Don't be a tourist. Be our guest!

Stories from our groups of women traveling to France, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland. Plus info and travel tips about the countries we travel to.

Archive for the ‘Jac's Travel diary’

Cooking sessions in Provence continue with chocolate

October 11, 2013 By: guest Category: Cooking trip Provence, Food and Recipe, Jac's Travel diary, Provence, Women 2 Comments →

I know you are all waiting for the chocolate but before that, there is more.

We went with the owner of our hotel and the chef to the supermarket to buy the veggies for our cooking session. Pierre, the owner, explained the local produces you can find at this local store:

photo 4

photo 3

Jutta, with the green shirt, was very attentive. Jutta is probably our A student on the trip. Lani and Cathy, on the other end, would probably not get a A. They were much more …dissipated.

photo 2

At least they are having fun and that is what matters. Below is a picture of the whole group with the chef Yvan (below to the L and the owner Pierre):

photo 1

Back at the hotel, we started our cooking session. Yvan taught us easy recipes to reproduce, that involved pistou (=provencal version of pesto), tapenade, lamb, veggie tart, tian of veggies (a version of ratatouille), mashed potatoes with raw garlic (and gallons of olive oil in it!!!!) and for dessert, a “fondant au chocolat” (chocolate lava cake).


As you can see, in the back, Jutta is watching very carefully and taking notes. I told you she was our A student.

We aslo went in the herb garden with “kilted” chef….Yes our chef wears the kilt (see pic below) and I couldn’t answer Lani’s question. Does he wear it the “real” way meaning the scottish way, without anything under???

Kyle was following him, not because of the kilt-I think- but because she didn’t want to miss an opportunity to taste some samples from the garden. When it comes to picking up herb and tasting and smelling, Kyle is the A student.


Lunch was served in the garden.


Kathy had a different question, not about the kilt but about the the pot. What does it have a hole in the tip?


Lani suggested it was to avoid dripping and Kyle, who also gets a A for google searching, confirmed the hypothesis.

What about the chocolate pastries? Well, we did make a chocolate lava cake but I forgot to take a picture. Tomorrow, we will go to see a pastry chef who will teach us how to prepare some fine chocolate desserts.

Too see the whole itinerary of this cooking and food trip to Provence, click here.

Olive oil tasting and truffle hunt in Provence

October 09, 2013 By: guest Category: Cooking trip Provence, Food and Recipe, Jac's Travel diary, Provence, Women 3 Comments →

French regulations demand that the origin of the olive oil must appear on the bottle. Look closely. At times, such info appears in mouse type. The FR5 sleuths embarrassed one shady vendor at a market in Aix-en-Provence who was selling olive oil from Spain.

Take the generic phrase “a product of the European Union” that appears on the back-of-the-bottle label of the popular French supermarket brand Puget. Origin of this olive oil: Spain.

So if you want to make sure the olive oil is from France, you should go and see Andre in Gordes, Provence. That is what we did on our food trip. Andre built his beautiful shop in 2003 and started to produce olive oil.


We started the visit with a walk in the olive orchards. We learned everything about the olive tree, the harvest technique by hand and the process to produce the oil: extra virgin first cold press of course.


We then tasted the different oils Andre produces: AOC or tradition olive oil but also basil, rosemary and truffle olive oil. But that is not all: toasts with different tapenades and of course some rose wine.


Kathy, from our group, felt very comfortable with Andre…


Kathy is the “trouble maker” in the group. You will see what happened to her in the afternoon.

After lunch we went truffle hunting. Of course, we needed a dog. We went with Robert, truffle hunter and his dog, truffle hunting under the white oaks in the forest of Gordes. Kita, the dog, was excellent and found 5 truflles in the 3 different areas we visited.


After the hunt, we were invited by Robert to eat truffle toast in his house. He served us toasts with butter, fleur de sel de Camargue, sliced truffles and olive oil. It was simply delicious. He also served us two different types of white wine.


