Art workhshops in Provence

Picasso, Les demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, Museum of Modern Art

You the Emitter: intention!

Now let’s talk about intention, having already discussed about knowledge on our last post. In art, knowledge and intention walk hand in hand and “serious” artists deal with these two important concepts when confronting their works of art. If not, they are not making art, but are just imitating, mimicking reality as when they reproduce the reflection of that chickadee in a mirror. In this case, artists are not artists, but illustrators and there is nothing wrong in being an illustrator. When doing art, you need a plan. With the best of your knowledge, you need to identify an action that will help you attain a specific result. Ultimately, your work of art should reflect your end, your purpose, in brief your intention.

In 1906-07, at the age of 25, Picasso intended to change the course of painting. He bought the best linen, the best pigments and armed with his vast knowledge on modern art he developed an audacious plan that led to the creation of Les demoiselles d’Avignon. It took him a year and more than 500 sketches. And it was the same for all the great artists of the 20th century making sure that something worthwhile had to emerge.

As a much more experienced painting and art history professor, I reflect this way and I have to share my knowledge with my students. During the last 10 days, I met students from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States here in Tuscany. I had a choice: should I let them paint freely, merely copying the Italian landscape in front of them? Or, should I start my teaching day with a specific purpose such as: “the purpose of this exercise is to use a set of analogous colours so you may realise that you do not need to use all your colors”. Or, “I intend, through this exercise, that you convey the mood of mystery”. Of course, these are very simple goals, reflecting the nature of a plein-air art workshop, hence the notion of context which I will tackle in another post.

Back to Les demoiselles: Picasso aimed to transform painting through the concept of “art is you” instead of “art and you”, a concept which was the norm for the last 5 000 years.  Picasso’s intention was to bring back shamanism into painting, something which was lost since the birth of history (or writing) or this painting The dance of the bulls from the Lascaux caves in France.

To conclude: as I said, knowledge and intention walk hand in hand. Therefore, small knowledge will bring forth a modest intention, resulting in a work of art of limited creativity.  But vast knowledge can produce a deeper intention, and at the end, a greater work of art. But we shall never forget, artists with a small or vast knowledge have the final word on what they decide to do. It is simply a matter of choice, a Nietzschean choice.

My following posts will try to explain my understanding of art and its role in society. By doing so, it will also clarify the way we instruct during our painting workshops in Tuscany, the reason why we have, at Walk the Arts, so many returnees.



  1. bob

    Thank you. This post is interesting, as is this site.
    I am new to this site.
    Two things twig my curiosity?
    1) I liked that distinction between Intention and Knowledge as it suggests to me an aware and conscious approach to the organization and process of ordering the “that which” surrounds our daily connections AND, perhaps, it also alludes to the tacit dimensions of our awarenesses that we catch ourselves acknowledging when they peek at us from beneath the surface.

    Could you unwrap for us what you intended by the expression “Nietzschean question”. (Perhaps this was made clear in a previous post, if so point me in the right direction.)

    2) Have you, or Walk the Arts, ever organized or facilitated an extended trip/tour of Eastern Europe (say, Germany and points of artistic interest eastward) ?

    • Yves M. Larocque (Ph.D.) for Walk the Arts

      In reply to bob.

      Sorry for the waiting. I am so busy here! Firstly, as for a trip in Eastern Europe, we are seriously thinking about it. Bruxelles, Berlin, Vienna maybe Budapest.

      Secondly, what do I mean by a Nietzschean choice? We could write and write on the question, but Nietzsche’s notion of choice is settled in his notion of free-will (the “libre arbitre” in French), and in the notion of the “master and slave moralities” (The Genealogy of Morals-La généalogie de la morale). The artist living in a specific art-world has always a choice dictated by his will: to paint “this” or to paint “that”. What he or she will paint will reflect if she or he is a “master” or a “slave” in the field of the fine-arts (according to Nietzsche’idea).

      The “master artist” has an open-mind, he is courageous and truthful. He knows himself, in full recognition of who he is; he is authentic. Let’s not forget that “authenticity” is the first criteria of art. He believes in self-actualization and is aware of the will to power. For example, Marcel Duchamp is indeed a master with his work entitled Fontaine, or Barnett Newman with his Voice of Fire.

