After a week in Paris we flew to Marseilles to meet up with the people on our workshop. It was great to catch up with friends from previous workshops and meet up with the new students. A coach took us to our luxury hotel, Le Piggonet, on the outside of the old town of Aix en Provence.

The hotel was a beautiful old building set in magnificent gardens. We could have happily spent a week painting in the gardens, but the town of Aix had a lot to offer so we split our painting time between the hotel and the town.

Le Piggonet

Hotel Gardens

Painting in the Hotel gardens

Dining at Le Piggonet

Flower markets Aix en Provence

Street Markets

We were introduced to some fantastic restaurants in the town. One of our students lived in the country side not far from Aix and had a great knowledge of all the best restaurants. This was one of our favorites – Le Patio, a small family run restaurant with a great atmosphere, good service and fantastic food.

The little town of St. Remy is not far from Aix en Provence. We spent a day there, painting and visiting the Asylum Van Gogh spent time in. We were privileged to paint in the garden of the asylum, where Van Gogh would have often sat and sketched.

Although the asylum surroundings were idealic, life inside must have been horrific. These bath tubs were filled with cold water into which troublesome inmates were immersed and trapped under these wooden boards.

In the town of St. Remy, the main square provided a quiet, spacious area surrounded by ancient stone walls and wooden shutters. We spent an enjoyable afternoon painting there before heading back to our hotel for drinks under the plane trees.

Blue Shutters – St. Remy

Cassis is a small fishing town on the Mediterranean coast not far from Aix. The busy harbour and backdrop of old buildings made a great painting subject. We shared the park across the harbour with the local boules players, cigarette smokers and baguette eaters. Under the shade of a grove of casuarina trees, we painted the changing vista of the harbour.

Cassis Waterfront

Paul Cezanne lived and painted in Aix en Provence. His house and studio have been made into a museum, crammed with his old coats, umbrellas, paint boxes, skulls, bones and still life props that feature in his paintings.

Cezanne had the house built to his design – living area downstairs, large studio upstairs.

The studio ceiling is about 5 metres high and the Northern wall, almost completely glass. The walls are painted a mid tone, neutral gray and there is a 4 meter x .5 meter corner hatch to remove large works from the studio. It’s a fantastic studio, unfortunately no photographs are allowed inside. Below is the front door to the house.

78 thoughts on “AIX WORKSHOP

  1. Hi John
    You are in my town and I am in australia at the moment. (what a shame!!) When will you leave France because I come back france on 2th november. Your student are french or australian ? I would like such to paint with you……christine from LYON

  2. very inspiring. thanks. if you are ever in or near Vermont, USA for a workshop I would love to know about it.

    had an epiphany the other day about “splashing paint” when my husband commented one evening when we were driving home in the rain that the yellow orange road signs were “splashing” their reflection down onto the wet pavement. all of a sudden I knew that I wasn’t using enough paint and water and an image from the teaching video I have came up with the swirling bubbly saturated pool of paint with brush ready to splash a large amount of paint onto the paper. my struggle with the flat, insipid, unsaturated nature of my watercolors was eased as I realized what I needed to do to make them more textured and fun. i love the playful, loose, many layered nature of your work.
    so thanks again for sharing the journey.

    • Hi Laura,
      Thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed the post.
      We are looking into doing a New York workshop in a couple of years time. Information will be on my website as soon as details are finalized.

  3. maravilhoso seu trabalho, que soltura e cores divina, parabens vai ser miuto util para os meus exercicio, muito obrigado.

  4. Your paintings are beautiful! What a wonderful opportunity to explore the beauty of Provence. I lived for a year in France, and seeing your photographs and paintings gave me a taste of all the culture and scenery that I miss so dearly. Thank you!

  5. I “dabble” a bit in watercolors. I reallly enjoyed your post and the examples of your art. I also enjoyed the photographs you took on location. Beautiful…

  6. Enjoyed viewing the photos and paintings of some very beautiful areas I visited some years back. Seeing the photo as the subject of the painting, then the painting is a very nice touch.

    Aix en Provence is one of my favorite memories from traveling in France. The visit to Atelier Cézanne was one of the highlights and one of the reasons for going to Aix.

  7. I like your paintings a lot. Watercolor is a very difficult medium. Every flaw shows. However, you have executed these very well and your work has a spontaneous look. I took painting lessons for years in my twenties. I focused on oils because flaws could eventually be covered. Happy painting and best wishes.

  8. I agree with the comments that both the photos and paintings are gorgeous. I admire the ability of watercolourists to leave an impirssion with just a few stroke. I love the translucent quality of the work

  9. I wish WordPress offered a “love” button. Your photos are wonderful. Your paintings? Extraordinary. Thanks for taking us along.

  10. I’m reading a book now about an Franco-American couple that bought a villa in Provence. Your blog post provides me with visuals for my reading material. Love these photographs and paintings.

  11. I’ve always wanted to paint but life brought me to another passion which is teaching. But from time to time I go back to this old hobby and if I don’t paint with “paints” I paint with words. God bless you, you are so blessed to be so creative!

  12. Your work is exquisite! I love that I can see the pencil sketch underneath – and your drawing style is lovely and loose. You’re an amazing colorist as well. So glad I stopped over. I don’t paint buildings myself, which is one of the reasons that when I find another watercolorist who does them so well, it’s a delight.

    • Hi Jean,
      Thanks for your comments.
      I’ve just spent 1/2 an hour looking through your paintings on your website – Fantastic – I love all the little stories they tell.

      • Thank you for taking the time to check out my website, John! I look forward to seeing more of your work.

  13. I am new to your blog and am really enjoying your photos and your paintings! Your interpretations are really beautiful! I have always wanted to visit this part of France – now, I am even more inspired. Could you share the name of the hotel you stayed at? It looks wonderful 🙂 I look forward to seeing more your work.

  14. Hi! Thank you for a lovely post! What a beautiful place – surely inspirates to paint! I love your paintings because you use such a wonderful colours!
    ‘Painter’s grand daughter’

  15. Pingback: Making Contact « Christine's Art is Everywhere

  16. Past midnight warm early hours of another hot day. I stumbled on your blog via pinterest. I am a complete beginner in watercolours but can create with pastels. I felt as if I was on this journey as one of your students. What exquisite paintings and settings. How do you advertise your couses? . …would love to put this on my bucket list. Maria Smith

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