Kathy, again, decided to double the slices of truffle on the toasts. So she removed the slice from one toast and put it on another one. She started to pile up all the toasts from where she had removed the truffles. She finally tried to hide them but doing so, she spilt her glass of wine on the table and on Jutta’s pants…Robert had to take care of it.


I think Kathy should be voted out of the truffle farm too!!! Just kidding. We all love her.

It is actually a very nice group and everyone is getting along great. More adventure to come on our food and cooking tour to Provence.

Food and culinary tour to Provence

October 07, 2013 By: guest Category: Cooking trip Provence, Food and Recipe, Jac's Travel diary No Comments →

My new trip has started, a food and culinary holiday in Provence for small groups.

The trip started yesterday with a welcome drink and a gourmet dinner.

Today we went to an educational farm. We started by picking up veggies, fruits and herb in the organic garden. The do have many varieties of tomatoes, some that you don’t find at the supermarket anymore: red tomatoes, pineapple tomatoes, orange tomatoes, green tomatoes, 10 finger of Naples tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, etc…I don’t even remember all of them.


Cathy, the farmer, gave us many samples to taste or to smell but Kyle (with the black hat below) just ate everything: strawberries, figues, tomatoes, chocolate mint, stevia, lemon verbena, grapes, etc…


Below is our group: from L to R, Lani, Jutta, Kathy, Kyle, Cathy (the farmer) and Christine.


After our harvest, under a pleasant sun, we went to the kitchen to start our ratatouille, a typical provencal dish. For hygiene reasons, we needed to wear hats. We looked like women in “the little house in the prairie”:




Time to get started: washing, peeling, cutting, dicing,…


Jutta was the clever one!!!! In terms of cutting more, she took over the lead and replaced the chef, stirring. She said that she saved the meal because the ratatouille started to burn but by stirring away  she avoided  a catastrophe!!!!


Kathy has been “voted out of the island” or should I say “out of the kitchen” on day 1  because of her lack of talent slicing the tomatoes. Kyle, Lani and Kathy were slicing the different colored tomatoes to make a pretty salad. Lani stated quite vigorously that Kathy had no skills and asked her to remove her sliced tomatoes from the dish. It just didn’t look good!


Kicked out of the kitchen, Kathy decided to use her skills in decorating the table, under Christine’s supervision. Apparently her skills were better used there.

IMG_1566 2

In the afternoon, we went to Chateau Neuf du Pape village, well known for its famous wine of the same name. Kyle loves wine so she bought a lot of it. But we don’t know if she bought it because she liked the wine so much or she liked the sommelier….with his blue eyes and little black fur on his chest!!!

After the wine, chocolate of course: Lani and Kyle were not the last one for the tasting….


Not sure if Kyle bought as much chocolate as wine (I guess the woman doing the chocolate tasting was not as cute as the guy at the winery…) but for sure Christine did:


More adventure tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Our group from the watercolor painting tour to Spain

September 25, 2013 By: guest Category: Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, painting workshops No Comments →

The trip is over (actually it has been over for several days but I needed time to post) and everyone flew back home. Actually, some went to Cordona, one to Morocco, some to Madrid, some back home to San Francisco, Australia and California and Sandy Delehanty, the teacher went to spend one more week in Colliure, in France, on the Spanish border.

Like I promised you, here are the pictures of each of them with their favorite paintings:

June from California:


Laura from California:


Linda from Minnesota:


Janet from California:


Judy from Hawaii:


Mary from Canada:


Linda from Canada:


Anne from Australia:


Here is the picture of the entire group, including Tom, Linda’s husband (from Minnesota) who was not a painter and Sandy, the teacher, on the far left of the picture:


We had a fabulous time. The weather was great, everyone was happy and …so was I!

Next painting tour to Spain will be in May 2014 with Kathie George. But stay tuned because in a few days, I am starting a cooking tour in Provence!

Touring Barcelona after painting the Costa Brava

September 22, 2013 By: guest Category: Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, painting workshops No Comments →

After spending our time on the Costa Brava, painting away, it was time to go back to civilization!!! So we head off to Barcelona.