      On the other hand, the “slave artist” resents the master. Slave morality being the inverse of master morality, the artist owning it is pessimistic and cynical. The essence of slave morality is utility; his art must be useful, it should decorate. Still today, so many artists with a “slave morality” think Duchamp is a fake, criticize Damien Hirst for being a millionaire and having people working in his studio (just like Ruben’s). Amidst the population, do you remember when the National Gallery of Canada bought Voice of Fire, a purchase that creates a storm of controversy?

      Today, we must accept that most of the artists bear this type of morality, and there is nothing wrong in this. According to Nietzsche, they are simply “followers” and these artists made a conscious choice to be followers in the arts. We cannot be all Picasso, Pollock, Duchamp, Hirst, etc. We must sincerely accept this fact, and with humility.

      During our painting workshops, I DO stress this notion of both Nietzschean moralities, and I keep saying that you must be aware of it. When we do art, we have the free-will to do the best we can in accordance to what we know and what we intended to do; and all this, in accordance to how we perceive our own “art-world”.

      To conclude, having said that, one of our participants returned to Australia with Nietzsche’s notions in her mind. She told me that that lecture in Tuscany was inspiring. Consequently, she made a conscious choice to paint according to her art-world, Port Macquarie. Today, she is very successful, because she knows herself, her works and most important, her public. Is she going to be part of the National Gallery of Australia’s collection in Canberra? She certainly knows that she will not; but she is happy and her collectors are happy.

      Am I going to be part of the National Gallery of Canada’s collection? No! But I am happy.

      This is what I mean by a Nietzschean choice.

  2. walkthearts

    In think I have answered your question below! If not, I am here, And thank you for writing.

  3. dogfishpoundingtool

    Yves Thank you for taking the time … your response to the ‘Nietzschean choice’ points me in the right direction.

    Re. NY trip (in a subsequent email) … this does seem interesting, especially the guided tours that are suggested. I am looking at it with interest. Is the Frick part of it? Is there a free morning/afternoon/evening (when the Frick might be open) for a few hours during which one could add a side visit … say to the Frick or one of the Hispanic museums or whatever the knowledgeable might recommend as worth seeing.

    Thanks again Bob


    • Yves M. Larocque (Ph.D.) for Walk the Arts

      If you decide to come to New York with us, you will have time to see the Frick, which in fact is very small. And lets not forget that art transcends politics. 🙂 And yes, of course, we will have plenty of “hard” discussions.

  4. curatormon

    Picasso was a contemporary illustrator, of a time, like the producers of the James Bond films. Greatness is thrust upon art by others.

  5. curatormon

    Thank you for your kind reply Mr. Larocque. I really do appreciate it. I agree with you. Everything necessarily comes from somewhere. You make an interesting reference to Darwinism; presumably, artists evolving an adaptation to their environment. Perhaps we can argue that Paul Cezanne was the Cubist mutation that caused gene replicators Picasso and Braque to thrive?

  6. Clarence Simard

    N’oubliez jamais que l’acte de peindre implique tout un orchestre dirigé par un cerveau en un état émotif dans un environnement particulier. Il implique aussi le médium plus ou moins sophistiqué. Sans oublier les impulsions intuitives du moment. Bref de quoi soumettre un projet de doctorat pour le décrire. Ce mélange de combinaisons presqu’infini suggère l’unicité de l’artiste.

    Bravo Yves de m’avoir inspiré dans mon évolution.

    Ton élève Clarence (Paradis ) Simard


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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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Radical-polemicist-radical or capitalist-strategist?


In conclusion, it is our fundamental nature that is responsible for this preponderance of bad news in the media. It is up to us to make a conscious effort to try to arrive at a more balanced discourse while keeping a critical mind. Our stress level would certainly decrease.

The bastard of Marcel Duchamp: Contemporary Art


In short, I could go on and on to recount Madame Sourgins’ whiny whims, but it is time to conclude. She is accurate to write that the pleasures of culture are “delayed joys” which require cultural awareness and some knowledge. Visual arts, like all cultural expressions, reflect the society and the times in which we live. Walk the Arts’ artists are aware of what is being done in the field of contemporary art, good or bad. It is up to them to choose whether or not to venture into the contemporary department. But it is important to acknowledge that there is no turning back. Contemporary art is here to stay.  

