Testimonials ~

Art courses in SW Spain:

“I have returned with new eyes from a Painting and Sketching Holiday in Extremadura, Spain; I look at and see things differently with a renewed and refreshed outlook. This holiday gives so much, it’s not just the joy and technique of painting, or the inspiring location, the great food and company; it’s also about uncovering the spirit of the inner painter. As a virtual beginner, I came away with a desire to create, but with a confidence to take that pleasure forward. Noelle and Richard deliver the perfect blend of education and hospitality thereby enabling a relaxed, mutually supportive, friendship group from a completely random and diverse collection of likeminded would-be artists. This holiday is a joy.” David McLeod, UK 2022

"This was the first time I had been away on a painting holiday and did not know quite what to expect. There was no need for any concerns as I was met by Noelle at the airport and felt completely relaxed and knew it would be a good week.  I was one of 7 in the group and we had a fab time together. Good food (thanks to Richard) comfortable accommodation and above all, Noelle’s encouragement and constructive feedback.  I loved being out in the open, painting the countryside around their finca.  A little haven of peace.  Great views, fabulous trees and amazing rock formations.  On reflection, I have come home and become a more confident student, able to use some of the techniques Noelle taught during the week as I continue painting. Thank you for a memorable week!" Julie Forman, UK 2019


“I decided to treat myself to a painting holiday as I wanted the focus and time to be taught and to practice new techniques without too many distractions. Noelle’s landscape week in Extremadura was perfect as there’s nowhere to go and yet so much to enjoy by staying on a simple finca in a charming, peaceful area of Spain. Noelle and her husband Richard are easy and interesting hosts providing delicious and generous food and wine and organising a couple of side trips to the historic towns of Trujillo and Montanchez.
Noelle is an excellent teacher with a gift for individual and inspiring guidance and fascinating observations. I enjoyed her company very much and came away feeling open to new possibilities with my art and painting - although I’ve discovered I don’t enjoy watercolour landscapes but love acrylics and mixed media! Thanks Noelle and Richard." Amanda Stone, UK, 2022

Feeling energised and refreshed after a wonderful week sketching and painting in Sierra Montanchez. What a superb location, very inspiring for artists with its olive groves, flower filled meadows and dramatic granite boulders. I wholeheartedly recommend this art course/holiday to painters of all levels, for couples or solo travellers, also suitable for non-painting partners with plenty walks available in a place of great natural beauty.” Aine O'Leary, Ireland, 2019

"The olive trees were straight out of Van Gogh; the weather was gorgeous;  the instruction was knowledgeable and sympathetic; the company was good and the food and wine at the end of the day delicious. What more can you want?" Sandy Urquhart, UK 2012


"The week went by so fast! We were two students and this has allowed us to greatly benefit from the quality of Noelle’s coaching.  She is rigorous, precise in her instructions and very attentive to our needs and our learning process.  I truly find that I have progressed in my skills, and that my watercolor works have improved.  The finca is ideal for outdoor classes and landscape painting. The finca is also comfortable and well-equipped.  Noelle and Richard were welcoming and very friendly. I encourage everyone who wants to develop their artistic skill to register for this course. You will enjoy your stay!"  Danielle Despots, Canada 2019

"It was a glorious week filled with sunshine, wild flowers and painting, and I should also mention the excellent food and wine which was accompanied by much chatter and laughter.  As a complete beginner with acrylic paint I knew I was going to be challenged - and I was! - but with Noelle's patient and professional instruction I felt well supported and encouraged all the time.  We were a small group of people of varying ability but the cleverly structured tasks Noelle set us were stimulating and most enjoyable.
As well having had a relaxing holiday in an idyllic place, I have come away feeling that I have learnt a lot that, with practice, should help my painting develop." Daphne Morris, UK 2016

"Noelle is a very good teacher, the course was well thought out and we were given a new and interesting task each day, I learnt a lot - even that acrylics aren’t as terrifying as I thought! The Finca and surrounding landscape is beautiful, we went in May and the wild flowers were fantastic, also the birds.  Wonderful food, the wine flowed, great conversation with a lot of laughing!" Jane Durston, UK 2016