I organized a guided walking tour in the Bari Gothic, the old medieval quarter, of Barcelona. Catherine, our guide, was lovely and very knowledgeable. Catherine is the only one on the picture who doesn’t have her head up (in the middle of the pic):

photo-3 3

Below, you see Janet taking a picture of the 14th century synagogue. Janet really wanted to find it but the old quarter is a real maze  but with the help of Catherine, Janet was in heaven!!! Sort to speak….


Below, is me giving a little explanation about the figurines we find in the stores representing Queen Elizabeth or Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Francois Mitterand or Raphael Nadal, or any famous people in a more than precarious position. If you want to find out why, you need to join us on our next painting, cooking or cultural tour to Spain! so I can tell you more.



In the evening, we went to a flamenco show in a 15th century palace. The place was fabulous:


This time, for the first time since I have been there, one of the female dancers was wearing pants.


That is very unusual since they always wear flamboyant dresses. You need to see their feet move when they dance. It is simply incredible.


Next blog, I will introduce all the participants with their favorite painting. So, come back!

Gourmet Catalan food on our painting tour to Spain.

September 17, 2013 By: guest Category: Food and Recipe, Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, Women, painting workshops No Comments →

Every day started with an enormous and delicious breakfast: many pastries, cheeses, yoghurts, egg tortilla, but also ham, chorizo, salami, salmon, sardines, a lot of fruits, different types of bread, water, juices, even wine!!!!, hot chocolate, many different types of coffees, teas, etc…


spain-breakfast (1)


VID10812 2

And in addition to the sumptuous breakfast, you have the incredible view on the ocean.


We also had gourmet dinners. I will let Sandy Delehanty, our teacher on the watercolor workshop, tell you about it:

“Our French Escapade led Watercolor Journaling trip to Spain, continues with gourmet food that Jackie our French Escapade guide has included in this trip and we are all LOVING!

Judy said one night that she thought Jackie should have advertised this trip as a “Painting/Gourmet Food Trip” since every one of our dinners together have been fabulous and we have learned so much about the Catalan way of cooking.  I think she is right!

Here is a market photo that gives you an idea of the freshness of the ingredients that the chefs use to do their magic.

food_1752 copy

One of our dinners was at Can Joan in a nearby town that some locals recommended to Jackie when she was planning her first tour of this area.  The specialty was a unique version of Paella made with the rice negro grown here and a very soupy style sauce and of course loads of fresh seafood and sausage etc.


dinner_Sept_1_1877 copy

Really great, as were all the many tapas.

June not only loves the food and the company she also loves the Sangria, but do not worry, not all of the glasses in this photo are hers, she is too much a lady to go overboard.

June_Sangria_1875 copy

The next morning at breakfast June confessed that she did not have quite as much “spring in her step”! The dessert was a real treat as well.


And since we are by the coast, the fish is caught that day. At many restaurants we went to, we were presented with the fishes of the day so you can choose which fish you want.  I am not a fan of mussels but everyone else in our group has been raving them.  At home I do not like sardines, but fresh caught here they are terrific.


Those big shrimps were used in a typical Catalan dish called Fideua. It is a different version of the paella. The rice has been replaced by little noodles.

Below was the best salad I had on  this trip, warm goat cheese salad.  The large round of goat cheese was actually grilled, their were all kinds of goodies along with it as you can see, even tiny sweet strawberries, and the dressing was balsamic vinegar and oil, artfully drizzled.  The restaurant’s name I have forgotten but it was in the tiny seaside village of Calella de Palafrugell where we have been staying.
food_5006 copy
It was as much a painting than a food experience!”
If you want to taste the Catalan food either on a painting tour or a cultural tour, click here.

Dali museum, a surrealistic object itself

September 14, 2013 By: guest Category: Art, Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, painting workshops No Comments →

Today, I planned a cultural visit as a treat to the artists. The painters have been working hard and they deserved some fun. So we went to Figueres, Northern Catalonia to see the Dali museum.