COVID-19 and Your Art


Let’s see this pandemic as a propitious time to quit this whirlwind of vanity and consumerism. […] In our studio, at our easel or our desk, the time is right for deepening personal truths, so essential for future artistic endeavors. The time is favorable for revamping our own publications including our artistic statements and websites. The time is appropriate to devote ourselves to serious art readings. In brief, a time to search, a time to find a new equilibrium.

Art, You and 2020


How can I become a better artist in 2020? How can I take my art up a notch, only a single notch? It may be landscape painting, abstraction, modern or contemporary art.[…] How can I increase my artistic knowledge during 2020, so my art becomes more particular, more distinguishable, more authentic, more profound? For 2020, I will try my best to accomplish the following list…

May I see the instructor’s works?


So why do we attend a painting workshop In Tuscany, Provence or South America? We attend a workshop to learn from each other, to share our passion, to live an art experience and to enjoy the power of knowledge through creation. This is what we offer at Walk the Arts.

Meaningful journeys.


At Walk the Arts we aim to surpass easily-found knowledge on YouTube such as how “to mix your greens”, even “how to paint an Italian landscape”; and if you can learn the latter in a video, why attending a painting workshop in Tuscany? This reality has encouraged us to become a conduit of art knowledge, not a mere repeater of it.

The Post-Coitus Works of Art


We agree that a completed work can bring a great sense of boredom, even disappointment, or a sense of euphoria that encourages pursuing a career as an artist. We have a choice; “Well done! What do I paint now as my next subject? Or “WOW! How can I push this canvas so it becomes better and more complex in the reflection of my time and my life?”

Plein Air Painting = Trapping the Moment


Here’s a curious paradox: stopping time by painting quickly. Can one set a trap to catch the moment’s impression? Can the artist’s canvas trap the beauty and the wonder of observed events which melt all too quickly in the flow of time? Can time be halted? Yes, says Michael Findlay, obviously, this is what artists do…

The Stone and the Kiss – Time is You!


“To conclude, if time is a juxtaposition of events, “a network of kisses”, the manifestation of the world in constant changes, why so many “artists” always paint the same subject, the same shapes; repeat the same colour schemes, the very same stories, the…? “

Self-hypnosis and Art


To approach the artistic creation, to give life to something new, this new thing that makes us unique, does it not leave the realm of “objective reality” to fit or to insert into the invisible world of “anomalies” under the state of self-hypnosis? {…} In short, painting is not so difficult to practise (you can find millions of techniques on Google), but to achieve extreme clarity, that is something else!

Concerning A.I., we are still good for a few centuries!


Although artificial intelligence is producing major upheavals in the areas of health, transportation, commerce and even art, it is impossible for it to replace human creativity for a very simple reason: machines are not endowed with life, so they are not vulnerable to the existential questions intimately related to birth and death, freedom and determinism as well as memories and the future.

Let Go! The Artist’s Way of Cooking


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!

Experiencing Eternity


Eternity is outside time. Eternity should not be mistaken for the elasticity of time, a time that never ends. Yes! eternity is indeed outside time. It doesn’t have a beginning nor an end. It is something in itself […] During our art workshops, our main role at Walk the Arts is to endow the proper environment to bring you into that state of eternity. How? That is a very complex question and we only can provide a very simple answer which is…

Painting the landscape in a different way


Last June, Kim Wilkie, an artist from London Ontario (Canada), participated in our painting workshop in Tuscany, Studio Italia. While Kim has been working for a while with acrylic paint and threads to produce abstract paintings, in Italy she used soil and other elements found in nature to depict the Tuscan landscape obtaining very interesting results.

Injecting more Silence in 2018


Why our eyes are always glued on our phone to read the same things? In 2018, why can’t we push new ideas by just trying to say something different, that belong to our own self, our own particularity without fearing what the other will think?

Art Workshop Israel (301)


During Workshop Israel, your brain will be spinning at 100 miles per hour. The place is overwhelming as we already said. Every human being wants to live fully, being aware at all moments; and this remains a choice, your own conscious choice. We assure you that there will be no time to set up your easel like we did in Italy (Workshop 101) and Provence (Workshop 201); to mix physical colours, add them on the canvas on your easel; and then repack everything and back to our lodge.

Art and Algorithms


What is an algorithm? It is simply a recipe, a procedure that lists all necessary steps to complete a task. Some of these algorithms are constructed from a vast array of data fluxes created and shared through the multiple existing networks, or information repositories. But what about painting? Are we, artists, in a way protected from this evil thing called algorithm?

