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Painting Workshops | Italy France | Art Retreat | Tuscany Provence | 2023
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If there was a little bundle of energy in our Atelier Provence group, Hyacinth (from Dayton, Ohio) was certainly. Kind, talented, persistent, with a yearning to learn, she even spent a whole night painting… below, is a “quick” appreciation of her painting workshop in France with us. I even nicknamed her “Maverickette”, from Maverick in Top Gun!

Walk the Arts

The Artist Opportunity Grant afforded me an impressive and priceless art experience.

Text by Dr. Hyacinth Paul

Atelier Provence and Barcelona was an intense art experience for me; I learned more in the 11 days under Walk the Arts’careful supervision than I did in the last five years. I was taught to question my very own place in this art world and to truly think about my art.  Our instructor Yves M. Larocque did not spoon-feed me, but he wanted to bring out the best in us all by challenging us to think outside the box. 

In France, we painted from the moment we landed at our lodge east of Avignon in Provence. I was painting 12 hours a day and on the sixth day, 24 hours straight to bring my paintings to a level of completion. The painting sessions were also mixed in with lectures, discussions, critiques, and, of course, instruction.  We painted various landscapes: lavender fields, ochre mines, undergroves, architecture, and Cezanne’s Mont Sainte Victoire.  We visited Paul Cezanne’s studio and traveled in the very footsteps of the great artist.

When we sat down to dinner each day at around 8:00 p.m., just as the sun was setting, with exquisite meals prepared for us by our chef Monica Marquez (see her book), the evening was filled with not only the sights, smells, and wafts of delicious couscous royal, confit de canard, lapin à la lavande, veau aux olives, but also with delicious salads, unique local cheeses, honey, local bread, scrumptious dessert. And let’s not forget the now uncountable bottles of Crémant de Loire, rosé, Bordeaux, and… of course Cognac. The long dinners were filled with animated conversations on various art topics … and life. Most often, we ran into the candle-lit night, past 11:00 p.m.

All in all, I was like a kid in a candy store and I did not leave Professor Yves and asked him so many questions about mundane things like the medium he used for oil painting to which biennales were worth visiting. I found that our professor was a wealth of knowledge who willingly shared much more than I expected to learn on this trip such as writing a proper artistic statement, making a proper Web site, and the importance of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and more. 

We also delved into the philosophy of art making.  We were continuously challenged in terms of thinking about where we wanted our art to be and what purpose our art serves in this world.  We were constantly pushed into reflection about how and what makes our art our very own. Do we mimic, or do we want to express the “be”? We also learned from our colleagues from different parts of the USA and Canada and of various age groups.

Oh my god, I have forgotten Barcelona! Ok, Ok, Ok…to conclude, we visited its major art museums: the MACBA, the Picasso Museum, the National Museum of Catalonia, the Fundación Miró, Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia, the Palau Güell, and the Casa Batló. How fortunate we were to admire the works of Turner at the National Museum of Catalonia. And Let’s not forget the paellas.

Barcelona Art Trip
Hyacinth Paul and Yves M. Larocque in front of the MACBA in Barcelona in July 2022

I would highly recommend this workshop to novice and pros alike.



  1. Claude

    Alléchant!! Dans tous les sens du terme bien sûr!

  2. Susan Sohn

    I was in Tuscany with Yves and Monica. Lovely people! It was truly a rich experience! I would highly recommend it.

  3. Hyacinth Paul

    Yves, thank you for publishing my review! I meant every word of it. See you in Columbia and I can’t wait to learn more. I’m looking forward to the water color sessions. I’ve already started practicing. Thank you also for a fabulous workshop!


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Who are we?

We all make art! It is part of culture. It is deeply rooted in human nature as a way of communicating with others. We all need to tell our stories because it is stories that link us all. We are all one, one creative mind! Though, all unique and equipped with unique ways of expressing ourselves. We live in constant search of that unique liberating voice. At Walk the Arts we aim to facilitate our art makers to explore new territories. Our painting classes and art history trips on three continents are meant to be rounded art experiences among small groups of like-minded adults. We offer an environment that fosters creativity. As we always say, art as religion is just a matter of faith. This blog is about living fully the experience of art, about finding our single artistic path, about the joy of art-making. We believe that making art accessible to all will lead to a betterment of our society.


