Painting Holidays in South of France



Painting holidays

painting courses – South of France – Le Sud de France

Duration:  1 week – 7 nights – 5 working days.



For painting holidays in South of France, come and stay in the beautiful mediaeval village of Lagrasse, where you will experience an unforgettable art holiday – our painting courses cater for all levels of ability from beginner on.  Combine a wonderful holiday in France with a painting course , with Henry Blackmore as your guide and mentor.  Lagrasse is situated about halfway between the walled mediaeval Cité of Carcassonne and the Mediterranean city of Narbonne.




Lagrasse is named as one of the most beautiful villages in France – nestled in a green valley surrounded by vineyards and lush forests.  It is home to the 12th century Benedictine Abbey – still in use and open to the public, above the River Orbieu which flows through the village.

The village itself boasts 7 excellent restaurants, a museum and many artisans – artists, potters , leather goods producers, etc. and also offers a hairdresser, ATM machine, bakery, newsagent, pharmacy, grocery shops and brocantes (antiques).



Its central market was built in the 13th century and is surrounded by fine period buildings and the town hall.  The area around Lagrasse has many well signposted hill walks, cycling tracks, and also picnic areas.  Wine tasting is available at more than  half a dozen outlets in the village and also in many of the surrounding vineyards.  There will be no shortage of wonderful locations where you can create your perfect painting.



Your teacher is Henry Blackmore and with his wife Sheila, offer the experience of living in a vibrant artistic community, meeting local people, playing petanque/boules in the village bouladrome, tasting the magnificent wares of the boulangerie & patisserie, and of course the painting holidays and and painting courses.  We don’t do big groups – we will take bookings of maximum of four students.  With over 40 years experience as a full-time professional artist and also a prior background in commercial art, Henry is uniquely placed to encourage and help you improve your skills on this painting holiday.

You will stay in one of the many beautifully appointed gites in Lagrasse – let us know your requirements/budget and we can make all enquiries on your behalf, including making a booking if required.

There are so many beautiful locations in the surrounding countryside – sleepy villages, vineyards, mountain gorges, chateaux, the famous Cathar and Templar castles perched up on mountain fastnesses, river scenes, the Abbey, the wonderful Canal du Midi (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the sea at Narbonne or the turrets of  Carcassonne (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site), – all available not to mention so many other wonderful scenic opportunities – old mills, farmhouses and barns, pigeonniers, and many more.  Words (and space) fail us here to describe the beauty and variety of the scenery here in the Corbieres and the neighbouring region of the Minervois!


Are your paintings dull, flat, lifeless?

  • Just as control of lighting in an interior can give atmosphere – so the control of light can soften, highlight, focus and give atmosphere to a painting.
  • Discover the part that colour, edge control, and texture can play in giving life to a painting.
  • Learn the techniques in the daily art classes that can make your paintings live.
  • Have you been to art classes or painting holidays/painting courses where you feel that you are not learning much of value – no real substantial change to your abilities?
  • Henry will aim to impart some of the best techniques acquired over 40 years of painting experience as a professional commercial artist and also as a fine artist, with both abstract and figurative painting.
  • Here Henry will teach you fundamental yet simple methods of composition which will give your paintings impact.
  • Henry will not simply tell you what to do but show you how to, by doing demonstrations.
  • The painting courses are specifically tailored to the student’s ability and needs.  So, whether it is relaxing painting holidays or painting courses with specific content, let us know.

About the painting holidays and painting courses – based on modules:


Watercolour or acrylic

Basic colour washes, graduated washes, wet-in-wet washes, 2 colour washes, dry-brush, scumbling, single brushstrokes, moisture control, use of knife, spattering, use of sponge, over-painting with transparent glazes.

Acrylic or oils.

Under-painting, impasto, scumbling, dry-brush (light over dark or dark over light), texture effects, glazes of transparent colour.


Line drawing, light, shade, shadow and reflected light.  Drawing as a study for painting.  Drawing from life in either town or country.


Organising the elements of painting in a constructive, creative and structured way for expressive reasons.  Diagnosing problems in each of these elements and finding solutions.

Art appreciation

Philosophy, criticism, looking at the works of the great painters and to learn their secrets.   Learning from the great masters and other artists we admire.  Developing a critical faculty in traditional and more modern work.


Exploring the different aspects of colour, hue, tone, temperature and saturation.  Exploring use of the colour keys and the constant chroma scales.

Light and shade

Understanding  light and its effect on colour, texture, line, etc.

The students are free to choose all or just some of the modules.


