbie Walkington  (Saturday 16 August to Saturday 23 August)   
Bobbie trained at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham.  Specialising in watercolour work and mixed media, she tutors adults of all abilities.  Bobbie is keen to constantly stretch herself artistically and so, as well as exhibiting regularly, she conducts workshops and undertakes many and varied commissions.  Her work is in private collections both here and abroad.  She is an experienced travel tutor, with a large following.

Getting here
In case you think the North-east of Scotland is a long way away, please remember that Aberdeen, an oil boom town, is an excellent communications hub.  The airport is less than an hour away from the castle and we’ll pick you up and drop you off there (or at the train station if you prefer).  You can book your own flights (there are good connections from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Manchester and Norwich) or you can use the services of our Personal Travel Adviser, Ann Carter, who will fix everything for you at very competitive prices. There is absolutely no obligation to use her, but if you would like her help, her phone number is 01357 523 948 and her email address is We have found that many travel agents these days are not offering the personal service that they used to and are often tied to big tour operators. Ann will give you a service geared to your needs.

And finally -- the price

The cost of each painting course includes transfers to and from Aberdeen airport or railway station, tuition, accommodation, all meals, free wines (and a sherry and a wee dram after dinner!) and local transportation. You’ll also enjoy local music in the Castle drawing room.

The price is £545 per person per week for a single room.  You will stay in an elegant Georgian bedroom, recently redecorated and refurbished with traditional furniture, plus its own luxurious new shower room. 

For couples, or friends who would like to share, the recently restored Royal Stewart and Black Watch suites offer enormous bedrooms with four-poster beds, deep bow windows and new en suite bathrooms.  There is a discount of £50 per person per week for those who are happy to share.

There is a further discount of £25 for a non-painting partner. 

A deposit of £150 per person should be sent with your booking.

The balance is due eight weeks before departure. Please note the cancellation conditions set out in the booking form. *We recommend that you take out normal holiday insurance, including cancellation insurance*.

Guests should bring their own painting materials and easels (if needed). Painting boards, stools, water bottles, rags and white spirit are provided at the castle. We have a few easels to lend out if you don’t want to bring your own. 

If there’s anything else you would like to know, please ring Bill or Lois on 01466 751 111 or email us at:

If you would like to book a painting course, click here