Botanical Painting at Abingworth
Code: AWPBPPrint page
Meadows & hills
If you love all things botanical, come and enjoy capturing their beauty and essence on paper. You'll improve your botanical painting skills, learning how to use technical form, use of colour and tone, and using your equipment.
Best suited to those with some experience with drawing and watercolour.
- Learn technical form, colour and tone
- Share inspiration and exchange ideas
- Gain knowledge to continue painting at home
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- Tuition from our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
- Loan of wooden A3 art boards
- Small groups of up to 12 guests
Nestled at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall is ideally located for a short break or a longer holiday. A peaceful ambiance and excellent facilities make it a relaxing place to stay. It offers great viewing for short or long strolls in the beautiful surrounding meadows.
Choose your room
• Check in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• 23 inch TV
• Tea and coffee-making facilities
• Double or two single beds
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Same facilities as our classic rooms plus...
• Check in from 1pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Larger beds
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Ultradown pillows
• Smalls drying rack
• Small welcome gift
• Luxury tea tray
• Enhanced toiletries
• Available from an extra £15 per person per night
• Check-in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Three comfortable lounges, the largest of which opens onto the attractive conservatory and bar
• Large ballroom
• Dining room
• Free WiFi avaliable in some public rooms
|• Range of board games and books
• Surrounded by eight acres of gardens
• Putting green and croquet lawn
• Heated outdoor swimming pool (open May to September)
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Abingworth Hall is generally accessible to wheelchair users and has a bedroom specifically designed for wheelchair access.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
You can check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (premium rooms from 1pm). We invite everyone to afternoon tea. This is the first occasion when everyone in the country house meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.
We'll get together after dinner and discuss the programme, what's planned and what we all want to get out of our holiday. Please bring some cartridge paper and pencils - we'll discuss our tools, the use of a light box and pencil work as we prepare ourselves with a few "warm ups" in readiness for tomorrow morning's theory session. If anyone would like to bring along previously painted pictures, that would be great - please don't feel shy, these few days are all about sharing and learning. No matter where we are on this adventure, we can all enjoy learning and improving.
Each morning after a hearty breakfast, we get cracking and enjoy our first painting session. Then after a tasty light lunch together, we once again immerse ourselves in this fascinating and absorbing subject. By mid-morning and mid-afternoon we'll have earned a welcome cuppa together as we exchange enthusiasm and ideas about our artwork. Every one of us has our own way of painting and this is a wonderful thing we can be proud of and share - we're enjoying the journey as much as the destination.
Flower form and drawing skills
Our painting should be well-drawn and pleasing to the eye before any paint can be applied if botanical accuracy is the objective. Theory and demonstration is followed by experimental practice. We'll be able to choose the subject which sings to us and which we feel drawn to paint. We'll have some fresh flowers and vegetation provided by our leader, and some photographs to work from. If anyone would like to bring any specific plant material to paint, that's fine - this could be flowers, leaves, seed heads, fruits or vegetables.
Many people wonder how to paint leaves - and many excellent flower paintings are let down by lack of attention to this important aspect. So we'll learn how to create successful leaf depiction and explore the colour green. It's more fun than you think! There'll be plenty of time for us to experiment and practise after some solid theory and demonstration by our leader.
Light, tone and highlights
Let's bring our paintings to life! After our tasty breakfast, we're once again absorbed by theory and practise. Today will include a short demonstration on something rather unexpected but most satisfying for us all to try! Afterwards we enjoy putting the finished touches to our artwork, with our knowledgeable leader on hand to offer help and guidance.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
What to Bring
- Pencils (including 2H and HB)
- Putty rubber or good quality eraser
- Cartridge paper or sketchbook
- Watercolour paints (artist quality)
- Watercolour paintbrushes - any that you have, as long as they have a good point
- Watercolour paper (the leader tends to use at least 300gms (140lbs), stretched or in a blued-block format). Avoid using rough papers, the leader uses Fabriano Hot pressed.
- Tracing paper
- Any other equipment that you have, such as water pots, cotton cloths etc.
- Magnifying glass
Lightweight wooden A3 drawing boards are available for guest loan at the house.
The leader plans to bring some watercolour paper, which you can purchase at a small additional cost (usually 50p-£1 depending on size). You will also be able to use their electric lightbox and pencil sharpener.
Discover Sussex and the South Downs
Abingworth Hall is situated amidst gentle rolling farmland at the foot of the South Downs.