"I had the most incredible experience being tutored by Noëlle in landscape painting and staying on her beautiful finca.  Noëlle’s teaching is exceptional.   She understood very well what I needed and how to help me move forward in the field of plein air painting.  Her patience and encouragement was never ending.  Staying on the finca was special.  It is situated in a dramatic setting with the mountains in the distance and  fields of olive groves surrounded by ancient stone walls.  There are also magnificent rock outcroppings punctuating the landscape.  All very inspiring for an artist.  The meals were delicious, prepared creatively by Noëlle’s husband Richard and Noëlle as well.  The ingredients were fresh and locally sourced with excellent wine accompanying dinner. Mealtime was very convivial, filled with interesting conversation and laughter.  Noëlle and Richard thought of everything to make my my experience comfortable and informative, including an excursion into the nearby town of Montanchez and a fascinating day trip to the historical town of Trujillo.  I can’t thank Noëlle and Richard enough for making my painting holiday truly memorable." Elizabeth Schiffman, US 2019


"We had a wonderful week at the finca; Noelle and Richard were excellent hosts and the food was delicious with great conversation and wine.  It is very rural, pretty much cut off from the rest of the world and in a beautiful unspoilt area of Spain.  The art tutorials were well suited to us as beginners, and we were definitely challenged each day!  Each day was structured with a theme such as composition, markmaking, sketching etc, and there was a perfect balance between tutorial time and time for relaxation in the afternoons, with time to sunbathe, read or go for walks in the surrounding area.  We finished off the week with a review of everyone’s work and discussion over areas we could each improve, and best of all we could take it all home with us as a lovely memento of the week!  I would definitely recommend this holiday for anyone who would like to take some time out to spend in nature and dedicate time to developing their painting and sketching skills whilst being very well looked after!" Sophie Reeve, UK 2017

"My Painting Holiday was like nothing I’d experienced before and that’s why I’d call it a Painting Retreat – it was sheer bliss. It was everything I’d hoped for, and more. From the peace and calm of the beautiful Finca, to the winding little caminos, from the olive groves that could have inspired Van Gogh to the majestic Sierra de Montanchez, from the picturesque granite boulders to Paco the donkey in the next field, it was a week spent in Heaven. Noelle is an intuitive tutor and taught each of our group differently, she was patient and challenging and she encouraged us to explore our strengths and areas outside our comfort zone. I learnt a lot about art and my relationship with art. A particular accolade goes to Richard and his simply amazing salads, meals and really looking after us without intruding on the business at hand. It was not all work though, Noelle and Richard took us to Montanchez castle and we indulged in some local wine in the plaza. On the last day, we visited the historic town of Trujillo – a perfect end to an already perfect week." Fabiola Lobo, Ireland, 2019


"My husband and I have just returned from an inspirational week with Noelle and Richard at their beautiful finca. We are both complete beginners at the art game, and Noelle's patient tuition was just what we needed to get started. We have been given lots of good advice and are both looking forward to trying all the techniques out for ourselves at home. Thanks also to Richard for driving us around the fascinating local area and giving us lots of information about all sorts of subjects! The food and wine were delicious, and we will remember for a long time sitting on the veranda watching the full moon rise!"  Sandra Wakefield, UK 2017

 "I enjoyed my time at Finca Acehuche. I am a painting novice and was introduced to new techniques that’s were both challenging and inspiring. I travelled alone and met a good bunch of people. We enjoyed lively discussions over a range of topics. The setting in amongst all the olive trees is lovely. We were well looked after throughout the week. I came away knowing more than when I arrived and with artwork to frame for my walls to remind me of sunny, happy times.  Thanks Noelle and Richard." Anita Koruth, UK 2019

"This painting holiday was everything I hoped it would be. Noelle and Richard’s finca is in a beautiful location and in mid-May is a mass of wild flowers, with many locations around the grounds of the property to sit and paint. Noellle is a really perceptive teacher, able to tune into what each person in our group needed in order to progress, and was both encouraging of our efforts but also able to stretch each of us. Two of our group were accommodated in Noelle’s finca but I stayed in a friend’s finca a few kilometers away. Richard was available to collect and return me, but Noelle showed me the route by foot and I loved my daily walk along ancient walled paths, only on one occasion meeting someone - an elderly man on a mule! I had a lift back to my accommodation because we talked, ate and drank late into the evening and after dark. My accommodation was absolutely beautiful. It was a fabulous week with great company and wonderful hosts." Carol Gregory, UK 2018

"I thoroughly enjoyed the painting holiday experience at Finca Acehuche: everyone was so relaxed and friendly. Noelle was a conscientious and helpful tutor, her advice being particularly relevant to the challenges of painting the landscape. The glorious scenery, with its abundance of wildlife, is literally on the doorstep and there was the additional bonus of delicious home cooked food and comfortable accommodation." Marion Gimson, UK 2018

