Play and Paint in Portugal!

A creative holiday week in the Algarve, Portugal

OCTOBER 13-20, 2021

APRIL 27 – MAY 4, 2022

Please email me if you would like to come before contacting the school.

(Click on the first photo to launch the slide show)

Imagine a week of having fun painting in Portugal! A relaxing holiday combined with creating and learning.

I was beyond thrilled to discover this amazing art school in the heart of the historically protected and picturesque fishing town of Olhão (pronounced ol-yowng) in the Algarve. The U.K. run School is a tranquil space that’s designed to inspire artistic creativity. The building’s historic vaulted ceilings and Roman brickwork have been carefully restored, and its studio and courtyard areas are flooded with natural light. This will be my third year instructing, and I must say that I think the whole week is FANTASTIC!

Anyone interested in painting in a fun, relaxed and informal environment with like-minded people is welcome to join this course, whether you are a total beginner or wishing to improve your skills.

As the title suggests, the focus of the week will be on painting, playing, and having FUN. Various exercises and ideas to start a painting will be suggested. Using acrylic, mixed media or watercolour, you can define your own style, work at your own speed, and get one-to-one feedback. Colour theory and technique will be woven throughout the class each day.

Olhāo is the Algarve’s biggest fishing port, with an active waterfront featuring a 60km lagoon system that encloses marshes (lots of wetland birds), salt pans, creeks and dune islands. It boasts a terrific fish and vegetable market (one of the best in the whole country!) and has pretty, narrow lanes threading throughout its old quarters. The flat-roofed Morrish-influenced neighbourhoods, with plenty of Old World charm and decay, are pleasant to wander. One could spend a whole week admiring and painting the beautiful old doors!

With covid restrictions, flights have yet to be confirmed. Email me if you are interested and we’ll figure out the best flights ASAP. I will organize the pick up and return and coordinate that with the school. October temperatures should be FANTASTIC, and we hope there will be many sunny days.


There are two accommodation options included in the price: the School House or the Pool House. The School House has eight rooms in total – double, twin or single bedrooms, all ensuite – while the smaller Pool House has four spacious en-suite double rooms. You can have your own room, unless you want to share with a friend. Both houses have lovely indoor lounges and eating areas, an outdoor swimming pool, and plenty of terraces and courtyards where you can soak up the sun.

Bath and swimming towels are provided, along with premium botanical shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Your room is cleaned daily. Dinner is served by the School’s exceptional chef, or we will visit one of the many local restaurants along the seafront of Olhão. Wine is included for our lunches and dinners, with dinner served “Portuguese time” @ 8:00pm. We will do our best to accommodation any special dietary requirements, but please let me know your concerns when you register.


1025 British Sterling (approximately $1,775 Canadian)

Everything is pretty much included, (except your flight). There will be a small material charge and an occasional taxi fare for our excursions. I think it’s a great deal. Depending upon flights and airport return and pick up, there may be a minimal additional cost.


6 full days of art instruction with Kato Wake • 7 nights ensuite accommodation • ALL lunches and dinners, including wine • Airport pick up and return transportation • Daily room cleaning • Amenities: premium botanical shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, hair dryer, bath and beach towels • Mid-week excursion to the Island of Farol • Art trolley to use when out sketching • Introduction to Portuguese wine with Billy Munnelly

Tipping is at your discretion for a lovely young woman who prepares breakfast and cleans the bedrooms and house, and Margarida, the resident chef and #1 woman-in-charge.

There will be a small charge for materials and a few excursions (under $50 Canadian, payable to me when we are in Portugal). To make travel easier, I will supply most of the materials – paints especially – and will email you a list of what to bring.



I will work out your airport pick up and return, to get you there and back as easy and as comfortable as possible. There may be a small cost to cover some expenses.

FYI: Travelling by train from Lisbon is very easy AND inexpensive. There are many more flight options to go to Lisbon. (I’ll help you out and give you all my recommendation places to see in Lisbon if you’re interested in exploring this great city!) Exploring Seville in Spain is another option that is close by.


I am planning on bringing jars of acrylic paint, watercolour paint, gel medium and a few other materials, which you can use at no cost. Bring paints, brushes, sketchpads, pens, pencils etc. – whatever feels right and can fit in your suitcase (not your carry-on). Each student is given a “dad’s trolley” to use – a pull-along bag on wheels which has a portable stool, portable easel, sun umbrella, thermos for chilled water and plenty of room for you to add your art essentials. Boards, easels, canvases, paints, and other materials are sold at the School’s Art Shop. We can share resources and I’m sure won’t be left wanting. Bring your camera, iPad or phone, and your charger. Dress is super casual. I’ll be emailing you all with more details.


