Get Creative in Provence Painting Holidays
It’s incredible how the energy in someone’s words radiates positivity. Reading Tessa Baker’s newsletter about her 2022 painting holidays in Provence, Antigua and the Cinque Terre, I felt like life is finally returning to “normal.” We connected via Zoom to talk about her new creative projects, including an online course for beginners. Watch for more details on that program soon.
Painting in Provence
Warm and welcoming, Tessa Baker is a talented artist who organises small-group painting holidays and workshops in various parts of Provence. The programs are typically one week long and include accommodation, gourmet meals and many opportunities to paint in gorgeous settings. As the ultimate hostess, Tessa ensures that every detail of your stay is covered. When it comes to painting and watercolour techniques, Tessa is patient and professional. She works with beginners and artists who have painted for years. As a result, many groups return year after year to explore a different area and expand their skill-set.
Artist and Chef
Born in London, Tessa lived with her parents and four sisters in the English countryside village of Rousham. Her creative education included Chelsea School of Art and later at Slade School of Fine Arts. Tessa’s artistic interests sparked working with her mother on theatre set designs. However, her father determined that she needed a practical profession and sent her to Switzerland to train as a chef. Both educational paths have served her well. She has painted for over 30 years and has proven culinary talents. Read more about Tessa Baker’s background.
A Warm Welcome
Tessa invited me to join her “Painting Provence with Tess” group for their last evening together. They were staying in a restored farmhouse with a cypress-lined driveway, with privacy for their creative work. The festive evening began with a sparkling wine toast and introductions to the students who had come to Provence from both coasts of the United States. They all shared a common goal of improving their painting techniques in Provence. By all accounts, it was a week filled with artistic creativity, fabulous food, and new friendships.
Painting for a Week
With this group, each of Tessa’s guests had some previous painting experience. However, that is not a requirement, as Tessa is happy to coach anyone who wants to learn how to paint.
She challenged them to try a wet watercolour technique that involved dampening the canvas before applying the colour. This method requires a quick hand and forces the artist to embrace abstraction. Much like asking a group to photograph the same scene, the results of these painting sessions produced surprisingly different results. Discover more about painting trips in Provence with Tessa.
The group painted for an average of five hours a day, with Tessa coaching them on colour mixing techniques and brush strokes. During her tours, Tessa organises several day trips that combine exploring Provencal highlights and painting time.
On her Provence tours, the group often visit the ochre cliffs of Roussillon, painting on location and experimenting with the natural pigments. Next, they head to St Rémy de Provence, visiting the Saint Paul de Mausole hospital where Vincent Van Gogh produced many of his masterpieces while in the institution’s care.
Since it’s hard to be creative on an empty stomach, Tessa ensures her students have healthy meals all week. So after the festive aperitif, we ate a delicious dinner al fresco finishing a homemade pannacotta. Finally, after a week of creative work and fabulous food, the students said their goodbyes before heading off to pack for early departures the following day.
Book a Painting in Provence Session
Tessa Baker offers painting weeks for small groups in Provence, from her farmhouse in Lorgues and the Cinque Terre in Italy. Her program also includes long weekend workshops and day courses based from her home in the Var. Whether you choose the entire schedule or a shorter session, you will acquire new skills and confidence with a paintbrush.
Painting Provence with Tess (website). The 2022 tour dates are listed below, and short courses are available on demand.
Paint Provence (based in Lorgues):
Includes visits to Tourtour, Lorgues, Saint Tropez, and Commanderie de Peyrassol a vineyard and Sculpture Park.
April 23-30, 2022
June 11-18, 2022
September 17-24, 2022
Paint Provence (based in Bonnieux):
Includes visits to Bonnieux, Iles sur Sorgues, Roussillon, Lacoste, Menebres.
June 25 – July 2, 2022
September 3-10, 2022