Painting Watercolor in France

I’m home from France, fresh over jet-lag and loaded head to toe with inspiring photos, ideas & new friends. I’m particularly marinating in game-changing tips and tricks from watching Carol Marine teach attendees of her workshop.

Carol in the lower left corner, demonstrating landscape painting from a photo in the great room at the chateau

Carol Marine is a seasoned and generous instructor. She casually sprinkles workshop attendees with her hard-earned painting, drawing and seeing knowledge, and she doesn’t hold anything back. She’s earnestly helpful, potently encouraging, and incredibly articulate about process.

The artist Carol Marine painting a demo for a workshop in France
Carol, talking about stretching skills by not being afraid to fail, and trying new, unfamiliar things, and painting lots of paintings instead of one perfect painting.

Her painting method is something to behold, but what made me swoon was her work ethic. Carol’s conviction to practice her art is a non-negotiable priority. The rest of us juggle other priorities, which leads to painting less often, and still, we wish hard that we could paint like Carol. Listening to her approach illustrates the map of her artist’s journey, and it’s clear that there’s no shortcut to get good at painting; it requires consistency, drive, and a commitment to anticipate and accept the failures, parallel to the fought-for successes.  Like anything we practice, we don’t get one without the other.

carol marine painting a street scene from a photo in provence france during a workshop
Carol demoing a figurative street scene

Carol walks a focused and inspired path towards becoming the best artist she can be, and she does it with gracious humor.  She made us laugh – a lot.  She’s earned her success with millions of paint strokes, hours upon hours of squinting, and super-hero leaps over fails and frustrations. I am looking at every painting in my studio with new eyes this week. It’s going to be a rockin’ summer in here. πŸ™‚ Thank you, Carol.

a watercolor in process of a street scene in prvence france showing people at a cafe
Isle sur la Sorgue cafe in process
l'industrie cafe bistro in Isle Sur la Sorgue, France
Artists resting at the cafe featured in the painting above on a cloudy day, sans umbrellas

If you’ve always wanted to take a workshop from Carol Marine, but couldn’t because of distance or the fact that they sell out in 5 minutes, you can learn heaps of good things from her Art Bytes video tutorials. Have a look at this selection, and choose from excellent, affordable studio tips you can watch on your ipad in your pajamas. Review value studies, approaches to saturation & color, materials, and taking photos for painting references, etc. You can also just brew a cup of tea, and watch her paint a still life or two (or three). Watching another artist’s second-by-second decision-making process is – I think –  super helpful & inspiring.

Who taught your favorite artist’s workshop, ever? Who would you recommend to take a class from?

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post!


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A cafe scene watercolor of a bistro in Isle sur la Sorgue, france
Isle sur la Sorgue Cafe 20 x 26 watercolor (unframed watercolor available here)

Art Quote Created by Illustrator Wendy MacNaughton and writer Courtney E. Martin, and available here.

7 thoughts on “Painting Watercolor in France”

    1. Thanks for re-checking in, Sharon – All is well here. Rotating between comments here, on youtube & replying to a backlog of email this week. Catching up. πŸ™‚

  1. OK Belinda: I have been to a couple of Carol’s workshops and I agree with all you say, she is an excellent teacher and painter, a combination that is hard to find.
    Here is my conundrum and I am wondering if this is something you struggle with as well. Do you deal with comparison with other artists? I love my work, but then I see someone else’s style that I love and immediately feel that I am no longer ‘enough’. This particularly happens just after I take a workshop by a wonderful artist. I am in one right now where we are doing loose painterly portraits. My problem is that I am not a loose painter when it comes to portraits. Try as I might, I find it almost impossible to make a face with chunky brushstrokes. It try it, but hate it. Skin is just too soft for that IMHO. So, the question is, is it OK to be who you are, to paint with your own voice while continually stretching yourself to grow to get better, and NOT be able to be a loose painter, or is that a cop-out? My work is definitely not photorealistic and colour is my strength, but I just can’t seem to do it like some of the artists I love.

    1. Hi Sharon, Thanks for the great comment… I can absolutely relate to this. I’m sorry you’re having struggles while you stretch your artistic muscles, but I’m glad you’re doing it anyway. I don’t want to do squats and lunges today for exercise, but that’s the plan. πŸ™‚ I have a draft of a blog post on this topic after watching some of the artists in Carol’s workshop wrestle with exactly what you’ve described. Your comment, combined with my own frustrations in the same arena have pushed me to finish that post sooner. So, more on that shortly. May I quote your comment in the blog post, with a link to your lovely work?

  2. Hi, Belinda. Small world: Carol Marine is the first artist whose blog (Daily Painting stuff) I subscribed too (several years now); you were the second. When I got her blogged email saying that you were her roommate at the workshop and she had such wonderful things to say about you, I thought, wow, I have really good taste in artists-to-follow. πŸ™‚
    Can’t wait to see more paintings. That first one is really something.

    1. Hah! Hi Kendra! How funny that you’ve already got us bookmarked as roomies well before we shared a room in France. I’m delighted to know Carol, and inspired beyond description by her work and work ethic. And you and I *both* have great taste in artists, since I’ve always loved your work too! Thanks for the great note!

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