He chooses instructors who have strong communication skills, are successful artists in their chosen media and are enthusiastic about sharing what they know with their students. Philip speaks French, lodges with each group and accompanies groups to all painting and photography locations.
He enjoys creating oil paintings of people more than any other subject matter. Whether its painting someone else or doing a self-portrait, it's the most exciting thing a painter can do. It's a way to translate one's deepest feelings or perceptions about someone to the canvas.
We generally start painting the first day after your arrival. Let's take as an example a workshop scheduled for October 2- 11. First thing is that October 2nd is the day of your arrival in France (or wherever the workshop is). Of course when traveling to France from the US you takes an overnight flight meaning that your departure from the states in our example would be October 1.
We would then start painting on the 3rd. The last day of painting would be the 10th and departure from France would be on the 11th. Making the return trip to the states from France has you arriving back home on the same day you leave.
Each day we will go to a new and exciting painting or shooting location. In our photography workshops we move from one location to another all day as we look for inspiring subjects to photograph (with and emphasis on all forms of photography including digital photography).
In the case of painting the instructor will first demonstrate and outdoor painting and then work with the students individually on increasing their ability to capture the light effects and essence of the scene in front of them. We paint in the morning, take a break for lunch and then paint again in the afternoon.
What is a typical painting day?
There are two options: either a charter bus will pick us up at our lodging between 8:30 and 9:30 AM and transport us to the days' painting location or I will have arranged to rent some vans to transport us to our painting locations. In Paris we will hop on the Metro.
When we arrive at our location the instructor will often do a short demonstration and then you will set up and paint for the rest of the morning. After a break for lunch you will be able to do another painting in the afternoon before the bus or our vans returns us to our hotel.
I provide itineraries but how and when I do this varies. Sometimes you'll get a list of the painting locations before the workshop begins - I'll email it to you. Other times you'll get that information in our first meeting - the day of your arrival. Sometimes it may be a written itinerary and sometimes not. I find it important to remain flexible and open to events, both natural and man-made, beyond our control. Weather is a good example.
If we get rain on a day I had planned to be somewhere with no protection from the rain, then obviously we will be making a change of locations at the last minute. We might get an invitation for a reception at a local mayors office or and invitation for a drink in someone's home. These kinds of things are more likely to happen in smaller towns in Brittany, but it's important to take advantage of these great opportunities at getting to see and know the local culture in a more intimate way. But these special events will never result in the cancellation of a painting day.
Speaking of weather it's important for you to know that having indoor painting space in case of rain is not always possible. When it is possible we will definitely take advantage of that. When it isn't, we do our best to find protected places in the streets of the villages and cities where we paint.
I like to give the instructor a day off somewhere in the middle of the trip. Of course that day you may paint to your heart's content. Some people do and some don't. During the instructed painting day, the teacher may do a demonstration based on the needs and desires of the group. That demo can last 1 hour or longer. Those wishing to paint can just set up and paint and those of you wishing to watch the whole demo can of course do that.
At the end of the demo, the students will set up and paint (if they aren't already doing that) and the teacher will make regular visits to you canvas to provide advice, help and direction. This is not a classroom situation and this is not designed for intense one to one instruction as you would find if you were taking private lessons. This method of learning requires that you watch or listen to the instructor and then try right there on the spot to practise what they suggest.
As the instructor makes the rounds - perhaps three visits to your canvas during each painting session, it is your responsibility to listen and absorb and immediately experiment with the suggestions you receive. Each subsequent visit to your canvas will provide a new opportunity for you to learn and grow. Critiques will be planned at regular intervals during the length of the workshop.
On any given painting or photography workshop to France, Italy, Portugal or Mexico you lodging, instruction, all breakfasts and ground transportation will be included in the cost.
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