Art Course Testimonials

Testimonials in black are linked to their TripAdvisor Review as well.

Check out the most recent reviews written on Google for the Shenandoah Art Destination.

Testimonials below are written with the original authors’ permission.
If you would like to contact anyone that has taken a course and given a testimonial,
please contact us and we can provide contact information, with permission from the student.


My intention was to produce as much artwork as I could and to explore technique, evaluate my style, and learn new skills.  My hope was to find a place that would provide me with an environment where I could focus on doing just that.  I was not disappointed!  Not only did I receive valuable instruction, I was so pleased to have none of the typical daily distractions that tend to pull us away from the task at hand.  Another benefit I found was the creative input and sharing from the other artists attending.  Friendships and bonds were created.  The whole experience was far more than I could have hoped for.  The instructor was experienced, knowledgeable, accomplished, talented and patient.  Outstanding location; delicious meals; comfortable accommodations; and friendly banter and easy-going personalities of hosts.


Elizabeth Huggins-Thompson

Jensen Beach, FL

The course provided me with all the possible media and means to do portrait, landscape painting, drawing and print.  There is time to experiment and time to study and work.  The studios and the environment are inspiring.  Jan Willem is a teacher that gives you space to explore and guidance if you want.
Coy Wierda

The Netherlands

The retreat exceeded my expectations and I will certainly do it again.  It was so nice to have an extended time where all I had to do was concentrate on painting in the company of a friendly and encouraging group.  I appreciated all the individual attention I received from Jan and learned so much also from the help given to my fellow artists.  I loved my accommodations, the extraordinary meals (healthy, beautiful presentation and delicious) and the beauty of the grounds and surrounding area.  As I work on finishing my plein air, I recall Jan’s advice to “stop” working so hard and let the paint do the work; it’s helping me to loosen up.

Patricia Snellings

Springfield, VA

I came to get myself started in plein air techniques and to refresh my skills in the use of acrylic paint.  Jan is a very effective teacher; he led me to demonstrate to myself just where some of my problems lay.  I also found myself feeling “totally stuck” at times when I was applying paint to canvas.  These are the moments when an experienced teacher can simply step in and show just how it’s done.  I arrived at the course with a lot of personal inertia; Jan got me moving again.  I also want to say that you were both not just helpful, you were both cheerfully helpful, and that makes a real difference.

Len Proctor

Baltimore, MD

This was my first visit to Shenandoah Art Destination, but it won’t be my last.  The instruction from Jan was easy to understand and always pertinent to the question.  A vacation with a purpose is so much more rewarding.  It was a wonderful kind of tired at the end of the day; not just one more day of work.  I went home with a sense of purpose and a real desire to keep going with my art.  Having direction makes all the difference when a hobby has gone stale or set aside for other things.  If you want a renewed enthusiasm for your art form, Shenandoah Art Destination can do that.  Go with a positive outlook.  Be open and open-minded and good things will happen when you remove the barriers.

Joele Klein

Mondovi, WI

Thank you Jan and Nancy for another wonderful experience!  I love being around other artists to get different perspectives and to try to loosen up my personal style.   It is always fun to explore new techniques, take a different approach to landscapes and explore portraits.  I learned so much this week and can see my art changing.  I came back this year because I knew I wasn’t done learning, and Jan is a patient, knowledgeable teacher.  I always come away from Shenandoah refreshed, calmed and centered.  I am very pleased with the work we did this session and the locations we were able to go to paint.
Heather Matthews

Woodbridge, Virginia

This was an excellent week. I learned something new and helpful every single day. It completely exceeded my expectations. The meals were delicious and beautiful.
Glenda Lynchard

Arnold, Maryland

Having painted for years, I’ve attended my share of workshops, and each one proved beneficial.  I left inspired to paint more and keep improving.  However, Shenandoah Art Destination proved to be a standout.  I couldn’t have asked for more – superb plein-air painting locations, individualized instruction, warm and casual atmosphere, great accommodations, and food at its best.  The kind of school/vacation to which I will return.

Nanette Perry

Nitro, WV

It was an outstanding weekend, and the perfect way to reconnect to a different side of myself.  Jan-Willem was a patient teacher who knew when to push us outside our comfort zone and when to give us time to explore on our own.  Nancy was the ultimate hostess.  The meals were delicious and the rooms each had their own personality.  I am proud of the work I did, and plan to return next year.
Heather Mathews

Woodbridge, Virginia

The Shenandoah Art Destination is a pause in the business of life that is most refreshing, a delightful experience; with art instruction, outstanding meals – by two gracious people, host and hostess, making a memorable vacation – like no other I’ve ever known.
Patricia Watkins

Hampstead, Maryland

This destination gives you a sense of relaxation.  The art course has helped me as a beginner to be more interested in making art.  As a teenager the area has interesting activities such as rafting which is fun for the day off.  And the food was delicious.
Pia Lou Velema

The Netherlands

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.