Please join me this June for a painting retreat in southwest France! We will travel to Gascony, France and stay in a beautiful, renovated 17th Century Chateau, setting up studio in a light-filled converted barn. We will paint from life in the studio and on the grounds, focusing on botanicals and florals during the height of the spring to summer growing season. Acclaimed pastry chef Lisa Donovan (formerly of Husk, Buttermilk Road and City House) will be joining us to provide meals and even an afternoon baking class! We’ll have time, space, delicious food and glorious light in abundance, all to further and influence our creative process. We will incorporate walks, stillness and visits to nearby markets and vineyards into our practice. All skill levels welcome.
Gascony is one of the country’s best kept secrets, famous for it’s rich gastronomy, slow pace, rural hilltop villages and bucolic scenes. The region is near the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains and stretches between Toulouse and Bordeaux. It has one of the country’s lowest population densitys and offers peaceful, unspoiled landscapes including rolling hills, wooded valleys, vineyards, and a plethora of charming arcade village squares. A truly unspoiled region. From this NY times piece: Gascony is more open, more soulful, more deeply French, and, in its un-self-conscious devotion to tradition, more pleasurably frozen in time.
For me, the best days in the studio are when the subject takes second seat to our own place in time. The best paintings are simply a collected recording of our many present moments: a beautiful blueprint of our story. In that spirit, we will use the traditional subject matter of florals and botanicals as a vehicle with which to explore inner movements, gestures and dialogues. We’ll spend time outside each morning foraging for plant life to study. We will practice letting our natural instincts and tendencies work for painting rather than against, literally using who and where you are to further your process of art-making. There will be a spirit of openness and grace towards ourselves, so that we can listen carefully to our surroundings. My hope is that after this week, you will better understand many techniques of painting, but mostly you will better understand yourself.
We will focus on water-based media, so as to travel and ship home more easily, but you are welcome to bring oils if you wish. I will lead daily instructional time as well as individual critiques for several hours of the day, but you’ll have access to the studio around the clock to work on your own time as well.
The castle dates back to the 17th century built by the Comtesse de Beaumont, a former courtesan at the King of France court. It is a splendid estate including a huge park decorated with statues as well as a small chapel. With 12 bedrooms decorated in a warm, antique style, two living rooms, dining rooms, a French pool room with board games, historical library, a large studio, a 6-acre park featuring ancient oaks and a splendid bathing lake located a few minutes away, the Château is an ideal setting to host retreats in a tranquil and serene environment. Massage and yoga are available as well.
Fee: $2,400 for shared room, $2,600 for a single room
- Non-refundable deposit of $400 required to register for shared rooms, $600 for a single room. Remaining balance due by March 1.
- Partners may travel and stay with students for an additional fee (to cover lodging and food). Please contact me to discuss this before booking.
- Lodging for 6 nights
- Instructional and open studio time for 5 days
- Three meals a day, except for one evening where we will be on a field trip.
- Transportation to and from nearby train station (Agen or Toulouse)
- afternoon baking class with Lisa Donovan
- Fresh local flowers for subject matter
- Field trip to nearby town on market day
- Field trip to nearby vineyard for a tasting
Fee does not include:
- Airfare or transportation to Toulouse or Agen train station. Of course, you are welcome to rent a car and go directly to the Chateau instead of come in by train. You can also fly into Toulouse and we will pick you up at airport.
- Art supplies. Once I have a headcount, I will buy several things for us in bulk and split among us, estimated to be $50-100 each. You should also bring a stash of personal supplies, all to be outlined in a later email.
- Cost to ship work home
- Cost of the wine tasting (optional)