The museum had been designed by Dali itself. Where else will you find eggs on the roof and people wearing baguettes on their head to welcome you?



The inside is as crazy as the outside, actually even more. You are welcome by dozen of golden naked statues with open arms, similar to the ones on the roof of the museum.


Then among others, you see a painting of Abraham Lincoln.


But when you walk closer, you don’t see Lincoln anymore but Gala’ back, Dali’s wife, naked, watching the Mediterranean sea.


Then you walk through rooms and rooms of art, sometimes (I should say often) very crazy art but that is what makes Dali so unique. A genius, he called himself. The two paintings on the wall, the piece of furniture in the middle as well as the red sofa in the back of the room, can be viewed through a frame with hair-like giving you the feeling of watching a human face….


In the gift shop, you can buy a book with Dali’s mustaches: many pictures of Dali with his mustaches of different lengths, shapes, etc…On the last page of the book you can read a citation from Dali: “Some people think I am crazy, but I am not as crazy as the person who just bought this book.”


After the visit of the museum, it was time for lunch and we went to a French (Brittany) crepe place. I had been there before and they make the crepes just like in Brittany. I know we are in Spain and should be eating Catalan food but I couldn’t resist.

By the crepe place was a little Mini from the 60s I believe, painted with the “Flower power ” theme. Sandy Delehanty, the teacher on this watercolor workshop, said that her first car was exactly the same but instead of  the flowers she painted a big lady bug (making her very famous in her neighborhood). She and I, the tour leader with the white shirt on the pic, decided to drive it (or at least pretend to since now the car has been converted into a bar).

Jackie_and_me_in_car_1966 copy

After our great lunch, we went  back to Calella for some more paintings:


Next blog, all the gourmet food we ate on our painting workshop to Spain. Stay tuned!!!!

There is more than the sea on the Costa Brava

September 12, 2013 By: guest Category: Art, Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, painting workshops 1 Comment →

Like always, I am chatting away, showing the village to the group. I am on the right and Sandy, the teacher on the left:


Below is a picture taken by Janet of (from left to right) June, her daughter Laura and Anne.


The post below has been written by Sandy Delehanty, the art teacher on this watercolor painting trip to Spain:

Having wondered last night around the tiny 12th century Medieval village of Pals photographing it in the late afternoon sun, we knew what there was to paint here.  Staying in such a breathtakingly beautiful place as Calella de Palafrugell by the sea, it would be hard for artists to leave to paint at another location, but knowing the beauty of the village of Pals we were able to choose whether to spend the day painting there, or spend the day painting by the sea again.

Pals_Sept_3_4910 copy



Pals_1813 copy

Pals_1838 copy

photo-6 copy


Pals_1865 copy

Pals_1855 copy

I snapped a photo of this sunny wall that I kept passing on my way from where Linda (Minnesota) and Ann were painting to where Judy was painting.  I loved the shapes of the basket purses and the cast shadows and the colors and textures in the stone wall.

Pals_Sept_3_4967 copy

The great thing about watercolor journaling is that you do not need to carry an easel and stand up all day working away.  In fact, since we are staying in a beach town my students purchased these folding beach chairs so they could be comfortable painting.  Here is Mary (on the right) and Linda (the Linda from Canada, we also have a Linda from Minnesota). Mary was the fast painter on the trip. Linda has been added a motorcycle in her painting that was there the day before but not when she was actually painting.

Canadian_Linda_and_Mary_painting_4942 copy

Not far, were June (left) and Laura (her daughter) sitting quietly in a little alley way.

June_and_Laura_painting_4980 copy

Laura was painting this cute little window with the big leafed plants beside it.  When I took photos it was not quite done as you can see, but I love the style of her ink lines and the lovely transparent colors of her watercolors so I wanted to post it anyway and she was OK with that.

Laura_Pals_1979 copy

And June painted this cute little window with the pots.  It was a really challenging spot with lots happening, but she had fun with it as you can see!


