A SUMMER PAINTING HOLIDAY WITH A DIFFERENCE WHERE YOU CAN LEARN FROM A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST, HAVE THE CHANCE TO EXHIBIT YOUR WORK, ENJOY FABULOUS VIEWS AND BE IN GOOD COMPANY.
Enjoy a Summer holiday, combined with a painting course in France - individual tuition with David Sawyer.
For 2018 courses will be run from August to mid September - (please see booking page) and can be tailored to your personal needs. If you would like to discuss this with David by telephone call him in the UK on 0208 677 4214.
Full details of course costs, programme 2018 and booking calendar can be found under the GALLERIES tab on the top right side of the HOME page.
Beginners and accomplished painters welcome
Oil and watercolour
Idyllic painting locations - still life in the artist's studio sessions
Small friendly groups of people
David invites you to join him on a relaxing, laid back painting holiday and explore this relatively unknown part of South West France.
St Lizier is situated on the banks of the river Salat and enjoys spectacular and uninterrupted views across the Couseran hills to the Pyrenees. One of the Plus Beau Villages of France St Lizier lies on the medieval pilgrimage rouute of Santiago de Compostela, making it an essential stop for walkers and pilgrims.
On the UNESCO list on its world heritage register are Saint Lizier cathedral and its cloister. The second cathedral (Notre-Dame de la Sède), the Bishop's palace and the Roman ramparts of which quite a lot remains. Topped by an octagonal bell-tower in the Toulouse Gothic style, the Saint-Lizier cathedral (10th-15th centuries) is famous for its superb frescoes from the 11th century reminiscent of Byzantine paintings. Its cloister has typically Romanesque arches. Adjoining the cathedral, the Hôtel-Dieu reveals an 18th century pharmacy, miraculously preserved, where the visitor can obtain, for example, the "elixir of long life". The Bishops' palace is also worth a visit as it houses the Ariège Departmental Museum (everything you need to know about the legendary valley of Bethmale). Built in the 17th century, this bishop's palace dominates the town where timbered houses contribute to maintaining the timeless air of Saint-Lizier. Inside the Roman walls, the narrow paved streets lined with 17 Century houses are an added attraction to a pleasant stroll.
VILLAGE FACILITIES: Bakery, hairdresser, 2 hotels (one basic - one luxury) with restaurant and bar. In the summer there are also 2 cafes in the village square which maybe used for lunch. There are a few supermarkets within walking distance.
Flights from UK - London Gatwick South take approximately 1hr and 30 mins to Toulouse Blagnac. Easyjet to Toulouse: www.easyjet.com
From Toulouse the journey time by car is about 1hr and 20 minutes - to help you plan your journey: www.theaa.com
This is the third year that I have been on David's painting course in St Lizier. I started as a complete beginner and with his tutoring I have really developed my painting skills and more importantly I have discovered that I really love painting.
I now have the confidence to pursue painting in a much more structured way. I could never have done this through looking at books and YouTube tutorials. Thank you David.
The painting course was fantastic and I learnt a lot of useful painting skills. David was very helpful, the course was well planned and painting locations were well chosen. All painting materials and arrangements were carefully selected to make sure we could paint quicker and easier, nothing else to worry about, just to concentrate on painting. Before I joined this course, I painted very slow and never happy with my works, I could hardly finish a painting in weeks sometimes even months. David taught us a lot of painting techniques and skills, I am amazed that I done 3 small paintings in a day and even one large painting in one day at the end of the course. I learnt how to look for darks and lights which makes a painting more interesting. On my return to UK I’ll be busy in practicing all the advice and skills I acquired from this course. I highly recommend the course to anybody who wants to improve their painting skills.
The hotel location is so handy, literally outside the studio. The hotel is friendly and the chef is good. The balcony room I had faced the river and the scenery is wonderful, very tempting to paint it. I enjoyed my stay and the French Cuisine although the village is a bit remote I could manage the walk to 2 local supermarkets for essential items.
Once more thank you very much David and Stefanina, I look forward to working with you again.
Thank you very much for the intense, active and most absorbing 5 days of painting. David was always there to push, encourage and mould me out of my bad or unknowing ways/habits whilst instructing on colours and painting techniques.
St Lizier provided a very picturesque setting. David was an excellent teacher and gave me a week of exhilarating painting. I was always chasing time to finish my plein air work, such as the church tower, the Wednesday local market in the square or when in the studio painting still life, rushing to finish off the high lights on a vase or jar. With David's help I managed to finish my paintings within the required time.
This painting course was an unforgettable experience for me. I painted 11 pieces in 5 days, way beyond my expectations and I think I have improved a lot.
David, I really enjoyed the 5 days of totally new experience you gave me in the world of oils! Thank you for your patient tuition, and sensitive guidance and encouragement, with all the purple ideas … ! I’m now LOOKING about me , everywhere, to see how I can adapt my observational skills back to watercolour.
Richard and Tanira Gray -
My wife and I had a wonderful time painting for 3 days at David's studio in St Lizier in the French foothills of the Pyrenees. The location is fantastic and we had 2 days plein air painting with David around the historic village and the local area. The course was focused and having a maximum of four students allowed us to receive personal tutoring from David as well as seeing him work on his studies of the same view. On the rainy day we concentrated on still life which I found incredible rewarding, myself as a practising painter developed one of my best studies to date and my wife as a complete beginner produced a remarkable study with the structured and professional expertise David has to offer. The reception from David and Stefanina was wonderful and we are definitely going back next year for a another course.
