King River Painting Retreat 2016

Late last year, early December I took a group of my students on retreat at King River Camp, Cheshunt in the sublime King Valley, Victoria. (

In these days of busyness, emails, appointments and the multiple life demands that can and often do drain out energy and steal our creative focus I think it’s vitally important to create spaces where we can focus on our passion as artists and art students without all of those those distractions.


Studio Dog hanging out in the grounds of King River Camp.


So that’s what we did.

After planning it for most of 2016 we set off for 3 days of solid tuition, delicious home cooked meals, superb inspiring views and things to paint everywhere you turned. Taking a day to travel there in car convoy – with lunch and a tour of the Benalla Gallery on the way got our creative juices flowing for the days ahead, and so we arrived with much excitement and anticipation.

Our focus on this retreat had several areas. Firstly, being able to receive quality tuition at a level and duration not usually possible in weekly classes. There was space and time to ask all those questions about painting that hadn’t had a chance to be asked, with the opportunity to discuss them in more depth and find answers and solutions.

Secondly was the opportunity to just be around like-minded creative people of all levels – all of us with the passion to learn as much as possible in a nurturing and supportive environment and have plenty of time to have those stimulating conversations around art, life and everything in between.

Thirdly to have a ‘chunk’ of time to really immerse ourselves in our art without time constraints and free of all of everyday life demands and responsibilities. The venue is fully catered for with three meals a day plus morning and afternoon tea. Nobody I saw ever looked hungry!


A sample of the delicious deserts we had everyday.

We covered a lot of ground in the three days including plein air tutorials and demonstration, composition in painting, setting up a still life, how to mix Australian grey-greens and much more.

There was even a large selection of quality art materials available to purchase as Bob Senior from Senior Art Supplies ( generously bough a truck load with him for purchase at discount prices.

There were also dawn trips up to the lake for plein air painting, many rounds of table tennis in the evening, quiet walks in the bush, an excursion up to Powers Lookout to paint, in depth conversations about the use of quality art materials, and the odd nanna nap on the couches by yours truly and my trusty studio dog.

Studio Dog hanging out in the grounds of King River Camp.

Studio Dog hanging out in the grounds of King River Camp.

All in all it was an very memorable time together as artists and students of painting with lots learnt, great connections made, a lot of laughs together and most importantly coming away feeling refreshed and just that little bit further down the road of artistic knowledge and skill. All at a very reasonable cost.

We are already planning our next painting retreat for a similar time this year (2017) so if it’s something you like to be a part of then please contact me, Ben Winspear at or Judy Hutchins at

Plein air from Powers Lookout.

Plein air from Powers Lookout.

Plein air painting.

Plein air painting.


I’d like to thank Judy Hutchins who did most of the organising – without her it wouldn’t have been possible. Bob Senior for lugging along all those bargain art supplies and the great team at King River Camp who made us very welcome and very comfortable.

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