Below is a picture of Sandy, the teacher, helping Laura.


Judy found a really cute corner in the village of Pals and worked to the very last moment, not even stopping for lunch, she ate a protein bar in one hand and kept on painting with the other.  Her painting buddies in Hawaii are probably not surprized by this at all!

Judy_painting_4961 copy

Here is the corner she was painting, talk about eye candy!

Pals_Sept_3_4991 copy

And below is her lovely watercolor.  She did not like the dull brown color of the door so she created a much prettier blue door.  The round tower structure next to the door was difficult but she got it.  Also notice that her rocks have a wide variety of color, great job!

Judy_Pals_1981 copy

Here is the cute little street scene Ann and Linda (Minnesota) chose to paint in Pals.  Somehow I forgot to take a photo of them painting but below are the paintings they created.

Pals_Sept_3_4906 copy

This is Ann’s painting.  It is a lovely watercolor that captures the whole scene beautifully and I think it is my favorite of all that she painted.  Lovely painting and I love how she wrote the story of her day next to the painting.

Ann_Pals_1990 copy

This is Ann from Australia (who painted the above watercolor) and we all had a great time getting to know her.  I am honored that she came so far to join our painting trip.  Before arriving to paint with us she visited London and the Cotswalds in England where she created some lovely watercolors in her journal.

IMG_5014 copy

This is Linda’s (Minnesota) watercolor of the pots along the main street of Pals.  I love the way she shows you that the plants were cactus but a variety of them and also she got the pots nice and rounded and the wall is definitely made of a variety of stones.  Great job Linda!

Linda_Ad_Pals_1985 copy

Linda’s husband Tom went with Jackie, the tour leader, to the cork museum while we were all painting. Then he came to meet us in the village and walked everywhere, scouting the town and by lunch time he knew not only where to shop for the local products but which stores had the best prices.  He is a keen observer of people and provides us with interesting anecdotes of the daily life of the people he had witnessed.

Below is a picture of Linda when she is not painting. Pals is a medieval village so she got right in the spirit of the place.

Linda_helmet_1846 copy

Linda knows how to keep her husband Tom in line!

Linda_stabs_Tom_1841 copy

But where was Janet?

Janet was determined to find time to swim in the sea so she elected to stay and paint and swim in Calella.  The hotel loaned her an umbrella, she had her towel, her watercolors and journal and off she went to the beach.  She swam, lounged and painted the rocks and the sea. I don’t have a picture of her on the beach but I have a picture of her painting supplies on the beach…….


Here is a picture of Janet, another day:


Stay tuned for more.

Painting in the quiet and beautiful botanical garden of Cap Roig, Spain

September 11, 2013 By: guest Category: Art, Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, painting workshops No Comments →

Our adventure continues, in the botanical garden of Cap Roig.

The origins of the Cap Roig’ Castle and its Botanical Gardens date back to 1927, when Russian Colonel Nicolai Woevodsky, who was keen on drawing and architecture, and his wife, the English aristocrat Dorothy Webster, decorator and amateur archeologist and gardening, left behind her court life in London to settle down and make true her fondest dream in this unique place located in a special enclave by the sea. A place prevailing in nature and calm. The works continued until 1974.

I always give a little orientation/history speech in all the different places we go to:


Our group sat down in front of the castle and starting to sketch the beautiful window with iron work.


pals-painting 2





The garden runs down in terraces from the castle to the sea. The first ones (Nuns’ Terraces, El Bassin Terrace, Lovers’ Garden) are connected by the Cypresses Staircase, and have a marked architectural character.






From there on, the paths descend gently towards the coast. This area is home to the Spring Garden, Cactus Garden and Geranium Walk with stunning flowering seasons.Wether you like to paint flowers, cactus, trees or buldings or even the coast, you have it all at the garden.


I think my favorite part was the cactus garden: hundred of them, different shapes, species and color.