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Gray a Philosophical “Color”


“Over the past 40 years, I’ve seen students in the process of transitioning from saturated colors to grayed ones, a sign of serious questioning about painting. As a beginner, we shy away from mixing colors, and the more we progress in our creative practice, the more daring we become. That’s life! When we’re children, we only see saturated colors, and as we get older, gray takes over. Adults realize that gray is everywhere. “The color of truth is gray” wrote the French author André Gide.”

We can face Artificial Intelligence


How many times were we tempted to fall into the trap of mainly teaching painting techniques now all available on the Net? Just type “How to paint an Italian Landscape” and … two million plus videos jump onto your computer screen.

A First History of NFTs


“I think the reason […] I’ve chosen the career that I have is because artists are always the seers or the truth tellers. They show us the way forward”. Nora Burnett Abrams, The Story of NFTs, Artists, Technology, and Democracy. P. 53

The World of NFTs!


I had to know if NFT art is and will be a fad or not. In Canada’s national capital (Ottawa) art world, I kept hearing that it is not going to last, it’s all smoke and mirrors, ya-ya-ya, etc. So, I entered the Palazzo Strozzi with an open mind. I saw the works, I read everything on the walls, and I came out of the exhibition thinking “It is here to stay.” From that moment, on la Via de’ Tomabuoni, I felt compelled as an art historian and art educator to embrace this new reality. Didn’t we do it for Pop Art and Conceptual Art in the late ’50s and ‘60s?

My painting workshop in Tuscany


Already a month since my return from a fun-filled art-learning experience in Tuscany, Italy! The workshop went far beyond what I even imagined, or hoped it would be. The roughly eight hours per day for most days of art instruction gave me a new perspective on my art: where I was and where I wanted to be, the past and the future. But, together as a group, we were living in the present.

“Perseverance” is the key to all successful artists


Perseverance is the key to all successful artists.

I always ask my painting students to memorize … “Until then, we will not rest or falter. Hand in hand with others thirsting for a better life, no matter how long it takes, regardless of support or persecution, we will joyfully respond to a savage need for liberation”.

Studio Italia, a painting vacation with…


If our art workshops focused mostly on painting techniques, then why traveling to Italy and spending money when you could stay at home and learn everything you need through the Internet for free?

Art and Neurosciences


When a subject becomes familiar, the brain activity shuts down like when viewing a lovely chickadee painting…

Can we talk about the neuroscience of art? This is the question that French neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux addresses in his beautiful book The Beauty in the Brain or La Beauté dans le Cerveau (Odile Jacob, 2016). Prof. Changeux describes how the human brain behaves when making or contemplating a work of art. To make a long story short, he argues that the neural bases of aesthetic pleasure are the product of the link between cognitive and emotional brain functions, in other words, the harmony between reason and emotion. Moreover, he gives some tips on how artists can maximize the impact of their works on their audience.

Evolving in art is just a matter of faith; only believe!


We refrain from teaching painting techniques easily found on the Net. We prefer taking the necessary time (36 hours) to fully involve the participant in reflecting on her or his art — including all levels, all media […]
Rest assured that having attended one of our online classes, you will be more confident in taming the landscape in your own way while on a plein-air painting workshop.

Let Go! The Artist’s Way of Cooking

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Ten years ago, here in Tuscany, we decided to write a recipe book but with so many good cookbooks in the market, we needed to propose a new idea. We had to find a modus operandi close to who we are and what we do as visual artists. The answer was in front of us and painting gave it to us: art and color!

Travelling with meaning : a painting workshop in Italy


More and more travellers from the developed world are looking for meaningful travels. We are aiming for journeys that allow us to learn something new, to deepen our culture, to enhance our lives. Purpose, inspiration and self-discovery are now vital elements in our traveling choices. Probably, this is why our quality painting workshops offered since 1997, have become more and more popular.

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