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April/May 2016

"I go there every year. I know the area really well. I know many of the local people. The locations are perfect. It's a really great area. It works well."

 7 Days to suit all levels, in the beautiful bay of Mlini.

 £TBA Non-painting partners welcome for only £TBA


Booking Information

Phone me on :
01903 237096 / 0788 799 8499 (Mobile)

or email : joe@joedowden.com

The Course

Includes hotel, full board, beautiful location, (Mlini), air travel on a good airline, travel representatives at departure, arrival and throughout holiday, transfers, travel insurance, full painting itinerary, excursions, our own indoor painting area, experienced mainstream operator and representatives on hand to look after your needs at all times.

Operator: SAGA. (This is not a SAGA holiday, though we do have all their benefits). Agency: SAGA GROUP SALES.

“A week of professional watercolour tuition on the stunningly beautiful Dalmatian Coast, near Dubrovnik, Pearl of the Adriatic.”

Our group goes out and paints each day. I will be teaching, encouraging, inspiring - giving you individual tuition. I demonstrate how to paint in situ, help you gain confidence, and enable you to paint what you see. All this is in a friendly environment and a fabulous setting where the locals have a high regard for people who endeavour to paint their landscape”.

Accompanying a group of artists is a fascinating and rewarding way to see this region of Croatia. There will be opportunities to go off and explore.

This will be a thoroughly enjoyable and sociable course.


What do I aim to achieve?

·         Help you master all practical aspects of watercolour painting.

·         Encourage basic drawing skills, the foundation of painting.

·         Enable you to make convincing statements based on your own on the spot observation.

·         Teach by giving practical help and support in situ for your projects.

·         Through workshops, enlarge on different topics, and get down to the building blocks of painting.

·         Help each individual with one to one tuition and respond to each ones needs and abilities.

·         Enable you to see how to paint by painting demonstrations with clear explanations.   

·         Expand on individual student's talent by building confidence with one to one encouragement and directional
  teaching, seeing where strengths and desires lie, drawing out what is good in each, and guiding each in the right

·         Help all to have a great, relaxing time, and enjoy the serenity of a beautiful environment.   


It is possible to build confidence - or restore it in those who feel they have lost it - the desire to paint often points to latent talent. Can confidence be the missing ingredient?

“You paint – I teach.”    Joe Francis Dowden – September 2014


See Below for Sample Itinerary

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About the Area


Literally 'Mill', the village straddles a small river which drops from the 2000 foot mountains behind and into the sea. It is one of a cluster of villages, in a series of little bays, with pleasant seafront walks,  palms, pines and a giant Asiatic Plane tree next to a small Romanesque bridge. Seafront cafes and bars provide an ideal environment from which to paint. Boats ply their trade from the local harbour and with many destinations available, Mlini is an ideal base both to paint, enjoy and work from.




Soaring walls up to 27 feet thick completely encircle the old city. From these you can look down on an intricate mass of terracotta roofs, with view-points into a distant backdrop of sea or mountain. Dubrovnik stood as a jewel city of independence through one imperial power after another. It's merchants maintained peace and prosperity while sending ships out to every corner of the Earth. Dubrovnik's character comes not from intricate detail and showy ornamentation, but from a rugged beauty - a simple architectural integrity - it is beautiful but can be less demanding on those drawing skills. It is a short walk from the boat to the main plaza, Stradun, where coffee tables sprawl across marble pavements. We will come here by boat the very first afternoon we arrive, and later we will spend a whole day exploring the tiny streets. We will wander the harbour front and walk the great walls.


Cavtat is a historic port with French style cafes along the waterfront, clear water with many small boats, and a backdrop of mountains. Two harbours for the price of one, it sits across an isthmus - two bays and a town jumbled into the gap between. We will be visiting Cavtat - (pronounced "Tsaftat") - twice, once by coach after a trip to an inland mill and mountain top, and once by boat for the day.




One of the small group of Elephite islands, named for their resemblance in shape to a dear's foot. Lopud is less than a mile across, and pristine. The Adriatic waters are extremely clear and despite it's small size, the island gives an immensely diverse prospect for the painter. The mountains you see are mainland Croatia, the Dalmatian Coast, separated by a few miles of sea.

A little more about Croatia.
Croatia has a long coastal belt separated from the interior by mountains. It extends down most of the Adriatic from top to bottom, being bordered on the coastal North by Slovenia, and in the South by Montenegro. The mountains along the Dubrovnik coast slope down to the sea, clad with palm, cypress, and pine trees. Shore-line footpaths wend through the trees linking the harbour we will use, with rocky bays along the coast. The climate is Mediterranean, with warm, largely dry weather from the end of April. If you want to swim, come with your own towels as the hotel doesn't like theirs leaving the premises. As with most climates, there is no guarantee against fluctuations. I recommend some items of warm clothing, just in case. As a rule, by the first week in May the weather is warm, dry and sunny. The average maximum and minimum temperatures are 70 and 58 degrees fahrenheit respectively, but this is only a guide. There is no guarantee that it will not rain, and it can still get cold in the evenings, so bear this in mind. The country is clean and orderly. The currency is stable and the exchange rate is very approximately 10Kn (Kunas) to the £1. The water is clear and in sunshine the sea is a deep blue. There is a vast diversity of plant life, because of the equable climate, and also because in times past ships returned with many plants from distant regions.

From the walls of Dubrovnik

Other attractions.
These include the Konavle valley, and Konavaski Dvori, where we see a traditional mill operating. Set in a laurel forest with tracts of water running through, the mill site provides good prospects for painting. Next we are driven to a mountain top for the fantastic view back over Caftat, then to a village farmhouse for a traditional Croatian lunch which is included in our excursion price. We are also booked to see the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra. This world renowned string orchestra plays in residence at the summer palace. Despite its auspicious name, the building reflects the modesty and charm of Dubrovnik. Seating 200, it gives us the opportunity to see Dubrovnik at night.
About the Artist

Joe Francis Dowden - A little about myself.

"I am a watercolour painter who turned professional about 23 years ago. I have sold paintings for my whole working life. I have a lifetime of painting and drawing experience, much of it in situ, out of doors, and that is what I value most. I exhibit and sell my watercolour paintings and my books and articles are published world-wide. I have presented both television and DVD/video, and have "appeared" on radio. I have exhibited at the RI, the RSMA, The Singer & Friedlander/Sunday Times Competition, and many others. I have advised manufacturers, and written extensively on art and materials. I have written for the art press and others, and given demonstrations and seminars to many different bodies"

Booking Information

To book, contact Joe Francis Dowden to reserve a place.

Phone on :
01903 237096 / 0788 799 8499 (Mobile)

or email : joe@joedowden.com

Booking Agent: SAGA Group Sales - 0800 300 666

Agent: Laura.



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