For more pictures of the botanical garden of Cap Roig, visit our site at

Sketching in Calella de Palafrugell

September 10, 2013 By: guest Category: Art, Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, painting workshops 2 Comments →

Our group had fun sketching and painting by the ocean. They didn’t go very far to paint what I show below, just from the terrace of the hotel. Calella de Palafrugell  is really a hidden gem of the Costa Brava. Many resorts on the Costa Brava have been over built in the 60s and 70s for mass tourism and only a few fishing villages have been preserved. This is one of them.

Calella_4890 copy

Judy painted the boat that never moves!

Judy_Calella_1983 copy

Linda did too but from a different angle. She actually walked a few yards away from the hotel….

Calella_1901 copy

Linda_Ad_Calella_1984 copy

Some people didn’t leave the hotel and took pictures from their room balcony.



Ann_Calella_1992 copy

Tomorrow, different scenery as we are going to the botanical garden of Cap Roig, a 10 minute drive from our hotel.

Click here see the itinerary of the trip.

Watercolor sketching in Spain

September 04, 2013 By: jgrandchamps Category: Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, painting workshops 2 Comments →

Bon dia!

I didn’t say “buenas dias” because we are in Catalunya and for the Catalans, we are not in Spain. So bon dia is “Hello” in Catalan.

Sandy Delehanty is my teacher on this trip to Spain. Sandy has been teaching many times for me. This is her fifth trip with French Escapade and her fourth country (twice to the French Alps, once in Provence, once in Belgium and now Spain)

Our home base is Calella de Palafrugell on the Costa Brava, 1h30 min North of Barcelona.


This is a view from our balcony: the white fishing village of Calella. Bedrooms with sea view have this breathtaking view of the ocean:


Tom and Linda on their balcony are enjoying the view:

.Tom_Linda_balcony_4897 copy

Painting in Calella is of course primarily about the ocean and boats. Nobody went very far for painting. Although there are tons of wonderful vignettes to paint, everyone sat on the terrace of the hotel. It is true that the best view is from there:


Anne and Janet:


Judy and Mary:
The number one vignette for our sketchers was Mr Velcro’s house or should I say, little castle, the only building on the beach with a private swimming pool of course:
If you look the other way, without even having to move your chair, you could paint the fishing village:
Some, like Linda A., is more into abstract and was inspired by the rocks:
Sandy, the teacher, doing the critique on the terrace:
If you are really lazy, you don’t even have to leave your room to paint the ocean:
Below is Laura painting from her bedroom (oops, I didn’t say Laura was lazy…but June on the other hand…):
June keeps telling me that she paints but I never saw her doing so. Every time I saw her she was doing anything but painting, like cross-word puzzle:
However, this is what she “said” she did:
In the evening, a local band came and played and the villagers started to dance the sardana, which is a traditional catalan dance (don’t forget we are in Catalunya, not really in Spain if you listen to Catalans):
band_4851 copy
dancers_4857 copy
We ended the day with a vey nice meal, here is my sea food salad:
Join us next year on either a painting or a cultural tour to Spain with French Escapade.

From the sea to the plate in Palamos, Costa Brava

July 08, 2013 By: guest Category: Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, Women 1 Comment →

Today, after learning everything about fish at the “museum of the fish” in Palamos, we went to see the boats coming back from their day of fishing: octopus, gambas, sord fish, makerel, sardines, St Peter’s eye, and many more….



The fish auction was a hit. Buyers bit electronically on the box of fish they want to buy but they only bit when the price goes down and reaches what they think it is worth. If they wait too long watching the price goes down before biting, then another buyer will have bought before them and they get nothing.


The cherry on the cake was the cooking demonstration by a chef, preparing some specialties from Catalonia. Sharon helped preparing the “crema catalunia” which is similar to the French creme brûlée. The French say that the creme brûlée came first but the Catalan say that the catalonia crema come first of course.


Kathryn prepared the”pan amb tomaquet” which are toast with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil.