Classes typically start at 9:30am, and finish around 4:30pm, with a break for lunch. This is an art holiday – you can go at your own pace.

Arrive in Olhão – you’ll be picked up (no charge – it’s part of your tuition cost.) As the staff is busy turning over the rooms, you’ll drop our luggage off and I’ll be there to meet you. We’ll  walk around the town, and go for a delicious grilled fish lunch. Then in the afternoon, you’ll check in, unpack and maybe take a nap (!) before our welcome ‘meet and greet’ in the Art School at 6:30pm. We’ll discuss the week’s itinerary over drinks, followed by dinner in the School House.

In the morning we’ll take our sketch books to the lovely old cobbled streets of Olhão. You won’t be at a loss for inspiration with its wonderful old doors and windows, roof lines, tile work and unusual door knockers. Portable easels, chairs and sun umbrellas are provided. Lunch is back at the Art School – typically a buffet of fresh salads and a selection of local dishes. The afternoon is spent working in our studios creating a painting using our morning drawings or photographs as a springboard for paintings. An opportunity to hone your composition skills.

After breakfast, we will take a water taxi to one of the nearby islands, and be educated on the delicate water ecosystem. Sketch the boats .exotic plants, unusual flowers and trees or beach scenes, followed by lunch on the island. If the weather is good you can stay longer and take the ferry back ‘home’.

Our day starts at the fabulous market on the seafront. One building showcases a fresh fish market, and the other offers all kinds of fruit, vegetables, meats and cheeses. You’ll spend around an hour here (you can do some sketching and take photos. In the afternoon we’ll honker down and delve into more abstract imagery. Using paint or and mixed media – collage, charcoal, pastels, ink, photo-transfer, watercolours and acrylic paints – using Portuguese tiles as our inspiration.

A lazy morning to work in the studio, but after lunch we’ll dive into Portuguese culture. We’ll head to a lovely waterside small city called Tavira by taxi (for a small supplement). Choose your own location and subject for painting or sketching. Afterwards we’ll catch a Fado show and have dinner.

Wander down to the local harbour in the morning and capture some of the fabulous subject matter here – boats, nets, and views of the islands. After lunch, use these images to create a new painting, or work on the paintings you’ve started this week. Billy will host a wine tasting for us to show us how fabulous the range of Portuguese wines are!

Free time to buy gifts or explore the shops before heading back to the studio for final painting hours. We finish our week by celebrating with an exhibition of our work, followed by another delicious dinner at the school!

After breakfast, it will be time to head to the airport – or move on if you’re extending your trip.


This painting holiday is ideally designed to add-on additional days to explore Seville in Spain or Lisbon (both about 3.5 hours away) – or more of the Algarve. Billy and I have taken many tours to Lisbon (, and will be happy to pass on travel tips and information to you.

My partner or friend wants to come but does not want to paint.
What’s there for them to do?

Golf is a hugely popular sport amongst tourists with an excellent range of golf courses all with-in a 15-45 min drive of Olhao. Faro has plenty to see, including a beautiful walled city in the old town, as well as a large shopping centre. The islands of the Ria Formosa are a stone’s throw away from Olhao and provide stunning quiet empty beaches for kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, diving, and bird watching. There is also a tennis club in Olhao. The cost for a non-painting partner is £725, including accommodation and all meals.

CANCELLATION POLICY It is advisable that you take out cancellation insurance.

Only 12-14 students per week.

Email for questions, concerns, (or anything else!) Don’t contact the school – contact ME please. I will confirm and coordinate with the school.

Award winning Canadian painter and painting instructor Kato Wake has the rare ability to paint in different styles – from realistic to abstract. As a trained graphic designer she understands composition and what makes a painting work. As a painter, colour is her best friend, and she loves teaching colour theory and mixing. Most of all, she is a natural teacher, and has changed the lives of many through her encouragement, feedback and compassion. Fun and personal expression forms the foundation for a week to remember!

An Amazing Week!

Meeting you, being inspired by you has been a life changing experience of which I’ll forever be grateful.

Thank you! Obrigado!

Your patience, advice and caring personality was above and beyond of what I expected.

Perfect Combination!

The best experience ever! You and Billy have been wonderful hosts, teachers and guides and have created a perfect combination of learning and playing.

More Than Art

The Art School is a great place to relax, tune into Algarve vibes and enjoy Portugual. Thanks for a great trip. (one of the non-painting partners)