Renee Walden - New Zealand watercolour artist. Art & Illustration.


Art Retreat. France. June 2022.


Ever wanted to go on the perfect holiday, to a beautiful location, and document your whole holiday in a sketchbook?

Join me this June in France for the experience of a lifetime! Situated in the peaceful countryside adjacent to a tiny hamlet we’ll be staying at Perigord Retreats, and painting their beautiful surroundings.

Beautiful landscapes, comfortable, cozy accommodations; a fully equipped indoor studio available 24/7, lovingly crafted food of local origin, an indoor swimming pool, and excursions into the stunning landscapes and medieval towns of the Dordogne and Lot regions. 

Your 10 days will be a beautiful blend of studio time, delightful excursions, cultural experiences and of course, plenty of free time to rest and explore! You will travel into the lovely countryside to paint and visit some of the most scenic towns in Southern France. You will spend time painting and picnicking along the Dordogne River and throughout the valley.

Group sizes are small - a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 12, allowing me to have ample to time to help each student every day.

Your non arty partner is welcome too, because other activity include kayaking, swimming in the river, hiking, taking a swim in the indoor pool, relaxing in a hammock on the grounds or shopping in the many markets and shops. 

During the retreat, you will:
- Learn how to become more confident when painting on location
- Learn how to create fabulous sketches with minimal materials
- Learn to be more expressive with your brush strokes and colors
- Learn about the different kinds of perspective (and to not be afraid of perspective)
- Learn to work with a limited palette of colors to ensure harmony and cohesiveness in your work
- Learn to mix colors cleanly
- Practice your drawing skills!
- Learn how to compose a dynamic and balanced composition
- Experience the hospitality (and great food) prepared by Perigord Retreats
- Experience the treasures of the French countryside: organic food, wine and other local specialties at the markets
- Experience true French culture and connect with other artists who share your passion for creativity!

Travel sketching is a passion of mine.

Back in 2007, I packed a sketchbook along with my climbing gear on a trip to Spain and France and I filled it. Since then the sketching part of a trip has overtaken my climbing passion and I never go anywhere without a sketchbook.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Europe for up to 6 months a year almost every year since 2007 and I have a massive stack of sketchbooks that are filled with priceless memories. There are watercolour sketches of villages, landscapes, flowers, food, and people in every sketchbook, along with little notes that bring me straight back to a place whenever I open a sketchbook. Sketching outside has immersed me in places, creating very vivid memories and allowed me to meet so many local folks I would not have encountered otherwise.

5 years ago I started teaching people how to paint in pen and watercolour. I've run classes outside giving people the tools to learn to sketch plein air, and studio based classes on painting birds, flowers, landscapes and more. In 2020 I started teaching via Zoom, connecting with hundreds of students painting wonderful landscapes together. Taking this one step further, last year I taught online while on location in Spain and France. These were truly special classes, allowing folks from around the world to travel vicariously with me.

The details...

28 June - 7 July

Perigord Retreats (click on the link to find out more about the location and accommodation)

- Private bedroom with private bathroom 3300€
- Private bedroom with shared bathroom 2800€
- Couples/friends sharing with private bathroom 5600€

Cost includes…
Comfortable accommodation, all meals and drinks, transport from and to Toulouse airport to Perigord Retreats or the local train station, local transport and excursions during your stay and, of course, tuition by me. Not included are your flights to Toulouse, France or travel insurance.

Ready to join us?

Bookings are open! Please register your interest with me or drop me a message if you've got any questions at all... contact me.

PS - to be clear … The photos of me sketching are taken in various locations in Europe, not necessarily in the Perigord region. The scenic shots are all places we could visit near Perigord on this retreat. Visit the Perigord Retreats website for lots more amazing photos and videos of the region we'll explore.