Thursday, August 10, 2017


As you can see from my demo, you don’t need to be an artist to paint on the French Art School Tour!

Art is there to inspire us, show us what is possible, delight our senses, and to uplift. Whether you pick up a paint brush or not, there are so many ways to enjoy art.

French Art School is the playful name of my tour that starts in Paris and takes in the Inspiration of Paris and the French Impressionists such as Van Gogh, Mary Cassat, Manet, Renoir, Degas and Seurat. These artists each had their own individual style. Their paintings delight the eye.

The techniques I show you means painting is easy and you will get results you will love

In my view, anyone can paint, and the way I teach anyone can paint and get a great result. Art is not stuffy with a capital A in my world. Its achievable and fun, and you don't even need a paint brush.

As you can see from my demo it's a lot of fun when we get together for paint sessions in the Ballroom studio on French Art School Tour. Not surprisingly, all the guests produce beautiful artwork! The paintings shown here are by newbie artists who were thrilled and surprised with their results.

Guest who hadn;t painted before the tour
New to art guest created a delightful painting, one of many

I really enjoy sharing easy techniques and luscious art materials with my guests so they can create some works of art on holidays they will treasure long after the holiday.

Monet's Hay bales from his series painted in Giverny

Monet's house at Giverny. We tour the house, the garden and the waterlily ponds.

Along the way, we enjoy fabulous gardens and stunning chateaux, and follow the trail of Impressionist painting to Giverny where we explore Monet’s house and garden, created as a source of painterly inspiration.

We then travel through the Loire and the wildly beautiful Limousin region, a region the female writer Georges Sand wrote so lovingly of, and where Chopin wrote a large amount of his music. The Limousin was the place artists went to feel, to be, to create and to explore.

Live like a local in one of two gorgeous villas, a cool shady green garden with an ancient walnut tree, an orchard laden with summer fruit and dreamy Charolais cows as one of our neighbours.

We have our own private chef. Tour and enjoy the tapestries of Aubusson and the fabulous cartons or underpaintings created by the artists for the weavers.

Meet Jean Claude and Yvette who live next door to L’Hirondelle and come to visit, the last time with sparkling wine in hand for us all, and my French friend Anne who will cook some beautiful French meals and share the recipes with us so we have the local know how on flavour. Relax and be at home French style. 

Relax and be at home French style. 

Throw open the shutters to long summer evenings.

Walk barefoot on centuries old thick oak floorboards.

Elite Conference Management and Travel
11 Dalkeith Close
Wheelers Hill   VIC  3150
Bookings to Karen Caba 
0411 603 948 

Or read on!

Explore Crozant and the Fresselines, the area where Impressionist painters once captured the valleys, rivers, mills and romantic chateau ruins and the seasons in shades of emerald, dusky pinks and golden hues.

Monet himself painted his first series of 29 paintings studying the confluence of the river Creuse with the Petit Creuse. He was mesmerised by the water and determined to learn through repeated studies. We walk the same path and take the opportunity to sketch and take photos at the same place, a path less travelled but known to locals.

Art inspires through the museums, the paintings, the gardens, the artistry of the chateaux and their ornate gardens, the food, the wine, the countryside, the beautiful summer blooms, the tea salons, the most beautiful villages in France and through painting sessions at my Painting atelier in the Limousin.

Even if you have never painted before, you will definitely be able to create gorgeous artworks inspired by our surrounds and the local produce because I show you how to paint with some easy to achieve Impressionist techniques both in the studio and en plein air. Everything is supplied and is easy to pack in your suitcase.

I am known for unlocking creativity in others with my easy to follow painting methods. Take home meaningful mementos of your trip to enjoy on your walls at home. Engage with the beauty and colours of France whilst on your holiday.

Paint a sunflower field, a waterlily pond, a bough of Mirabelle plums, the soothing blues and mauves of summer hydrangeas, a spray of roses, a still life of a baguette and cheese perhaps? Enjoy a glass of wine as we paint the landscape and the garden en plein air in the evening glow surrounded by birdsong.

Art soothes and brings us peace and connection. It connects us to love and the best things in life including nature.

If this sounds like you and you know it’s time you connected with your own inner artistry and the things you love we still have a few places left and the tour is definitely going. We meet in Paris on Sept 4. Don’t miss out. There is a place waiting for you.

Indulge your senses and treat yourself to a once in a lifetime thoughtfully put together tour for a maximum of 9 guests.