Cathal - I was attracted to David Sawyers course for a number of reasons:
During my course, the weather was fabulous and David took us to various locations in St Lizier and the surrounding countryside to paint “plein air” each day. I value painting outdoors as a good learning experience but find it challenging without some help, I usually paint small 11"x8".
On Day 2 of the course, David had me painting on a 24" x16" board and showed me his technique of drawing out the foundation of the painting in acrylics with a small round brush. I learnt many new ways of approaching a painting.
The course was a wonderful learning experience for me and I appreciated all the help and advice freely given. David is a person of exceptional patience and the best tutor l have come across. I hope to return next year.
Painting in the London Studio – June 2013
Mary - I had such a lovely day with Stefanina and David.
I feel I now have a good grounding' and confidence to be able to launch myself into painting in oils! David showed me how to lay out my palette correctly and by painting a series of simple studies I was able to gain confidence through his guidance in really looking at the subject to establish the colours needed, mixing them and then applying them in a 'tonal' way adding highlights at the end to give real impact. He also taught me how to sketch in all the important information prior to painting, i.e. the major shapes, shadows, pinpointing the highlights etc. I was amazed at how much easier it was to paint once these were in place.
Jane - This was my second painting course in Saint Lizier with David and apart from the obvious enjoyment of spending the whole week with such an accomplished artist as David, all my time was to be dedicated to painting.....sheer luxury! My objective was to learn more about the techniques of painting with oils, mixing of colours and preparatory drawings and I would say that these were met - now I have to apply these newly learned skills to all my future works! We were fortunate to have lovely sunny, warm days, so were able to get out and about in Saint Lizier and Tourtouse (another delightful, interesting village) with our easels & paints capturing the warm light & shade all around us with David always there to give practical advice and praise during the day.
Thank you David for your patience, help and advice during the course and a big thank you to Stefanina, David's wife, who brought us aperitifs at the end of each day and for being our model on the last day. See you next year!
Mick - I came away with the overwhelming feeling that I had an enjoyable and worthwhile time. I felt cared for and looked after the whole time. In terms of developing my painting skills I found David’s instruction very useful, particularly when beginning and trying to develop a painting. I certainly will be trying to put into practice all of what David taught. I have to admit I did struggle on the occasions when we were asked to paint the whole panorama, that I found rather daunting. I would however certainly highly recommend the course to anyone who wishes to develop their painting skills.
John - When I booked a place on the course it was because I had seen a demonstration by David in London and had talked to him after the demonstration. His artistic talent and knowledge are obvious but he can also explain the subject very clearly. This is a real benefit on the course. He devotes his whole time and considerable energy for the week to the requirements of the students and will respond openly to any questions. You can learn as much as you want to on this course - it is not just a painting holiday at a beautiful location. It was particularly useful when David gave a demonstration of painting a local scene with the group following. For the amount of individual attention you receive the course is extremely good value. The hotel opposite is also very reasonably priced, especially half board and staying there is part of the overall experience. Stefanina puts as much energy into the week as David which means it is well organized and fun, as well as educational.
I certainly came away with fond memories, more enthusiasm for painting and a much clearer understanding of how I can improve.
Penny - Our base for David's painting course was the friendly Hotel De La Tour, in its unique location next to the river Salat, which gushed exuberantly below the hotel's dining room windows. David's charming house and excellent gallery studio, where we grouped each morning to discuss plans for the day, was situated just opposite - a stone's throw away. The guidance and tuition he gave us was generous; his explanations clear and uncomplicated during our efforts to paint the exciting local scenery - mountains, green meadows, and striking St Lizier architecture. It was certainly all there to inspire and enthrall. The experience was enjoyed immensely. David's wife, the lovely Stefanina, was warm and so helpful too with any practicalities, and ever to hand with a late afternoon aperitif to enjoy as we talked about the day's painting experience. David's expertise on colour theory, which I am particularly interested in, was revelatory for me. He encouraged the use of transparent darks, and to hold the white as long as possible for richer tones and clearer juicier contrasts in my work.
First of all, a big thank you to David from both of us, for the 3 day painting course.
Hazel - My personal aim was to be able to paint mountains in watercolour. Although I paint regularly including commissions for others, I now realise this was a rather ambitious objective and left feeling I had not achieved this. However, on resuming my painting of commissions, I realised how much inspiration that David had left me with AND that my confidence had soared, actually thanks to his instruction. Just the other week, while painting a 'mountain scape' in pastel, David's teaching came into play and helped me to produce a very pleasing piece of work. In fact, the more I draw and paint, the more I feel I got out of the course.
Hazel & Jane - Teaching methods - Perhaps on the first morning David could spend a bit more time outling the format of the course and discussing individual objectives so that they may be adjusted if necessary. I really liked the way he demonstrated his techniques using the same subject matter that we were using.
Jane - For me, I wanted to stop shying away from painting landscapes and try to capture the beauty that surrounds me here in the Ariege. David taught me how to SEE, not just trees, mountains and fields, but shapes of light and dark, how to appy the brush and paint more liberally to the canvas. Under David's instruction and guidance, my first landscape painting has evolved into an acceptable piece of work and I now feel confident enough to tackle the view from my home. I had forgotten the importance... and enjoyment of just getting out to sketch and this is something I shall be doing more of from now on.
INFORMATION FOR NON PAINTING PARTNERS
Car hire is essential for exploring the region as public transport within the department is minimal. All the major car rental agencies are present at Toulouse airport. To obtain the best price, book in advance and use a price comparision website.
For non painting partners there is plenty to do in the local area...
If you have hired a car from the airport you can also visit....