Watercolor Painting Workshop in the French Alps with Iain Stewart, June 26-July 3, 2023

About the workshop to the French Alps with Iain Stewart AWS/NWS

“The most enjoyable painting I do is when I paint outdoors. There is an intimacy and sense of “being there” that only occurs when you take the time to slow down and record your surroundings in watercolor- and what surroundings we will have!

Join me in the French Alps for a truly memorable week!

We will tour daily with an easy schedule of demonstration, one on one critique, and group discussions designed to build your confidence and ability alike. You may paint or explore or do both on any given day. I will be there to guide you through my approach to painting en plein air and help you take your watercolors to the next level!

The course is limited to 15 students to maximize our time together and the amount of individual instruction you will receive. This is a truly unique opportunity to see inside how I work and play. When painting on site in such wonderful surroundings you are inevitably doing both.

Together we will cover all aspects of how I work to keep my paintings lively and gestural. It’s quite easy to get bogged down in detail and for me the perfect tool is the sketchbook. We will work both in our books and on traditional watercolor paper covering a range of subject matter and scenes.

I believe that a workshop without the worry of success typically leads just there. Learn how to let go of the fear of ruining a painting and take true joy in your work. I will share my process to begin drawing with confidence, painting quickly, and breaking a painting down into understandable steps that you can repeat on your own.

I typically cover how to treat painting water scenes, landscapes, and the urban environment in all of my workshops. My interest in these subjects is how man’s hand has touched the earth and how my sense of “place” is explored. I find this practice to be unique to everyone and it is my intention to help you find your own artistic voice. We will cover design, drawing, painting techniques, and finally an understandable way to put them all together.

As an instructor I do not like to “pull rabbits out of hats.” I want you to understand my motivation at every stage of the process so that you can decide how you may choose to incorporate some of my techniques in your own work. I believe a good workshop begins with a foundation built on freedom of fear and the importance of pushing yourself to new levels of expression. A workshop should not be about the instructor stunning you with their own work. It is about your experience. A truly great workshop will lead to you being surprised at what you are capable of and invigorated to explore further.

Let’s indulge our creative and adventurous spirit with a painting holiday in the beautiful French Alps!”

Biography of Iain Stewart, AWS/NWS:

Iain Stewart is Scots born watercolor artist and a signature member of the American and National Watercolor Societies among other state and international entities. His work has received numerous awards in international competition and he is a sought after juror and instructor. 

He has been published in Watercolor Artist, The Art of Watercolour, Plein Air Magazine, Southern Living, Cottage Living, Better Homes and Gardens, The Robb Report, Watercolor Artist Magazine, Splash 15 16 18, 20 and the French publication Pratique des Arts. He has also contributed to the Urban Sketchers book series. 

His first book En Plein Air- Light and Color published by Walter Foster will be published April of 2021. 

Most recently his painting “Oh to be Back in the Land of Coca~Cola” won the Marge Saroka Memorial Award in the 152nd American Watercolor Society International Exhibition in New York- 2019 

His work “Swedish Trains” was exhibited in the Fabriano Aquarello International Exhibition in Fabriano, Italy. 

His article “Etching in Memories” was published in the June issue of Watercolor Artist.

In addition to gallery work, Iain is an Architectural Illustrator with an international clientele and teaches watercolor and design drawing at Auburn University. 

Artist’s Statement 

I rely on instinct a great deal and endeavor not to imbue any false grandeur to the choices I make when working. The lion’s share of my work is done alla prima as my real struggle in painting is to capture the initial vision for any given piece. I am most often motivated by capturing a definitive lighting condition and how it influences shape and value rather than faithfully representing the subject as witnessed. Watercolor is uniquely suited for this task as “light” is reserved from the first brush strokes and must be protected throughout the painting process. 

The underlying narrative in my work is not based on any theme in particular but but quite simply how “place” is inhabited and used daily. 

I often use remembered atmospheric and lighting conditions in my work and would say that I paint from life and memory simultaneously. My watercolors are not only a translation of what I see, but more importantly, an expression of how I choose to view the world. 

More info about Iain Stewart on his website.

More samples of Iain Stewart's Art:

The Alps is a dream destination for a plein air artist because of the spectacular scenery you will encounter: alpine meadows, cobblestoned villages, waterfalls, glaciated peaks, wildflowers, clean lakes, chalet with flowers from windowboxes…

Some of the highlights of the tour are seeing Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe, from the hotel and visiting Annecy, also called the Venice of the North, a beautiful medieval city surrounded by canals and mountains.

