At the Easel Painting Trips in Provence with Tessa Baker
Lorgues is located in the middle of wineries and fields of olive trees. It is in the center of the department of the Var between the Mediterranean Sea and the Gorges du Verdon. Source: Wikipedia
Based on that description, it might be difficult to think of a more idyllic location for an artist to live under Provence’s blue skies. Painter and chef Tessa Baker says that she initially moved to Lorgues because of her husband David Nelson, but she stayed because she loves the town.
Why visit Lorgues?
According to Tessa:
- The scenery is spectacular.
- Lorgues is a historical medieval village, where the Knights Templar lived.
- It is wine country, and some of the best rosés in Provence come from nearby.
- The market is also one of the best in our area; people flock from far and wide to come to it.
- Lorgues is situated: 1 hour from Nice and Cannes, 1 hour from Aix en Provence, 45 minutes from St Tropez, 35 minutes from the Gorges du Verdun and 1 hour from Bandol.
However, the real reason to make the trip to Lorgues is to attend one of Tessa Baker’s Paint Provence weeks. A trip for the artists of any level, the art-focused week is based out of David and Tessa’s restored farmhouse in Lorgues. From this Provencal home-base, course attendees are treated to a some of the best sights in the Var and a soupçon of the Cote d’Azur – all in the name of hunting for perfect sketching and painting locations. All that hard work behind the easel and sightseeing requires fuel; exquisite meals are prepared for the group by Tessa’s friend and chef Anna.
Tessa’s artistic talent speaks for itself in these photos, but I was curious about her background. She was born in London, England to what Tessa describes as “creative and dysfunctional parents.” As a young child, Tessa and her four sisters lived with their parents in the quintessential, lush English countryside in the village of Rousham. Then, they moved back to the capital and her parents’ marriage disintegrated. Early artistic interests that had sparked in Tessa while she worked with her mother on theatre set designs were crushed when her father sent her packing off to Switzerland to train as a chef.
With solid kitchen skills in her quiver Tessa returned to London, to study fine arts at the Chelsea School of Art, a degree she did not finish. It was only years later after many cooking jobs, sailing boats and private chef opportunities that Tessa attended the Slade School of Fine Arts with the generous help of an artist friend Richard Winkworth.
Tessa Baker has been seriously pursuing her artist dreams for 25 years now. Her influencers? Hoffman, Matisse, Pollock, Rodin, Rothko, Riley, Van Gogh and her favourite Monet all form part of her creative inspiration (check out her website here).
“Living in Provence has without a doubt changed the way I see things. The light is the first major change, the clarity of the light in the winter months is astounding, the warmth and heat haze of the summer is embracing. The colours are extraordinary. It is hardly any wonder so many artists came and still come here to live and paint.”
Tessa’s Painting Trips in Provence are open to four students, to ensure everyone gets the personal attention he or she requires. The week is both intense and productive. Still, need a little temptation?
This is how Tessa describes the visit,
“We go to so many beautiful places to paint, we eat fantastic food, and we are together every day all day. We have all made such good friends during the trips each time it is hard to say goodbye.”
For more details on Tessa, her painting and these wonderful trips you can reach her via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone +33 (0)4 94 68 73 76.
Image Credits: All photographs were provided by and published with the permission of Tessa Baker.