Travel Sketching in Watercolor with Rita Sabler – Provence: May 26-June 2, 2025

Workshop Description

Join me for one week of sketching with watercolor in beautiful Provence.

Drawing while traveling is the best way to experience and remember a new place. In his book “The Art of Travel” Alain de Botton notes that “A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is the desire to hold on to it: to possess it and give it weight in our lives.” Sketching and writing while you travel provides one meaningful way of doing just that.

Traveling is also a perfect opportunity to learn or hone your drawing skills. When we see new sights everything strikes us as unusual, memorable and inspiring. We have a natural desire to admire new vistas, taste new flavors, inhale unusual aromas and record these sensations through taking photos, but also through drawing and writing. For me, drawing while traveling is instinctual, and I am eager to share my passion to fully immerse yourself in a new place through the practice of travel sketching.

During our time together we will learn how to capture scenes on the go in a style of a quick vignette. We will also learn how to make longer meditative drawings that allow us to truly immerse ourselves in a scene. I will show you how to compose your drawings, how to simplify and extract the essence of what you are seeing when you only have a short time to capture something while enjoying a cup of coffee on a sunny terrace. I will share some of my favorite watercolor techniques and tips on drawing architecture, water, and greenery creating a beautiful travel diary that will bring joy and memories for years to come.

Rita Sabler's Biography

Rita Sabler is an award winning artist, visual journalist, author, and educator based in Portland, Oregon, USA. She has taught Drawing, Urban Sketching and Visual Journalism courses at the Parsons School of Design, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Portland State University as well as given numerous workshops and lectures on drawing and visual storytelling all around the world.

In the span of her decade-long career as an educator and visual storyteller Sabler has inspired diverse audiences to cultivate a lifelong passion for urban sketching and reportage illustration. Her work has been featured in solo and group local and international shows.

Rita Sabler’s reportage on the Kalaupapa settlement  won Doctors without Borders Coup De Coeur and International Sketchbook Prize at the 2019 Rendez-Vous Du Carnet De Voyage in Clermont-Ferrand. 

Sabler’s book “Listening to New Orleans” won the International Sketchbook Prize in 2023.

Rita Sabler currently works as a freelance visual journalist for the Oregon Public Broadcasting. From 2019-2023. Rita Sabler served as the Education Director on the board of the global Urban Sketchers organization.

Rita’s main areas of expertise are Reportage Illustration, Travel Sketching, and Visual Journalism. She is often seen on street corners capturing busy markets, festivals, protestors, musicians, and regular citizens living their life in both ordinary and extraordinary ways. When not drawing or teaching she is a busy parent and a tango pianist.

Rita holds Masters of Arts degrees in Linguistics (UC Davis), Masters in Interface Design (The Elisava School of Design in Barcelona) and Master of Science in Journalism (University of Oregon).

Check Rita Sabler’s Website at: https://www.ritasabler.com

More Samples of Rita's Art

Arrival and Welcome

Prov-day7-village

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.

 

The hotel has a conference room that we will be using as a studio for our watercolor painting/sketching. It will be available for you to use anytime you wish.

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
– A free Paris planner with visit and hotel recommendations for an extended stay in Paris.
– 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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