2019 newsletter, with 2020 dates and prices

Dear friends,

The 2019 season is over. Despite having to cope with exceptionally hot weather, both sessions went well. A number of old stagers declared their session to be “the best ever“. New students, who came here from either USA or Scandinavia, were equally enthusiastic, most vowing that they would be returning in 2020. It is always a pleasure to see returnees many of whom have become valued friends and the new dynamic brought by newcomers is always welcome. One innovation was giving  my talks towards the end of the day and restricting them to a maximum of only half an hour.

Two innovations were forced on us:

  • As Hélène was not available to provide breakfast at her house, we started the day at La Baladin de la Gresigne, with its capacious terrace and its panoramic views (see photos below). Food was served by the much appreciated Frederique.
  • Angela, who has cooked marvelous mid session meals for nearly thirty years, is not so young as she was and decided to call it a day. As a replacement we decided to take students to a restaurant. We chose La Cabanon in the neighbouring medieval hilltop town of Puycelsi. While all who knew Angela will have missed her cooking, the innovative menu produced by the young chef at La Cabanon was much enjoyed and, as a bonus, we benefited from the chance to do a little tourism. Nobody will be surprised that we plan to do the same combination next year.

As usual my daughter Katherine provided the meals on the first, second and last days. As usual, her her beautifully presented and delicious offerings received many compliments.

For your enjoyment I have gathered a small selection of photos that students and others provided over the summer and I have made a slideshow of them. Sorry there are important omissions but that is what happens if you rely on others with their own agenda. Apologies to anyone who has been left out. It is hard to focus on taking photos and teaching at the same time.



Next year we have to face up to the fact of Sarah’s departure on a two year MFA course in Boston University. She has been a wonderful help for me and to students over many years now. To replace her as best I can, I have invited two former students to help with the teaching. Both studied with me early on in their career as artists. Cathy Layzell first experienced my teaching some twenty years ago when I was teaching sessions in Norfolk, England. Later she came out to Montmiral a number of times. She is now an established artist living in South Africa. Ken Marunowski came to Montmiral for the first of several sessions some ten years ago, before deciding to dedicate his life to painting and is now an exhibiting artist.  Both have experience of teaching. A paragraph and photos introducing them now replaces the one about Sarah at bottom of the “Structure of Workshops” page of this website.

Finally, we have updated the “Booking Information” page.  To meet additional costs, we have decided to to increase the price of coming by €30. We have also decided on the dates for next year, which are slightly different to previous years:

  • Saturday 20 June – Saturday 4 July 2019
  • Saturday 18 July – Saturday 1 August 2019

Notice there will only be two weeks, instead of three, between sessions. One student pointed out that it will make it easier for those like her who wish to come for two sessions.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible next summer.

Warmest regards,



Some more photos for your enjoyment

The other day I took some photos from the terrace of the “Baladin de la Gresigne” where the students now meet for their breakfast. The sunflowers are no longer in their full glory but I think you will agree that the views remain splendid. The photo of the facade was taken some while ago.

Newsletter september 2019
The front entrance of La Baladin de la Gresigne.
Newsletter september 2019
Looking across the fields from the terrace of the “Baladin de la Gresigne”.
Newsletter september 2019
The fading sunflower field that was such a feast of yellows earlier in the year.
Newsletter september 2019
The ancient forest of La Gresigne: Classified as one of the “Great Forests” of Europe.
Newsletter september 2019
A house in the valley.
Newsletter september 2019
A corner of the terrace at the “Baladin de la Gresigne”.




24 thoughts on “2019 newsletter, with 2020 dates and prices”

  1. I’m very much looking forward to helping out with the 2020 sessions, Francis! Your teaching is always inspiring, and it will be a great pleasure to work with you and your wonderful students!

  2. Thank you for including the pictures which brought back memories of great times with memorable teaching in a lovely environment. The plans for 2020 look excellent, as ever, best wishes, Maxine

    1. The only way to find out is to pay us another visit, although we have not played boule for some years now. I am not quite sure why, but students seem so preoccupied with their painting or drawing.

  3. So many happy memories. Particularly the view with the diamond-shaped red field that Sue painted so often, and so eloquently.
    Thank you for keeping me in the loop. Please keep me there – if there’s anything I’ve learned in life it is that life is totally unpfedictable!

  4. Dear Francis, what a pleasure to see you’re as great a teacher as ever – if not still greater!!! As a student from many many years ago having evolved from a complete beginner to a professional artist, I can see how your students’ work also has evolved over the years. I can only say I am in awe of your accomplishments and I wish you many successful sessions to go. I also highly and very warmly recommend students from all over the world, beginners and professionals alike, to attend at least one session with Francis and see for themselves the quantic progress this could mean for their artistic ambitions.

  5. I would like to say that I had a very formative experience with you this summer in 2019, and you have my deepest thanks!
    It’s always great news to know your amazing course will be waiting next year! Thank you for the update!

  6. Francis, congratulations on another successful season at the Painting School. It’s wonderful how this village transforms into a real artistic hub every summer.

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