Watercolours outside the square with Charles Sluga: 15 – 22 June 2024
Watercolours outside the square
Charles Sluga’s workshops explore the world – not just the world of watercolours, but the world around him. He takes his students into the local environment to paint, to eat, to walk the hills and beaches, to see with fresh eyes. This workshop celebrates the tropical landscapes of Fiji and the warm hospitality of the people of Savusavu.
Click on the PROGRAMME tab above to see the plan for each day.
- Daily workshops with Charles Sluga with personal attention
- Accommodation – choose from our bures at the front (Ocean View bures), or at the back (standard rooms) – or ask us about our two bedroom villas.
- Meals : breakfast, lunch and dinner – a mix of local Fijian and Indian food and international recipes
- Excursions: snorkel on the fabulous coral reefs, bathe in glorious waterfall, revel in the abundant nature of the landscape and experience the rich Fijian culture.
You just need to buy your air ticket and art materials, and leave the rest to us.
Overview of the week's course
Charles firmly believes that painting is a skill than can be taught. But of course its more than putting coloured paint on blank paper: with him, you will learn how to see and how to think, so that you can better express yourself, respond to the world through watercolour and tell YOUR story. During the week, he will help establish the foundations to build upon and skyrocket your watercolour skills.
Mornings are given to a three hour workshop when Charles will often do a demonstration and then move around the class to give individual attention and advice. He focusses on three main areas: Value, Colour and Edge.
Value: how values (darks and lights) are crucial to giving your painting a sense of form.
Colour: Colour creates a sense of mood and excitement in your paintings. But to use colour, you must first understand it. Learn to set out your palette in a logical order, mix secondary colours and understand the dimensions of colour.
Edge: Find out what the different types of edges are and how to paint them in watercolour. Don’t miss this often overlooked element of painting, as this will take your paintings to a new level.
Beginners welcome – and bring along your non-painting partner too – there’s plenty for them to do whilst your painting, and they can join all the organised excursions on your programme too.
Meet your instructor.
Charles Sluga isn’t a typical artist.
His early fascination with drawing and art instruction in acrylics from the age of 13 later gave way to an academic background in mathematics and physics. But Charles made the decision to follow his passion and became a professional contemporary artist more than 30 years ago.
He is now recognised internationally as a master of “watercolours outside the square.” He shuns mediocrity, questions the purpose of painting, and challenges himself to push the boundaries of possibility.
Charles captures diverse subjects in a broad range of styles ranging from the semi-abstract to loosely realistic. He isn’t afraid to mix media to achieve his vision, and much of his work is underpinned by careful research. His Monopoly Exhibition, the result of two years of detailed research and artistic documentation of the streets of London, is an excellent example of how he delves deeply into his subjects and applies structured thinking to his art.
Charles’s technique has been described by critics as “impeccable” and his vision as ”brilliant” and “evocative”. By taking risks he has helped elevate the status of watercolour as a major contemporary medium. His dedication to his artistic vision and pursuit of excellence has been rewarded with the coveted Alice Bale Award, inclusion in the International Watercolour Biennale, and an invitation to be represented at the New York Art Expo.
Charles is a man who loves the smell of the sea, the chill of winter, and the sound of laughter. He cries when he reads Steinbeck and wears his heart on his sleeve. His tours are memorable on many levels.
Dates: June 15 – 22, 2024
Teacher: Charles Sluga
Programme: Daily morning workshops of 3 hours
Suitability: All levels
Food: Three meals a day.
Itinerary: Arrive Savusavu June 15. Course starts morning June 16, ends evening June 21. Depart Savusavu June 22.
Materials: A list of materials to be purchased for the course will be provided.
About the Workshop
During the week Charles will lead you into the heart of the local community, walking around the market stalls, spending time in the nearby villages, watching the meke dancers, setting up your easels on the beach. There will be time spent back at Daku Resort in the studio which we set up on the platform on the hillside – we use it for yoga retreats, for weddings, for art exhibitions and of course as an art studio, which is what you’ll be there for.
Charles’ great love is the sea and there’s plenty of that in Fiji. Daku Resort is on the shores of Savusavu Bay where the waters change from a midday azure to a late evening slate grey. Over the hill and down the Hibiscus Highway the ocean sparkles in turquoise and teal at low tide, and then turns to a deeper hue of navy as it comes up. Along the coastline the coconut palms sway, the children wave from the bus on their way to school, the women hang their washing out in the gardens. All this is waiting to be captured by your paintbrushes.
