Colourful Memories : sketching Portugal’s charm 
with Renee Walden

3-8 September 2025

Capture the essence of Portugal through pen and watercolour sketches, with Renee Walden. You will explore the rustic allure of Monsaraz, where each cobblestone and rolling hill tells a story waiting to be painted.

We’ll be painting outside and in the dedicated studio, and you’ll learn about aerial and linear perspective, compositional ideas and the power of a limited colour palette. We’ll have fun sketching and painting all sorts of subjects, and my aim is to give you the confidence to try new things.

On this retreat, Renee will give you the confidence to paint en plein air, mastering the art of capturing scenes on location with ease. With minimal materials, you’ll learn to create evocative sketches that tell a story. It’s a small group only, which ensures you’ll receive personalised attention, with ample time dedicated to questions and one-on-one feedback.

This retreat is not just about improving your technique,  it’s about fostering a deeper connection with your art, telling a story and capturing your memories in a visual way, and all  in the company of like-minded individuals. By the end of the retreat, you’ll have a your memories captured in watercolour sketches and an invigorated passion for painting.

Dates:

September – 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – 2025
(6 days and 5 nights)

Price:

Shared Room:
2.000€ PP
(+vat 23%, only 6 rooms available) = 2.460€

Single Room:
2.100€ PP
 (+vat 23%) = total 2.583€

Paid 2 times:

Reservations:
1st Payment:
  1230€
(shared room)
  1291,5€
(single room)

2º payment until 15th May 2025:
2nd Payment:
  1230€
(shared room)
  1291,5€
(single room)

What is Included:

  4 full day Art Classes with Renee Walden

  Yoga Class

  Visit to the Rug Factory

  Visit to Tile Museum in Estremoz (one hour way from SIM)

  3 Dinners 

  4 Lunches

  5 Nights Acommodation (with breakfast included)

  Wine tasting Event

  Transport from Lisbon Airport to the Hotel (2 hours) and transport in the area.

It is advisable to book the plane after the final confirmation that the retreat will happen, or sooner until we have 10 participants.

• If we cannot gather the minimum participants of 10, the event can be canceled and the payments refund to the participants, less 50€ for cancelation costs.

You will learn with:

Renee Walden: Art has been my lifelong companion, and since 2012, it’s been my full-time pursuit. I’ve exhibited in New Zealand and have paintings in collections all over the world. Throughout my journey, I’ve painted in various mediums, but watercolour has been a constant for me. For over a quarter of a century, I’ve been enchanted by the movement of watercolour on paper, its delicate balance between control and letting go.

Since 2007, my sketchbook has been my constant travel companion, capturing the essence of every journey. It began with a trip to Spain and France, where the pages of my sketchbook filled up really fast. Sketching has since become more than a pastime; it’s a way of life that has led me to explore Europe extensively, leaving me with a treasure trove of sketchbooks brimming with vibrant watercolour memories.

Eight years ago, I turned my passion for pen and watercolour into a mission to teach. Teaching has allowed me to share the joy of capturing life’s moments in watercolour, making it one of the most fulfilling chapters of my career. Approachability is at the heart of my teaching ethos, along with a relaxed and fun approach. With a Higher Diploma in Education, my focus is not just on the ‘how’ but also the ‘why’ of painting, aiming to make the artistic journey as clear and empowering as possible for my students.  Join me, and let’s explore the art of watercolour together!

More of Renee’s work can be found at  Walden and Instagram 

ITiNERARY:

Day 1

WEDNESDAY, 3 September 2025

The bus will pick the participants at Lisbon airport at 4 pm. It is advisable to arrive at Lisbon airport before 4 pm. If there is a travel delay you will phone us to wait for you.
Arriving at the hotel Vila Planície, Monsaraz. Around 2 hours from Lisbon.
After Évora drive  to Reguengos de Monsaraz, and then Monsaraz/Telheiro.

A light dinner is served at the Hotel when arriving.

Day 2

THURSDAY, 4 September 2025

After breakfast at the hotel we’ll walk together for 15 minutes to “Sofia In Monsaraz”. There we will have a welcoming session and then we’ll do some painting in the studio before moving into the gardens with our sketchbooks.
Around 12.30 we’ll have lunch at SIM.
 
In the afternoon, and before dinner we will visit the Rug Factory. Then we will travel to the castle/Monsaraz, where the dinner will be served at a local restaurant.

