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Sketchbook Holiday in Cádiz, Spain
April 17 - 242024

with Diane Olivier

Taught in English

Our one-week sketchbook holiday in Spain takes place in the historic Andalusian city of Cádiz.  Cádiz exudes a certain mystic quality – attractive, fascinating and almost magical. This city is deemed the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe. Established over 3,000 years ago, it stands on a peninsula that juts into the Atlantic Ocean, on the southwestern tip of Spain. This port city is almost entirely surrounded by water.  Hence, the Phoenicians called it “Gadir”, meaning “enclosure”. The old town's picturesque skyline features 126 18th century watchtowers built to monitor the coming and going of ships trading with "The New World".


The workshop is designed for all levels, from pure beginners to the most experienced artists.  Instructor Diane Olivier's workshops include demonstrations en plein air, individual instruction, and critiques.  We will be drawing in the mornings and your afternoons are free to explore the city. 


We will be walking on old, cobbled streets, and at the beach, with your drawing supplies -- participants should be comfortable with carrying their gear on uneven surfaces and should be fit enough to walk unassisted for at least two hours and manage uneven stairs and occasionally steep footpaths, as we visit historic towns and villages. Not recommended for people with limited mobility.

From Diane:

Join me in exploring the old town of Cádiz with your sketchbook in hand. Between the Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance and elegant Baroque architecture, the bustling fish market, and the colorful flamenco culture, the possibilities here are endless! I will take you to a variety of great drawing spots each morning, and you have your afternoons to go exploring. We then will get together for a show-and-tell each evening at our hotel with our sketchbooks. 

Our home will be a charming apartment-hotel in a noble 19th century building. It is typically Andalusian with its interior patio, fountain and vertical garden. It is situated in the heart of the historical quarter of the ancient walled city of Cadiz, on a wide pedestrian street. Two dinners (on arrival and departure nights) and all breakfasts at a cafe are included. For other meals you can enjoy the many tasty local restaurants and tapas bars, or prepare your own meal in your apartment. 

Your trip will also include two Andalusian cultural highlights: a ferry ride to the town of El Puerto de Santa María for a sherry tasting at a family-run bodega, and an evening out at a flamenco tavern where you will get to see a performance while enjoying a drink. The rest of the time you'll have plenty of opportunity to explore and sketch down at the beach and throughout the maze of streets in the old town. 

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Typical Schedule 

Subject to change depending on weather, desires of group, or other unforseen circumstances.


Wednesday, April 17

  • Arrival in Cadiz after 2:00pm, unpack, relax

  • Welcome Tapas Fiesta 8:00pm 

Thursday April 18 - Wednesday April 24

  • Breakfast 7:30-9:00AM

  • Drawing together 9:00AM-12:00PM 

  • Afternoons free

  • Get together with our work 6:00-7:00pm

  • During the week we'll take a ferry ride to Puerta Santa Maria for sketching in the old town and a sherry tasting

  • Flamenco show on Thursday night!


Wednesday April 24

  • Farewell gourmet dinner, 8:00pm


Historic renovated elegance in Cádiz at

El Armador Casa Palacio

Welcome to El Armador Casa Palacio, one of Cadiz's architectural gems, transformed from a noble 19th century palace into luxurious apartment suites. Typically Andalusian with its interior patio, fountain and vertical garden, the building is located in the city's historic center on Calle Ancha, a pedestrian street lined with cafes and boutiques.

We have reserved five spacious and elegant apartment suites, each with efficiency kitchens.  Three are studios for 1-2 people, and 2 are 2 bedroom apartments with one room featuring a double bed, and another with two single beds which can be made up as two twins, or a double. Each apartment has a living area, kitchen and bathroom.


Drawing Instructor Diane Olivier

Drawing has always been my primary media, working with both traditional and nontraditional materials on scales ranging from small book size to mural size. My subject matter ranges from figurative, landscape and cityscapes to non-representational. The media ranges from charcoal to graphite, to full color pastels to non-traditional mixed media. The sense of touch between the tools and the paper and the immediacy of the mark are important element in my process. It is a dance between the eyes, the hand and the soul.


Sketchbooks on Flickr
My website

Plein Air Painting Workshop Director

Holiday Director Kate Kilbourne

Since 2000, Kate Kilbourne has lived part of the year in San Francisco, California, and part of the year in Troo, France... until 2017 when her partner Robert bought a flat in Cadiz.  Now Kate spends the early spring and late fall in Spain.  She is fluent in French and is learning Spanish as fast as she can!

Drawings by Diane Olivier

Click to enlarge

Included in Holiday
  • 6 days of instruction

  • 7 nights lodging in El Armador Casa Palacio

  • Daily breakfast at cafe

  • Welcome tapas and wine fiesta Saturday 

  • Farewell multi course gourmet dinner

  • Ferry trip to Puerta Santa Maria & sherry tasting

  • Flamenco show, including one drink

Not Included
  • Air fare

  • Travel insurance

  • Medical insurance

  • Train fare

  • Drawing Materials 

  • Lunches and dinners are at your own expense, other than the Saturday Welcome tapas and the Friday Farewell dinner.  There are plenty of tapas bars and restaurants within walking distance to try -- or you can shop at the farmers & fish market to prepare meals in your apartment


The cost for the 7 night holiday, inclusive of everything listed under "Included in Holiday", varies according to whether you prefer a single room or are planning to share a double. Accommodation is in the El Armador Casa Palacio.

Shared Room: 1400 euros 

Per person


Single Room: 1750 euros 

Per person 

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Sign up by Dec. 31

and receive a 200 euro discount! 

20% Discount

for non-painting participants

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