Artistic Escapade in Morocco with John Skelcher

Artistic Escapade in Morocco with John Skelcher
From the 23rd Until the31st October 2021

When people use the word "exoticism", they are probably referring to places like Morocco. Travel to the heart of Morocco: travel differently in great southern Morocco. Immersion into the incredible sites of this region. Historical circuits allow you to discover the High atlas, Skoura as well as the superb region of (Marrakesh). Add to this, an intoxicating afternoon and night in the desert where you ride a camel on the dunes while the sun flickers dramatically on the horizon, where you arrive at the camp site offering comfortable accommodationnestled in amongst the dunes and a sense of well-being in Agafay. We are committed to accompanying you on this unforgettable journey through magnificent Moroccan landscapes. Our tours will also allow you to discoverhistorical, cultural, and traditional Morocco without forgetting the Moroccan gastronomy. A visit to Morocco is essentially the answer to all your Lawrence of Arabia fantasies (including the whirling white djellabas): you will stay in historic riads, camp under the Saharan stars and enjoy Moroccan hospitality.

John Skelcher

I am a practising landscape artist with over 15 years of art tutoring experience. I have been teaching students of all levels of ability, from beginners to degree level. When I am teaching watercolours , I always strive to bring out the best in my students and positively encourage them to develop confidence in their skills. I have taken many students on art trips to Italy and France and enjoy sharing my knowledge of painting techniques and the History of Art during the annual workshops I teach.

The atmosphere in my classes is always friendly and relaxed which I believe fosters creativity. I always aim to provide guidance and advice on how my students can improve their skills further and encourage them to explore new ideas without infringing on their own artistic expression.

Since graduating in 1993 with a BA Hons Degree in Fine Art Painting and Drawing, and since moving to Italy, I studied classical realist painting at Angel Academy Florence and The Paris Academy of Art. I have exhibited in national exhibitions in Britain and abroad including Paris, Rome , Florence, London, Florida, St Petersburg and Moscow. For many years, I held a studio in London and was a member of Contemporary British Artists' Organisation (CBA), I have competed in Plein-air competitions at international level and was a competitor in the Sky Arts Landscape painter of the year. I am equally at home painting in watercolour or oils.

I encourage my pupils to follow the principles of painting and drawing. My courses focus on colour, value and edge quality. Whilst paying close attention to the 3 p's of proportion, perspective and placement. Every session I endeavour to inspire my students with lively demonstration. I enjoy seeing pupils progress as they implement new techniques and processes. I am always at hand to encourage participants at every stage of their watercolour painting. Each participant can expect an encouraging critique to round off a valuable day spent painting in the atmospheric setting of Morocco. What's more over the years I have enjoyed bringing warmth and fun elements into the student teacher dynamic, so you can be sure of an entertaining and enjoyable learning experience in one of the most colourful and breathtaking countries. I can't wait to welcome you onto this course! Here's to seeing you all in Morocco!

Day 1

Arrival to Morocco - Transfer to the hotel.

Arrival in Marrakech at the Marrakech-Menara International Airport. you will be hosted by our professional guide and driver. after the meeting , the departure will take place towards a an exotic guest house inside the heart of the high atlas called Ouirgane.

overnight and dinner at (Chez Momo) or similar

Day 2

High Atlas

Ouirgane is located in the High Atlas massif , at the confluence of the valleys of Oued N'Fiss and Azzaden, near to the dam of lalla takerkoust you will enjoy nature and art. in the heart of untouched nature and grand in the foothills of the High Atlas you will gt a full artistic escapade. While staying, you will dive into a way of life whose harmony places you draw the sweetness of an oriental dream.

overnight and dinner at (Chez Momo) or similar

Day 3

The Red-city & Desert (Agafay)

After breakfast you will Enjoy the guided city tour of Marrakech. The morning begins with a visit to the magnificent Koutoubia Mosque as the landmark of Marrakech which has inspired other buildings such as the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat. Your next stop is the Bahia Palace. After lunch break, You Continue to the world-famous Jemaa el Fna Square, which houses an array of food, snake charmers, local musicians, and fortune-tellers. There’s nowhere on Earth like the Jemaa el Fna, the square at the heart of old Marrakesh. You will also walk through the souks and view hundreds of handicrafts. In the afternoon you will enjoy a ride on camels to the desert camp while witnessing the sun set. After it will be fun time with music and dance under the satrs. 

