Poppyfield at Villes-sur-auzon
Painting Workshops in Provence
Spend a week immersing yourself in the world of Julian Merrow-Smith’s Postcard from Provence.
If anyone knows Provence from a painter’s
perspective it is Julian Merrow-Smith. Having lived and worked in the landscape around his home at the foot of the Mont Ventoux for twenty years, he is now offering workshops, and with them a chance for you to live, eat
and capture the Provençal life so richly described by him and his wife
Ruth Phillips in their writing and painting.
There are no frills to the workshop, we usually visit one of the local markets otherwise the week is all about painting—talking, living and breathing it together—our aim, above all, is to
give you the experience of living the painter's life in the south of France.
You will do a lot of painting
outdoors, alongside Julian, in groups or on your own. Your fitness levels should allow you to spend between two and four hours a session painting outside in variable weather. The workshop is best suited to painters with
some experience, those who wish to broaden their scope and learn by example or experience the rigours of plein aire painting for the first time.
A typical day
After a breakfast of coffee, the season's fresh fruit and crusty bread from the local boulangerie, we will gather our materials and head off to work. There is much to paint on our doorstep so travelling time will be kept to a minimum. During the first part of the morning Julian will usually give a short plein
air demonstration and this will be followed with individual help and instruction. We will break for lunch around 1pm—this may be a sit-down lunch,
an on-site picnic, or a meal in a simple restaurant and it can be followed by a short break or a siesta if you need to recuperate.
There will be a further three to four hour session in the afternoon before gathering in early evening when, over aperitif, we will have an informal critique. Later we will all sit down for a three or four course dinner served with
fine wines from some of our favourite vineyards.
We will be staying at the Domaine St.Jacques an authentic Provençal manor house set in 180 acres of vines and woodland. The countryside is stunning and we don't often need to travel in order to find something new to paint. Set in the glorious countryside around the foot of the Géant
Provençale, the Mont Ventoux, Domaine St.Jacques is an ideal place to relax and draw on your creative energy.
materials and equipment are provided. We will be concentrating on small-scale paintings and so you will have exactly the same palette and materials that Julian uses in
Postcard from Provence. These consist of a set of artist's oil colours, finest hog bristle brushes, a pochade box, a tripod, prepared gesso boards and cleaning materials, all contained in a small rucksack. Umbrellas and chairs are also provided.
All you need is your straw hat.
The price in April and October ranges from $1950 to $2850
and in July $2250 to $3450. This is for shared occupancy with a $500 supplement for single occupancy. These rates include full board and lodging: all painting materials and equipment: transport to and from painting locations: and transfer to
and from Avignon TGV station.
Places are limited and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. A deposit of $500* is required to reserve your place with the remaining balance due 90 days prior to the commencement of the course.
*In case of cancellation your deposit is fully refundable up to 60 days from payment and refundable minus an administration charge of $100 until 90 days prior to the commencement of the course.
“unforgettable and life
“Who could have thought that I would stand for three hours
in the cold, feet numb, totally engrossed in painting a field of
poppies. It is not too much to say that the magic week at La
Madelene has changed my life. ”
“An experience I will cherish always!”
“You couldn't have planned a more incredible experience for all of us. An amazing feat! ”
“ A lifetime experience - I'm feeling now that I should have attended the 'Anxiety/Separation from Paradise Therapy Group' ”
Dean Taylor Drewer
“Having suffered from severe green-phobia (painting variety)... now trees invite me in such a charming way. Thank you Julian! ”
“ With Julian's instruction, Ruth's organization, their good humor and just plain fantastic-ness; Jude and Philip and their fabulous Madelene (not to mention the food and the wine!!!), how can you go wrong? ”
“It was such an honor to watch Julian paint and to learn from him in such a glorious setting.”
“With wonderful hospitality, food, wine and the company of other artists it was and is a great experience for all artists beginning or professional.”
My experience in France was life changing. I see the world differently since spending that wonderful, week in Malaucene. You and Julian are both so giving, thoughtful and empowering. And it is so satisfying to be able to express myself in so few brushstrokes. ”
Every lesson of the trip was valuable and will certainly be carried forward. Learnings weren't limited to painting though... the warmth and openness of literally everyone involved was inspiring. Congratulations. You've set a unimaginably high bar with my first workshop experience.”
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