Paris Review 2016

Paris Painting Extravaganza – March 28th – April 2nd 2016

Our first city break course was to Paris in March 2016. The aim was to capture the spirit of Paris by sketching, drawing and painting. Guests needed to be confident to draw and paint outside “plein air” Supported by two tutors, with guided tuition on the aim was to capture the famous sights of Paris.

PAVEMENT CAFE Avalon hotel 01afe403bd5a2f3c063fd010a4a64eb51d5af48ce2

To assist our guests and prepare them for the trip we sent out three tutorials offering tips and advice on what to sketch. (this is something we would do again.)  Some of the guests used them to practice and prepare. Most guests traveled by Eurostar, a few by plane, we met up at the hotel on the Wednesday evening, discussed our plans for Thursday and went out for our first evening supper together. Plenty of fabulous restaurants locally and a few more spectacular ones for later in the week.We chose the most famous of locations The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Sacre Coeur as our major subjects and cafes bars and boulevards a plenty to fill in gaps. Our hotel was very conveniently located very close to Gard du Nord, and the transport links were very accessible.

Day 1 – We caught the bus right outside the hotel to the Eiffel tower, it was a fun way to travel as we got to see the route and many of the famous sights of Paris. We positioned ourselves in a small park opposite the Eiffel tower with a spectacular view well away from the crowds. Our aim on the first day was to draw the tower and move on to paint it. Sketching its majestic form, simplifying the shape. We spent a few hours painting here, as it was late March it wasn’t particularly warm, but it was dry, we sat until 2.0clock and then headed of for a lovely late lunch at a nearby restaurant. On returning to the hotel there was room to continue to sketch and paint and to discuss how successful the first day had been.
Day 2 – We took the Metro to Notre Dame, had a little walk around the local area then positioned ourselves at the side or rear of the Cathedral. A  very complex building to capture, so plenty of tuition on simplifying shapes and negative space. Or focusing on a detail of the building, enjoying drawing the gargoyles and flying buttresses. Lunch in a nearby Cafe, and for the brave an afternoon sketching the inhabitants from the bridge or down on the river bank capturing the barges and the bridge.

We headed out for dinner at a world heritage restaurant ” La Coupole” it has the most stunning decor. Painted pillars, all from the impressionist and modernist period. A really amazing place to eat. The Food waiter and Wine waiter were extremely attentive. The food was exquisite and beautifully presented. It felt like we were on the set of The Last Budapest Hotel.
Day 3 – Sacre Coeur. I wondered how the local artists might receive painters invading their patch, they couldn’t have been nicer. Interested in what we were doing and chatting in a really friendly way. We sat in the busy streets, sketching part view of the  beautiful building, however it was too cold to sit for too long. Only really time for quick sketches and a bit of watercolour. Some guests wanted to visit the inside which is well worth doing. A lovely lunch and back to the hotel to flesh out a painting. The evening meal on this night was at the Eiffel Tower, we pre-booked our places and looked forward to a very special evening. Restaurant 58 is 58 metres from the ground all very glamorous and well attended and of course wonderful views of Paris at night. The food was beautifully presented and the wine flowed. We left at 11.30pm as the Tower itself closed.

Day Four – Boulevards. Our last half day we chose to walk the avenues nearby and find a cafe/restaurant that offered a good view of the Parisienne architecture. We found one nearby where we were able to sketch dramatic buildings, a church and lots of people walking by. It was a good opportunity to discuss and teach figures in the cityscape. After a light lunch we headed back to the hotel and discussed all the work produced on the trip.  All the guests prepared for the journey home, flights and train. On reflection the temperature at this time of year for painting and drawing outdoors was a little cool.We would choose a date later in the year for a future course. It didn’t rain which was a bonus, and the hotel did have space for us to paint from ipads and phones when needed. Everyone that attended enjoyed the trip and produced some interesting work. There was more sketching on the whole than painting. Some skill and experience of painting and drawing plein air was necessary, it would be a challenging trip for beginners. This is a wonderful way to experience a major capital city, drawing the famous sights, soaking up its atmosphere, dining at local and famous restaurants in the company of like minded people with a common interest.

A selection of guests paintings and drawings.

Click on a thumbnail to see the full image.