You may, but…

Back in 1997, during the very first days of Walk the Arts painting workshops in Tuscany and Provence, I would paint with the group. After a couple of years, I came to realize that I was not fully dedicating my time to my budding artists. Indeed, teaching art requires concentration: detection-correction-suggestion. Moreover, it requires the ability to understand the individual needs and expectations. And with our groups of eight students, rest assured that I do not stop.

pyramideWhen prospective travelers are calling us for their future painting workshops in Italy or in France, they want to know if the instructor is qualified and ask to see some of his works. We are extremely aware of the importance of this issue. So let’s address it immediately.

We “are” extremely qualified, the reason why our art classes and painting workshops have been accredited by universities and colleges in the US, Canada, and Singapore. We also fulfill the Art Teacher recertification requirements.

Let me try to explain this using the pyramid chart above. It shows the art skill level distribution of participating artists of our art workshops in Italy and France during the last 12 years – yep! we keep track of everything.


Walk the Arts (Yves M. Larocque) giving a talk at the National Gallery of Canada (Dec. 2019).

Of course, a bit more than half of our participants are “beginners”. They want to feel the joy of creation and tend to travel with a sense of mission and accomplishment. Every morning, at 9:00 a.m. we teach them the rudiments of plein air painting, perspective, colour theory, and much more. As for our “intermediate artists” seeking to push forward their art, they attend these morning classes always saying, “Wow, this is another way to learn what I was taught at art school”. As for the advanced students, they see our art class as a refresher course. And incredibly, our BFAs and MFAs, say, “Eh, we never learned that at the university.” As for our established worldwide renown artists (such as Vicky) and our university graduates (Kim), very well locally known, they see our workshops as an art retreat, a time to reflect upon their new series while conversing with us. It is a reason we also had a few “writers in residence”.

During our workshops, we enjoy not only having participants of all levels but also working in different art styles, from realism to abstraction. It is true that some high realist painters hesitate to embark with us. They want to know if the instructor is as realist as they are, and we are not. But this does not prevent us from helping them to explore their own creative path. Can they advance their realist skills during one of our art workshops? Yes. Knowing that all techniques are available on YouTube, we push the discussion on realism, by inviting them to paint that fraction of a second of their lives. To depict that very short fleeting moment that makes that life experience so “real” and intense. This can also be done through the landscape or the imagination.

But most important, what is also gratifying for us at Walk the Arts, is that we all become teachers. Levels 1 and 2 guide levels 3, 4 and 5, and so forth going down this pyramid of learning. Sometimes, I am just a moderator, someone who facilitates the distribution and the meshing of information. This also happens during our candlelit, long gourmet dinners, and our two positive and constructive group crits.

Moreover, over a glass of wine or Prosecco, we have a few art theory and art history PowerPoint presentations which are impossible to find on the Internet. Why? Because these lectures are novel, they are the product of academic research and teaching experience. These talks are not pretentious as some may think, but down-to-earth for good comprehension.

To conclude. Our long years of experience in the studio and in classrooms and our various diplomas make us believe in content. We all want new content and not mere repetition.

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

And by the way, our workshops are for everyone, even if you are not an artist, just someone to enjoy Italy, France, and South America.


Painting of Val d'Orcia done during Studio Italia with

Yves M. Larocque, Val d’Orcia (2019) oil on wood, 8 x 8 in.

Val d’Orcia (2019) > Expressive, done with the “let go” philosophy. Was painted between two workshops, just before the storm. It is a one-hour painting on location (30 minutes looking and mixing colors + 30 minutes applying the paint).  An extra 15 minutes at the studio after the oil was a bit tacky. I do love Phtalo blue, but it is Ultramarine that I recommend for Europe.





F14 Tomcats exiting lybian airspace.

Yves M. Larocque, Requiem 7 (1986), 56 x 72 in., private collection (USA).

Requiem VII (1986) > Done many years ago during the Reagan years. Very realistic with a strong political message.




    Hello Yves,

    Are you doing any plein air workshops on warm sunny locations in late January or February 2020?

    Please say yes…


    Sent from my iPhone



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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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Twitter Updates

“Re-situating” myself


Alone in your studio, guided by your intuition, stop, sit down, with your notes in hand, your mindmap on the wall, to gather a feel for the next avenues. I suggest you take a few days to write down a first draft of an artistic statement. It will put some order into your thoughts so as to better clarify them. Be warned, however, that this will not be your final statement, as others will follow.
Set parameters: no more than 500 words, write a seductive title, an incipit (very first line) that hooks; write in the active form. Watch out for repetition and tautology! The more honest you are with yourself, the easier it will be to write this text. The more you hesitate to let go with your art, the harder it will be.

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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