Chateau Marouatte, built in the 12th century, is a perfect spot for artists.
We're back from our fairytale painting trip to France...and the castle exceeded our every expectation! We lived in the lap of luxury, sleeping in a suite decorated with period antiques, tapestries, and more. Castle owner Miles Copeland was a delightful, knowledgeable, and entertaining host, sharing a wealth of stories and history about the castle and its surrounding areas. Every day we ventured out to picturesque towns in the countryside to paint. We set up our easels on the banks of the Dronne River in Bourdeilles, across the river from a mill in Brantome, in a field in Creyssac looking up at the village, and more. When we returned to the castle, there was so much to see and enjoy, including a swimming pool, tennis and badminton, walks in the woods...in addition to every little detail on the castle grounds. And then the chef presented us with a beautiful 3-course meal every night. Late in the evening we'd drift off to sleep, dreaming of the magical day that lay ahead.
Bridge at Bourdeilles, 10 x 14, original watercolor, painted en plein air in France.
Our first outing was to the lovely town of Bourdeilles. After our painting session we had lunch at a local restaurant, toured the castle at Bourdeilles, then returned to the castle where we were staying.
The next day we went to another lovely town: Brantome (called the Venice of France). It rained our whole way there, and then magically lifted as soon as we found our spot to point. This was a town I definitely could have spent another afternoon! We ate lunch in a beautiful restaurant, then toured the abbey and caves before heading back to the castle.
Mill on the Dronne, Brantome, 10 x 14, original watercolor, painted en plein air in France.
Our third day out was filled with multiple adventures. It rained in the morning, so I taught an impromptu lesson in the salon of the castle, then we toured the Grotte de Villars caves, complete with prehistoric paintings, visited some 11th century abbey ruins, where there was a potential painting lurking around every corner, and had lunch in the picturesque town of St Jean de Cole. (Yes, the sky really was that blue!)
When we went back to the castle I led everyone through an abstract exercise using water-soluble graphite, painting from memory some of the rhythms, colors and textures we saw in the caves, where no photographs were allowed. At the caves I also saw examples of some of the minerals found in the caves, many of which are in my personally curated France/Europe palette, underscoring my belief that using mineral pigments adds additional authenticity to your landscapes. (Tiger's Eye, Amethyst, and Amazonite and Bronzite, to name just a few.)
Click here for part 2 of our artistic adventure in France!
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.