"I loved my time with you on a number of levels.  I valued the art making and the eye changing. Your way of working with me was perfect. I felt totally comfortable to be me and to explore what I could with your help.  I learnt a lot and positively learnt.  I could feel my sensitivities working, and they’ve not stopped. Your style of teaching worked perfectly.  With your guidance I felt I was changing my way of seeing. I look forward to more opportunities. ” Allyson Roberts, Portugal 2015

"My husband and I spent a fantastic week in May at Noelle's art course. The place was beautiful and very inspiring. Noelle is a great teacher and had an excellent program prepared for us. I learned a lot from her. It wasn't all work and no play we also had great fun and laughter with a lovely group of people. The food was amazing so was the wine! We stayed in a nearby hotel which was spotless and very comfortable. I highly recommend this course as a great holiday and learning experience!" Phil Darrer, Ireland, 2019


"I was looking for a combination of natural, country scenery away from the crowds, combined with good instruction. The course fulfilled these aims and more. The setting is wonderful – distant mountains with a hilltop castle, olive groves, rocky walls and outcrops, and amazing purple and bright yellow wildflowers.  There were only three of us on the course (Noelle has a maximum of six) and as we were all fairly experienced we were left to our own devices if we wished. Noelle would regularly come round to give advice when needed. She offered an art stimulation exercise each morning but apart from the first day, this was optional. Noelle is a professional artist and teacher of fine art at degree level and offers a wealth of accumulated experience and tips. She is also very flexible, responding immediately to requests for guidance on any particular subject. I definitely feel that my painting has improved as a result. As we were staying at the finca or nearby and eating all the excellent meals there, cooked by Noelle and her husband, the experience was very much like living with a family with all the fun and jollity involved. Our off-painting mealtime discussions were wide ranging and interesting. It was a wonderful experience, thank you Noelle and Richard." Alison Scott, UK 2018

"Did I die and go to heaven? A week at the Finca with Noelle and Richard is pretty close. It nestles amongst stone walls, boulders, wonderful, wonderful wild flowers, exotic birds and olive trees. Endless subject matter for sketching and painting. There is no village so you are out in the wild, a mile down a track from the main road. Richard and Noelle produce fantastic food which we ate on the terrace by moonlight, candlelight or in glorious sunshine. However the central part of the week was Noelle’s tuition and how she guided us through skills and techniques to enrich our painting. She is very good at teaching a group who have varying levels of expertise and meeting those different needs. Each day is structured and planned so we get the most out of painting the surrounding area. There is always a sense of fun in her workshops and we laughed a lot! This is my second time on this course – I loved it just as much as the first – if not more. This is a perfect week to share with other artistic friends.” Sal Goldsmith, UK 2016

"The course was well structured and took me through many aspects of painting production I had not taken time before to practice. The tutor Noelle brought our little group of seven through the course in a friendly, enjoyable and relaxing way at her beautiful Finca and garden. In trying out various mediums in the tutorials I learnt new skills. I would class myself as a beginner with Acrylics but by the end I was more at home with them.  Our daily meals were delicious and real social events on the Finca veranda in the cool of the evenings, while coffee breaks were a welcome and enjoyable break. We participated in  a May course when weather was idyllic. The surrounding camino walks were a pleasure.  I would definitely recommend this relaxing weeklong course to help one focus on their art, while also having an enjoyable break." Frank Darrer, Ireland, 2019

"Noelle is an excellent tutor and taught all 8 of us according to our individual needs, after assessing our abilities. I felt that I learnt a lot about colour, mark making and choosing an area to paint from a large scene and not to be too ambitious in fitting it all in! We had two good sessions of tuition each day for 5 days, with a day out in Caceres between. We had fantastic locations from which to paint – it was difficult to know where to begin at first. This was a very memorable holiday and a very special one." Dorothy Champion, UK (Trujillo) 2015

"I really enjoyed the Townscape course in Vejer de la Frontera. It's such a beautiful setting and a perfect way to really leave all your cares behind and just enjoy a stimulating but also relaxing week honing your skills, whether a beginner or more experienced. Noelle taught me some very useful tips at how to really see, which I will continue to use. Gisela is a font of local knowledge and history. The evenings were spent setting the world to rights over lovely home cooked food and a glass of wine or two. Only complaint is it all went by too fast!" Dana Walker, UK (Vejer) 2017