Night and dinner at Agafay camp.

Day 4

Hollywood of Africa"Ait-Ben Haddou ":

Your day starts early with a picturesque sunrise before enjoying a special breakfast. As the sun begins to rise. this will be a full rocky desertic day sceneary , on the road to Ait Ben-Haddou, (about 200 km from Marrakesh). taking the road which passes through the High Atlas mountain range. On our way we will drive through the Tizin’Tichka pass, at an altitude of more than 2200 m and which links the valley of the Tensift wadi in the north, to the Asif Ounila valley a semi-arid region in the southeast. 

Dinner and overnight will take place in Ait-Ben Haddou (Riad Maktoub or similar)


Day 5

The Oasis (Skoura) :

After breakfast , you will enjoy a full day sketching and drawing this Unesco's world heritage, Ait Ben Haddou, the most spectacular Kasbah in the south of Morocco and the iconic landscape immortalized in such films as, Lawrence of Arabia, Jesus of Nazareth, The Jewel of the Nile, The Living Daylights, The Sheltering Sky, Kundun, The Mummy, Gladiator, and Alexander the great,  Here we will begin our first sketches of  the kasbahs and Ksars buildings.Also, sketch the shaded alleys and along the wadi (river) .In the afternoon will leave Ait-ben-Haddou to arrive at one of the mesmerizing places called Skoura.

Night and dinner (Bassatine Skoura or similar)

Day 6

Partridge Adventure: 

Skoura "The Palm Grove": In the morning we will discover the splendor of the date palms and the sheltered fruit and olive trees that cover over than 27km square. The local population will warmly welcome you, adding to your feeling of well-being, all this under the heat from the Moroccan sun. The palm grove..... with its flora and its kasbahs, will provide many subjects for the second page of your travel journal. Among all of this you will have a botanical lesson in the palme-groove.

Dinner and overight at (Bassatine Skoura or similar)


Day 7

Amridile Kasbah & Potery

After breakfast, you will start your day with an amazing ride on the Tok-Tok inside the oasis to visit the 17th century kasbah (Amridile) which used to be a fortress and a coranic school of the Naciri family, after lunch you will visit a pottery workshop and go back in time for a while.

dinner and overnight at (Bassatine Skoura or similar)

Day 8

The Road of One and Thousand Kasbah:

After breakfast, the departure will take place towards marrakesh . It will be a relaxing day for fun and getting to know each others deeply for more other events.  We will stop for a short visit to see the kasbah of L'eglaoui, located in the Ounila valley and which is the traditional crossing point for caravans connecting Marrakech to the south of the Sahara. after a short discover to the place. After lunch we will hit the road again.

dinner and overnight will take place in Marrakesh.

Day 9

Farewell :

It is hard to say goodbye. But this is the farewell day, you can take advandage of this day to buy som souvenires or gifts to remember this exeptional tour.


List of tools you need :

Pupils will need to bring the following watercolour paints,​

Any standard set of Artist quality paints such as winsor and newton will be absolutely fine.

Essential colours in that set should include a Cadmium yellow, cadmium red, alizarin crimson,

Sap green, cerulean blue and or turquoise, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, violet, indigo nuetral tint, yellow ochre, burnt sienna and or indian red, raw umber, burnt umber, ivory black, lamp black

Absolute minimum

Cadmium yellow

Alizarin crimson

Sap green

Cerulean blie

Ultramarine blue

Nuetral tint

Any artist quality watercolour paper half reem size 300grammes or more.

A board and masking tape

Hb pencil and eraser​

Why you will love this trip

• With the help of a local guide, you will have the impression of going back in time to the Middle Ages wandering the labyrinthine medina of Ait Ben Haddou, Skoura and Merzouga.

• Take the opportunity to travel through the spectacular red dunes of the Sahara by camel and have an unforgettable sunset experience.

