You will be picked up from Toulouse Blagnac Airport and start your journey to La Salle. After you settle in your room, there will be a tour of the house, the studio and the gardens. You will then be able to relax with an apéritif at the pool along with your fellow participants before enjoying a three-course dinner served with local wines.
You will start your day with a continental breakfast consisting of local breads, croissant, jams, cereals and juice, tea or coffee. At 09:30 a.m., enter the studio to start your first painting session with your tutor. This will be a good time for you to discuss what your plans are and what you want to accomplish throughout your 8-day stay. If weather permits, lunch will be served at the outside terrace at around 01:00 p.m. after which there will be another painting session so you can observe and work in the outdoors. At 05:00 p.m., take a tour of Chateau Monluc and enjoy a wine tasting session before heading back to La Salle for dinner.
After breakfast you will take a day trip to either the Jardins de Coursiana or the magnificent water gardens of Latour Marliac. You will have plenty of time to paint or sketch and take photos of the beautiful gardens to provide inspiration for other works. Since lunch will be served at the gardens, there will be ample time to take in the surroundings before returning to La Salle to relax by the pool before dinner.
Half of this day will be spent exploring the surroundings of La Salle, you will take a trip to the local market, visit the local shops, and enjoy the cafes before returning to the house for lunch. Depending on the weather, you will spend the rest of the day in the studio or outside in order to continue working with your tutor. Dinner might be served outside so you can take in the beautiful scenery while enjoying your meal and drinks.
Today you will take a full day trip to the world heritage site of La Romieu. The small town delights visitors with its 14th century cloister formed by a single nave church and two towers. The town also has four gardens, guests usually visit the gardens of Coursianna where you will be able to draw or paint to your heart's content and also have a picnic lunch. Your tutor will evaluate your progress and suggest improvement where necessary. End the day back at La Salle with dinner and time to relax in the garden.
Choose how to best spend this day after breakfast by either painting in the studio and in the surrounding garden at La Salle or visiting St Puy for more inspiration. Have lunch back at the studio and spend time working with your tutor. In the evening, enjoy a BBQ dinner with everyone and share stories in the garden.
Spend the day with your tutor to get advice and feedback while finishing your work. If weather permits, there will be an afternoon canoe trip down the river Baise. End your last day at a local restaurant with all your colleagues and reflect on your week and progress.
After breakfast, say your goodbyes and hop on your transfer to Toulouse Blagnac Airport.
You will stay at La Salle, a restored country house set near the charming village of St Puy.
With its limestone walls and old oak beams, the accommodation offers a glimpse into the traditional décor of countryside France. Five double or twin rooms are available
For the duration of your stay in the south of France — also known as Little Tuscany, you will enjoy fleshly prepared meals served either indoors in the dining area or on the shaded terrace.
Seasonal and organic ingredients will be transformed into delicious regional and Mediterranean dishes.
The painting retreats take place at La Salle, a beautiful country house located in a peaceful setting in the Gers department of southern France. La Salle is only a 10-minute walk from St Puy, a picturesque village that provides all the inspiration needed for productive painting sessions.
How to get there:
The retreat is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Toulouse. Please book your flights to arrive at Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS).
David Wilcox has a vast experience as a tutor and has been teaching for over 30 years. He has studied at Bournville School of Art and Wolverhamton College of Art and has earned a P.G.C.E at Birmingham College of Art. David is a firm believer in leading by example. He will help students find their own voice. He enjoys doing demonstrations and then working with each student to help them understand how light and shade can modify one's perception of a painting. David's class is called Watercolor and acrylics – Finding your voice and runs between 3 and 10 June, 2019.
Gregory Wellman has been a commissioned artist for over 25 years. This will be his third year teaching at La Salle. He is a member of the SAA and of Artists for Conservation. Gregory has painted all over the world from the USA to New Zealand and his patrons include Sir Kenneth Branagh. For the past 10 years he has been leading workshops worldwide and his knack for understanding students' needs and wants has made him a prolific tutor. Gregory's class is called Acrylics – Painting without fear and it runs between 7 -14 July and 15 - 22 July, 2019.
Alex Kelly has a strong affinity for both science and art and is currently working to develop a new body of work in the alla prima manner. He holds a BA in fine arts specializing in sculpture and has been teaching at several art schools and community colleges in the UK. From floral to landscape and still life painting, Alex will help his students develop a sensitivity to beauty so that they get inspired by their surroundings. Alex's class is called Oil and acrylics (landscapes, floral, figurative, and still life) – Alla prima inside and out and takes place between 2 and 9 October, 2019.
Nicki is a self taught artist based in Norwich, she specializes in watercolor and has been painting for over 30 years. Over the years Nicki has been drawn to many subjects and has recently started to experiment with inks and brusho crystals.