The week is loosely organised as follows:
Day One: This morning will be spent learning the skills necessary for a successful en-plein air painting, covering the fundamentals such as value, colour and edge and how to plan for a succesful painting (hint: it’s not just about copying what is in front of you), dispelling the myths of watercolour painting, breaking standard watercolour rules and teaching you how to plan, Charles will help you loosen up your paintings and find freedom in your work.
Day Two: Sometimes when painting en-plein air we can become overwhelmed by subject matter choices. Charles will give you handy hints on how to select your subject then how best to make an impactful painting from any subject using compositional techniques.
Day Three: Charles shows you the pitfalls of painting boats and water and gives you a series of questions to ask yourself to avoid them. Knowing what to look for and what to ignore, can make the difference between success and failure when painting boats and water.
Day Four: Charles will show you how even a difficult subject (or any subject) can be made into a successful painting using a combination of composition, colour choices and design, experimentation and taking risks.
Day Five: Learn how to see, interpret and paint. Not just paint. Make your painting stand out by taking some risks, pushing your composition and creating some interest. How? Let Charles show you.
Day Six: Find out the solution to whatever you struggle with in your paintings. Charles is incredibly generous with his knowledge and 30 years experience and is keen to help you.
Our location : Savusavu, Fiji
During this week, you’ll enjoy the rich culture and unspoilt nature of Fiji, the place where happiness comes naturally. We’re in Savusavu in Fiji’s North – known as the Hidden Paradise because it really is! We’ll take you out to snorkel on the beautiful coral reefs, to plunge into fresh waterfalls, to visit traditional Fijian villages where you’ll see a deeply hospitable corner of Fiji.
We’ve got a full programme planned – with some spare time to just relax.
Ocean View bure
Standard room – rear bure
IncludedAccommodationAll Workshop FeesDining & MealsLectures & ExcursionsTransfers from Savusavu Airport
Not IncludedAlcoholic BeveragesEquipment & SuppliesFlights/TravelNon-Course ActivitiesTravel Insurance
- Arrive in Savusavu.
- 6.00 pm Welcome kava ceremony
- 7.00 pm Dinner
- 9.00 am – 12.30 pm Workshop. On this first morning we will be in the yoga platform at Daku resort, a stunning open sided space that also serves as an inspiring art studio with its views over the resort gardens and out into the bay and the mountains beyond.
- 1.00 pm Lunch
- Afternoon: Free time
- 7.30 pm Dinner
- 1.00 pm Lunch
- 2.00 Handicraft display and tapa making demonstration: some of the local women will come to display and sell their jewellery. One of them will give a demonstration of making tapa – the decorated Fijian bark cloth.
- Afternoon: Trip to Savusavu Town to see local market and shop. Savusavu town is a mileaway – 5 minutes in a taxi. We will send you in by taxi and then leave you to wander round and make your own way back by taxi – it’s FJ$4 (US$2).
- 7.00 Dinner
- 9.00 am – 12.00 pm Workshop: Savusavu harbour. We go into town (5 minutes drive) to one of the yacht marinas to paint the boats and the island across the harbor channel. The Copra Shed Marina has pleasant gardens and a nice café where you can buy coffee; the Waitui Marina is nore rustic but has some gorgeous views. We’ll make a decision on the day depending on weather / group interests.
- 1.00 lunch
- 4.30 pm Trip to local village and see the traditional meke dance performed with an entrancing energy by the villagers.
- 7.00 pm Dinner
- 9.00 am – 1.00 pm Workshop: We drive up to Urata lookout café (approx. 20 minutes), a notable local feature with unparalleled views over Savusavu Bay. The café has been built as a joint project between the Rotary Club of Savusavu and the landowning mataqali (clan) of Urata village. The views are stunning, the coffe is great – and the painting opportunities are challenging! (but rewarding) After that, we drive on to Vuadomo waterfall, a beautiful natural fall full of painting opportunities – and a place where you can plunge in to swim in the cool waters of the pool beneath the waterfall.
- 1.00 pm Lunch
- Free afternoon
- 7.00 pm Dinner
- 9.00 am Workshop: Picnic Lunch and swimming at Buli Kula beach. This venue is a 20 minute drive down the Hibiscus Highway and has beautiful coastal views. If the tide is high, you’ll be able to swim and snorkel.
- Return to Daku approx. 3.00
- 7.00 pm Dinner
- 9.00 am – 12.30 pm Workshop. Final morning which we leave unscheduled: we might go back into town, or find a new spot that has caught your attention – or just stay in Daku finishing off the paintings you have been working on during the week.
- Afternoon: Free
- 5.00 Informal group show and critique.
- 7.00 Final Fijian dinner