Art Holiday Accommodation in SW France Details

Thursday, 27 July 2017


This is my watercolour painting of the church in the nearby hamlet of Villeneuve de Mézin.
It’s a birthday gift for Peter and Bernadette. 
Hope they don’t see this photo before they open the present. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017



At the moment it’s full of Americans. There are eleven of them. From Texas. Painters and holidaymakers.  Enjoying the sights and sounds of southwest France, and of course the amazing French food. Strawberries, cherries and melons are in season at the moment.
So here are some of them just after they arrived.
Team shot outside the Mill with the medieval bridge in the background.

On the first night it was Eddie and Judy’s anniversary. Here they are with a "50 years is a long time" cake.

50 years deserves a souvenir 
Eddie and Eric solving the world’s problems.

Tracy and Eric Junior hard at work.

Guess who dropped his napkin.

Our meal at the duck farm, Contes d’Albret.

Jim and EJ - some tips about composition.

Jim and Mo planning a painting.

Lunch at the Chateau le Frechou

Maya and a pigeonnier.

Dinner at the Mill

Rebecca admiring Rick’s work.

Sandy and Judy in the Orangerie at the Chateau of Le Frechou.

Later: a quick walk around Nerac.



Team shot with the Three Musketeers in Condom

Picnic lunch after painting at Blaziert

Breakfast at the Mill

Team shot at funny road sign

Lunch at the Duck Farm

Still enjoying that cake

The entrance to Fources - a 12 century watch tower

Painting in the cloisters at La Romieu

The Music Festival in Mézin and eating with the locals


Jim's demo at Le Bastard Hotel in the hilltop town of Lectoure (yes - that really is the hotel's name - promise it is). 
Becky (taking a photo) and Judy and Sandy hard at work (in their respective ways) on the terrace at Le Bastard.

Team pic taken by reporter from La Depeche, the local newspaper.

The evening of the last Friday at the Mill, and the traditional crit of all the work produced during the week.
Finally, bon voyage y’all. Have a safe trip. Hope to see you again sometime. 
Adichatz et au revoir. 

Friday, 9 June 2017

BOB’S 70th

For Bob’s 70th birthday, his wife Debbie took him on a boat on the Clyde (the sentimental reason is that he’s from Glasgow). They loved it.
Here’s a painting of them on what is called a ‘Clyde puffer’ for obvious reasons.
Please get in touch with me if you want details of how you can get me to do a painting from a photograph you’ve taken.


This is a watercolour of Bob’s dog Luna. It was a commission done from a photograph, and given to him on his 70th birthday.
You can see another painting of a dog here:

If you’d like to have a watercolour done of your pet from a photo you take, please email me for full details on how it works.

Sunday, 28 May 2017


Here's my latest painting. The photo is taken in my studio.
Why not "OR EVE?," you might well ask.
Who knows? Who cares? And does it really matter?

If you'd like to see this painting in detail please go to 
Saatchi here.

Monday, 22 May 2017


This is my painting of part of a painting called Judith with the Head of Holofernes. I’ve left out the head she’s holding but you can see it in the original which was done by Gustave Klimt in 1901. This was a very popular subject in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Judith was a biblical character who tricked her lover and adversary into getting drunk so she could behead him.  Klimt used a lot of actual gold foil - I’ve used gold acrylic pigment.
This work is sold, but if you’d like a quote on a similar copy, please send me some brief details in an  email: (A price guide is 300 Euros for acrylic on canvas size 50 x 60 cms.)
If you’d like to see some more of my works, please have a look at my portfolio at Saatchi Online.

Sunday, 21 May 2017


This is Adam & Eve in my studio.
I’ve been painting nudes all my life, and I’ve now gone back to this traditional subject with some enthusiasm.
You can see various of my nude works at Saatchi Online here.
But please don’t go there if the subject offends you.

Sunday, 14 May 2017


This is Ève. She’s in my studio.
But why the accent?
Because she was painted in France.
So I’m back to painting nudes, and, as Adam and Ève have been a popular subject for artists since the middle ages, here’s my version.
But where’s Adam?
He’s still in my head. He’ll join Ève later, as soon as he’s finished.
Watch this space.
You can see Ève in detail in a close up version at Saatchi Online by clicking here.
If you don’t like nudes, don’t go there.

Friday, 5 May 2017



I chose the French title because, as some of you may remember, I live in France.
Saint Sebastien’s martyrdom has been a popular subject in art and literature since the middle ages. Before that, in Greek and Roman times, he was usually painted as Eros or Cupid. The subject was especially popular in the Renaissance when the rise of humanism, and a ‘rediscovery’ of classicism, saw the human body become increasingly central in paintings and sculpture.
So, why did I paint him? 
Well, I’ve always painted the nude (many, many years ago I came close to getting into lots of trouble for a nude female I exhibited in Pretoria—it was based on Courbet’s L'Origine du monde.)
Anyway, I’ve gone back to the nude, and intend to paint several contemporary interpretations of traditional subjects over the next few months.
The above pic shows a work in progress. If you’d like to see the finished painting, and, as long as you are not offended by nudity, you can see it here:

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Today, the medieval village of Conques is a truly stupendous tourist destination - it's one of the larger jewels in the crown of European church architecture. 
       But this was not always so—a thousand years ago it was struggling to attract visitors. The monks had tried everything to attract pilgrims—without much success. Located in the middle of inaccessible, remote, and difficult country for travellers, something special was required. 
       Eventually their eyes turned to Agen Cathedral. It was lucky enough to have the relics of St Foy. She’d been making miracles and attracting hoards of visitors for years. Her statue could—amongst other pretty impressive feats—restore sight even when the victim’s eyes had been physically gouged out.

