Chateau Marouatte, original watercolor with pen and ink, $250.00 unframed
It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, but it was a wintry afternoon. I was invited to teach a plein air watercolor workshop at a castle in France, called Chateau Marouatte. It’s situated on 270 acres of woodlands, within the Dordogne region. And has its own chef.
I was quickly able to fill not just one, but two weeks of workshops with participants ranging from college students to senior citizens, with varying degrees of experience. This was guaranteed to be amazing!
Today marks the first day I would have been teaching at the castle in France. But, thanks to a global pandemic I am mostly working from home these days, like most of you. France is happening next year. But for now...a part of me is still yearning to paint castles. So this week and next, during Plein Air Fridays, I am venturing out to local places that look and feel like castles. Watch for that email.
I'm also offering a 25% discount on any and all paintings I already have of castles, including Chillon in Switzerland, and Dover and Eynsford in England. And the one of Chateau Marouatte pictured above. I'm also including any of my France paintings on this discount. For the first time ever, that also includes commissions -- Have a favorite castle or a favorite spot in France you'd love to see captured in watercolor? I'm your gal. Watch for an email for this as well.
Don't worry -- We’re still going to stay and paint at the Castle in France…in late June and early July of 2021. You can sign up here -- I have two spaces left. And I'm remaining flexible, knowing the world is an unpredictable place...with lots of happy endings.
Jana plein air painting at Thanksgiving point during the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.
Our first plein air session of the summer starts Friday, June 5th!
Here are some questions that often come up that can (hopefully)
put your mind at ease:
Is it really only $25? Yes, no matter how many people end up coming it is always just $25....unless you don't reserve a spot in advance. The price goes up to $30 the day of the event (starting at 12:00 a.m.) I'll send out a "last call" reminder on Thursdays.
Do I have to commit to all the sessions? No, that's the beauty of Plein Air Fridays. Flexibility reigns supreme. Come as many times as you like, of course, but there is no obligation to attend other sessions, and spots are reserved week by week.
What materials do I need? For starters, just bring whatever you have. If you don't have any materials, I am happy to help you get set up with some brushes and paper and a beginner's palette, or even just a fan of colors and a water brush. The most important thing is to come and participate.
Do I need an easel? Not at all. I prefer to paint standing up for these sessions. (It also helps the rest of you see what I'm doing.) But it is perfectly acceptable to sit on the ground, or on a portable chair and hold your paper in your lap. I often do it myself.
Is there a place to sit? I often look for locations with comfortable seating, and sometimes even tables. But that's not always possible. I will let you know what kind of seating is available at each location.
What about restrooms? I also look for locations with a good water source and nearby restrooms, but again that's not always possible. I'll let you know if you need to bring extra water, or if the restroom is a long way from where we're painting.
What time does it start? Plan on 9 a.m. in general. Our start time is often based on the weather. Traffic can impact us as well. We usually begin sometime between 8 and 10 a.m. My goal is for us to be as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. Sometimes in shady areas near water we can start a little later. On extra hot days it helps to start a little earlier. And of course we want to avoid rain. I'll keep a close eye on the weather and let you know the night before exactly what time we'll be starting.
How do I get there and where do I park? I will send out detailed driving and parking instructions and any other information you might need the night before.
How long does it last? Plan on 1.5 to 2 hours. I usually finish my demo in that amount of time. But you are welcome to leave earlier if you need to, or stay a little later to finish up.
What if I haven't taken lessons before? Not a problem. It does help if you've painted a little before, but no worries if you haven't. I narrate everything I'm doing while I'm painting, to help you understand the process. And you will learn a lot just by watching me paint. But it's the most fun when you dive in and try it yourself! One friend has even brought her 11-year-old son, who has done great.
Will I be embarrassed if I'm not good at it? Only you can control your own emotions, but it is not a competition and there is no pressure to succeed. One of the first pieces of advice I give everyone when we're getting started is to toss perfectionism aside. Take the pressure off yourself and focus on the experience: The beauty of what we're painting, the gentle breeze, the smell of nature in the air, and the joy of painting outdoors. If your painting turns out great, that's the cherry on top! But the painting is always secondary to the experience of creating in the great outdoors.
—I also have had some participants arrange a private lesson with me to get some pointers on how to improve their painting as a follow-up before the next session. That extra input and practice can be invaluable. (This can also be arranged via FaceTime or zoom.)
Can I bring a friend? Of course! Anyone is welcome to join our little group. Just be sure to check with me so we don't go over our max of ten people.
Will there be lunch afterward? I'm working on finding a way to cater lunches this summer, but haven't quite nailed down the details yet. No lunch this week. But possibly in the future if there is enough interest. I'l keep you posted.
I hope you'll be joining us soon!
I am an artist and art instructor working in water media. Just knowing I can watch colors run together makes it worth getting out of bed every morning! Helping students capture the same excitement is equally rewarding.