entree-des-artists.jpg   by-the-pool1.jpg  VIEW FROM FRONT DOOR

Okay, I know I’m wandering wildly off topic, but this is the part where you get to see my holiday snaps. To be honest I’d never really thought about running a painting holiday.  I’ve had plenty of experience tutoring groups over the years but the extra work involved in booking flights, organizing somewhere to stay, things to do, not to mention dealing with trains and buses seemed too much to contemplate.  I’m therefore very grateful to my friend Sandra Arthur, a resident of the South of France who used to attend  my beginners art classes, oh, several million years ago at the Waldorf school in Bristol, for helping out at her end and putting me in touch with the two really nice people who ran the gite in Auribeau-sur-Siagne where we stayed for four nights at the end of July.  So much of any holiday, I suppose is wasted checking up train times, coping with buses and trying to find places to eat but thanks to them we didn’t have to worry about any of that so it really was a relaxing break.  The location was perfect, beautiful countryside to paint( The picture above right was the view from our front door!) but also very close to a number of beautiful museums and places to visit; The Picasso museum at Antibes, the Chagall museum in Nice, the Matisse museum (again in Nice), The Renoir museum at Cagnes-sur-Mer, the Maeght… of course we couldn’t possibly get round to all of them in four days so we concentrated on Nice and spent a day sketching in Cannes.  There was also a day’s painting in the lovely gardens surrounding our accomodation and a presentation by myself where we looked at how attitudes towards colour and the landscape changed in the period from Delacroix to Matisse in the 30’s and 40’s.  It’s funny that despite the fact that Matisse loved the light in Nice his most well known pictures from this period are views from hotel windows and his rather strange, artificial harem scenes.  The models for many of these pictures were film extras.

Matisse on Nice

“Shall I tell you?  Nice…why Nice?  In my art I have tried to create a setting that will be crystal-clear to the mind;  I have found a certain limpidity in several places in the world, in New York, in Oceania, and at Nice.  If I had gone on painting up North, as I did thirty years ago , my painting would have been different;  there would have been cloudiness, greys, colours shading off in the distance.  Whereas  in New York the painters tell you:  One can’t paint here, with this metallic sky!  And actually it’s wonderful!  everything becomes clear, crystalline, precise, limpid.  Nice helped me in this respect.  Understand the things I paint are objects conceived with plastic means: if I close my eyes I can see the things better than with my eyes open,  I see them stripped of their accidental qualities and that’s what I paint…”

 matisse.jpg  painting.jpg

I’d have been happy with all of that but the really sucessful part from my point of view was that everyone who came on the trip really got on well together. All the people who attended were people who’ve attended my classes at various times but didn’t really know each other  so it was great being there and seeing people enjoying each other’s company and making new friends.  Sue, who came on the holiday has organised a meal so everyone can get back together again before the classes start up in September.

Anyway, I’m intending to run another one of these in October and February.  I’m keeping the price down initially so if you want a cheap painting holiday ( currently £175 for four nights b+b based on 2 sharing) I am the man, for a short while at least. Incidently, I was very impressed with Bristol airport. Given the current security situation in the U.K. regarding hand luggage and fluids I was a little anxious but really it went very smoothly, nothing like what I believe is taking place at Heathrow airport at the moment.
Click on this link to see a slide show of more pictures