Oil Painting / Gouache Workshop in Provence with Ellen Howard: Sept 20-27, 2025

Workshop Description

 Come join me for an amazing week of plein air painting in beautiful Provence, France! We will have gorgeous views to paint of cute medieval villages, colorful markets, rivers, olive trees, etc… It is also a place to enjoy gourmet cheese and wine, ratatouille and creme brûlée!

You can choose to work with Oil &/or Gouache in this workshop. I will be doing daily demos and assisting you with your paintings. I enjoy teaching and will be there with you to help strengthen your painting skills and artistic voice.  We will focus on design, color mixing, and capturing the mood of the day by understanding atmospheric perspective. This workshop is open to beginner and intermediate students.

I love painting with oil and gouache for its versatility, offering a wide range of colors and textures, allowing you to create various effects. In both Oil & Gouache, you will enjoy experimenting with layering the paint to create areas of transparency and opaqueness in your paintings. The beauty of working in both mediums is that you can use your gouache paintings as a stand-alone medium or as a springboard for ideas for larger works and it is a great medium for travel journaling.  The difference between the mediums is that Gouache is a water-based paint with quick drying time and an opaque matte finish, while Oils paint is oil-based, slow drying, and provides a glossy finish with versatile application techniques. Working in both mediums will allow you to expand your creativity and artistic vision.

Ellen Howard's Biography

Ellen is an award-winning Northern California artist recognized for her tranquil and peaceful landscape paintings. She loves to be out in nature plein air painting. Some of her favorite subjects are seascapes, marshlands, vineyards, and incredible skies at sunset.

Ellen is a sought-after instructor who teaches weekly painting classes and plein-air workshops. She is known for her thorough explanation of concepts and techniques, and her ability to create a fun and relaxed learning environment. 

Ellen’s work has been featured in Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air Magazine, Plein Air Today, American Art Collector, and Punch Magazine. Her work has been regularly accepted in National Exhibitions and she has had 2 Solo exhibitions. Ellen is very active in the art community serving as Vice President of Programming for the California Art Club, a faculty member for the Plein Air Convention, curating independent exhibitions, judging painting competitions, and writing a monthly newsletter and blog. 

Find out more about Ellen Howard on her site at www.ellenhowardart.com

More Samples of Ellen's Art

Arrival and Welcome

We will pick you up at the TGV Avignon train station at 3:30pm.

Upon your arrival at our hotel, take time to settle in, enjoy the garden, the swimming pool or explore the village.

In the evening, you will enjoy a welcome reception followed by a gourmet dinner.

Painting in the Garden

The hotel has a nice garden with the Sorgue river running through it.

It is located inside a very cute village of the Luberon with easy access to restaurants, shops and many vistas.

Picturesque Medieval Villages

Prov-day7-village

The Luberon, of the most pleasant and picturesque regions in the South of France is home to many beautiful villages, including several with the official label “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France” (France Most Beautiful Villages.

This is the perfect setting for painters. You will find many vignettes such as plaza with picturesque fountains, old flowering houses, cobbled streets with 12th century churches, overlooking valley landscapes and more. 

Fontaine de Vaucluse

The main beauty of Fontaine de Vaucluse is the river Sorgue on which it sits. The river has a fantastic green colour, very striking with the blue sky above. The village of Fontaine de Vaucluse starts after the rapids where the wondrous green river calms itself.

You will find many scenes there for your paintings, between the river, the main plaza and the one hundred year old trees.

We will paint in the village the first and last day.

Following Van Gogh's footsteps in St. Remy de Provence

We will visit the beautiful old monastery of St Paul Mausole with the bedroom where Van Gogh stayed during his very troubled time in 1889-90. This is now a nursing home that has a permanent exhibition of paintings made by the patients and beautiful reproductions of some of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings.

You will be able to paint in the garden of the monastery as well right outside, the wonderful landscape that inspired this great impressionist with the same olive trees Van Gogh painted and the Alpilles mountains as background.

Ochre Village of Roussillon

Prov-day2-roussillonprov-day2-roussillon2We will spend half a day visiting Roussillon, one of France’s Most Beautiful Villages, that sits on top of the world’s biggest vein of ochre, the reddish pigment which has been used by artists for centuries.

