Where it all began
The first of the art workshops in France was staged by Julie Snyder in September 2010, just south of the Loire Valley, France. The idea to bring artists together at beautiful travel destinations had been born many years before. It came from a deep desire to paint with artist friends, without the distractions of everyday life, to share knowledge while embracing the culture, the food and the wine…
Julie and 12 other artists came together to paint and live side-by-side in a rural and practically abandoned village in the Vienne region of France, between Paris and Bordeaux. Every one of us enjoyed the benefits of this art retreat. We learned from each other, painted highly satisfying work, exhibited the paintings on the East and West coasts of the USA and our work was published in the American Art Collector magazine. Twice.
The birth of Workshops in France – the first one. L to R, back row: Karla Bartholomew, Cate Hunter Kashem, Laura Wambsgans, Lani Emanuel, Kim Kettler, Karen Cope, Julie Snyder. Seated: Iren Tsaturyan, Lynn Gertenbach, Linda Queally, Vera Champlin, Joan Brancale, Elizabeth Tucker.
Julie then took a year to research where to host other workshops. The main goal was how to improve upon the first experience which was already exceptional. This is what we changed – we went from a village house to a private estate; from isolated rural living to vibrant Provence where the countryside hums with life from bees and butterflies to orchards and vineyards. We followed the sun and found our châteaux near Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. You can see the images in our gallery.
Since we get to spend some time together – meet the crew.
Julie Snyder is a Scottish born and raised artist. She is well-traveled having lived in Spain, Florida, California and now spends summers based in France. She is fearless and multitalented. She is a fixer. She works with a team to deliver the best experience they can. Julie is the organizer and captain of the crew who are all passionate about art. She speaks French and Spanish and is an award-winning artist.
First mate, Shirley Hambrick is an award-winning glass artist who lives in West Virginia. She has been on many of the retreats and understands all aspects of them. Shirley is also Scottish which is very helpful as she understands Julie’s accent better than anyone. They are both energetic and go above and beyond to keep these experiences unique and exceptional. Shirley is an invaluable part of the team and is in charge of helping the guests arrive at the French châteaux or Scottish estate.
We have other team members who become part of the crew at different times so, there are usually 3 or 4 of us who make everything run smoothly. Here are some of them, all artists or in the arts, who have assisted in the past and who will no doubt be with us again; Ann Flynn, Belinda Delpesco, Celeste DeCoudres, Dominique Snyder, Elizabeth Tucker, Justin Kased, Karen Merritt Randall, Karla Bartholomew, Kirsty Hambrick, Laura Segil, Laura Wambsgans, Linda Queally, Natalie Lundeen, Patricia Alexandria, Randy South, Steve Horn and Tim C Tyler. And of course, Julie Snyder and Shirley Hambrick. You can see us at work and play in the gallery of photos from the workshops.
Anne W Smith
Tim C Tyler
Did you know Alizarin, one of the most common and beloved colors in a painter’s kit, was originally a cheaper replica of another color? Until recently artist’s didn’t know that the beautiful reds they were using were fugitive and would fade over time! Many famous works have suffered the same fate of fading colors.
This year at Les Carrières des Lumières, the famous underground quarry is once again transformed into a theater of mind-blowing proportions through the wizardry of technology, showing projected masterworks from Venice as well as the work of Yves Klein in Infinite Blue onto its limestone walls.
Occasionally we meet a non-painting partner whose own work inspires the rest of us. The photographs by George Howard are immediately identifiable for their graphic color and beautiful light, the same qualities that artists seek in our work.