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Nancy Thompson working
on a watercolor
The scenic St. Tropez

A View of Dalkey Island

by Nancy Thompson

A village street in Provence

Nancy's sketchbook
for Provence
Winding walkways
in Saint-Paul du Vence
The Cypress Walk
by Nancy Thompson

A common scene in Provence,
a parfumeur

Renoir's home,
now a museum and gallery

On y va. Let's go to Provence with Nancy Thompson
Dates: October 3 - 13, 2018

When I realized that I would see that light every morning,
I could not believe my happiness.
-Henri Matisse

On y va, let’s join Nancy Thompson in Provence, October 3 – 13, 2018! Nancy takes her popular sketching and painting workshop to southern France to seek out the seaside vistas, lush gardens, the villages perche`, unbelievable antiquity – and that light! The light that inspired Renoir, Picasso, Bonnard, Matisse, and other great artists – and where you can find their art on ordinary street corners.

Nancy has always enjoyed the excitement and expression of painting, and her joy in art includes sharing her techniques with students of all levels so that they can learn the tools to develop their own art. Nancy has been teaching for more than 20 years and delights in helping students achieve their own styles. Her works are in public and private collections worldwide, and she has been featured on Maryland Public Television and in Southern Living Magazine. Nancy teaches workshops in sketching, watercolor and acrylic both in the U.S. and abroad. Her work is sold through City Art Gallery in Columbia, SC; Bishops Stock Gallery in Snow Hill, MD and through her website A South Carolina native, Nancy now lives in Snow Hill, MD with her husband and fellow traveler, Dick.

Nancy's workshop is appropriate for all levels of expertise. There will be time each day to sketch, paint and photograph the charms of Provence. Each day Nancy will demonstrate watercolor and sketching techniques and will be available for individual guidance.

You will have opportunities to share your work with fellow students and with Nancy to discuss what worked and what didn't and to seek suggestions. The week ends with an informal "show and share" of sketches and paintings created during your time together, just before enjoying the final night’s gala dinner.

Lodging for the Workshop

Our home base for the workshop is a lovely French villa in the hillside town of Roquebrune-sur-argens. The light-filled home is surrounded by lushly landscaped grounds and is a short walk to the seaside. Breakfasts and most dinners are served at our lodging, and everyone will have the opportunity to explore the area's bistros, cafes and restaurants with independent lunches on excursion days.

From Making Art to Appreciating Art

We’ve chosen for your excursions a number of locations where you can pull out your sketch pad or paints and capture the sights and ambience of Provence. We've also chosen select museum visits so you can appreciate the world renowned art inspired by some of the very same locales you'll visit. A few highlights:

  • St. Tropez is well known as the playground of the smart set, but you'll come to know it for its stunning seascapes, narrow winding streets in the old town and imposing Citadel, built in the early 1600s to defend the fledgling port from the Spanish, and its extensive market. The best views of St. Tropez and the bay are from the Citadel. The gentle Mediterranean climate makes for lush landscapes throughout the area.

  • Renoir was one of the many masters who chose to work and live in Provence. His last home in Cagnes-sur-Mer is now a museum and gallery. Pay special attention to some of his lesser known works hung there. You'll be painting and sketching in the same landscaped grounds that he did!

  • Picasso, too, lived and created in Provence. The National Picasso Museum in Vallauris features his mural War and Peace, and a number of his sculptures are placed around the village. Villauris is also where Picasso learned to work in ceramics; and in the same museum complex in the former priory of the Abbey of Lerins, you can also visit the Ceramics Museum and the Magnelli Museum's abstract collection.

  • Our visit to the small town of Biot takes us the to the famous Le Verrerie glass factory. You can watch the talented glassblowers craft delicate glassware from the molten glass. The showroom provides an excellent opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind glass pieces.

  • The Maeght Foundation has a collection of over 12,000 pieces housed in a building that is itself a work of art created by the Catalonian architect Josep Luis Sert. You'll see work by Miro, Kandinsky, Chagall, Calder, Bonnard, Giacometti and more. The quiet shady sculpture garden offers a reflective moment amid great art.

  • Narrow winding streets, white washed homes with red tile roofs, simple gardens abloom with color, small shops and open air markets all greet you in the small villages of our excursions . . . Les Issambres, Vallauris and Saint-Paul du Vence.

    Other Experiences in Provence

  • Dining is always a part of any cultural experience, and Provencal dining offers plenty of variety. When we're out on excursions, you'll have the opportunity to sample the local fare for lunch. From small bistros and brasseries to cafes and restaurants, you'll want to explore some of the foods most often associated with Provence such as bouillabasse, ratatouille, Tarte Tropezienne and fromage de chevre to name just a few. You'll learn to cook some of these provencal dishes in a cooking lesson at our villa. Our last night's dinner together is at a local restaurant with the menu specially chosen for us by our friends and owners of the restaurant.

  • Wine is also part of the dining experience plus we'll have a wine tasting and tour of the cellars at Chateau de Palayson where you'll sample some of the regional Cote de Provence wines. The most recent renovations of the chateau unearthed Roman ruins, and the grounds feature beautifully manicured gardens.

  • Selecting some favorite keepsakes to take home is a pleasurable part of the travel experience. Provence provides some of the best shopping you'll find from the high-end shops in tony St. Tropez to museum shops featuring your favorite artist to local artisans selling their handicrafts at the markets and small shops in the villages we visit. And, of course, there's always the local wine and olive oils.

    The Week's Itinerary

    For a day-by-day schedule of Nancy's workshop, see our sample itinerary.

    Nancy’s Web Site

    Learn more about Nancy, her work and travels and her creative philosophy at

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