• Djemaa el-Fna Square in Marrakech is a city within the city. Explore one of the largest meeting places in the world, joining the night carnival atmosphere of fortune tellers, dancers and healers.

Skoura is a town in Ouarzazate Province, Drâa-Tafilalet, Morocco. Skoura is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves. The Kasbah Amerhidil is part of Skoura palm grove alongside more.


Workshop Trip 9 days / 8 nights all inclusive:
This price includes:
- More than 40 hours of lessons spread over 9 days for a maximum group of 15 people
- Airport / Hotel transfers
- (air-conditioning) 17-seater vehicle with driver
- official licend tourist guides
- Full board accommodation, single room & double room for couples (all rooms have a private bathroom)
- Tourist taxes to be paid on site
- Cocktails / henna party
-Traditional hamam

Accompanying Person Trip 9 days / 8 nights all inclusive:
- Full board accommodation, single room & double room for couples (all rooms have a private bathroom)
- Airport / Hotel transfers
- (air-conditioning) 17-seater vhicle with driver
- official licend tourist guides
- Tourist taxes to be paid on site
- Cocktails / henna party
-Traditional hamam

These prices do not include:
- Roundtrip flights to Marrakech
- Painting equipment
- Entrance fees to monuments
- On-site purchases.


v-In case of withdrawal by a participant within 90 days of commencement of the workshop, the amount already paid will not be refunded.

v-In case of cancellation of the trip by the organisers, a new date will be proposed. Any participant who cannot avail of the new date will be fully refunded of the sum already paid.

v-In the event the organisers cancel the trip with no alternative date proposed, all sums paid by the participant will be fully refunded.

Gallery Photos :

Do you have pre-booking questions? Please contact us.

contact us quick question

Good To Know

Travelers from the US only are required to have a valid US Passport – but it must NOT be due to expire within 6 months of your return flight.

Your flight destination will be Marrakech Menara International Airport (RAK) / Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport. Royal Air Maroc is the only airline that has direct flights from the US to Morocco, from both JFK and Washington Dulles.

You can also book flights traveling through major European airports, as there are many connecting flights to Marrakech through economy airlines such as Ryan Air, Easyjet, Iberia, etc. We’ve found that it is easier to find good connecting flights on the way to Marrakech than on the return, but you can take the opportunity to end your trip with a day or two stop in Spain, France, Portugal, England….

Immunizations are not required or necessary but check here for CDC recommendations.

Weather is predictably unpredictable so be sure to check on the estimated conditions the week before you travel. Even though Marrakech can be quite warm by day, it is usually quite cooler at night so pack light clothes that you can layer. We recommend cotton pants, long skirts, wraps or large scarves over tank and tee shirts, and a sweater or light jacket for chilly nights.

Your most important fashion asset: comfortable shoes for traversing the Medina on sightseeing and shopping adventures!

Morocco is a Muslim country and women generally dress more modestly than in the US or Europe. Like elsewhere, dress codes are gradually becoming more lax and there is a lot of tolerance for tourists, but wearing clothing that covers your best “assets”, and that your grandmother would approve of, shows cultural respect, good taste, and common sense.

The currency here is the Moroccan Dirham, and the exchange rate usually hovers these days around 10 Dirhams/1 Dollar. You CANNOT exchange for Dirhams outside of Morocco, but there are several currency exchange booths in the airport when you exit Passport Control and also located all around the Medina. Larger stores and restaurants may take Euros, but it’s really best to have dirhams.

If you bring large bills ($100) to exchange be sure that they are newer bills with holograms. Otherwise they will slide them back to you with a shake of their head.

Another good option for padding your wallet with dirhams is to use the ATM machines which are located around the medina. The exchange rate is a little better, especially if your bank or credit card doesn’t add foreign transaction fees (some homework for you). Be sure to notify your bank of your foreign travel destination so they don’t flag you for fraud. I also recommend that you bring 2 or 3 cards-just in case you still get flagged (happens!) and find too many things you just can’t live without.

  • Free Wifi access in all rooms and common areas
  • Bedside Mineral Water
  • Hair Dryers
  • One-time complimentary laundry service for retreat weeks

Extra items you should pack:

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