Paint with Paul in the South of France, 5-12 Oct 2017

Trip Costs

  • Per day: £50
  • Materials: £30



  • Friday 6th October. Olargues Painting day
  • Saturday 7th October. St.Chinian Painting day
  • Monday 9th October. Canal du Midi Painting day. (TBD Capestang or Le Somail)
  • Tuesday 10th October. Minerve Painting day.

Workshop Details


I’ll be returning to Languedoc tutoring 5 days of plein air painting from 5-12 Oct 2017. That’s basically 2 days traveling, 5 days painting and one at your leisure ( Dubin to Carassonne). I’ll be working mainly in oils and watercolour and you are invited to join me on what plans to be a great trip. Beginners welcome.

The South of France in October is a perfect climate for painting out of doors. You will learn the basic skills needed to simplify a subject and paint outside with confidence. I’ll do an oil demo each morning and a watercolour in the afternoon. Though this is flexible and depends of student preference.

Join in on a daily basis. We will be a small group to have individual attention.Each day begins with an oil demonstration, followed by a supervised painting session.Each afternoon there will be a watercolour demo and then painting continues, with tips, advice and lots of encouragement. You can work all day in watercolour or oil, bring your own equipment and materials, (and picnic).

Starting at 10 a.m. A 1 hour stop for lunch. Afternoon session ending 4.30 p.m.

Some painting experience is essential.
Conducted In English only.
Email me if your interested, I’ll reply with payment details.


We’ll be based in the beautiful Orb Valley on The Haute Languedoc National Park. Barbara Craig, artist, is our contact there. She will arrange accommodation, ambience, food, wine, etc. We will travel to a new painting venue each day. Check out Olargues, one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France, and Capestang. These are wonderful towns/villages steeped in history. Hilltop churches, typical French markets, barges on the famous Canal du Midi all set against a stunning mountain backdrop.

Olive grove, Oil on board, It’s all there. I can’t wait!

I will focus on Landscape and Townscapes. France has the heat and light. But my subject matter can be a simple tree or a beautiful doorway. There is so much to explore with composition, tone, colour and texture.

Take a leisure day to walk/climb/sketch. I’ll be bringing my sketchpad and camera. The hill walks are stunning.

The cost excluding flights will be €1,050 including accommodation at Nabat le Haut, Courniou. All rooms en-suite. B&B price included, 3 meals there and 3 meals at local restaurants. Transport and tuition are included. I’d like to limit the number of students to a small group of 8. So if your interested, just drop me an email and I’ll firm up on detail.

Don’t ask me which church this is. But I do remember being captivated by the light. I wish I was back there now with a sketchbook and a discrete watercolour box. A heady mix of warm tones. Almost monochrome. Ohh-Wee !!
Again, not sure where this first picture was taken. Barbara sorts all that. An idyllic French village, that’s for sure. And a pretty perfect composition, no?. As I recall, we had the place to ourselves. An empty car park, with shade under trees. I’ll definitely paint here next trip.

The second of the two is definitely Olargue. It’s the local Pharmacy. I spent an hour or so painting it in oils. The dark blue slates against the dark blue sky was an intoxicating visual feast. Warm strong lights. Cool strong shadows. A few figures to add scale. A touch of graphics. A dash of colour to bottom right. Phew..
This was the beautiful town of ….eh…. Barbara…?? I guess this is where they play boules in the evening. I did an oil sketch. It sold back home in Belfast….where we also like to throw things in the street…

Hello from Barbara in the Haute Languedoc,

I’m really looking forward to welcoming you to the Haute Languedoc and the Canal du Midi, I love this area, it’s rugged, in-manicured, real French life. It reflects Paul’s and my love of painting maybe something a little bit unexpected not a chocolate box scene. The buildings in my little town date back to early 1600s, dates are carved on their lintels, and just painting a doorway with its gnarled wooden door will capture the essence of the south of France, the vines are often pretty gnarled too! There is so much to see, it’ll be a shame we won’t be able to fit it all in. Be warned we are in the mountains here so the weather can be changeable, but I’ll keep you posted about the ‘meteo’ (forecast). So painting pals I hope you will enjoy this adventure, the food, the wine, the scenery and the company.

For now it’s à bientôt and bisous (its 3 in these parts, kisses that is)

Non painting partners sharing a room would be half price. But you may benefit from hiring your own car for independence for your partner if they want to do their own thing.


Detailed Itinerary

Thursday 5th

Pick up from Carcassonne airport, estimated arrival 10.40

As we travel to your accommodation you’ll see the ‘Cite’ of Carcassonne, we’ll maybe have lunch out today or buy something to nibble? As you wish, and do some sketching when we have this pause? so have your sketchbook ready in your hand luggage. A direct transfer between Carcassonne and St.Pons de Thomieres takes less than an hour and a half but we’ll just amble along.

Aperitifs and dinner is included to welcome you on your first evening. Then an early night.

Friday 6th

Our first expedition will be to a ‘Plus beaux village de France’ Olargues, there’s architecture, narrow ruelles, and the general stunning view of the village with its church perched on the top for you to paint. The main problem will be being spoilt for choice! We can pick up something to eat for lunch in the boulangerie or go to a café. Dinner together this evening at a restaurant.

Saturday 7th

We are off to St. Chinian, the centre of the wine producing area. Painting in the town in the morning. In the afternoon we will drive through the vineyards and find a spot to paint another masterpiece. We’ll maybe have lunch out today and buy some goodies for a buffet tea this evening? Also you will have the chance to taste and buy some wine.

Sunday 8th

A quiet morning off? Walking or untutored painting or just relaxing at your base. Do your own thing for lunch and we’ll all meet up for dinner out. In the afternoon we’ll not go far, a neighbouring village or 2! So the theme will be fast and loose.

Monday 9th

Finally we’re off to the Canal du Midi, to be honest there probably won’t be any boating activity on the canal as the season is very short, but then moored boats are must easier to ‘capture’. Either Le Somail or Poilhes. Or there’s the town of Capestang. It may be a long day so no self-catering , relax, dinner is included.

Tuesday 10th

Today we will leave open for discussion for the moment. Perhaps return to a previous venue to paint again or try somewhere new. Plenty to choose from. Again a meal out is included.

Wednesday 11th

This morning is market day in St.Pons, you can come and paint or just shop, it’s another ‘free’ morning, so stay at base if you prefer. In the afternoon we can sketch crawl around St.Pons, if you are up to it and its sunny we’ll climb the hill for some panoramic views . Aperitifs chez Barbara and a final dinner together are included.

Thursday 12th

We will be up early for our departure to Carcassonne airport at 7a.m. Sorry about that!

Please note group dinners out are included in the price, at restaurants there will be a choice on the set menu, I’m sorry but if you are vegetarian it is still a struggle when dining out in France to find many options. We will not cover the cost of coffee, soft drinks or spirits with dinner but a carafe of wine is included (to share, not each!!)

So a meal is included in your costs on Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Breakfasts (continental) are included.

Nabat les Haut has kitchen facilities at your disposal to conjure up a picnic or a 3 course meal yourself! There are 2 restaurants in Corniou, 40 minutes’ walk along a pleasant pathway, and a small grocery shop which specialises in Belgian beer! There are 2 supermarkets in St.Pons, as well as chemists, paper shop, speciality food shops and café/bars.

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