Calamansac 2 – review

Friday May 12th – Friday May 19th 2017.

This was the second time this year we hosted a residential painting course at Calamansac in Cornwall. The house and grounds, once again, lived up to all our expectations and more. We couldn’t have asked for a better base or a more perfect location for our painting holiday. Our home for the week a beautiful house set in a secluded 50 acre estate on the edge of the Helford river, close to the tiny village and harbour of Port Navas. A very beautiful part of Cornwall, very unspoilt and  hidden away, and yet only 30 minutes from Falmouth and fifteen minutes from Helston.

Fabulous accommodation. 

The unique colonial style bungalow was built in the 1920s by returning world travellers and has been tastefully updated to a very high standard. With Philip Stark chairs, handcrafted furniture in the bedrooms, custom made fittings in the kitchen and lounge, and a fresh modern decor throughout, it makes it a most pleasurable environment to live in. We also had the use of a large playroom, which we converted into a spacious studio.

Around the grounds.

We hoped the weather would be a little better in May than March and generally it was much warmer. The week began with two days of beautiful sunshine of which we took full advantage and sketched and painted in the garden. On our door step and visible from the studio was an amazing wood of twisted “Turkey Oaks”. So unusual, with their incredibly twisted trunks and branches, they were truly breathtaking. The Daffodils of late winter had changed to a sea of bluebells, masses of ivy twisted up the trunks and the trees themselves in bud. We managed  to sit out and draw a few sketches in the woods and captured many of the views on camera or iPad which we took back to the studio and painted.

Port Navas

We spent Sunday afternoon at the nearby harbour of Port Navas eCreek, set near a pretty little village and yacht club only a stones throw from Calamansac. There was plenty of boats and fabulous views to sketch and paint. The village itself is very picturesque. We also stopped at the local village hall for afternoon tea and to view their exhibition of arts and crafts, there were some very respectable paintings on sale.

Monday and Tuesday the weather closed in and we didn’t venture out.  All the guests were happy to stay at the house and work in the very spacious studio as they had plenty of references from sketching or photography. Composition and techniques were discussed and demonstrated.

The Tin mines.

The weather finally broke on Wednesday when we headed off to Camborne to a fabulous tin mine complex. Wheal Frances, what a truly fabulous find, a whole area of beautiful mine building, so huge and dramatic, they reminded us of an ancient priory or cathedral. Everyone was overwhelmed by their beauty and had a great afternoon sketching.

Thursday was finishing off day and a chance for more sketching in the grounds. We rounded off the day with an exhibition of all the work and plenty of positive feedback. The standard of the work produced was very high. Tuition had covered perspective, drawing skills, colour, colour mixing, sketching and composition.

Guest painting Gallery

The group of seven ladies were very relaxed and friendly and got on very well together. A bit of friendly competition with a game of ‘Smite’, on the lawn, before supper, proved to be a real hit.

We spent free time relaxing, taking photos and walking in the grounds, strolling down through the dell to the lower woods, and on further to the oysterer beach. There where plenty of lovely walks to be had.

Dining out, dining in.

We provided four delicious evening meals at Calamansac, the kitchens are very well equipped and the dining area very spacious. On alternate evenings we went out to very good local restaurants.

On our three evenings out we visited the Trengilly Wartha Inn twice, as the food was good and on the second evening they had a fabulous blues band that serenaded us all evening. We went to our favourite fish  restaurant Hooked on the Rocks, perched on the harbour in Falmouth it was only a pleasant 20 minute drive. They served delicious fish and chips, pollock and hake, good wine and veryone really enjoyed the food. Having found the most amazing specialist spirits shop we indulged in a lovely bottle of rhubarb gin, one of the 100 varieties on offer amongst the 1000 whiskeys also on offer. What a find!

It was also essential we sampled a Cornish pasty and the local grocer kindly ordered then in for us and where delicious. Finally on the last evening supper was rounded off with Cornish Scones, Strawberry Jam and the most famous Clotted cream. It was the perfect end to our week!

We will be hosting courses at Calamansac in 2018.