Wednesday, October 30, 2019

"Francesca with Lilies" Workshops in France travelogue by Robin Weiss

"Francesca with Lilies" 12x9, oil  $600

When planning our trip to Europe I knew I wanted to paint. I remembered looking at the literature for Workshops in France at one of the Plein Air Conventions. Ann contacted Julie Snyder and we found out there was a Daniel Gerhartz portrait workshop and artists retreat at a chateau in Provence being hosted by Workshops in France, around the time we wanted to go, almost a year ahead. ..Perfect!  So glad we decided on going with Julie and her great support crew, Shirley, Celeste,Kirsteen and Janice! !  All artists and up for anything!  They would take us to different, amazing  locations to paint after the workshop which I will cover in future posts.

Daniel Gerhartz Demo
The first three days of the retreat we attended the Daniel Gerhartz, masterclass portrait workshop. I have been using more figures in the landscape and appreciated his insight on including that aspect into the teaching.

I didn't know it before this but Daniel is a much sought after instructor. His workshops are mostly sold out before you can sign up. He is a kind and thoughtful educator who tries to spend time with each student. He studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. To learn more about Daniel, his work and philosophy of painting view his website  HERE.

Each day Daniel would do a demo using a model from the community hired for the workshop. The first day we had Frank, a great model who could really hold a pose!

Packing Tip:  I considered several options for transporting painting surfaces and decided on using sheets of pre-primed linen for this trip. I knew that I would be at one location for 10 days with time for the paintings to dry.
Value Study of Frank
First I cut two pieces of 1/8 inch birch plywood 12x16 , sanded and finished them with varnish.These plywood panels would slide into my Raymar wet panel carrier and be used to tape my linen sheets on.
I then cut 20 sheets of linen 11x14 and used a pencil and a 9x12 panel to mark 9x12 rectangles in the center of the sheets with a margin to tape the sheet to the plywood panel. I also cut another ten sheets 9x12 and used a 8x10 panel to mark those sheets. So I ended up with 30 sheets of pre-primed linen that would yield 20 9x12s and 10 8x10s.
I used packing plastic, the kind on rolls. to wrap the linen to the plywood panels making a sandwich of plywood panel, linen sheets and 11x14 paint panel. Then slid the package into the Raymar panel carrier for transport to France.
The carrier fit into my carry on backpack with my other oil painting supplies. That worked pretty slick but I was not sure how it would work out on location....Now I know.. and it all worked great except that I brought more linen than I needed. I had time to make 11 oil paintings in Provence. The last one I did had about two days to dry before we had to pack up. It was still just a bit tacky even using the Fast Dry White.
No problem! I borrowed some "kitchen paper" (parchment paper) from the kitchen and put the paintings back to back with the parchment paper in between then taped the sheets back on the plywood panels and slid them back into the carrier for transport back to the states....whew!  When we got back the paintings were in perfect condition and did not stick to the parchment paper! This system worked because I had time to paint in one location and a place to lay the paintings to dry in our room. For the rest of our trip when we were on the road and changing location frequently I used my sketchbook.
BTW, if any of this is confusing, just send me an email at and I will try to answer any questions you may have.

There is so much I want to include in these blog posts and soooo many pictures!! I am trying hard to edit the writing to include highlights and also helpful tips on traveling with oil paint. I also want to include what I learned from Daniels workshop so stay tuned for more posts. Promise I will try and keep them short and readable....hopefully!! I sure appreciate any feed back or comments on how I am doing or what you would like to hear more about. You can get these posts direct to your inbox by taking a minuet to subscribe using the widget in the right hand toolbar.... Thanks!!

Another word about Workshops in France. Julie and her crew take the stress out of painting in France! Especially if you are thinking of doing it for the first time..We loved the locally sourced food and wine!   You really only have to concentrate on making great artwork. They do all the rest!

A Court Yard at Chateau Gadagne near Avignon. A favorite spot to paint and enjoy a glass of wine with friends..=]

1 comment:

Mitch said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing trip with the rest of us out in blog-land. When we go to France, we are so caught up in touring and social engagements and I never have found time to paint, but one day I'll make it happen. Workshops in France seems like an excellent way to do it.!