"Sketching and painting the panorama of the Plaza Mayor from the loggia of the Palacio de Piedras Albas was grand. The expansive views of San Martin Church, the shops, the restaurants, the statue of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro and the many streets leading to the Castillo de Trujillo to one side and the bell tower of Santa Maria Church to the other gave me dozens of artistic choices. Noelle guided me to look, really look, at the ordinary. The drawings, paintings and sketches I made will be the basis for another series of works that I hope to begin soon. I thank Noelle for pushing (gently) and making me stay on track. She was always ready with advice and analysis of my progress and her teaching and artistic expertise was evident. I appreciated her interest and concern for my creative growth and cherish the time I spent with her in Trujillo." Mary K. VanGieson, US (Trujillo) 2013

"I went on a lovely art holiday in late September in southern Spain. The artist is Noelle Griffiths, this was the second art holiday with Noelle in Spain. My art has so improved because of the work I did on the art course, everything about it was lovely. Our days out to sightsee were a delight as Noelle’s friend Gisela Radant-Wood, a travel writer and delightful woman, led the tour of Cadiz . Altogether a wonderful week which passed all to quickly. Thoroughly recommend Noelle’s art courses." Frances Riddle, UK (Vejer) 2018

"We were steeped in painting and history, a wonderful combination in such a beautiful and fascinating place. We started with morning painting exercises around the lovely white town of Vejer de la Frontera with it's narrow winding streets and interesting corners. Later with time to put into practice what we had learnt. Noelle's tuition was so constructive and I learnt a lot about ways of checking perspective and  understanding  tones in painting. She was such a patient tutor and we had lots of individual attention. Our two visits out to Cadiz and Barbate (with wonderful fish lunches) were extremely interesting with Gisela as an excellent and enthusiastic guide.  It was a very special week, as was our stay in Trujillo 3 yrs ago. Noelle is an great tutor and I can thoroughly recommend this holiday! Dorothy Champion, UK (Vejer) 2018

"We had a thoroughly enjoyable week with Noelle and Gisela. Even though it was their first time running a course in Vejer it was well organised, with plentiful good food and wine, interesting company, beautiful weather and excellent art tuition. It's rekindled my desire to draw and paint again. Thanks Noelle." Kate Esmarch, UK (Vejer) 2017

"My experience of Art was limited to just a few lessons after I retired and attending a weekly group for about a year or so. Noelle looked at some work I had done and suggested a new beginning for me. I was lucky in that I was able to spend a lot of time with her, every day in fact, walking around Trujillo to sketch and paint scenes which she patiently oversaw. She showed me new techniques, new ways of looking at objects, their relationship with each other and to have a more free flowing approach when putting lines and colours on paper. I found it challenging but very rewarding, and anything I achieved  was down to Noelle's approach and patience." Anthony Brundle, Australia (Trujillo) 2014

"My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our week with Noelle in Trujillo. First and foremost, the art course was well structured and challenging enough to get us working and thinking. Noelle was keen to stress that nothing was mandatory, so it would have been possible to spend a very pleasant week sitting in the sun and doing the odd sketch; but it was well worth sticking to the programme. Secondly, the group were all great fun, we had some interesting discussions over our many drinks and meals. A memorable experience." John Kelly, UK (Trujillo) 2015

"The course more than lived up to expectations. It was clear that it would from the very first activity: an exercise that required us to look, and look and look again! And so it continued. During the course of the week Noelle also encouraged us, in the quiet of the afternoon when working at our chosen spot,  to consciously connect with the environment by summoning all  our senses. So it is that I dream of  hot, insect-humming days, terracotta roofs and almudejar facades...bells, swifts, storks and steeples, fragrant gardens brimful of roses and lilies, heady intoxicating honeysuckle, the dappled shade cast by olive trees, stately cypresses,  dazzling white-washed buildings...and glorious star-studded skies viewed from the noble heights of the loggia as we raise a glass and tuck into a delicious dinner! " Catherine Castro, UK (Trujillo) 2015


"Noelle is an extremely professional, knowledgeable and skilled art tutor and our course was obviously well planned and thought through. Trujillo is truly a remarkable place, full of Conquistador history and the discovery of the New World. The town is a treat to the eye and nectar for the photographer." Julia Etoria and Mary Fitzakerly, Spain (Trujillo) 2015

"My sister and I had a wonderful week in the incredibly beautiful town of Trujillo. We sat on the balcony and watched the storks nesting on the rooftops of the square - it was a magical place. Noelle was a great teacher and very attentive to what we wanted to work on. We really enjoyed our holiday."  Margaret Meyer, US (Trujillo) 2016

