Countdown to France Painting Holiday

I’m so excited we are now on the Countdown to France Painting Holiday.  Follow us as we travel to France, I will be blogging and sharing up-to-date photos so if your not coming you can join us as we paint our way around Châteauponsac, France.  As everything is ready I thought I’d write about how we have been preparing for France. 

It’s Tuesday and I’m planning to resume my #TipsOnTuesday so I thought I’d give you some Tips today.  In this post find out how Lydia and I chose the sketch sites and get Three Tips on what to paint when your out and about sketching or ‘plein air’ painting.

Our Trip to France in May

Accommodation - Front of House
Accommodation – Front of House

Lydia and I went to France in May in preparation for this painting holiday, we visited the accommodation where we will be staying on this holiday and sampled lots of Elaine’s fabulous cooking, Mick gave us a thorough tour of the house… and what a house!  They have been working hard since then decorating bedrooms and updating bathrooms in preparation for our arrival we are all very excited to be taking people to such a wonderful venue.

Elaine's food - George and Geoff relaxing in the outside area, Geoff can't believe his luck
Elaine’s food – George and Geoff relaxing in the outside area, Geoff can’t believe his luck

Whilst there we did a whistle stop tour of lots of sites that Elaine thought might be suitable… everywhere was beautiful, from a painting viewpoint… rustic is how you might describe some of the buildings but also a lot of great countryside and with the Châteauponsac Church always a feature in the background.  Although ironically as in Ironbridge the Church is clad in our photos, I’m hoping they’ve finished the work! 

Châteauponsac Streets
Châteauponsac Streets

Some painters are hardy – out in any weather, loving the snow (I do but only to take photos) but we figured that it was best if we had access to a cafe, toilets and somewhere fairly close to park to avoid lugging easels paint etc… when doing plein air (this is always a consideration for me when I go out sketching – you could call me a ‘Fair Weather Sketcher!’).  We also put thought into areas that were big enough for all of us to sit out of the way from other people (not so difficult as it is much quieter in this area of France than in England). 

Out Sketching – A Few Tips

Accommodation - Crooks and Crannies
Accommodation – Crooks and Crannies

So when you’re out sketching, once you have decided on your site how do you decide what to sketch.  Here are some photographs from Elaine and Mick’s garden,

Accommodation - in the garden
Accommodation – in the garden

sometimes you can see something you want to sketch in the unlikeliest places, like a corner.  The biggest trick is to cut out a lot of the view, often you want to paint everything, my Tip One is to simplify, simplify, simplify.  Tip Two – look for something that attracts you not what someone else suggests will be good to paint – sketching is enjoyable, even fun.

Use a viewfinder, this helps you to cut out the excess but also to plan your composition – where you want things in the painting, portrait or landscape so this is Tip Three.

Countdown to France Painting Holiday – 9 Days to Go!

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