My wife and I will be having an exhibition in Château de la Treyne on the Dordogne river, in the Lot region of France this coming July.
All of the small paintings were painted on site last summer, when we had an opening in the lockdowns here in Europe. The larger paintings were painted in the studio this winter, either finished from plein air starts, or enlarged from sketches done in the field.
It’s a stunningly beautiful area, and this is the second summer we have spent painting there. We are normally based near Domme, as we work with the V&A Gallery in Sarlat-la-Canéda, but for this trip we worked much more to the east, to try to paint areas closer to the Chateau.
The castle itself is a spectacular property and we received a very warm welcome from the wonderful owners.
One thing I really love about the Dordogne is how clean the water is. The areas where we were painting were full of water crowfoot, with bees pollinating the flowers that sit just out of the water. And it’s great to see such a large river so teeming with fish and frogs.
Above are all the larger pieces fresh from the studio. Below are all of the smaller, plein air work from the summer. The first group are the ones I used as reference for the studio paintings.
I have an exhibition on at the moment with Plieux Arts in the Gers region of France. The paintings were done last year, and I wrote a blog post at the time about the beauty of the area, including images of the work.
This year, we had to be here for the exhibition opening in July, and then again for a plein air course in early September. Therefore we decided to stay the month in France rather than drive back and forth from Portugal. We rented an apartment in the village of La Sauvetat, at the southern end of the area where we love painting (around Lectoure). These are some of the images from this year’s crop of plein air landscapes of the Gers.
It’s worrying traveling in these times of Covid. Our town in Portugal still hasn’t had any cases, so for us it was concerning to leave the safety of our controlled environment to drive halfway across Europe. So far, so good though. And the French seem to be taking it pretty seriously.
I only had time for one larger plein air piece. The following one was painted over the course of three days:
As I mentioned last time, the Gers is a really stunning area for landscape painting and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a picturesque region for plein air work.
In a recent post I wrote about landscape painting in the Gers region of France. Here are the paintings from the rest of our summer trip. We bounced around quite a bit of the country as we had to be here and there for workshops and to work towards future exhibitions.
After the Gers, we traveled over to Bordeaux for a few days, then down to the coast between Sète and Agde for a week on the beach.
After the Gers, we traveled over to Bordeaux for a few days, then down to the coast between Sète and Agde for a week on the beach. Next we had to head up north for a workshop near Laon, so we stopped for a few days in the Loire Valley.
In Laon we had a workshop, so I didn’t get much of my own work done. We were on a beautiful property though, so I tried to paint as often as I could.
After Laon we had a couple of days to kill so we headed over to Normandy to paint in Honfleur. I’m always trying to find places where my favorite artists worked, and Boudin, Seago, Jongkind and Monet (among others) all painted in and around the small port there.
From Normandy we drove back down to the Dordogne, to paint local scenes for the V&A gallery in Sarlat-la-Canéda.
These are most of the paintings but the full summer’s oeuvre was posted at the time to my Instagram account.
Overall it was a great trip. The painting locations across France are varied and stunning, the food was amazing, and the people were wonderful and welcoming. We’ll be back again in the summer of 2020 as we have an exhibition and a couple of workshops.
I’ve just returned from a number of weeks painting landscapes across France. The other paintings will be posted in the coming weeks, but I wanted to single out the work from the Gers region as it’s not an area that I’ve ever heard mentioned for landscape painting. Which is a shame, because it’s pretty great.
We were hosted by the Plieux Art Association, which organizes workshops and exhibitions in the small village of Plieux, about 15 minutes from the town of Lectoure. The workshops are terrific as the location is beautiful and the hostess is an amazing cook. The students stay in various lodgings in the village. On this course, everyone was French and I had to teach in French.
The area around Lectoure is one of the best I’ve seen for plein air painting. It’s all rolling hills, with a choice of valley and hill size, so the artists can pick longer or shorter views. It’s mostly smaller farming, so it’s not one endless field, but many smaller ones with varying crops. There isn’t much livestock, so no fences to keep artists out. A lot of the fields are either wheat or sunflowers, two very popular subjects with artists. Unfortunately we missed wheat season, as the harvest is in June.
All of France has great trees for landscape painting. They clearly get enough water, and haven’t cut the larger ones down. The Gers is no exception.
The towns as well are really picturesque. Not overly pretty, but not marred by too much new construction. They also don’t get the crazy tourism you see elsewhere in Europe these days, so it’s mostly locals, and you don’t have to pay for parking.
I also did a few larger plein air landscapes:
All of these paintings are for an exhibition next July at the Plieux Art Association. I hope to see you there.