Chiesa del Carmine
Pool at Chiesa del Carmine


September 2019

Hi Susan and Alan,

Y……..and I had a great time at Chiesa Del Carmine with you!!

You have found a truly exquisite spot to host your painting holidays. If a potential painter isn’t inspired by the beauty of the surroundings, they have no chance of becoming an artist. Having said that I was inspired, but ……

You assembled an interesting group of people – all very different, and the fact that we got on so well is testimony to your warmth, hospitality and perhaps the excellent food and wine which was always plentiful, tasty and flowing!!

You organised a brilliant schedule of visits. I enjoyed them all, and I am sure I will remember the places much better than previously as you honed our observational skills.

Susan – nothing was too much trouble for you. You paid attention to every detail, and if anything was lacking, it was quickly rectified.

Alan – as everyone will acknowledge, you are a terrific artist, but you are also an outstanding teacher, as was evidenced in the ‘show and tell’. We had all made significant progress. Personally, I shall dream in lemon yellow for ever more, and my nightmares will feature taps and scrubbing bushes.

I know the week must have been very stressful for you. I expect you are having a good rest today, and hope that Susan’s back is feeling more comfortable.

Lots of love and thanks to you both.
M H“

October 2019

Dear Susan and Alan,

This is just a brief message to say how much I enjoyed this last week on your Painting Holiday.
Superb food as usual, a good blend of interesting people and stimulating places to visit and draw. Well done the pair of you! Best wishes.


June 2018

How could we possibly settle back into normal life after Umbria?! It was yet another amazing experience, and that is so much because of you and Alan. I was curious to know if the second time would match the first, but we both felt that it was as good as, if not better than 2017….! I suppose the difference, amongst other factors, was in meeting up with people again. We got to know people better. They are a wonderful crowd, and it is testament to you both, that they all come back year after year. This made it so much more delightful and interesting, and Linda was just great! It is a very, very unique adventure. Thank you both.

A & P

6th July 2017

Watercolours….and Wine!

This was our first Watercolour Painting Holiday, but not our first wine-tasting! This time, however, it was a very different experience. The invitation to accept this late addition to our itinerary for the week was inspired. What a wonderful way to begin the week after an easy day’s travelling. Instantly, Chiesa del Carmine became more than an exquisite place to stay. The wine-tasting experience, delivered on the terrace by a well-informed Isabella, transformed the venue into a living, organic establishment where the surrounding vines and olive groves were testament to produce of the highest quality. It felt as though we were enjoying a most intimate insight into the workings of a vineyard. Isabella made it so interesting and entertaining. She was charming and welcoming, keen to answer questions, and informed in her knowledge of the intricacies of the wines we tasted. A light buffet of Italian cheeses and meats complemented the occasion, and this was one which we would happily repeat should we be privileged to visit Chiesa de Carmine a second time.


Wine Tasting at Carmine
15th June 2017
We have just come back from a wonderful experience in Umbria, and it is all credit to the generosity and expertise of Alan and Susan Reed. This was our first course in Watercolour Painting. Hopefully, it will not be our last!

The beautiful location, matched by exquisite accommodation, exceeded all expectations. Attended to by a dedicated, warm, friendly and attentive staff, we enjoyed THE most amazing local cuisine, matched only by the quality of the wine from the estate. Eduardo deserves a VERY special mention! Meeting in the evening for a pre-dinner Prosecco was always the prelude to a very special occasion.

It was a diverse group of ‘artists’ coming together, a splendid mix of individuals generating interesting conversations, great laughter and immense warmth.

The schedule was well-planned and executed. The well-composed itinerary opened our eyes to a variety of locations, all of which were stunning. Each time, the opportunity to sketch and/or paint gave the visit that necessary dimension, both for novices and budding impressionists alike! Alan and Susan know this area well, and were able to direct us toward good vantage points for sketching and painting (Alan), and great shopping finds (Susan). Their sensitivity to the needs and interests of individuals was always evident and appreciated….and that is a very special gift to have!



