Painting holidays with ADELE EARNSHAW and JOE GARCIA in Adele’s home country of New Zealand!

Unlike traditionally structured painting workshops where students spend the day in the studio with only one or two excursions to paint on location, this will be a laid-back adventure and your studio will be the beaches, islands and rain forests of the the Bay of Islands, where Adele now resides!

Please click on the colored links throughout the blog for all the information about the Painting Holidays in New Zealand. As in all blogs, the last post is the most recent, so be sure to scroll down to see all the posts.


February 22 – February 28, 2015

Watercolor Magic with Deb Groesser

March 3 - 9, 2015

Capture Impressions Swiftly with V...Vaughan

Interested in an Artists' Retreat? Please contact us for information!

Below, you will read posts from SCAV crew members, giving you lots of first hand information about what to expect when you join the Painting Holiday. Be sure to read the older posts too! Visit the INFORMATION ABOUT THE HOLIDAY pages listed on the right side of the blog.

There are lots of links sprinkled throughout the blog posts and pages. Be sure to click on those for an abundance of information about New Zealand. Come back often to view the latest posts and schedule!

All images copyrighted by Adele Earnshaw and Joe Garcia.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Driving in New Zealand

If you are planning on renting a car and driving while you are in New Zealand, we have a couple of recommendations. First, if you don't already have a GPS, buy one before you go. If you get a Garmin, you can download New Zealand maps free from The free maps are only available for the Garmin.

Having it in New Zealand is valuable, as it is hard enough driving on the other side of the road without having to worry about what street you should turn on next. I was concerned that perhaps I had not downloaded the maps properly, as there is really no way to check until you are there. The minute we picked up my rental car, I plugged in the GPS, changed the country I was in, and voila! the maps were there! We were thrilled, and it made driving through Auckland much easier. It really helps you to know your estimated time of arrival in a strange country when you don't know how long it takes you to drive 100 Kilometres.

As for rental cars, we are cheapskates! I really dislike spending a lot of money on renting a car. We have used Ace Rentals three times now, at $28NZ a day, and are very happy with them. They are high mileage cars, but they are reliable and cheap. We did have brake issues twice, but when we called Ace, they told us to take it to an AA garage (no, not AA as we know it, but the Automobile Association) and they were fixed quickly at no charge to us. We were staying in one place for a couple of weeks, so had the time to do that. The first time it was simply a sensor squealing, but last time the car needed new front brakes. The cars both ran like tops and were very reliable. For two and a half weeks rental, we spent just over $500NZ, which is about $375 US.

Gas, on the other hand, is very expensive. We paid between $2.15 and $2.19 per litre. There are approximately 4 litres to a gallon, so that means it was $8.60NZ, which would be about $6.45US. No moaning about $3.50 a gallon here any more! Luckily it is a small country, but be prepared to spend between $60 and $90 every time you fill it up. We tried to fill up before it was 3/4 empty, and it usually was about $65. Now you know why Kiwis drive small cars!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Preparing for the New Zealand weather

When we were kids, we always used to say that the difference between summer and winter was that in the summer it rained every other day, and in the winter it rained every day! New Zealand is green everywhere you go, and that is because of the moisture they get.  As a result, we always plan for rain.  February is mid-summer and March is late summer, early fall.  March is traditionally one of the drier months of the year, but like weather everywhere, you can never really predict it. 

When planning for your trip, bring light layers. A light fleece jacket or pullover top and a light waterproof jacket with a hood are ideal for summer. You can wear them together if it is cold and wet, but you can also wear them separately. Rain doesn't necessarily mean it will be cold.  A small umbrella is optional but a sun hat is almost mandatory. The sun is strong and you will find you need it. Dell and I both wear flip flops every day and don't like the idea of having to put shoes on!  Jandals (flip flops) are the footwear of choice for the locals, and you will be surprised to see many people barefoot, even in grocery stores. It is that kind of country! Casual is good. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's SO Kiwi!

A kiwi guardrail. There is a long drop off the edge of the road here. It is a narrow gravel road, and only one lane wide in places as it goes over a steep hill. The guard rail is to notify you that you shouldn't drive over the edge, but isn't designed to keep you from going over. It is saying, "hey, there is a drop off here, use your common sense and don't go there!"

Once you get off the motorway and start driving on the more rural roads, there are many one lane bridges. In the South Island there is one that you share with a train and you have to make sure no train is coming before you drive over it. Here you just have to make sure no car is coming. This sign tells you that you have to yield (give way) to someone coming from the other direction.

This view is very typical of the North Island. The photo was taken on the road just above the turnoff into Matakana, about an hour north of Auckland.  Note the older home to the left. It is small and probably 70 years old. Here, they call them "character" homes. A lot of 5 acres or more is a "lifestyle block". This is probably a farm with even more acreage than that. New Zealand uses the metric system so land is measured in hectares and smaller "sections" are measured in square metres. Note the tank to the right of the house. Large homes might have 2 or 3 tanks. It is called a storm water system, and is actually the source of water for the home. Farms often have bores (wells) but most homes get enough water just from catching what drains from the roof when it rains. See the pipe going from the gutter to the tank? The water is  usually drinkable without treatment.   New Zealanders don't have very good teeth, and part of the reason is that there is no fluoride in rainwater. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Another great day!

Today, my long-time artist friend Lindsay Scott and her husband, Brian McPhunn, called with an offer to take us out on their boat to Beehive Island for a barbecue. The weather was perfect - and even better were the NZ sausages on the barbie. Oh yum!! We'll be visiting Brian & Lindsay's 'Koru' home along with a tour of Lindsay's studio during our Painting Holiday. What a fabulous day!

Yesterday morning, we went to the Matakana Farmers Market - a weekly Saturday-morning event in the small-but-bustling community, where you can buy local cheeses, whitebait fritters, fresh oysters, homemade bread, soaps or just sit and listen to local musicians. A real treat!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Another Day in Paradise

Joanne and I have been busy taste-testing muffins and fish & chips to make sure they're up-to-par for those of you who have signed up for our 2012 Painting Holiday. It's been a rough week but someone has to do the dirty work! While checking out painting venues, we've been keeping our eyes open for optional activities for non-painting partners. We had a good laugh when we saw this sign....

This one's for you, George

Yesterday we visited the Parry Kauri Park where we're scheduled to spend an afternoon next year. The park is an area of dense native rain forest (called bush in NZ) that is home to many native trees including the Rimu, Totara and Kauri which rivals the redwood in size and height. The Kauri and Ponga (treefern) give the New Zealand bush a very primordial look. As you follow the walkway through the bush, you see and hear many of our native birds; Piwakawaka (Fantail), Wood pigeon, Silvereye, Tui and even an Australian parrot, the Rosella. I carry an Audubon bird call with me and called in both Fantails and Silvereyes.

It's end-of-summer-early-autumn here. The weather has been great - a bit of rain every now and then, but it hasn't lasted. It's been in the mid 70's with about 90% humidity. Not sticky at all - but the air feels soft and very sub-tropical. It has been clear at night and the Southern Cross, in the middle of the Milky Way, looks like a kite made of diamonds. Though I haven't been swimming, I've dipped my toes in the sea and have been surprised at how warm it is.

Another day in Paradise. Today we may take the launch to Kawau Island - and will post about the trip later today.