Stuart Williams comes from a long line of artists, he has studied illustration at the Slade, the Byam Shaw School, and the Falmouth College of Art. Stuart works in oil and acrylics, he focuses on technical aspects such as the relationship between the pallet and the painting, how to mix colors but also how to keep yourself motivated when struggling to finish a painting.
Hannah is a professional artist and tutor who has exhibited and sold her work in several galleries and specializing in animal and human portrait commissions. In addition to this, she runs regular workshops for adults across South West England. Hannah trained with Nicholas Beer, Senior instructor at the Charles Cecil Studios, in Florence, Italy. In addition to portrait works, Hannah often paints landscapes ‘en plein air’ enjoying the energy and spontaneity that painting outdoors offers.
Jane Smith will take her students on a sketchbook journey through some of the beautiful towns and villages near La Salle. She is a graduate of Northumbria and has done illustrations for clients such as Marks and Spencer, Jamie Oliver, Ted Baker, and Greenpeace - just to name a few. Students will use a variety of media including linoprint. You will learn techniques that will help you paint or draw architecture, landscapes, and people. Jane's class is called Watercolor, pen and ink, pencils, crayons, and oil pastels and takes place between 23 and 30 September, 2019.
Ian is a professional artist and tutor, he is predominantly a 'plein air' oil painter. He has been fortunate to have had exceptional mentors such as David Curtis, who he has painted with for over 30 years, and still does today. Ian specializes in city/townscapes, landscapes and interiors. He describes his teaching style as friendly, inspiring and calm.
Kaye is a self-taught artist who has been working in watercolour for the past 18 years. She is a professional member of The Society of All Artists and is an expert in teaching her students different methods of working with watercolour, all with the aim of helping them relax and enjoying this challenging medium.
Is this painting vacation available to all levels?
It is. From complete beginners and rusty amateurs to intermediate and more experienced painters, all skill levels are welcome.
When are the painting vacations available?
Painting vacations at La Salle are available several times per year. The next available dates are:
Are there any check-in and check-out hours?
Check-in is after 02:00 p.m. and check-out at 10:00 a.m.
How far in advance should I book?
Some dates sell out very quickly, try to book as soon as you can in order to secure your spot.
Is WiFi available?
Yes, WiFi is available in the main house and in the studio.
Are special diets catered for?
Several special diets can be accommodated: vegan, vegetarian, diabetic, lactose and gluten intolerant. Please get in touch in advance to discuss your dietary requirements.
Where should I land?
Please book your flights to arrive at Toulouse Blagnac Airport (TLS).
Are airport transfers included?
Pick-up and drop-off from Toulouse Airport are included in the package at pre-arranged times. For airport pick-up on the first day guests are asked to arrive at the airport between 02:00 p.m. and 04:00 p.m. Please get in touch in advance to make all needed arrangements.
Is any equipment provided?
Yes. Easels and boards for indoor and outdoor use are provided.
What should I pack?
Please bring your own paints, brushes, paper or canvas, and an apron for painting. Please pack light clothing, swimwear, sunscreen, insect repellent, a cardigan for eating outdoors in the evening, comfortable shoes or sandals, a sun hat, and sunglasses.
What’s the weather like St Puy, France?
The weather is relatively mild between April and October. Expect summer average highs of 30°C / 86°F and lows of 15°C / 59°F. Fall has lower average temperatures with average highs of 15°C / 60°F during the day that drop to around 7°C / 45°F at night.
How many people are to be expected in a group painting session?
There will be between 4 and 10 people taking part in this experience. Working in small-size groups students will get plenty of individual quality tuition.
Are there any age restrictions?
Guests aged 18 and up are welcome.
Can my non-painting partner join me?
Yes, there are plenty of activities that non-painting partners can enjoy at La Salle.
Do I need a visa?
Guests traveling from EU and/or Schengen member states may enter France for tourist purposes without a visa. Please contact us for further guidance.
What language is used during the painting classes and activities?
All activities are in English.
C Brooke Smith:
"I had such a fabulous time at La Salle. Jill and Terry are the best hosts; with great teaching from Pam, Keith and Claire. Jill's food is delicious. Thank you."
"I had a wonderful time with Jill and Terry at their beautiful house near St Puy. Jill and Terry were so friendly and helpful - nothing was too much for them. Greg Wellman, our tutor, was very helpful and I learnt a great deal. We all went to a number of lovely villages, markets and historic buildings providing inspiration for our painting. I very much hope to return to la Salle again next year."
"What a lovely place to share a holiday with our group of painters. The village is an artist's paradise with so many lovely buildings to paint. Terry and Jill could not have been more welcoming. The food was fantastic and nothing was too much trouble for our hosts...they really made our painting holiday one to remember and our visits to other venues in the mini buses were most enjoyable. A most relaxing holiday thanks to all at La Salle."
"Brilliant time can't wait for my next stay in September. It's like coming home."