13th June 2017
Of all the many and varied holidays I’ve had this was one of the very best.  So many aspects of it will stay with me:  the beauty, tranquility, flora and fauna of the valley; the superb reverentially restored church and farmhouse; the attention to detail and comfort (who would have thought of building a fridge and glasses cupboard into an ancient wall surrounding the swimming pool?); the wonderfully talented chefs and friendly staff; the lovely and unspoiled local towns and cities and, most importantly of all, the thought and care that goes into combining all of these into a perfectly balanced week with something for everyone and lots of choice.
What about the painting? you’ll be thinking. This was a very personal experience for each of us. As someone with a love of art and no experience of creating any I learned something very important. How to look and how to see. I love Alan’s style and very much enjoy the paintings of his I own. A treasured possessions is one of his exquisite notebooks.
He is a sensitive, encouraging teacher at the same time as being an honest and helpful critic (not an easy balance to achieve). I confess to being frustrated by my own crass attempts at producing an actual painting of something recognisable but was not discouraged. I learned about mixing colours, appropriate brushes and something about the techniques I’d be so proud to master. I do have a drawing of an olive tree I’m quite happy with.
It was an absolute joy to watch those more skilled (and dedicated!) on site, in cafes, churches and viewpoints learning, sketching and painting. The finished works are more than inspiring.
I’m much better at shopping.  And Susan is a highly skilled mentor and adviser in this respect. Local knowledge and networking is something else that is a huge bonus in so many aspects of this holiday.
Good conversation, laughter and fun were in abundance last week. I’m missing that already – and the sun. Did I mention the sun? It shone all the time and sometimes with a gentle cooling breeze. Perfect. Everything was, actually, perfect.
 Thank you Susan and Alan so, so much,
Maggie C


September 2016

Where to start! Well, what a wonderful experience. Heather and I really did not want to leave. Not only because of the beautiful setting and sheer luxury combined with being pampered and being served exquisite food along with the days visiting beautiful places. But most all, and the icing on the cake, was being able to be there with you. A time to share, reflect and be thankful for all that we have. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for memories made possible and which will remain for some time to come.  

Bob and Heather

June 2015

“We have just returned from our third amazing visit to Umbria with Alan and Susan Reed. They organise and manage a wonderful trip which provides fantastic art advice, support and development for those who are painting and plenty to do for those who are not. They are warm and caring hosts and friends.

The venue at Chiese del Carmine is a sympathetically and beautifully restored church in a tranquil valley. The gardens and surrounding estate have beautiful walks. Susan and Alan arrange visits to stunning towns across Umbria which are great for artists and others.
We could not have been looked after any better. Thank you”!!   Cath and John 

“Our expectations were high but were far exceeded by the actual experience. A combination of beautiful scenery, superb accommodation and professional guidance made it an unforgettable event. Thank you Alan”.

  Leon and Linda 

June 2014

“Thanks to Alan & Susan Reed for an amazing week’s painting holiday in Italy. Food, scenery everything exceeded expectations! 5* would not do the week justice” We made some lovely new friends! Thoroughly recommend it when they do their next one – but be warned – Alan can be a hard taskmaster (in our own interest!!).    Mr A Rapley 




Bamburgh Beach Original Painting
Alan painted a bespoke landscape of the beach and castle at Bamburgh as a keepsake for our family. We were especially impressed by the attention he gave to our wishes, including at our request, miniature representations of all of us, and we love the finished product It is a treasured possession.  Lynne Oxley – Morpeth

Original Paintings
We have three of Alan’s paintings of Edinburgh and I commissioned him to paint a view our home in the Tyne Valley. The Edinburgh paintings have pride of place in our hall and the commissioned picture sits above our dining room fireplace. I have also bought a copy of Alan’s “Sketch Book of Oman” – a high quality product which makes an excellent gift. All of Alan’s work is first class and of excellent value. Dr Alan R – Stocksfield


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