Sketchbook Journey to North India with Maxine Relton


SKETCHBOOK JOURNEY TO NORTH INDIA 18-29 November 2016, 12-day trip from £2085pp
Our next adventure takes us to visit some of Rajasthan’s tribal people and architectural jewels hidden away in the less visited parts of the state. You’ll have the chance to: 
•         Relish the princely splendour and old-world charm of staying in royal palaces and heritage hotels
•         Enjoy a boat trip to visit 5th century cave carvings on a Unesco World Heritage Island
•         Take a jeep safari into the desert to meet villagers away from the tourist trail
•         Marvel at the 27 carved marble halls of the 15thc Jain Temple in the forested hills of Ranakpur
•         Sketch or photograph skilled traditional stone carvers at work in their home village
•         Tour the 300yr old Ghanerao School of Art to learn about their trademark style and use of colour
•         Visit Pedomada, an inspiring local initiative providing crucial support for rural communities
I’ll be offering individual guidance on ways to capture whatever inspires you, as well as group sessions on basic principles of colour, perspective, composition, figure proportions and more. You’ll be able to return with a unique and personal memento in the form of an illustrated travel diary to delight friends and family. 
The base price of £2085 pp excl flight is based on 10-12 travelling and covers all accommodation, transport and entrance fees, dinner, local guides, tuition, private mini-bus and accompanying driver throughout. If you wish to save on the single supplement, we can put you in touch with one person in our booked group who'd like to do the same. 
Do check out some of the stunning hotels on our itinerary: in Udaipur, in Dungarpur: and near Jodhpur: The attached double-sided flyer outlines the itinerary in more detail or talk to my tour consultant Alison Nicolle on 0207 838 5968 at my experienced tour managers, Wexas Travel:

Maxine has been visiting India since 2008. She takes a small group to Kerala and Tamil Nadu every year, giving guidance and tuition on drawing and painting to those who are interested, although non-sketchers are equally welcome to join the trip. Below are some comments from those who have travelled with her during this time. All are happy to be contacted through Maxine if you would like to hear more of their experiences. 

Kate May, February 2012  
This for me marked the difference between travelling and tasting the real spirit of the country, and just a holiday. It was packed full of new experiences, emotional challenges and visual riches. It is impossible to choose a highlight – there were so many. 

Gillian Harwood, February 2015
This is a trip for people who really want to feel part of traditional India and not just gawp at the sights or sit by the pool all day. One has one’s eyes opened both literally and metaphorically by Maxine, the tour leader, as well as the local guides. Opened to the beauty of the landscapes, the shapes and fabulous colours of markets, clothing and plant life in order to sketch or paint them with expert tuition. Opened to the friendly local people and to a wonderful organization that is successfully helping many of them to improve their lives. There’s good food, good company with other members of the group and so many unusual and impromptu events to see, festivals to watch, fantastic but not generally known temples to visit. It was unforgettable.

Jane and Matthew Clark, November 2010
My husband and I joined this amazing trip. From the moment we arrived it was a picture in the painting. Gentle people, colour, hope and future. Maxine was a fantastic guide and art teacher. Her humour and knowledge made the trip for us. This is a journey that will make you think, make you look and will help you understand the country that is India. The ancient temples, elephants, festivals running alongside the modern world of education, which is the passport to a life outside poverty, are fascinating. SCAD (Social Change and Development, our hosts in Tamil Nadu) has built villages and provided education for generations of families and communities. This is a trip of a lifetime.

Rosemary Palmer, March 2011
This journey offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the villagers of Tamil Nadu, led by the inexhaustible and inspiring artist Maxine Relton, whose attention to detail, extraordinary patience, consideration towards each member of her group, and enthusiasm for every encounter, ensure that you will enjoy a hassle-free experience of travelling in India.

Dr Nicholas Falk, March 2012
Maxine’s trips must be the most enjoyable and cost-effective way of seeing the wonder of Southern India. You get under the skin of the country through the variety of experiences, foods and people you encounter. You also get the bonus of some great painting lessons from a natural teacher.

Tim Burroughs, February 2012
Maxine is the best art teacher that I have had over 20 years as an artist. 

Patricia Rowan, November 2009
India is a welcoming, vivid country, with all the colourful tapestry of its past still laid out as an unlikely springboard for a very different future. Visiting Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and especially SCAD, was an unforgettable experience, made all the more striking by seeing it through the artist's eye. 