"Noelle’s art course and her choice of venue provided a unique opportunity for a full sensory learning experience. She instilled into our minds the importance of observation and learning to really ‘see’ rather than letting the brain take over in our ‘plein air’ painting and sketching efforts.  To do artwork in the surrounds of an ancient town like Trujillo, so steeped in the history and exploits of the 16th century Spanish conquistadors, was a thrill.   Closing your eyes, the cacophony from migrating white storks nesting on the chimneys and towers intermingled with the ringing of church bells and the chatter of residents can initially be jarring to the senses.  The interesting thing is that it does seem to add another dimension and an emotional element to the whole experience.  I was also fascinated by the unique geology of the area which provided a beautiful landscape of gentle, rolling granite hills. Overall, a wonderful experience!" Fred Alcock, Canada (Trujillo) 2015

Art Tutorials in Snowdonia, UK:

"It was in 1992 when I met Noelle, my tutor for the Open College of the Arts.  I was impressed with Noelle's teaching and approach to art, and stayed with her class for six years. I was also attending many painting evening classes and met various tutors along the way.  However, I always thought Noelle was by far the better tutor. So much so that, when I heard she was running a course for her old OCA students I jumped at the opportunity to work with her again, and this time as a professional painter myself. "  Gwilym Hughes, UK

"As a tutor Noelle has a fine eye for picking up on parts of paintings that are not working, and her constructive criticism is invaluable. She urges me to explore new ways of working, and her tutorials while valuable for their lively discussions, criticism and practical work, are always full of fun!" Judith Jolley, UK

“Thank you so much for our tutorial day.  You live and work in such an enchanting place and it was very inspiring to see your paintings.  I learned so much. It was wonderful to paint together too, and such a privilege, I could feel things opening up and also aligning.     Everything that you said made a huge amount of sense and  I came away with more clarity and a point of depart.” Mary Walker, UK

"I have attended Noelle's tutorials for many years. Noelle constantly encourages me, and others in the group, to explore new ways of resolving the problems that any artist encounters in the creative process. The objective group and individual critiques are most valuable in assisting the growth of ones artistic development, and I would recommend Noelle's tutorials to anyone seriously interested in expanding the limits of their work." Des Jones, UK

Images: RH vertical strip TOP to BOTTOM: Paintings by Sally Birch, Daphne Morris, Sal Goldsmith, Drawing by Mary K VanGieson, Sketch by Sal Goldsmith, Ink and wash sketch by Alex Evans. Painting by Catherine Castro. Sketch by Sandra Wakefield, Painting by Sandy Urquhart. Sketchbook by Eve Kelly. Paintings by Fiona Esmarch. Images: Top horizontal strip LH to RH: Paintings by Kath Molyneux, Sara Jones, Amanda Stone, David McLeod. Images: 2nd horizontal strip LH to RH: Ink drawing by Julie Forman, Paintings by Aine O'Leary, Danielle Despots, Helen Cooper, (bottom row) Phil Darrer, Fiona McLoed. Images: 3rd horizontal strip LH to RH: Paintings by Marion Gimson, Carol Gregory. Vertical: Joanna Clark. Paintings by Marion Gimson, vertical: Alison Scott. (Bottom Row) Painting by Alison Scott. Colour sketch by Dana Walker. Painting by Carol Gregory. Images: 4th horizontal strip LH to RH: Paintings by Elly Clayman, Elizabeth Schiffman, Frank Darrer, charcoal drawing by Fabiola Lobo, (bottom row) Anita Koruth, Elaine Elvin, Arnold Clayman. Images: 5th horizontal strip LH to RH: Colour sketch by Joanna Clark. Paintings by Dominic Reeve, Carol Bain, Sandra Wakefield, vertical: Kate Esmarch. (Bottom Row) Paintings by Sophie Reeve, Kate Esmarch. Drawing by Teresa Wolff. Painting by Morag Masters. Images: 6th horizontal strip LH to RH: Sketchbook by Frances Riddle. Paintings by John Kelly, Daphne Morris, Dorothy Champion. (Bottom Row) Paintings by Julia Etoria, Allyson Roberts, Margaret Meyer, Jane Durston. Images: Bottom horizontal strip LH to RH: Ink sketch by Sal Goldsmith. Painting by Teresa Wolff. Concertina book by Mary K VanGieson. Paintings by Keith Wakefield, Gwilym Hughes. (Bottom Row) Paintings by Fred Alcock, Mary K VanGieson, Des Jones, Sandy Urquhart, Des Jones.