Full disclosure - I have absolutely zero artistic talent! But one of the best things about my work is getting to try things I might not otherwise approach. And don't you want to find out what happens when you put three non-painters in a painting workshop?
Fields of sunflowers and bouquets of these cheery blossoms at the market this time of year always remind me of the south of France and the artists whose study of sunflowers in a vase almost all of us can picture: Van Gogh.
So even without any hope of being able to paint, I was drawn to this particular shore excursion. It wasn't in the south of France, but in Amsterdam, where the Dutch artist lived and worked for many years (as well as famously in the south of France), where I had this amazing cruise experience.
An afternoon in an artists' studio for a Van Gogh painting workshop is one of Avalon Waterway's 'Discovery' shore excursions.
‘Active’ and ‘Discovery’ shore excursions are included experiences available at different destinations on Avalon European river cruises. As you might guess, ‘Active’ shore excursions get you outdoors and your blood pumping (although they are quite accessible to the moderately fit, not just the athletic among us.) ‘Discovery’ shore excursions allow you to immerse yourself in a particular aspect of local culture and lifestyle.
The Van Gogh painting workshop shore excursion is inspired by the Dutch artist and the city that's home to the museum of his works, and it's available to Avalon guests on cruises in port in Amsterdam.
I was travelling with travel colleague and friend Ryan McElroy, and travel and gardening journalist Tara Nolan, and we all felt we were on equal, non-artistic footing going into the workshop. Luckily, it's designed for complete art newbies like us, offering fascinating insights into Van Gogh's work and life in Amsterdam as well as an actually easy-to-follow, step-by-step approach to painting our own versions of his famous “Sunflowers."
Believe it or not, we all created a very respectable - and charmingly different! painting. And we each walked away with a small canvas that we could pack in our luggage to take home as a unique memento of our Avalon river cruise.
By: Lynn Elmhirst Producer and Host, World's Greatest Cruises
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