Judd Mercer-Gouache Painting Workshop in Spain

Gouache Painting Workshop in Spain with Judd Mercer: June 10-17, 2025

Workshop Description

Do you want to learn how to capture the spirit of Costa Brava in paint? Here’s your chance.

Join plein air and gouache painting veteran Judd Mercer in northeastern Spain for a whirlwind tour of one of the world’s most idyllic coasts.

Along the way, you’ll learn the power and portability of gouache, a fantastic medium for capturing the landscape no matter where you are in the world. Watercolorists, oil and acrylic painters, and urban sketchers alike will learn to use the speed and versatility of gouache to capture ideas quickly for plein air work (or studio use later).

Each day will feature two demos (morning/afternoon) and emphasize different plein air and gouache techniques including:

  • Observation skills to better understand and capture light 
  • Composition techniques to narrow and exaggerate subjects in the field
  • Speed with sketchbook studies to capture ideas on the go
  • Storytelling to communicate the spirit of a landscape, city street, or whatever we find!
  • Layering and color harmony to maximize gouache’s superpowers

This workshop will be appropriate for all levels (some plein air experience is suggested). With a maximum size of just 13 students, there will be an emphasis on individual instruction and hands-on critiques. Each location will include an on-site demonstration by Judd to educate, inform, and inspire!

Participants will leave armed with an understanding of gouache, and how to approach plein air in a way that makes every future holiday an opportunity to capture ideas and create better paintings. 

Judd Mercer's Biography


Judd Mercer is a contemporary landscape painter and Colorado native obsessed with telling stories through light. Working on plein air and in the studio, Judd explores the tension between ourselves and the landscape and plays with our relationship to wild, exhilarating vastness. 

Always hunting for transient, magic moments in secret places along roads less traveled, Judd seeks to capture the powerful wonder permeating even the quietest scenes. Judd works in oil and gouache and frequently participates in plein air invitational events across the country.

Judd is a Laguna Plein Air Painters Signature Artist and has been recognized by Modern Impressionist Magazine and Plain Air Magazine in their “10 Artist to Collect Now” feature. Judd is currently represented by Abend Gallery in Denver, Colorado. 

More samples of Judd Mercer's Art


spain-day2bWe will pick you up at a specific hotel downtown Barcelona and drive you to our hotel located in one of the most exclusive beaches on the Costa Brava. Upon your arrival at our hotel by the sea, take time to settle in or start enjoying the wonderful white-washed and preserved fisherman village on the beach.

Enjoy the beach in front of the hotel, walk along the pristine seashore, take in the sun from the terrace or have a drink in the Mediterranean breeze.
Before dinner, we will take an easy walk along the shore that offers breathtaking vistas along the way.

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

Painting One of the Most Beautiful Villages on the Costa Brava

This “little fishing village” is a hidden gem among all other villages along the Northern Costa Brava. This village is made up of endless rocks, cliffs and extremely beautiful beaches.

The parish church lies in the center of the village and is surrounded by numerous small, windy alleys, which lead down to the beach and give this village its picturesque charm.

The most picturesque old wooden boats a waiting on the beach for you to be painted.

There are endless vignettes to paint: cliffs and rocks, boats on the beach, white-washed houses or a magnificent fortress on the beach right in front of the hotel.

Flowers, Coves and Sea Views at the Botanical Garden


Ten minutes up the road, lies The Jardi Botanic de Cap Roig. It is considered one of the most important botanical gardens in the Mediterranean.

The most characteristic plant species in the Mediterranean region mix with trees and plants from other continents are a must see and a must paint…

High above the bay, the garden offers stunning views towards the ocean.

In 1927, a Russian Colonel and his English wife began building a castle and a magnificent park. The garden runs down in terraces from the castle to the sea. These ornamental and extremely beautiful gardens contain over 1000 species of plants and flowers from all over the world.

Pals: Unique Preserved Medieval Village


As you walk through the narrow village streets, next to the city walls, towers and churches, you will feel as though you have walked into a new time altogether.

The stone archways, cobblestone streets and wrought balconies adorned with flowers create a welcoming feel in this Romanesque village.

The Surrealistic World of Salvador Dali

For those interested we will go to see the largest surrealistic object in the world created by Dalí, the Dalí Theatre-Museu in the town of Figueres, his birthplace.

We will step inside the surreal world of Salvador Dalí and find a museum like none other. Dalí wanted visitors to see his massive collection as a ‘whole’ work and therefore refused to have his works placed in chronological or subject order.

Inside is a world of fantasy mixed with architecture, paintings and sculptures. It’s a complete surrealistic experience.

Wonderful Food

Catalian cuisine is influenced by Spanish food, Mediterranean food, and even French food. There are also some dishes that are entirely unique to the region.

Catalonia is known for the sea and the mountains – great fish and seafood alongside locally grown grilled or cured meats and a lot of grilled vegetables.

And of course, you will be able to drink sangria and cava, the Spanish version of champagne.


We will finish our workshop by a “Show and Tell” or ‘Critique”  before going to the restaurant for our farewell dinner and enjoying one more time of the Costa Brava by night. .

On day 8, it will be time to say Hasta Luego!!

After our last breakfast, we will drive you back to Barcelona (either the airport or downtown). We will get to Barcelona around 11am so make sure your flight is not before 2pm.

Come and let yourself be carried away by emotions!

For the hotel on the Costa Brava, we have chosen a completely renovated hotel with a breathtaking sea view, overlooking the coves of a hidden and preserved beach.

Enjoy exceptional views of the white-washed fishing village and the blue sea in a comfortable, intimate and relaxed atmosphere.

The village’s narrowing streets and picturesque fishermen’s cottages form an idyllic backdrop to the stunning Mediterranean coast.

You can choose either a standard room (no sea view) with balcony or a superior room with sea view and balcony (see pictures).

Rooms have either two single beds or one double bed. All rooms have an en-suite bathroom, TV, satellite, air conditioning, heating, hairdryer and safety deposit box..

Pricing Details:

How to Book

The Trip is limited to 13 Participants

Sign up before 11/30 to save $150. Use the code “earlybird” at check out. 

All rooms have an ensuite bathroom

Early Bird Prices:

Shared standard room: US$ 3,840 per person (US $3,990 after Nov 30th)

Shared room with breathtaking sea view: US$ 4,290  per person (US $4,440 after Nov 30th)

Single standard room: US$ 4,420 (US $4,540 after Nov 30th)

Single room with breathtaking sea view: US$ 4,740 (US $4,890 after Nov 30th)

Non Painters are welcome to join. Price is the same.


– Pick-up at 1:30pm at a specific hotel downtown Barcelona to go to the Costa Brava
– Drop-off either at the pick-up hotel in Barcelona around 11am or at the the airport around noon
– A welcome reception
– All nights  at the hotel on the Costa Brava
– All breakfasts
– 3 lunches
– 4 dinners (including drinks and wine)
– All art classes
– Entrance fees to all sites on the tour
– Transportation every day in a comfortable van
– The use of folding chairs
Two tour leaders throughout the week


– Flights to and from Barcelona
– 3 lunches and 3 dinners
– Painting supplies (we provide folding chairs)
– Tour leader(s) tipping


– $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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