Oil Painting Workshop (other media welcome) with Maggie Hellmann in Provence: May 15-22, 2025

Description of the Workshop taking place during red poppy season

Join me for an amazing week of ‘joie de vivre’ and plein air painting in magnificent Provence, France! This is ‘Red poppy season’ and we’ll explore and paint the exciting spring colors of glorious Provence.

I’m super excited to teach you painting in such an inspiring place as Provence! We’ll paint flower fields, countryside villages, waterways and hillside castle towns, quaint, flower-filled alleyways, medieval churches, fountains and ancient archways. Inspired all around by French charm, we’ll paint our impressions, dine exquisitely, share gorgeous sights and creative companionship, all while learning and growing our craft.

As a long-time impressionist painter and lover of color, I will share my enthusiasm and methods for creating successful paintings with loose brushwork and exciting color harmonies through out the week. Giving demos, showing examples and helping one on one. I will Demo in Oil primarily, but am proficient and happy to help with Watercolor, Acrylics and Pastels as well.

Each artist has their own unique voice and my goal is to offer you more tools to explore and grow that voice. I will teach you ways to explore different color approaches. Ways to make your designs more exciting and successful. Different ways to create and sustain a focal point. I will share the different methods I use to progress thru a painting as well as the important painting fundamentals (composition, light, value, shapes, volumes, edges, brushwork and palette knife) that will improve your painting for many years to come.

This workshop is appropriate for Beginners and Advanced painters alike. I’ll offer positive encouragement and step by step help for the beginner, and challenge the more advanced painter with exploring creative ways of looking at painting concepts and designing compositions.

Come share in the ‘Joy of Life’ painting with me here in Provence!

You will learn:

• how to create energy and excitement in your work
• how to design compositions that are unique and inviting
• how to choose and create a star or focal point
• how to see and use more exciting color
• how to create and keep loose and exciting brushwork
• how to create depth and use perspective to your advantage
• how to understand and use value systems to your advantage
• various ways to ‘push or pull’ items in your compositions
• how to design interesting shapes and volumes
• four ways to make your color choices sing!

Maggie Renner Hellmann's Biography

Maggie is an award-winning impressionist painter, well known for her exciting color, strong compositions and loose brushwork. She lives in Santa Cruz, California with her husband, Lou Renner, who is an international mountain, rock and ice climbing guide as well as an enthusiastic painter. (He loves color too!) Traveling over the many years to paint and climb together has been their shared passion. And Maggie loves to teach painting almost as much as she loves to paint!

Maggie is a classically trained painter, earning her Bachelor’s Degree with Honors at San Jose State University’s Fine Art, Design & Illustration Department during which Maggie won an Competition Scholarship for her painting. Maggie has received many Awards currently in Painting, and in the past with her Design and Illustration. Maggie continued her painting education internationally, at the Lorenzo de Medici Fine Art Institute in Florence, Italy. Since then, Maggie continues to challenge herself and study under various Master painters worldwide. Her love of Nature and Color, Exploring and Teaching permeates her every moment…Maggie continues to paint plein air and teach full workshops to excited students who still hear her many lessons in their minds decades later!

Plein air painting since 1978, Maggie has participated in numerous plein air and landscape painting invitationals, events and exhibits through out California, and the USA, receiving many Best of Show Awards and Artists Choice Awards. Maggie’s work has been exhibited in Museums and Galleries and juried into Art Magazines and Limited Edition Art Calendars. Her work is exhibited and collected internationally.

“I love the Joy of Color and the Poetry of Brushwork!” –Maggie

More info about Maggie on her Website: maggiehellmann.faso.com

More Samples of Maggie'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 swimming pool or explore the village.

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

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.

Painting in the Garden or in the studio

The hotel has a nice garden and a studio. It is also located inside a very cute village of the Luberon so easy access to restaurants, shops and many vistas.

Visit of Van Gogh's bedroom 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. If you prefer painting than 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.

The village has many cute shops with local products. Don’t miss out on the unique reddish potteries.

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 also 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 the village of Fontaine de Vaucluse. 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 12 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


– 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


– $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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