Kelly and Kate prepared the aioli: Kate kept on mixing in one direction and Kelly on pouring the olive oil.


Barbara didn’t feel like cooking but she admired the fish.



The chef showed us how red wine is drunk by the fishermen:


Barbara, Kate and Lé tried and Lé was the champion. She mastered the art of drinking like a Catalan sailer vey well.


We ended the evening with a swim in the sea at sun set.


This is our last night on the Costa Brava, in a magical place:


Boating with Californian girls on the Costa Brava

July 07, 2013 By: guest Category: Jac's Travel diary, Travel to Spain, Women No Comments →

Now, I am in Spain again with 8 women from California, all friends. I was expecting them to be wild but it is not the case at all. I guess I should not listen to rumors….


From L to R: Gail, Kelly, Kate, Lé, Boo, Kathleen, Sharon and Barbara in front.

We went boating in Cadaques, on the Costa Brava. Cadaques is a magical town. Everyone in the group said that it was like a movie set and that after we leave, the decor will disappear.




Here is a pic of Lé and Kate and they were posing for the paparazzi called Gail and Kelly below:


Lé and Kelly jumped and in the water and told us it wasn’t cold. Four of us jumped too but it was freezing cold!!!! I should have had a clue when I saw them swimming non stop. It got warmer after awhile but it was quite a long while!


From Cadaques, we went to the “end of the world” called Cap Creus. Some were so fit they decided to walk up there. A strenuous walk for Barbara and Sharon (kind of…):


A superb day on the Costa Brava.If you want to join us on this cultural trip to Spain, visit

Testimonials from the painters on the watercolor workshop to Provence

June 29, 2013 By: guest Category: Jac's Travel diary, Painting tours to France, Provence, painting workshops No Comments →

Margie:“Jackie has gone above and beyond in making this trip wonderful in every way. The picnic lunches, finding charming villages where we can paint, and organizing each day and driving the huge van so expertly around the narrow streets and hairpin turns.The trip was more than I ever imagined a watercolor workshop would be, and Provence a joy to behold. Thank you, Jackie.”


Sandy: “How can I ever thank you for such a wonderful trip…you are so special. I am delighted to have met you and have had this wonderful chance to experience Provence. Love, Sandy”. (me, Jackie, on the left and Sandy on the right):


Lin: “What can I possibly say to express my my gratitude for such an excellent trip. Thank you for your professionalism and organization and most of all, your smile.” Lin (the dog ate her buttons):


This is a picture of Lin. She met a little French girl who wanted to paint so Lin gave her some brushes and paint. They painted together for a little while. That was very sweet.


And to end this beautiful week, a picture from the terrace, taken 5 min ago:


Van Gogh in Provence

June 29, 2013 By: guest Category: Jac's Travel diary, Painting tours to France, Provence, painting workshops 1 Comment →

Sonja, the teacher on this watercolor workshop to Provence and I (we look just alike with our bags: those are made by Sonja for a previous trip, it shows the countries we both worked in together).


Picture from the cloister at the Mausole de St Paul in St Remy de Provence:


Margie picked the right color for her outfit, matching the painting from Van Gogh: starry night. IMG_1331

This is the back of the Mausole de St Paul that became a hospital where Van Gogh was treated for dementia the last year of his life. When we were there, the lavender was blooming. A real treat!


The garden is such a quiet and meditative place that it was an inspiration for the painters.


Well, not everyone was inspired apparently. Linda preferred to talk to me about solving all the problems in the world!


On the last day, everyone took it easy and decided to work on their paintings from the week. Sonja helped each of them individually so that their painting became a master piece (or almost!).

photo 2

photo 1

While everyone had already started to work, I was still relaxing on the terrace, having breakfast. It is hard not to start dreaming with such a view in front of me!


Sandy was not a painter but she helped me a lot to prepare the picnic, making it look nice. That is art too.

photo 3

It was a fabulous trip. Next year, Sonja Hamilton is coming back to teach on my trips, a watercolor workshop in Spain. Hope you join us!