Roussillon is famous for its pretty house facades colored in a thousand shades of red

The village has many cute shops with local products and of course the natural ochre pigment. Shop for  hand made potteries colored with the unique reddish ochre local pigment.

If you prefer painting to shopping, you will be inspired by the red houses and the ochre cliffs.

We will also go on an optional walk inside the park, on the Ochre Trail revealing many fantastic rock and cliff formations.

Market and Canals in Isle sur la Sorgue

L’Isle sur la Sorgue is a real paradise for painters and photographers.

Its colors are nature’s green and the bright reflection of the water shines from the several canals running through its center.

In the morning, we will shop the incredible and colorful market: colorful arrays of Provencal fabric, tablecloths, pottery, silk scarves, natural soaps with dozens of scents and of course lavender products.

The afternoon will be dedicated to painting the river.

Gourmet French Food

French cuisine. The mouth-watering gastronomical wonder.

Food culture is just one of the many facets of French culture to experience. Because food brings people together, we will take many of our meals as a group, in a restaurant or sometimes we will prepare a picnic for the group.

Our French dinners include an entrée, a main course and a dessert. All paired with amazing French wine of course. If you love cheese, you will be in heaven!

Departure (Day 8)

It is time to say: “au revoir” but not “adieu” because you will be back. We just know it.

After our last breakfast together, we’ll drive you to the TGV Avignon train station around 9:30 am.

Beautiful 3-star hotel in Luberon, the heart of Provence

We will be staying in the heart of tLuberon. Our hotel used to be an old mill that has been restored with a lot of Provencal charm. A little river meanders through the garden, surrounded by impressive mountains. The hotel is centrally located, at walking distance (2 min) to restaurants and shops.

The hotel has a living room, breakfast room, outside swimming pool, a hot tub, a riverside terrace bar and a sunny conference room that we will use as our painting studio.

Three categories of bedrooms

All bedrooms have en-suite bathroom, mini-bar, flat screen TV, air-conditioning and free wifi.

Standard rooms:

150 sq ft, one double bed and view towards the back of the hotel (view toward trees).

 

Superior rooms:

These rooms are bigger than the standard rooms: 170 sq ft, 2 single beds or 1 double bed.

The view is the same as the standard rooms’.

Superior rooms with view towards the mountains and the garden:

These rooms are also 170 sq ft: They have either 2 single beds or 1 double bed.

The view is toward the garden with the mountains in the background.

Pricing Details

How to Book

The trip is limited to 13 participants

Sign up before 11/30/24 and save $150!

Use the code EARLYBIRD at check out. 

All rooms have an ensuite bathroom

Early Bird Prices:

– Single Standard: US$ 4,390  
– Single Superior with garden view: US$ 4,740 
– Twin Superior with garden view: US$ 4,015 pp
– Double Superior: US$ 3,940 pp

Non Painters: Price is the same

Included:

– Avignon TGV station pick-up at 3:30pm and drop-off at 10am
– A welcome reception
– All 7 nights at the hotel
– All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners including wine
– All art classes
– Transportation in a comfortable van with A/C
– The use of folding chairs
Two tour leaders throughout

Not Included:

– Flight and train to France
– 3 lunches and 3 dinners
– Painting supplies
– Required Travel Insurance
– Tour leader(s) tipping

Payments:

– $600 non refundable deposit required at booking (see cancelation policy below)

– Remaining balance due 4 months prior departure

Sign up before 11/30/24 and save $150!

Use the code EARLYBIRD at check out. 

Cancelation Policy

If you cancel the trip:Cancellation Fee per Person
More than 120 days before departureThe $600 deposit is forfeited
61-120 days before departure50% of total cost forfeited
31-60 days before departure75% of total cost forfeited
0-30 days before departure100% of total cost forfeited
If French Escapade cancels You get a full refund

French Escapade LLC | 2389 Blackpool Place | San Leandro, CA 94577 | 510-483-5713 | contact@frenchescapade.com
California Seller of Travel Licence-CST #: 2091909-40
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