Art Holiday Accommodation in SW France Details

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


Here’s my latest portrait: David Bowie. Another of my portraits of androgynous males. I’ve always been passionate about portraits, but now that Lynne refuses to sit for me (I quote: “It’s boring, a thorough waste of time, and you always make me look like a fucking monkey”) I’ve had to cast a wider net. 
Fair go, I suppose, I’ve had the services of a free model for almost fifty years. Plus she’s done everything else and I’ve…er...well, I’ve painted, I suppose.
So now it’s the internet and photos of people with interesting faces. Like these three: Bowie, Nureyev & Beckham. 

Friday, 17 March 2017


This is a painting of the Mill I did for an American couple last year.
     It's where you'll stay if you come on a small group tour to Gascony. A beautifully restored medieval building with 6 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. We host several groups of 6 to 12 people who come to walk on the St Jacques Route in France, or to brush up on their French, or to learn a few of the secrets of French cooking, or to paint and draw with Ray, or to simply explore the secrets of this beautiful region of France. One of the main benefits of travelling with a few friends or like minded people is that the cost per person is remarkably attractive.
     Here are some links with more information on small group holidays.
     French Lessons in France

     Learn to Paint and Draw

     Walk on the St Jacques Route in France

Saturday, 4 February 2017


In late 2016, just before I went to Tasmania on holiday, a French lady asked me to do a watercolour portrait of her son. He lives in Paris and I've never met him, but she did have a recent, albeit rather poor, photograph of the young man.
Here's the result.
She was really pleased.
I look forward to hearing what her son thinks.

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Jean Moulin was appointed by General de Gaulle to unite the very fragmented resistance movements operating in France during the Nazi occupation. 
His mission was successful, but he was betrayed, captured by the Germans and tortured to death.
Many contemporary historians have questioned some of the facts.
This watercolour portrait was a commission painted from a famous photograph.

Saturday, 10 December 2016


One day recently a friend told me me that one of his dogs had just died. (She’s just done the trip to Dignitas is how he put it). I’d painted her a few years ago. You can see her here: Tam.
He was so despondent that I told him I’d paint the surviving dog for him as soon a possible.
So I took a photograph and here it is.

For more information about animals painted from photographs, please click here:

Friday, 2 December 2016



This is Jacques Chantre. He is 95 years old. 
He was awarded the Legion d’Honneur after the Second World War.
  I met him recently in the kitchen of a small house less than twenty minutes from my front door. He told me what happened to him in a maize field just over 70 years ago. He was waiting for an explosion. 
      Jacques was on a mission with French patriots to blow up a train. One boy looked after the bicycles while Jacques and another kid placed the explosives sur la voie ferrée Bordeaux - Toulouse.
      They heard a blast which meant success. The next day the local newspaper described the event as an "attaque terroriste".
  On their way to cross the Garonne to look for other maquisards who were hiding in the forest, they were searched by “deux gendarmes francais” who found the revolver Jacques was still carrying. He was 23 years old, and that’s when the nightmare began. It lasted until the end of the war. 
  They were manacled to the back of a police camion and taken to Eysses, the high security detention centre at Villeneuve sur Lot.
  After the fall of France in 1940, around 1.8 million French prisoners were sent to Germany. Jacques Chantre became one of them in October 1943, when, following a prisoner mutiny, he found himself on a train to Dachau. He was in a wagon designated “6 horses or 40 persons”.
  During his time in the death camp, he endured extreme privation and witnessed the most horrific, repulsive and despicable acts ever perpetrated by man.
  But one day in 1945 the prisoners noticed that the SS guards were no longer a presence. No one knew what was going on, and they stayed locked in their huts behind the wire. 
  A few days later, a Jeep arrived in the camp. The prisoners were astonished to see an officer with long blond hair get out with a camera. She was a journalist with an American publication. The Yanks had arrived to liberate Dachau.
  If ever you’re in Nerac on a Saturday morning, don’t forget to look out for Jacques. He walks the 2 kilometres each way from his home to the market pour faire les courses every Saturday morning.
      The most impressive thing about Jacques today is his spriteliness and good humour. So it was both disconcerting and humbling to sit in the kitchen with this wonderful old man who survived one of the bloodiest episodes in European history.

      The portrait I painted of Jacques is for the collection of the Association Nationale des Anciens Combattants et Ami(e)s de la Resistance. 
      I feel that this is the least I could do to show in what high esteem I hold Jacques.

Friday, 23 September 2016


The catalogue's just out.

Team photo at a safe sex product advertisement.

Late night cabaret in Poudenas.
Preparing the best meal of the week.
Too many cooks - or too much wine?

Picnic at Larressingle.

Learning about grapes and what to make with them.
Picnic at Lectoure
Learning how to taste Armagnac and Floc.
Team shot in Nerac.
Group art session in the open air. Ray believes he's the only teacher in the world who was never given an apple.
When in doubt go somewhere to taste wine.
The last word. 
And that's all folks - until next time.