  So a heist was planned. And, although it took an imposter monk 10 years to pull off, he eventually nicked it from Agen and took it to Conques.
  Don’t miss her - she's on show in the trésor. Her statue, which contains her actual skull, is covered in gold foil and smothered in a profusion of precious stones. She is a seriously impressive sight.

       Then there’s the stupendous tympanum—a marvel of medieval story telling. Christ in Glory is showing all the naughty people the way to hell. And he points the great and the good towards Paradise. 
  But wait! Isn’t that Charlemagne amongst the nice guys? Yes, there he is being led towards Christ by the Abbot. What? Has the sculptor just somehow forgotten his massacre of 4,500 people at Verden? 
  Or is it something to do with Charlemagne’s gift to Pope Leo III in return for being crowned Holy Roman Emperor? Nothing less than Christ’s foreskin. Or one of his foreskins anyway. Because, according to David Farley, a respected expert, there were between 8 and 18 of them.
But hang on! This could be leading us all astray. It’s meant to be an article about Conques. But Christ’s private bits seem to have hijacked the conversation. So perhaps it would be safer to stop right here. 

Friday, 14 April 2017


Below is a French press release that explains all.
And here’s a sentence that does the same in English. 
Over the past 10 years a group of English Speaking ladies in Mézin has organised a twice yearly sale of second hand books and second hand clothes which has resulted in over 31,000 Euros being collected for the charity Medcins Sans Frontieres.

The photo shows the mayor, Monseur Jacques Lambert, and some of those involved marking the event with a poster outside the Marie in Mézin. 
A ce jour en 10 ans plus de 31.000 Euros on ete collectes a Mézin pour Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Mr Jacques Lambert, Maire de Mézin, rencontre quelques un des benevoles du canton de Mezin qui ont collecté plus de 31.000 Euros pour Medecins Sans Frontieres en faisant les Bourses aux livres anglais et les Bourses aux vetements d’occasion
Les ventes sont a l’Espace Associatif Claude Albinet en face de la piscine a Mézin et la salle est offert gratuitement par la Mairie de Mézin.
Tous les benefices sont reverses a Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Tous les vetements non vendus sont donnes a la Croix Rouge a Nerac.
La somme globale montre la generosite des gens a Mézin et ses alentours pendant 10 ans
C’est surtout les dames anglaises avec quelques francaises anglophones, mais il ne faut pas oublier les hommes anglais, nos maris et autres costauds qui nous aident en portant les livres, etc. a la salle et au stockage.
La prochaine Bourse aux vetements d’occasion a Mézin est le weekend 20 et 21 mai 2017 (samedi 10-17h/dimanche 10-16h) Venez nombreux….


This nude couple is essentially my version of a very traditional subject, Adam and Eve (sometimes called The Expulsion) that’s been a very popular theme for artists since the middleages. It probably reached its peak during the Renaissance. I’ve always found it a socially acceptable way—or a good excuse—to paint naked people—often with mildly erotic overtones. 
When I was living in Melbourne, one of my exhibitions, Adam and Eve and Other Nudes did quite well in sales as well as press publicity.
Anyway, this is my latest Adam and Eve. 
You can also see it, and lots more of my paintings on Saatchi Online.
I have some ideas for a few variations on this theme which I’ll be working on over the next few weeks.
Here are some technical details. 
It’s painted on heavyweight paper (300gsm) specially manufactured to take acrylic paint. The painting is signed, dated and embossed with my monogram. 
The sheet size is 50 x 64 cms and the actual image size is 43 x 56 cms. (19.5 x 25 ins and 16.5 x 22 ins)
It will be packaged and shipped in a very sturdy, large diameter (10 cms) cardboard tube.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions of if you’d like to give you a quote on an affordable original painting.
And dont forget my challenge: Everyone, yes everyone, can learn to paint and draw.
For more information on art holidays in France for families and friends, please click here.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


Here’s my latest portrait: David Bowie. Another of my portraits of androgynous males. I’ve always been passionate about portraits, but now that Lynne refuses to sit for me (I quote: “It’s boring, a thorough waste of time, and you always make me look like a fucking monkey”) I’ve had to cast a wider net. 
Fair go, I suppose, I’ve had the services of a free model for almost fifty years. Plus she’s done everything else and I’ve…er...well, I’ve painted, I suppose.
So now it’s the internet and photos of people with interesting faces. Like these three: Bowie, Nureyev & Beckham. 

Friday, 17 March 2017


This is a painting of the Mill I did for an American couple last year.
     It's where you'll stay if you come on a small group tour to Gascony. A beautifully restored medieval building with 6 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. We host several groups of 6 to 12 people who come to walk on the St Jacques Route in France, or to brush up on their French, or to learn a few of the secrets of French cooking, or to paint and draw with Ray, or to simply explore the secrets of this beautiful region of France. One of the main benefits of travelling with a few friends or like minded people is that the cost per person is remarkably attractive.
     Here are some links with more information on small group holidays.
     French Lessons in France

     Learn to Paint and Draw

     Walk on the St Jacques Route in France

Saturday, 4 February 2017


In late 2016, just before I went to Tasmania on holiday, a French lady asked me to do a watercolour portrait of her son. He lives in Paris and I've never met him, but she did have a recent, albeit rather poor, photograph of the young man.
Here's the result.
She was really pleased.
I look forward to hearing what her son thinks.

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Jean Moulin was appointed by General de Gaulle to unite the very fragmented resistance movements operating in France during the Nazi occupation. 
His mission was successful, but he was betrayed, captured by the Germans and tortured to death.
Many contemporary historians have questioned some of the facts.
This watercolour portrait was a commission painted from a famous photograph.