Skillcation - Part II

If you want to learn something during your holiday on the Isle of Wight there are loads of opportunities and you might make some new friends into the bargain. Many of these are weekend or day courses, so you can fit them in around the rest of your holiday. Here's the 2nd instalment of our guide to the exciting Skillcations taking place on the Island this year.

Paint The View

Maddy Dobson used to own a popular gallery in Cowes called Green Buoy Arts and sets up and runs Pop Up Art Exhibitions including the very successful art4sail, which is now part of the Cowes Art Trail during Lendy Cowes Week.  Her day long ‘Paint the View’ art class is at the prestigious Island Sailing Club in Cowes on April 14th and/or June 2nd, looking out over the boats that frequent this historic sailing town. All materials, refreshments and a light lunch are included in the £85 cost and it runs from 10am until 4pm.

Maddy also organises Group Art and Photography Safaris around some of the island’s most iconic scenes, with a stop for lunch at the renowned Buddle Inn, Niton or Crab and Lobster, Bembridge. These are for at least 4 people, cost £75 (without lunch) and have to be booked 3 to 4 weeks in advance. Life Drawing, Plein Air Painting and one to one classes can also be arranged. Contact Maddy at or on 07508 351910.


Make Friends at the Grange

Learn something new on a weekend course at The Grange in Shanklin every weekend until May 20th or from mid-September. With a wide selection from digital photography to ‘Finding your Writer’s Voice’, or perhaps comedy improvisation or ‘How to Have Your Best Year Ever’, there’s something for everyone.

Courses at The Grange are very relaxed, with everyone encouraged to make new friends, and ideal for solo travellers. You’re invited to arrive any time after 4pm on Friday and there’s an introductory meal together at 7.30pm. Courses run for two hours from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Saturday, 5pm to 7pm on Saturday afternoon and from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Sunday. On Saturday evening course members often arrange to have supper together at a local eatery.

The rest of the time you’re at leisure to explore the surrounding area, which includes the picturesque thatched buildings in Shanklin Old Village and, after March 22nd, the pretty walkway down through Shanklin Chine.

Course prices are £90.00 and a 10% discount applies to Friends of Skyros (those who've been on a weekend course before or taken a holiday overseas with Of course you become a Friend as soon as you take a course! Accommodation in their beautiful four star (AA) Georgian country house is extra but very reasonable.


By Royal Appointment

Produce your own work of art after a lovely two course lunch at The Royal Hotel in Ventnor with experienced artist Sophia Flowers on April 18th. Step by step guidance is given in this friendly and informal class and you, the artist, will complete a canvas in one afternoon. All materials are supplied and the £65 cost includes the two course lunch at The Royal, one of the island’s most luxurious and attractive hotels.

Sophia especially loves to show you the Isle of Wight at its best by arranging bespoke painting mini breaks, including accommodation, giving tailor made painting workshops and daytrips to places of interest.

“The amazing views available on the island ties in perfectly with learning to paint, as we’re surrounded by inspiration,” said Sophia.

To book any of these courses or to discuss a bespoke painting break please call Sophia at 07816 602 825 or send email to:


Catch a course at Quay Arts

Our local arts hub in Newport, Quay Arts, offers loads of drop in classes to learn everything from pottery and life drawing to jewellery making. Longer courses include a day long Coptic Bookbinding and Slipcase course on Saturday March 10th with Kae Carlstedt-Duke andday makingA Spring Rambler’s Sketchbook with Melanie Swan on Saturday March 24th. Most courses are held across the river from Quay Arts at Jubilee Stores, where many artists have their studios.

Jo Macaulay

9 March 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles