Carolyne Kauser-AbbottExploreGuided Holiday Tours

At the Easel Painting Trips in Provence with Tessa Baker

Lorgues is located in the middle of vineyards and olive groves. It is in the center of the department of the Var between the Mediterranean Sea and the Gorges du Verdon. Source: Wikipedia

Our house @TessaBaker

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.

Artichokes painted June 2015 @TessaBaker Flaments Rose Camargue 2015 @TessaBaker

Perfect for Painting

However, the real reason to make the trip to Lorgues is to attend one of Tessa Baker’s Paint Provence weeks. These are trips for artists of any level, the art-focused week is based out of  Tessa’s restored farmhouse in Lorgues. From this Provencal home-base, course attendees are treated to some of the best sights in the Var and a taste of the Cote d’Azur – while hunting for perfect sketching and painting locations. The hard work behind the easel and sightseeing requires fuel; Tessa’s friend and chef Anna prepares exquisite meals for the group.

Some of my watercolours @TessaBaker

Tessa Baker the Artist

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.

Lac St Croix #Var @TessaBaker

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.

Poppies In Provence @TessaBaker

Provencal Artists

Tessa Baker has been seriously pursuing her artist’s 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.”

The Fab Four Painting Trip Oct 2015 @TessaBaker

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.”

Student Art work @TessaBaker

Student Art Work

Student Art work @TessaBaker

Student Art Work

Book Your Easel

For more details on Tessa, her painting and these wonderful trips you can reach her via email 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.

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Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).


  1. blank
    February 22, 2016 at 8:46 pm — Reply

    So wonderful! I’m certain this would be a real treat.

    Those flamingoes are dazzling!

    • blank
      February 23, 2016 at 1:05 pm — Reply

      Thanks Jill! Tessa seems to be able to capture Provence in paint – a talent I likely will never have.

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