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


Art Retreat. Dordogne, France.
May 2023.


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

In May 2023 I'm planning to go back to wonderful Perigord Retreats to guide another small group on a painting holiday in France. Based on the last trip I guided there, I can honestly say this will be an experience of a lifetime!

We will have 9 days for a beautiful blend of studio time, delightful excursions, cultural experiences and of course, plenty of free time to rest and explore! We will travel into the lovely countryside to paint and visit some of the most scenic towns in Southern France. We will spend time painting and picnicking along the Dordogne River and throughout the valley.

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. 

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 activities 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. Of course, for those interested in photography, there will be even more to do. 

During the retreat, you will:
- Learn how to become more confident when painting on location
- Learn how to create sketches with minimal materials
- Be guided by me step-by-step through paintings and by following demos
- Have plenty of time to ask questions and receive one-on-one feedback
- 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
- Have access to a lovely studio 24/7 to work at your own pace
- Experience the hospitality (and great food) prepared by Perigord Retreats. I've been there! The food is absolutely amazing :-)
- 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 has 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; studio based classes on painting birds, flowers, and landscapes; and classes on Zoom. Then in June 2022 I guided a painting holiday at Perigord Retreats and can honestly say this was one of the highlights of my artistic journey so far!

The details...

11- 20 May 2023

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 (except 2 lunches and one dinner), transport from and to the local train station (Gourdon), local transport and excursions during your stay and, of course, tuition by me. Not included are your flights to France or travel insurance.

Ready to join us?

Bookings are open! Please drop me an or a message on Facebook or Instagram.