I spent this precious time of the year in the area last year and absolutely loved it. This is the first time I have invited guests to enjoy this time of the year in the French countryside that I particularly love and would love to share with you.

Elite Conference Management and Travel
11 Dalkeith Close
Wheelers Hill   VIC  3150
Bookings to Karen Caba 
0411 603 948 
Or read on!


Can I book into the French Art School tour on my own?
Yes of course. All of the ladies on the last tour came along as individuals and had a ball and made great friends.
If you want to book with a friend you can do that too.

I’d like to do some art but I’m worried I won’t be good enough or as good as the other people
Complete newbies to painting created beautiful work on the last two tours. They found it thrilling and exciting and took home some great pieces. I show everything in steps. Let me do the worrying and relax knowing you will get some results to be proud of.

How many artworks will I create?
You will create at least 8 artworks. Some guests have created 13-15 pieces. It depends what size you choose, and how much time you want to spend painting.
My groups have been enthusiastic. They know they can access the painting studio when they want so they will even paint after dinner and enjoy a glass of wine. There are times when I teach and demo, and share tips and paint with the group and there are times when you can paint or draw or do your own thing.

What sort of clothing shall I bring?
It will be summer so bring lots of light clothing and a cardigan in case it cools in the evening. Casual and comfortable is best. We will walk sometimes so a pair of shoes you can comfortably walk in, including for Monet’s walk. Sandals as its summer! Bathers because we have the option of swimming in the freshwater lakes.

What if I have special dietary requirements?
No worries just tell us at the time of booking so we can plan for you.
We have had guests in the past who had special dietary requirements and the chef catered for their needs.

I don’t want to share a room with anyone else. Will I have my own room?
Yes we have one bedroom per guest. Each villa has two bathrooms. L’Hirondelle has five bedrooms and La Tonnellerie has 4 bedrooms.
In Paris we have reserved one room per guest at our favourite hotel which is well located a short walk to the Tuileries and the Louvre from the Opera district.

Can I use my frequent flyer points for my flights?
Can you help me work out what else I might do after the tour?
Of course you can use your frequent flyer points. The tour price is the land package and many inclusions. Because our guests join us from as far away as Canada, we don’t include the airfare which gives you great flexibility as to where to fly out from and how you arrange that. Karen Caba from ECM Travel Management can help you work that out to find your best options, and even assist you with travel plans after the tour if you wish to explore other parts of Europe after the French Art School Tour. The villas are available for you to stay on and rest afterwards as an independent guest if you wish.

How much room will the artwork take up in my luggage?
No more than 3 kilos and about A3 size or slightly larger.
I supply thick art papers from my favourite art supply shop in Paris, as well as a range of canvas sizes to choose from so you can choose the artwork size to suit your luggage size!

How much spending money shall I take?
It varies for everyone how they much spend on tour.
You will need to buy a few meals for yourself in Paris. We usually go to a brasserie or cafĂ© which can be about 30 euros for a meal including a wine or two. That’s about $45 Aussie dollars. If you allowed $100 Aussie a day in Paris that ought to be tons because almost all your meals are provided when we are in the Limousin part of the tour which is 9 nights so you are unlikely to spend any money for many of the days we are there.

Perhaps allow $300 Aussie for your nine days in the Limousin though I have to say the linen clothing at the markets is fabulous. About $90 for a gorgeous dress. And well made. Most entries are included to places we visit and lunches in the Limousin are delicious picnics when we are out, packed by our chef or delicious meals served in the garden or in the villa.
Some of the ladies enjoyed buying clothes in Paris on the last tour, and they definitely all went crazy at the markets because there were great bargains. Others relished taking home artwork they had created themselves and that cost them nothing as everything was provided! My weakness is art materials at the art supply shops and perfume.

How will I get from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to the Hotel in Paris?
It’s easy to get a taxi into Paris. It will cost about 60 euros. The taxis charge a set fee from the airport to the city. Ask at the start of the journey if you are unsure. You can take money from the ATM with a credit card near the taxi exit at the airport or change some money before you leave home. The trip takes about 40-50 minutes.
If we know someone else is travelling from your area we will try and tee you up so you can travel in together to Paris from the airport and share a cab.

Do I need to speak to French?
Not at all. It’s enough to have the address written down and be able to show your taxi driver. Once at the hotel I will take care of communications and you can relax for the holiday.  