Day 3

FRIDAY, 5 September 2025

Today we visit Monsaraz to sketch all day in this pretty hilltop village. The bus will pick us up after breakfast for a 10 minute ride. We’ll have lunch in a local restaurant.

The day will end with a wine tasting to learn more about Alentejo’s wines with a local sommelier. Dinner is not included.

Day 4

SATURDAY, 6 September 2025

This day we will visit Estremoz Village (1 hour bus drive away), where we will go to the Museum of Tiles and then explore the amazing local market.

Lunch will be in a nearby restaurant.

We will then return to SIM and in the afternoon we will sketch from photos we took in the morning.
Dinner is not included. There is an option for this night to organize an astronomical observatory to see the stars and planets from a local observatory (tickets are not included).

Day 5

SUNDAY, 7 September 2025

After breakfast at the hotel we’ll take our sketching gear with us and sketch a scene on our walk to SIM.

Then in the studio we’ll finish our sketches from the week.

After lunch we will create an informal mini group “exhibition” to review the paintings and sketches to discuss what you have learnt, with Q & A and personal feedback.

Dinner will be at a local restaurant, where we’ll share the special moments of our days, with new friends.

Day 6

MONDAY, 8 September 2025

After breakfast at 9 am you return to Lisbon, and estimated arrival time is 12.30 pm.
On the way to Lisbon the bus will stop at a local pottery shop for 45 minutes.

WHERE YOU WILL STAY:

Everything is organised to detail so that nothing will prevent you from enjoying all the peace and quiet of the Alentejo.

All the rooms have air conditioning, full and private bathroom, shared or private balcony and outdoor access. 

This accommodation is a 15-minute walk from the workshop venue (SIM) and passes by the Bulhoa menhir (National Monument) and the Alentejo plain, ideal for reflection before starting work.

Shared Room:
2.000€ PP
(+vat 23%, only 6 rooms available) = 2.460€

Single Room:
2.100€ PP
 (+vat 23%) = total 2.583€

Paid 2 times:

Reservations:
1st Payment:
  1230€
(shared room)
  1291,5€
(single room)

2º payment until 15th May 2025:
2nd Payment:
  1230€
(shared room)
  1291,5€
(single room)

 

If you would like to make a direct booking: info@sofiainmonsaraz.site

Q&A:

Internacional roundtrip airfare, transport to the place, alcoholic drinks, activities not included in the itinery, hotel incidentals including room service, expenses during free time, laundry service and hotel bar, food and beverages not included in the itinerary. COVID-19 test, if applicable.

We require all participantes to have a personal travel insurance that at minimum covers medical emergencies and cancellations. We do not provide travel insurance for the retreat and each participant is required to have their own individual travel insurance. The place, where the retreat happens, has an Insurance that covers accidents. Will not be responsible for refunding any lost trip funds if you have to miss your scheduled trip. 

We cannot guarantee to accommodate vegan, gluten free or dairy/egg free, and some allergies. We are unable to accommodate participants with severe food allergies or food intolerances. Please contact us in advance of registering if you have any dietary questions

It will start when arriving at the hotel, Wednesday and finish when you leave the hotel, by Monday.  We are not responsible for any non-retreat activity that a participant decides to purchase outside of the retreat and such activity will not form part of the participant’s contract with us. The bus transport is insurance secure.

This retreat includes one walking tour, where the ground may be uneven and you may be on your feet for several of hours at a time and should be comfortable walking 1km.

The supllies list will be comunicate a few months before the event.

  • Regarding the cancelation we will return the first payment (minus 50€). 
  • If you cancel until 60 days before the retreat we will refund all your payment- with the second payment – (minus 100€).  
  • If you cancel in the period that preceed the retreat (60 days before) we will refund 75% of the total amount paid.
  • Your payments will be split in two, with an initial deposit to secure your place on the retreat.
  • After you have completed your registration you will be sent an Invoice to complete your deposit payment. Payment can be made by Banktransfer or PayPal in euros.  Additional costs may apply where special accommodations are made available to participants.

In this event we will accept until 15 people. The event does not include spouses, partners or friends if they are not taking the workshop. Please contact us if you would like to bring a non-participant partner.

If we cannot gather the minimum participants of 10, the event can be canceled  and the payments refund to the participants.

Other questions about this retreat please contact: info@sofiainmonsaraz.site  
For more info or questions please consult here our Terms & Conditions.

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