Dave Santillanes Workshop and Retreat in Provence

October 1—9, 2023

Dave Santillanes

Dave Santillanes Workshop and Retreat in Provence

Chateau near Avignon, Oct 1 – 9, 2023

You are invited to join us for a 9-Day workshop with Dave Santillanes, one of today’s most accomplished plein-air artists.  The program offers a perfect combination of learning and cultural immersion in the south of France. This is a rare opportunity to learn from Dave as he demos, makes paintings, helps you, explains the methods in a relaxed setting, and shares informative critiques. Dave’s attention and guidance throughout the workshop will give you useful experience in painting en plein air.

Like so many artists, Dave draws inspiration from Impressionism which of course, began in France and was carried across the Atlantic through the California impressionists. This trip to France will allow the artists to step in the footsteps of the artists who have painted in the area before such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Gaugin, among others.

Plein Air Painting in Provence, France

What to Expect at a Plein Air Retreat

The plein-air workshop is based in a beautiful chateau estate nestled between the Mediterranean and the Luberon. Your time will be spent painting alongside this accomplished instructor while immersing yourself in French life and enjoying what Provence has to offer. It is a rare opportunity to paint with Dave and other artists while spending nine idyllic days in the South of France, all the while surrounded by the natural beauty and bounty of Provence.

Don’t worry, a complete materials sheet will be sent to you, as well as tips and tricks for traveling with your supplies. The itinerary allows you to paint on the estate, in nearby fields as well as venturing to the secluded villages and vineyards of Provence. You also visit St Rémy where Van Gogh lived. And yes, we will paint where he painted. We will visit the stunning audio-visual extravaganza at Les Baux known as Les Carrières de Lumières (Quarry of Light). Evenings are reserved for socializing and discussing all things art as we wine and dine in the grand salon or eat outdoors.

Our workshops are legendary for the camaraderie of wonderful guests and crew. Paint as much as you want! We arrange for several side trips so that we can get to know one another and discover Provence. We visit markets, hilltop villages and vineyards for wine tasting making the experience ideal for those who want to bring their non-painting partners. These are but to name a few itinerary destinations. More than this, we are following a tradition of artists who travel to live and paint together and the enrichment that comes from the experience. 

Are you ready to pack your brushes?

“Abundance of Spring” by Dave Santillanes

Plein Air Workshop in Provence

A previous plein air painting workshop in Provence with Jane Hunt.

Dave Santillanes: A Passion for Plein Air Painting


Dave has a well-deserved following of devoted students because of his extraordinary ability to impart his vision and teach painting in an insightful and accessible manner.

This workshop is suitable for all levels of artists from beginners to professionals who work in oil, acrylic, and even pastels. However, Dave recommends some experience with drawing and painting would be very helpful. Even the most experienced of artists have sung praises after attending Dave’s workshops.  He teaches a new way of seeing color and imparts his legendary Color Relationship Foundations. Dave will also focus on how to use this color information to create atmosphere in painting and how to create more depth in our work. It is massively important in landscape painting but will also have a great impact on still lifes and figure painting.  

“Dave Santillanes is adept at teaching to various experience levels at once.  Whether just starting out, or a seasoned professional, you’ll learn plenty in one of his classes.  I found his insights into creating atmosphere, mixing harmonious greys, and edge work particularly helpful.  Dave is charismatic and knowledgeable…you can’t go wrong studying with him.”

Jane Hunt, OPA, AIS

Dave Santillanes Road
Painting in Carmel
Emmaline Lake Study


Dave has trained and mastered the art of plein air painting and teaching his insight to make more dynamic, captivating compositions. He says:

“In terms of composition, I look for simplicity.  I’ve found that there are many opportunities to simplify a scene without compromising its sense of ‘place’.  And because I’ve departed from a literal interpretation, I’m free to rearrange elements to fit this concept.  In this way, I am able to describe the scene in my own “words.”

He doesn’t just enjoy plein air painting, he considers it a vital and spiritual part of his painting process.

The workshop is designed so that you leave with paintings, more confidence, and inspiration that will continue to motivate you to paint.

Welcome to our community of artists!

Dave Santillanes

“There’s no better way to get to know a place on earth than to sit for a couple of hours and contemplate it while painting. This intense observation brings a spiritual intimacy with the scene that can’t be achieved in mere passing and allows me to “speak” with complete sincerity in each painting.”

– Dave Santillanes

This workshop has a limited number of spaces available

$700 Deposit to save your spot. Balance due June 3, 2023

This Workshop Includes:

  • 9-Days of learning with Dave Santillanes in Provence.
  • Ongoing demos, discussions and evenings with the instructor.
  • All Inclusive: Tuition, fine food, wine, château accommodation and ground transportation. We eat out an own expense – one/two lunches and one dinner are scheduled. Airfare not included.
  • Paint, sketch and enjoy the good life in beautiful Provençal surroundings.
  • Daily painting locations: Private vineyards, charming villages, markets (more painting and excursion locations varied upon location of the workshop).
  • Balanced itinerary of painting, exploring and relaxation for artists of all media – all levels!
  • Travel, live, learn and paint side-by-side with Dave and fellow artists.
  • Plenty to do for non-painting partners! A limited number of non-painting partners accepted. Discount available for non-painting companions

Dave Santillanes Workshop and Retreat in Provence


October 1-9, 2023

Dave Santillanes masterclass workshop and retreat at our Provençal Castle estate location in Provence, France. Limited number of guests.

Reserve your spot now. Spaces are limited!

“I highly recommend Dave Santillanes as a teacher, I find him very patient and easy to be with.

I was very impressed with his ability to show us what he is thinking by breaking down what he sees and giving us easy steps to follow. I feel I came away with insights about how to make distance in landscapes, he helped us understand values and achieve atmosphere in our own work. He has inspired me to practice these because of his easy-to-follow approach.”

Susan Lyon, Past WIF Instructor

“Thanks a million, Dave. As a former professor, I mean what I say regarding your extraordinary teaching ability and slide-shows (which require different, but overlapping skills). You make a lot of difficult concepts accessible”

David M.

“Wow! Your workshop was just awesome… certainly one of the most powerful for me!  Now whether I’m painting landscapes in the studio, plein air or even a still life, I feel like I have a lot of new tools in my arsenal to improve. Specifically, I gained a whole new understanding of how to simplify the subject matter, how to create a focal point, how and where to soften edges, and how to create depth in my paintings.  Hearing your reasons and strategy for each layer and then watching you demonstrate it was a real eye-opener. I understand now how disciplined you need to be to make sure your color relationships are just right. Value, temperature and Chroma!!! Yes!  When I got home I looked at many of my paintings and instantly saw what I could do to improve them! Thanks for making it all so valuable and fun!”

Gary H.

“Dave, Your Online Art Lessons are the best I have ever had. Priceless. My artwork has improved dramatically after only one month of studying with you.”

Greg B.

“Dave is a master of atmosphere and depth in his beautiful landscapes, and I was so happy to find that he’s also an amazing teacher. He prepared a very informative digital presentation which I got so much out of, and he’s generous and articulate while doing a demo, or critiquing our work.  I can honestly say I got so much information to apply to my own work after working with him for three days, and of course lots of laughter and fun!”

Kathy Anderson, OPAM

“Just wanted to say how lucky I am to have stumbled upon you on Instagram. You are a great painter, and even more so, a great teacher. I don’t think I have ever learned so much in such a short time in an art workshop! Thanks Again… I’m sure I ll take another workshop again in the future.”

David D.

Live and paint side-by-side with fellow artists

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This workshop has a limited number of spaces available

$700 Deposit to save your spot. Balance due June 3, 2023

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