How I see art (4c)


In art, a concept is not self-sufficient, it needs a strong relationship with other ideas that you have acquired during your life time, through your knowledge. In other words, a concept is an amalgamation of many smaller ideas derived from your own ethic, social, cultural values ; and on top of that we have the throw the notion of intention.

Furtive Peace


I think that there are many ways that I can help spread peace everywhere. Firstly, I must start in my own person. I must be in peace with myself and then with others by treating everyone the same…



To visit a major contemporary art exhibition today is like attending a series of very short spectacles comprising visually striking performances or displays. This search of visual impact in contemporary art is making major international visual arts venues such as the Venice Art Biennale, extremely interesting. In the context of our upcoming trip to visit the Venice Art Biennale 2017, we have invited Roger Sutcliffe to write about the origin of the innovative ways in which contemporary art is now displayed. Who was the person behind this idea and why?

The Venice Biennale 2017


Now, just imagine this. We start our trip in Rome, on the very hill where Rome was founded. We will study the Greek heritage which made Rome such a powerful empire. Then, we will walk on the very same bridge where the Emperor Constantin had his dream to allow Christianity to be practised in the Roman Empire…and the Venice Biennale 2017

How I see Art (4a)


Are you aware of your own knowledge of art? Do you have a vast or a slight knowledge of art? Do you have a good knowledge of art history, theory and philosophy? When painting, do you get involved into complex or simple reasoning, or no reasoning at all? Do you paint simple or complex subjects?

Painting your personal stories (with gusto)


any artist in search of inspiration need look no further than her/his own life experiences; as we wrote before, it is stories that link us all. The sincere transcription of emotions onto canvas helps artists to convey their message in a powerful and touching way.

How I see Art (3)


Ideas are things able to travel from one body to another body (or object) just looking for its proper biological receptor in order to instigate action in the sphere of ideologies, myths, gods, etc. This action, in our case, is the creative act of making art. Ideas are also instruments of knowledge

How I see Art (2)


But what makes a work of art “excellent”? There are so many answers and it all depends on the artist’s own “art-world”.[…] My “art-world” is a well-circumscribed territory endowed of its own system of transmission devices needed for the circulation of ideas.

How I see Art (1)


Am I starting to have this reputation for being too critical about conventional subjects often depicted by bourgeoning artists?

Ah Surrealism!


If I have decided to expose this feud, it is because it reflects so much the good old healthy intellectual polemics of French Parisian Left Bank Discussion (which is fun) and… you might also learn a bit more on this important movement that was Surrealism.

Reinventing Ourselves


“…what we find fascinating of this story is that at all age life offers opportunities to develop our individuality which is composed not of one, but many identities.”

The Art of Humility


We shall never forget that in today’s Renaissance we live in the “share” era. The true artist remains humble. Your work of art is something you share and not show as an ostentatious act. Never forget that glory is ephemeral unless, of course, you belong to the artist’s pantheon.

Being a conscientious artist in 2016


In 2016, I urge all the primary schools to teach the following art notion: “the integration of context”. The pupil’s own context, since it is the context that gives meaning.

A Second Reformation or a Counter Reformation?


A Second Reformation is being on its way, under the leadership of a Jesuit, and being accomplished by everyone through social media and, of course, though art, since artists often have the sensibility to grasp the future.

Art being accessible to all


… society encourages specialization and categorization, so that we all end up with arbitrary identity labels that limit our potential as human beings. How many times we hear people claiming that they have no creative abilities, simply because they have fallen in discriminatory traps imposed by the social order.

The luxury of space; a personal reboot


How important it is to find in our own home, in our daily life, that unique space that allows us to make a cognitive reset… simply a personal reboot.

The new tablet leading the Second Exodus


“A painting will be undoubtedly transported by a mean of transportation which corresponds to the quality of the painting, meaning that a knowledgeable painting will be transported by powerful vehicle and consequently will go far”

Copying, imitating. Are you sleep walking?


As Márquez states “the more we become one with the crowd, the more we become no one” […] Therefore, when you paint, are you creating or imitating? Or simply sleepwalking…

Art and Medicine


On the surface, science and art seem like such polar opposites. Digging deeper, there are so many interconnections between the two, and this is so apparent in Medicine.