Painting Workshops in Provence with Jill Douglas
Depending on your perspective the tiny village of Aureille, on the southern slopes of the Alpilles, is either old-school Provence at its best or way too sleepy. If this part of Provence were America’s wild west, Aureille might be described as a “one horse town.” There are two main roads, one butcher, a tiny weekly market and a handful of cafés.
The very nature of the small town character and unspoilt, natural surroundings are what first attracted sculptors Ursula Hanes and Donni Buffalo Dog to the area in 1993, but it was an abandoned quail coop that had grabbed their attention. Atelier Fourwinds is located less than two kilometres from the village centre and a world away from current events.
These two visionary artists purchased the site with a shared vision to create a location for artists retreats. The 600 square metre coop was cleaned out and converted into bright studio space, and other buildings were constructed to allow for onsite accommodation for artists in residence. The ownership at Atelier Fourwinds has changed in recent years. However, Ursula Hanes can still be found had at work on her sculptures in the airy studio.
In 2015, Jill Douglas a self-taught painter, who lives in California, visited Atelier Fourwinds for her first time. She describes the experience as “life-changing” for both her artistic talent and her appreciation for Provence’s ever changing light. Douglas comes from a family of artists in the United Kingdom, so her focus on art may have been pre-determined. Jill Douglas has been teaching painting, drawing and colour theory for 26 years at Brentwood Art Centre in Los Angeles and at her Santa Monica studio.
The iconic symbols of Provence; limestone buildings, rows of grapevines, village squares shaded by Plane trees, market stalls groaning with seasonal produce have long been the subject of paintings by all the famous masters (Van Gogh, Picasso, Cezanne, etc.).
Now, it’s your turn!
Douglas has developed two “Painting in Provence” workshops in May 2016. These two weeks are open to a total of nine students of any experience level (from beginners to professionals). Based at Atelier Fourwinds attendees can immerse themselves in the environment that has inspired so many others. Comfortable accommodation is available on site just steps away from an inviting pool and just a 20-minute walk from Aureille’s cafés and bakery.
The painting workshops (May 16-20 and May 23-27) include in-studio time as well as opportunities to paint plein-air. The weeks are sure to pass quickly with blocks of time dedicated to painting and planned excursions to Arles (in the steps of Van Gogh) and local markets. One workshop might not be enough time? That’s ok book back-to-back retreats.
Here are the details and the website:
- $1900 USD per week, arriving Sunday, departing Saturday.
- $3800 USD for two weeks
- Fee includes everything except painting supplies, incidentals and restaurant dinners on Saturday the 21st of May and Friday the 27th of May.
- Included – Three meals per day, breakfast is self-serve.
- Transportation for group outings and painting on location.
- Pick up and drop off to TGV Avignon.
- Studio space and art instruction
Image credits: photos of artists at work and Jill Douglas were provided by and published with the permission of Jill Douglas