Ellie Garraway, March 2011
I had always wanted to visit India but been afraid of taking the plunge of actually arranging a trip there. When I found Maxine Relton's trip on the internet, it sounded perfect for me with its mix of travel and sketching in a small group. My mind was made up after personal phone calls and meetings with Maxine reassured me that it was safe to dip my toe in the waters of this challenging country.

The trip brought so many different unforgettable experiences and impressions that I will treasure always and enabled us to meet local people in settings few travellers have access to. Maxine worked tirelessly to ensure we kept comfortable and well throughout and made the most of all the opportunities the journey afforded. She is a very talented artist and teacher who generously encourages and inspires her students to participate in the activities as little or as much as they
choose whatever their interest and ability.

Taking this journey gave me the confidence to stay on in India alone after its end and has whetted my appetite for more travel there. I would highly recommend it.

Chris Binns, February 2013
Maxine did a sterling job...I feel my painting knowledge and appreciation of the elements required to put a sketch or painting together took a quantum leap forward. 
Geraldine Lander, November 2009
Going on the trip with Maxine will take you into several different realities every day. We went off the beaten track and saw the soul of the people - so many differences in ethnicity and caste, unforgettable scenery and spontaneous miracles as when a herd of goats came into the Vishnu temple in Cheranmahadevi to shelter from the rain and provided a tableau for the artists to sketch. South India holds so much more than is in the guide books and Maxine's research has found so much that is hidden. The stay in SCAD brings the benefit of finance to this charity which has done so much for the excluded poor - the gypsies and the disabled children who have a school and a home here. This centre was founded 27 years ago by an ex -Catholic priest (who is also a Dalit) who felt moved to devote his life to this work. Your stay here will show you what the human spirit can achieve.

Lovely hospitality! Great food and a peaceful resting place between the visits to the surrounding temples where you will feel you have gone back 1000 years on occasion! An unmissable and humbling experience as the people everywhere are all so welcoming and friendly.
Jennifer Beales, November 2009
“I had been to India before: once to work for an eye hospital, then to visit old friends. Maxine's trip was a reminder of how vibrant and wonderful the country is; the people especially are full of life and fun. They seem to embody the feeling of hope, even in the most difficult of situations and in doing so, convey to us in the West that some of our values are not the most important ones.

With Maxine, we visited some of the poorer villages and communities through our Tamil hosts, SCAD. They offered hospitality and also the chance to draw and paint their lives. Documenting this kind of difference from what we are used to is a very important way of spreading information and goodwill from one country and culture to another. SCAD was an amazingly inspiring place and brought back memories of my time with the Aravind Eye Hospital. I have to add that we all had a wonderful time and were looked after in just the way one could wish for. The trip was varied and full of new experiences, from village life to relaxing on a rice boat down the waterways of Kerala. I would recommend this trip to anyone who has not travelled to India before; you are both engaged and safe with such a confident guide.

Liz Wilkins, November 2009
Going on this trip was an experience that gloriously assaulted my senses with sights, sounds and smells! The individual support from an artist expanded not only my skills but made me explore thoroughly with my eyes and hands. I was fortunate to be sharing this with a small group of like-minded friendly people.

Supporting SCAD was an important part of discovering Tamil Nadu and so many special happenings reflect how I look back on those weeks. I met Meena, married at 13 to a 14 year old and now the leader of some gypsy women in a village who with the support of SCAD runs a co-operative bead-making group; now her eldest child is about to become the first Indian Gypsy girl to go on to secondary education! What fun and privilege to sketch the group! We had a little minibus and could drive around exploring and looking for good sketching sites. Staying at SCAD provided the opportunity to meet some fascinating, delightful local inhabitants and we loved helping teachers with a creative project in the school for mentally and physically challenged children.

The entire journey sits in my store of memories to be taken out and revisited, to enjoy and ponder over again and again!
Jean Cramond, November 2009
An inspirational introduction to India with the opportunity to sketch and paint in beautiful places off the conventional tourist trail. Gracious hospitality and delicious food at SCAD, excellent local guides and our own transport made for a very enjoyable fortnight. 

Lisbet Heath, November 2010
Inspirational, exciting and great fun. It was a breathtaking eye-opener on another world; an unforgettable experience. The whole trip was extremely well organised and our wonderful hosts at SCAD could not have done more for us. We were welcomed and cared for with great kindness. 

It was a joy to be helped to try to capture in pen, pencil and paint the kaleidoscope of colours and images around us. Maxine's boundless enthusiasm, patience and encouragement were infectious. Our own skill levels didn't matter a hoot! It was a real pleasure and privilege to be part of such a friendly group - all keen to learn and create a sketchbook full of beautiful memories.