The nearest facilities are in the village of Storrington, about two miles away. Here you’ll find a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and a bank.
During your stay at Abingworth Hall you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
The quaint town of Arundel, about 30 minutes' drive away, is dominated by its castle, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk. During your visit you may enjoy a walk in the Castle's extensive grounds, or beside the river Arun. www.arundelcastle.org
Completely restored after an extensive fire, this stately National Trust property has ornate rooms and gardens. Uppark is around 50 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/uppark
The cosmopolitan seaside city of Brighton is about 40 minutes' drive from Abingworth Hall and has an excellent range of specialist shops, entertainment, and its famous beach. You may also enjoy a visit to the Royal Pavilion, built in the early 19th century by George IV. www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk
Amberley Working Museum
Just 15 minutes' drive from Abingworth Hall, this large open-air museum tells the industrial story of the downs, complete with a steam railway, vintage buses and restored quarry machinery. www.amberleymuseum.co.uk
Just 10 to 15 minutes' drive away, Elizabethan Parham House is surrounded by an extensive deer park. www.parhaminsussex.co.uk
The historic cathedral city of Chichester, about 45 minutes' drive away, has plenty of interest. Just a couple of miles away is the fascinating Fishbourne Roman Palace, uncovered in 1960, which has many superb mosaics. www.chichestercathedral.org.uk or www.sussexpast.co.uk/fishbourne
A large late 17th century mansion, now run by the National Trust with extensive grounds that were landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. Around 30 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house
Weald & Downland Museum
Located on the Downs, near the village of Singleton, this excellent open-air museum contains many restored buildings that bring the history of Sussex to life. These include a working watermill and a re-creation of a typical downland village. The museum is around 45 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.wealddown.co.uk
One of Britain’s premier steam railways with an impressive collection of 50 locomotives, representing the Southern Railway and its predecessors. The line runs through rolling countryside from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead, about 40 minutes' drive from Abingworth. www.bluebell-railway.co.uk
Uppark House and Petworth House image ©National Trust Images/John Miller
Travel to Abingworth
Our address is: Abingworth Hall, Storrington Road, Thakeham, West Sussex, RH20 3EF
The nearest railway station is at Pulborough. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 6 mile journey from Pulborough railway station takes approximately 15 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £14. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Abingworth Hall Manager.
For those with satellite navigation, enter the postcode RH20 3EF and Storrington Road if required.
From the M25 take either the A24 or the M23 and then the A264 towards Horsham. At the Great Daux roundabout go south on the A24 towards Worthing. Go straight over 2 roundabouts and then at the traffic light cross roads turn right onto the A272 signposted to Billingshurst and Petersfield. After 3 miles turn left onto the B2139 (The Selsey Arms on left). After 3.5 miles pass the turning for Thakeham on the left. After half a mile, Abingworth Hall is on the left, directly after the national speed limit signs.
From the M27 continue onto the A27 and around Chichester. At Fontwell Park roundabout take the first exit to continue on the A27 and at the next roundabout take the first exit on to the A29. After approx. 4 miles, at a roundabout, take the 2nd exit on to the B2139 to Storrington. At the mini roundabout in Storrington, take the 2nd exit onto the A283. Continue through Storrington and take the first exit at the mini roundabout by the Anchor Inn on to the B2139 towards Thakeham. Take the 2nd exit at the next mini roundabout and then take the 1st exit at next mini roundabout (by Steyning Grammar School). Continue down this road until you see 30mph signs. Abingworth Hall is just before these signs, on the right.
Travelling from overseas
Abingworth is particularly convenient from London Gatwick Airport, which is served by a large range of long-haul and European flights.
From Gatwick Airport station there are trains every 30 minutes to Pulborough - journey time 40 minutes. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times. From Pulborough station complete your journey to Abingworth by taxi (see above)
London Heathrow airport is a little further away, so you'll need to travel via the centre of London. Allow 2½ hours to get to Pulborough.
Sue Flynn is working on a diploma in botanical painting with the Society of Botanical Artists since following retirement in 2015, and is enjoying having more time to dedicate to her interests in horticulture and botany.
A qualified nurse since the age of 18, in addition to NHS duties, she undertook private aeromedical repatriation work and taught medical first aid and advanced life support to crews of private jet aircraft and superyachts. Sue has been a walking leader for HF Holidays since 2000 and says it has been her pleasure to guide guests to a carefree, relaxing and fun time, incorporating her love of flowers and enthusiasm for natural history.