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.
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.