The staff at the hotel know your name before you get there. As part of our group they are waiting to help you. I have never met a more attentive bunch! They speak good English and will assist you any way they can including giving you a map of the area in case you want to explore before the group get together. Arrive a day before if you like and explore the Louvre, and go shopping at Galleries Lafayette.

How do we get around?
We have private drivers which is perfect because we travel in comfort and without waiting around. We make the most of our time.
Where can I see the itinerary and price? 
Not Simply scroll down for the complete day to day tour itinerary and the tour price as its on a previous blog, all laid out for you.
You will need tot act quickly. The tour starts in four weeks.

 Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Life only happens when you say yes and put your hand up for it!

Total for land package FRENCH ART SCHOOL with Jacqueline Coates tuition & host
Paris , Giverny , Loire Valley and theCreuse, Limousin
$6390 for the French Art School Section only 

Bookings to
French Art School 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Only Art Tour to Delight ALL of the senses

French Art school Summer Sept 2017

The only art tour 
to delight all of 
your senses

Detail from a small Seurat painting study, enlarged. As seen on the June French Art School Tour, 2017

‘Not another dark brown painting!’

Perhaps you’ve been to serious art museums before. Yawn, and I know what you mean.

Art with a capital A.  
You know you ought to appreciate the paintings, and you would, if only your feet weren’t killing you and you could work out what floor you are on. 

But guess what? 
Appreciating and delighting in art on French art School Tour is nothing like that. Hooray!

French Art School- 

Where Appreciating art is in the 

experience of Delighting in art

Detail of Manet's Peonies

Detail of Monet's Haystacks

At French Art School, inspirational art highlights are handpicked 
and arranged for you, 
and after enjoying the very inspiring colourful art, your museum tour concludes 
in a pre-booked lunch, table reserved specially for a small group of which you are one, 
and you get to enjoy a delicious lunch in a magnificent high-ceilinged room painted with frescoes. Even your feet will appreciate this.

One of the dishes served on French Art School
at a reserved museum lunch for the group

Umm... should I have the entree or the dessert with the main.... or both! I do need my stamina!
Your tour leader and art tutor- Jacqueline Coates

What if that lunch came with a glass of wine served with a flourish by a real French waiter for whom being a waiter is a profession, whose sole mission it is to serve your every whim?

What if you were then encouraged to paint your own French Impressions whilst on tour in your own spacious painting atelier with the group to take home your own beautiful creations inspired by the Impressionist movement and some of their techniques?

What if you enjoyed stunning meals inspired by the cooking from the period of French Impressionism, including Monet’s own recipes, prepared by our own chef and a local French woman who provides a cooking lesson or two a la francais?

Local Frenchwoman Anne teaches us how to make two delicious French meals

Welcome to French Art School Tour 
September 2017

Our tour starts in Paris on September 4, and after visiting the selected highlights of Paris and Giverny, we visit two exquisite chateaux  and their gardens of the Loire and arrive to our villas and painting atelier in the Limousin, where over a century ago, the French Impressionists painted the same area.

Being a small group means we can visit the distinctive places, and travel with ease, with our own private driver.

With a passion for Paris and painting for over 30 years I’ve done the homework and research, so your holiday flows enjoyably. French Art School takes a max of ten guests and weaves a wonderful experience for you. 

Jenny McGrath from Perth kindly shares her French Impressions 
from French Art School June 2017

Planning takes place with your pleasure in mind and is based on years of experience in the arts and touring, co-ordinated by my highly experienced travel agent Karen Caba from ECM Travel Management. 

No worrying for you the night before what you will do with the next day or where or how you will travel. No wasted time making mistakes going to the wrong places because you don’t know of them!

Above; Teachers demonstration painting shown in stages to students painting cherries from the
garden at our villas and below are some student paintings from the session using water based oils on canvas including the efforts of a student who had never painted before.

French Art School is a unique combination of painting, touring and enjoying unique art experiences arranged for you and our small group to maximise your time and pleasurable art experiences in France.

All art exercises utilise a range of specially devised approaches taught from scratch to help you see more with regards to colour, tone, shape, and to appreciate the distinct characteristics and techniques of Impressionism and Post Impressionism. Most importantly the way I teach ensures you will get great work no matter your previous experience or not.

As well as studies, we create a series of paintings on canvas, all of which can be packed in your suitcase.

