Salt Spring Island Art Retreat

Watercolor Sketching the Pacific Northwest

This art retreat is designed to capture the nature and spirit of the Pacific Northwest, a place where sky, water, and land meet in ever changing light and movement. Our class will explore the beauty of Salt Spring Island, in the Gulf Island archipelago, British Columbia, Canada, while staying at the lovely Skipping Stone Beach B&B and cabin.

Dates: September 12-16, 2019 (Thursday – Monday)

Retreat offerings and pricing:
4 nights including 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner, wine and cheese reception; transportation (private shuttle) from Victoria International Airport to Salt Spring Island and return.

Early Bird Price til April 15: $1400 CD ($1049 USD); from April 16 to May 15: $1500CD ($1126.00 USD).  

Maximum 6 guests

What is NOT included: artist materials, dinners out, airfare, additional accommodations and meals in Victoria (if extension is opted for), entrance fees to Butchart Gardens.

To Register or for more information: Contact Tanis Wilkie or Paul Whidden at Skipping Stone Beach B&B, (250) 537-2519; email:,

Registration/refund policy: 50% deposit – non-refundable (travel insurance is highly recommended); balance is due 30 days prior to check in. Cancellations 30 days prior to check in date can be refunded only if the attendee can find a replacement. If retreat organizers cancel for any reason, full refunds will be given. To register or ask for more information email Tanis with the subject heading: Painting Retreat Sept. 2019.

Tanis and Paul are happy to speak to you about the different room accommodations in the B&B and Cabin.

5 Day Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Victoria International Airport; Meet Cynthia to transport to Swartz Bay & the Salt Spring Island ferry. Settle into rooms at Skipping Stone Beach B&B; wine and cheese reception, dinner out at one of the many fine restaurants on the island.

Days 2, 3, 4: Breakfast; instruction from 9am to 12pm, Lunch; afternoons – combination of rest/free time, work on assignments, or plein air painting outings (may involve some hiking, or at least walking to reach viewing spots). Dinner in Ganges Harbor or other Island location. Dinner at Skipping Stone Beach on the last evening (Day 4).

Day 5: Breakfast; return to Victoria Airport.

Possible extension stay to explore Victoria, tea at the Empress Hotel, sketching trip to Butchart Gardens. Email me if you’d like to discuss this option:

Features of retreat art instruction include: indoor workshop instruction on some basic watercolor and sketching techniques and specific elements of landscape painting. Landscape elements including water, sky, trees, rocks. Glazing for depth and atmosphere, negative space painting. Compositional elements: how to use thumbnail sketches to decide what to put into a painting and what to omit. Explore ideas for creating layout and design in journal pages. Outdoor/plein air painting/sketching to capture the wealth of subject matter that autumn in the Gulf Islands offers: colorful arbutus trees, beaches, misty forests, vistas, rocky bluffs, and old farm buildings, seascape scenes. We will work in pen, ink, and watercolor.

Materials list:  Each artist is responsible for bringing their own materials. There is an art supply store on the island, but I don’t know how well stocked they are.

Moleskine journal (or other suitable for watercolor – Stillman & Birn – Beta, Zeta, or Delta series)

For those wishing to paint on larger sizes than journals allow: #140 cold pressed paper – I suggest no larger than quarter sheet size – think travel ease; support for the paper – gator board is lightweight and strong, cut to an inch larger than your watercolor paper sheet size. Make sure it fits in your travel art bag (back pack) for plein air painting.

Pencil/eraser, sharpener

Selection of Pigma Micron pens – 0.01, 0.05, 0.08, 0.1, 1

Travel watercolor palette (See Winsor & Newton, Schminke, Rembrandt) – with your favorite colors (some suggested colors for painting the Pacific Northwest islands include: Undersea green, Quinacridone Gold, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, azo yellow, yellow ochre, cadmium red, permanent alizarin crimson, Quinacridone burnt orange, burnt umber, indigo, cascade green or sap green, dioxazine purple, sepia, ArtGraf water soluble graphite tin). NOTE: you do NOT have to buy all these colors. Pick a few primaries and a couple of other favorites.

Watercolor brushes: a range from #4 to 12 rounds, 1/2 inch flat, 1 inch flat. (Niji waterbrushes in large, medium, small are super for travel).

Water bottle

Sta-wet sponge – or other sponge for blotting/cleaning brushes

Art bag (or back pack) suitable to carry supplies , water, snack

Small square of oil cloth to sit on ground for plein air painting

Private decks at Skipping Stone Beach B&B

This entry was posted in Publications. Bookmark the permalink.