Rates for 2015

Five days tuition per person – April & May    €440.00

Five days tuition per person – June – September   €480.00

Five days tuition per person –  October to March    €420.00

Full Course – 5 days –  €420/€440/€480 per student.  A maximum of 4 students on any one course – often less – for more individual tuition.

Short course (students can select from the above modules).  Please contact us using the contact form below for details of fees and availability.

Groups (of 2 or more) – please contact us for details of discounts available.


Henry Blackmore graduated from the College of Design and the National College of Art.  He has worked for 45 years as a full-time artist, initially in publishing and advertising as a studio artist, and has taught for many of these years.

Aims:  confidence and techniques

How often have you found it so difficult to get started (you stare at that blank paper or canvas and then go and have another cup of coffee!).  The beginnings are crucial  – Henry will show you some sure-fire ways of how to start with confidence, and also how to plan and execute any painting you want to do in an easy step-by-step approach.  He will cover design, colour, light/dark texture, movement, focal point, how to finish a painting and techniques that will turn an ordinary painting into one that will have impact, atmosphere, light and magic.    Your lessons will begin each morning in the studio (see photograph above) and refreshment breaks can be enjoyed on the balcony outside the Studio.

Equipment:  We suggest you bring your own paints, brushes, paper – therefore you will be comfortable with familiar materials.  See also FAQs below.

Getting here:

The nearest airport is Carcassonne.

Nearest train station is Lezignan-Corbieres.

Nearest motorway is A61 (direction – Narbonne and Barcelona) – take exit for Lezignan and follow the directions for Fabrezan and Lagrasse).


There are many beautiful gites and B&Bs in Lagrasse to suit all budgets, which we are happy to recommend, and we will help with providing more information, making enquiries for you, and assisting with making reservations.  We only recommend after personally visiting each one.  Don’t hesitate to tell us what your needs/requirements are, and we will furnish you with a list of these recommended gites/B&Bs.  If you prefer to do your own research, you can always look at the Lagrasse tourism website (in French and English).


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. I don’t want to hire a car.  No problem.  We will arrange transfers from Carcassonne airport (€40 per journey for 1 or 2 people).  Transfer from Narbonne train station is €40 per journey (for 1 or 2 people) and from Lezignan train station is €25 per journey (for 1 or 2 people).
  2. Why do I have to bring my own materials? We suggest you bring the brushes, paint and paper that you are already used to and comfortable with, so that you are not distracted trying to get used to a new and unfamiliar brand.
  3. I am flying with a low cost airline and luggage weight is an issue,  so can you provide the materials? Yes, – it can be done.  Contact us for more information.
  4. How many people will be on the course with me? We never take a booking of more than 4 people  – thus ensuring that each person gets individual attention.
  5. What will the weather be like? Well, we can’t promise anything, but the Languedoc-Roussillon benefits from a Mediterranean-type climate, with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year.
  6. What kind of insurance do I need? We all hope nothing goes wrong on our holiday, but it is best to be prepared.   Your normal health insurance and travel insurance should cover you.  If you are coming from another EU country, it’s no harm to make sure your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is up to date as well.  Lagrasse has two good doctors.
  7. Do you take beginners?  We will cater for all levels.  Contact us using the contact form below.

For that perfect, relaxing, painting holiday in South of  France, get in touch today!

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There are some terms and conditions so please take a moment to read.  Thank you.



There is a £150 deposit required at the time of booking (non refundable), and the balance should be paid in full at least 8 weeks before your date of arrival.

We all hope it doesn’t happen but if you need to cancel, please give notice in writing.  We will endeavour to re-sell your booking and if we are successful, we will refund your payments made (with the exception of the booking deposit, which is non-refundable).  If unsuccessful, we reserve the right to retain full or part payment of your holiday.

In the unlikely event we have to cancel a course, a full refund of monies paid to date will be made or an alternative course date will be offered.  We recommend you book flights which are refundable/changeable/transferable. We are not liable for any travel or accommodation costs that you may incur as a result of a course being cancelled by us.

We strongly advise all guests take out travel insurance covering personal loss, damage or injury and for any other activities that you decide to participate in during your stay.  We will not be liable for any loss damage or injury.  If you are an EU citizen, it is advisable to bring your up to date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

We do not accept any liability for or loss sustained because of:

Cancellations, delays or changes caused by war, threat of war, terrorism, closure of airports, industrial action, natural disasters, technical problems to transport, staff cancellations or other events beyond our control; guests’ medical or psychiatric conditions which may develop during or subsequent to the holiday; loss or damage to personal property.