Let us show you these hidden treasures.

Day 1: Welcome to the Alps

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We will pick you up at 2:30pm a the Geneva airport and drive you to our beautiful chalet in the Alps. Upon your arrival at the hotel, you will have time to settle in and relax, enjoy the spa (hot tub, sauna and steam room) before our welcome reception and orientation meeting followed by a gourmet dinner.

 Days 2, 3 &4: Alpine Village: from Wooden Chalets to Flowery Balconies

 The hotel and the village offer a breathtaking 360 degree view towards Mont-Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe.

It will be like stepping back in time: wooden chalets, baroque church, green pastures and grazing cows. We will be painting either from the garden of the hotel or in the village. The vignettes are endless.

Cheese is of course the specialty of the Alps. You will find it in many local specialties like fondue, raclette, tartiflette, etc…

Day 5: Chamonix – The Queen Resort of the Alps

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Chamonix, the biggest ski resort in the world, is surrounded by majestic high mountains such as Mont Blanc and glaciers.

Morning will be dedicated to paining. In the afternoon, you will have some free time to take the highest gondola in the world to the top of “L’Aiguille du Midi” at 12,000 ft. A breathtaking view of the Alps and Chamonix down below awaits you. Or you could take a tram to see the “sea of ice” glacier.

If you prefer shopping, or more painting, Chamonix has it all.

Day 6: Annecy or ‘The Little Venice of the Alps’

Annecy is the French show-piece of lakes-and-mountain beauty. The Canal crossing Annecy brings Venice to mind as you stroll along its banks.

Your choice for the painting site will be unlimited: medieval narrow streets, renaissance houses along the canal, the famous old prison (one of the most photographed monuments in France!) or the Annecy lake surrounded by mountains.

We will also have the opportunity to go to the local market in the old Annecy and shop for the numerous wonderful cheeses, sausages, honeys and all local products.

 

Day 7: Painting at the hotel

For the last day, we won’t be driving anywhere so that you will be able to finish up some paintings.

We will end the week with a “Show and Tell” and a gourmet dinner with maybe the best sunset on Mont Blanc.

Day 8: Departure

After our last breakfast together, we’ll drive you back to the Geneva airport by 10-10:30 am.

Our Chalet in the Alps, facing Mt Blanc

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This chalet, in the heart of Haute-Savoie, boasts stunning views of Mont-Blanc and the Aravis Massif.

The beauty of the panorama, the charm of the cozy wooden interior, the gourmet restaurant, the well-being of the Spa, the comfort and amenities of the wainscoted rooms,  all make this unique spot a haven of peace.

The spa has a hot tub, sauna and steam room.

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Each bedroom has an en-suite bathroom with flat-screen satellite TV and free WiFi.

There is an outdoor swimming pool, an indoor pool table and a little gym.

Pricing Details

The Trip is limited to 13 Participants

Sign up before 11/30 and save $200!

Painters: US$ 3,390 pp for a shared room before Nov 30th (US$ 3,590 after 11/30/22)

+ US$ 550 for single standard room with ensuite bathroom

Non Painters are welcome to join. They get a US$ 400 off and will come on excursions with the group, share the meals, etc…

Included:

Included:

– Geneva Airport pick-up at 2:30pm  and drop-off at 11am
– A welcome reception
– All 7 nights at the hotels
– All breakfasts, 3 lunches and all dinners including wine
– All art classes
– Transportation in a comfortable van with A/C
– Entrance to the hotel spa
– The use of folding chairs

Not Included

– Flights and train to destination
– 3 lunches
– Painting supplies
– Tour leader(s) tipping

Cancelation Policy

If you cancel the trip:Cancellation Fee per Person
More than 90 days before departureThe $600 deposit is forfeited
(however $500 can be transferred to another trip with a departure date within 2 years of cancelation date)
61-90 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

To reserve your spot, please complete the form below (one per person) and pay US$ 600 deposit.  After receiving your form, we will send you the information for the payment. Note that the deposit is not refundable but is transferrable. See our cancelation policy below.

You will be able to pay:

1- By check

2- Via ZELLE, free instant pay, offered by many major US banks

3- By bank transfer

4- By credit card

Reservation Form

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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