Anne Foster shares how she enjoyed her French Art School in June 2017 
Anne is new to painting and enjoyed creating many paintings on the tour.

About the art

For centuries the accepted way for artists to paint was to imitate the Old Masters paintings.

Characteristic of these paintings are smooth surfaces and highly finished planned themes. 

The artist would paint a dark tone on the canvas before the sketch, mostly working from the studio.

Subject matter fell into the categories of either religion, historical genres or mythological stories. The paintings were then slathered with bitumen-based glazes to create the Old Masters patina. 

These sorts of paintings impressively  line the wings of the Louvre palace. But that’s not the art we are chasing on this tour. I'll explain more in a moment...

Anna Boxtel from Melbourne shares how French Art School Tour June 2017 went for her.
Anna is developing her own body of work in Melbourne as an emerging artist.

Impressionism- when art came alive and captured a moment in time

Enter Impressionism painting from the mid 1850’s as artists woke up to the new world emerging around them. It’s a whole different story as the artists began to engage us with the life of their times. This is when painting became really exciting and the individual artists contributed so much as they opened up new territory in painting.

You’ll have to cross the Seine with me to get to the right museum though to see the best works of course. You won’t find them at the Louvre, much as I love the Louvre, and certain wings of that museum. 

(You have time to for a visit to the Louvre on French Art School if you want to squeeze that in during the Paris part of the trip.)

A colourful Monet Landscape
A detail of a Seurat painting study. Seurat created Pointillism

Hello to brilliant joyful colour

From the mid 1850’s in France, many changes were taking place in the art world. 

Artists were enjoying paint being available in tubes due to industrialisation and innovations taking place. Winsor and Newton perfected the technology for paint tubes by creating a lid for cylinders of paint. Artists could now easily travel to locations outside of their studio.

Goodbye dark studio, hello to the world of natural light and brilliant ever-changing colour.

There was new subject matter to paint with the rise of a wealthy middle class, known as the bourgeoisie. More people had time for leisure and the enjoyable things in life from music, to boating, to high tea in the garden.

Still life in the kitchen at la Foret du Temple. The local produce makes for great still life paintings

Paris had been rebuilt when Baron von Hausmann introduced new plans for a sanitized city, wiping out the slums and creating wide boulevards and townhouses, sewerage control and plumbed water.

With industrialisation, new man made colours were created adding new vibrancy to paintings, and new colour combinations. Cobalt Violet was invented in 1859. Chromium Oxide Green was created in 1862.

Instead of working in the studio artists went outdoors and painted from life (known as painting en plein-air).

Painting en plein air at French Art School

Manet’s fashionable ladies, Seurat’s and Monet’s boating parties on the Seine, Toulouse Lautrec’s night life in Paris, Millet’s and Van Gogh’s peasants harvesting the crops late summer, Degas’ paintings of the ballet and his sculptures of the dancers, Caillebotte’s workers creating the new Paris, Pisarro’s paintings of the boulevards, Renoir’s still lives of nature’s abundance found in a garden or in the cook’s kitchen were all lively subject matter. Paintings mirrored life as the artists knew it.

A Renoir Nude

This is also what makes Impressionism so fascinating as we enjoy painterly snapshots of life in the late 19th century. 

We enter the bars, the boudoirs, the ballrooms and the domestic sphere of these times to soak up the spirit and the style of the French. We see what they ate, what they wore, what they did for fun, and how they lived. And it’s exhilarating!

Unlike the highly finished paintings of before, Impressionists paintings were sketched in the moment in paint from reality.  The shortened time frame resulted in a freshness and immediacy in the artworks. 

The fresh approach to painting is something we learn from when we paint in the studio on French Art School as I show you a number of approaches to capturing a painting quickly.

Access the same paint Van Gogh and Bonnard used for their paintings

On French Art School Tour I take you to the very paint maker who supplied Bonnard and Van Gogh the paints used in their paintings. 

Yes, you can actually paint with the same paints the Impressionist greats used in their paintings to make your own paintings, and the paint is still made today by five artisans who create the paint in small batches. Sigh! 

The colours are divine and you can buy convenient packs to take home.  I also take you to my fave art supply shop in Paris.

French Art School Painting Exercise

On French Art School Tour its Goodbye packed bus tour of 40 people plus with generalised no  brainer venues. No thanks! Hello to a caring and well thought out small group tour that will delight at every turn because the tour is designed for like-minded people who love art and like to create some art themselves. YES PLEASE!

