Frequently Asked Questions

Are you flexible with course dates?

Absolutely – if the dates you want to come do not coincide with our course date schedule, just let us know what your dates are and we will be happy to accommodate your dates as long as we have the room. You will not be with a group by doing that, but that does not matter to us.

If you would like to extend your art course by coming a few days before the course date OR extend the end of the course date; again, that is ok as long as room is available.

If you would like to come earlier or stay longer as a B&B guest, that is also possible.

What should I bring?

Guests are responsible for bringing their own art supplies – we advise to bring your own specialist materials, paint, paper, canvas, brushes (as much as travel plans allow) along with a sketchpad and pencil.  Easels, drawing boards, light box, artograph, computer and general studio equipment are provided. The studio has a limited stock of art supplies for purchase onsite – paper, canvas rolls, wooden frames, various paint mediums, brushes.  Printmaking supplies/packages are available for onsite purchase.

Sometimes a beginner doesn’t know exactly what medium(s) they want to begin with.  Or perhaps you bring your own paints, but decide you would like to experiment in another medium.  Or perhaps it is too difficult to bring all your paints because of the means of travel.  No worries.  We have a “studio supply of mediums” that you can use for a nominal “lab fee” charge.

Also, bring a couple samples of past work you have done – can just be photos or a digital image on your computer or telephone.

We help you with luggage whenever possible, but just a note that you should also be able to handle your own bags if needed.

Is there a particular focus for the course?

No – the beauty of our courses is that they are individually oriented. On the first evening you will have an opportunity to tell what goals you would like to accomplish or interest(s) of focus you want assistance with during the course. Mornings are usually spent on group exercises with a particular focus, but the rest of your time is focused on your individual needs and interests/goals. With this individual focus, students are not compared to other students; making it possible for the beginner and the professional to be here at the same time.

If you are working on a piece that you just can’t quite figure out how to finish – or you have a specific piece you want to paint; you are welcome to bring that along and work on.

Are courses for any medium?

Yes – Jan-Willem has worked in various mediums over his career and is well versed in various techniques of different mediums. So you may work in whatever medium you prefer or use this opportunity to try a medium you have always been wanting to work with.

How are the courses individualized?

We try to individualize instruction/tutoring as much as possible.  So you can come with specific goals of what you want to work on/learn/improve on, etc.  Or you may have a specific piece that you are struggling with or need help finishing – bring it along.  We will be happy to help you with your piece.

OR you may just want to paint on your own without much input – just have a vacation and focus on painting on your own.  That is OK with us too.

Do I have a choice for my accommodations?

If you have a certain room preference, we will assign you that room if at all possible. However, there are circumstances when that is not always possible and then a room will be assigned to you.  All the rooms have private bathrooms.  Rooms for two people are for those that come together and request to room together.

If coming to plein air paint, we will transport you to those sites.

Do you have air conditioning in your facilities?

Yes – the rooms in the Manor house are climate controlled by general thermostats for the whole house while rooms in the Guest House are individually controlled. If you do not like air conditioning for your own personal room, you would be placed in one of the Guest House rooms.

How rigid is the daily schedule?

The morning is usually spent on a group exercise, but the rest of the day you can pace yourself as you wish. If you feel like taking a break and going for a walk, for example, please do – it is your vacation and we want you to do what you need for rejuvenation of the soul.

The tutor/instruction ends at 5:00, but you are free to continue to paint into the evening hours if you like.

Evenings are a time for hanging out together, going into Lexington for a drink together, or maybe (depends on weather) just hanging around the firepit.


More details on food and drink.

Bottled water is not necessary as the facility has well water which runs through a filter and is good for drinking. We ask that you bring a water bottle for personal use – table glasses are not a good idea around your creative projects. An icemaker is available for your use.

Soft drinks are not provided – if you cannot do without, either bring your own or request ahead and the cost will be put on your tab.

Coffee and tea are served with breakfast and then are available over day by request. The evening meal is served with one glass of wine – if you wish for more (or want for other times during the day or evening), wine can be purchased on site.

What if I have dietary restrictions?

The booking form gives you a chance to make any of those requests. We are a small business so cannot make all different meals for everybody; but we will try to accommodate when needed; ie. vegetarian, gluten free, certain specific foods, – these requests we can usually modify our menus to make sure you have something to eat. If you know you have certain dietary requests that make it more difficult for a kitchen, we just ask that you bring some of your own foods along to supplement what we have. We do have a fridge where you can store a small amount of items.

Vegan is truly the hardest. So it depends on how much you are willing to help out if you feel like it will work. We always have fruits and vegetables – so if you run by the health food store and get some good vegan snacks, you should be fine.

Where can you pick me up if I come by plane, train or bus?

We will arrange pick-up and drop-off to the Roanoke Regional Airport, the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, Charlottesville Airport, the Richmond Airport or the Amtrak train station in Staunton.  The cost associated each one is listed in “Directions, Travel” under the YOUR STAY tab.

If coming by bus, the Virginia Breeze, the stopping place is at the local Food Lion in Lexington and there is no charge for pick-up and drop-off there.

What do I do if my paintings are too wet to take home?

If you are painting in oils, it is possible that they are too wet if not traveling by car to take with you.  You can leave them at the facility and after several weeks we will ship to you – you will be responsible for shipping cost plus $10.00 for packaging, packing and handling.

Everyone is here because they love to make art – so comments and critique from others is just another way of learning how to improve or see your painting in a new way. Remember it is not a personal attack and something to be feared, but rather a valuable part of the experience. You will be amazed at how each artist supports each other. Our goal is that you actually look forward to this part – feedback can be a valuable experience.

What about gratuity?

Just like any service business, our aim is to provide you with a stress free, comfortable space where you can pursue your creativity while we take care of the rest. So we love when your dollars say thanks.

If I bring a non-participating spouse/partner what is there for them to do during the stay?

Depends on the interest of the person, of course. The facility sits on 10 acres and has wonderful places to sit and read a book or take a walk. For the Civil War history buff, the nearby city of Lexington is filled with many places of interest to visit and explore – ie. museums, carriage ride, walking tour, etc. If interested in nature there are many wonderful hiking trails and river kayaking close by.

Any questions? Call 612.221.1140


Shenandoah Art Destination, 325 Union Run, Lexington VA, USA. 24450

Established in 2010, The Shenandoah Art Destination is one of the only, art vacation retreat schools in the United States.  Home to students from all continents, the Shenandoah Art Destination offers rigorous art classes that include painting (oil and acrylic, watercolor, pastel), plein air painting, drawing, airbrush, drypoint, lino, mono printing and mixed media.
The Manors’s beautiful, 10-acre property is located in Lexington, Virginia, 50 miles north of Roanoke, VA.