Paris always delights

Be inspired by the Impressionists then paint your own Impressions whilst in France 
at my painting atelier

Impressionism is when painting came to life. 

Colour exploded into a new colour palette and new combinations we hadn’t seen before. It is also a great period of development in painting for us to learn from and be inspired by so we will take inspiration from it when we paint at my atelier in the Limousin on the tour.

Benefit from having your own art teacher on tour with you who can show you quick and easy ways to produce delightful paintings so you can relax, tour and paint in the same holiday.
Take home a selection of artworks that fit in your suitcase as the treasures from this holiday.
Learn from the Impressionist art palette and expand your knowledge of colour.

We paint from life accessing beautiful fresh produce, and en plein-air capturing the same subject matter the Impressionists painted in the stunning Limousin region. We use the garden as a painterly motif, which was also popular as a subject matter with Impressionist painters.

Talented South Australian artist Mon Bowring came on tour for June 2017. Here she shares her impressions. Mon will be showing at SALA in August.

French Art School in Summer

In Europe the seasons are markedly different one to the other. 

What I love about summer in France, in Paris, Giverny and the Limousin, is the colours are markedly different to spring and autumn. The fields are golden, there are still sunflowers about, and the buff hued haybales sit in the fields with lengthening cool evening shadows. 

In summer, everyone lets their hair down. The warm balmy evenings encourage outdoor dining, the houses in the villages fling open their shutters and even the houses that have been shut for months spring to life. 

The private lakes are open for swimming near our hamlet of La Foret du Temple. The kids dive in from the pontoon.

It's as though the whole world has taken a big deep breath and exhaled.

No previous painting experience necessary

Paint it or eat it? Let's do both! 

Even if you have never painted before you will be able to create some beautiful paintings because I show you how in simple steps.  I introduce you to new ways of experiencing Impressionism with new tools and materials so even if you have never painted before you will get some great results.

Enjoy Monet’s Summer garden palette at Giverny

During our visit to Monet’s Giverny, you will enter into a colour palette from pale lemon yellow to deep golds, burnt orange and vermillion and deep rose hues with the spectacular array in the summer garden  of dahlias, marigolds, asters, sunflowers, roses, and a carpet of nasturtiums in the Grande Allee des Capucines. We will paint from our photo references from our studio.

At Monet's Garden, Giverny

Arriving to our villas in the Creuse, Limousin, discover what a true palette of blue, indigo, purple, magenta and lilacs look like when you see the luscious array of hydrangeas in season around the hamlet. Let me show you how to capture these cool hues and colour mix to paint the summer hydrangeas.

Visit two stunning chateaux and gardens 
in the Loire Valley

The area nearby to our villas is known as the Valley of the Painters. It’s where the French Impressionists themselves went to paint and draw inspiration. We visit Gargilesse and Crozant, recognised as amongst the most beautiful villages in all of France.

Follow the trail of Monet along the River Creuse and paint in the very place he painted his series studying the effects of the light on the water that preceded his waterlilies series. Enjoy the packed picnic from our own tour chef whilst you paint in this pretty spot in the river.

Paint where Monet painted! In the Valley of the Painters

Visit Aubusson and discover the 
floral underpaintings
created for the tapestries

Study the floral carton paintings followed by the weavers at Aubusson to make their stunning tapestries. Delight in the colours, the designs and the variety of original painted designs. Sure the tapestries are lovely, but the paintings are a knock out!

Visit some local Brocantes where you can find original linen sheets and other stunning French vintage for a bargain price.

French Art School is a combination of delighting in the inspiring world famous art that made history, visiting the very places where the art was made and painting our own French impressions. We also have our own chef on tour in the Limousin to spoil us so your taste buds will also be inspired and delighted! Dine with Monet in mind as you try the food from his own menus at Giverny.

French Art School is true art immersion. Live it, breathe it, eat it and paint it in stunning locations including Paris, Giverny in Normandy, the Loire Valley and the Limousin.

Total for land package FRENCH ART SCHOOL with Jacqueline Coates tuition & host
Paris , Giverny , Loire Valley and theCreuse, Limousin
$6390 for the French Art School Section only subject to demand for places

Bookings to French Art School Jacqueline Coates 

 or Nicole Sweeny

M 0412 587 438