We know it's months away but we're already thinking about one of our favorite weeks in Provence. It's when we collect a group of enthusiastic and excited painters and one talented instructor to spend a week capturing on canvas the magical light and scenery of Provence.
We're delighted to welcome a new tutor for our 2018 Painting in Provence trip: Allison Chambers. Not only is Allison one of our hot-selling gallery artists but she's a 2017 trip graduate. We knew hands-down that Allison would be a great choice to lead our 2018 trip: she's a patient and thorough teacher, she's enthusiastic and she's a delight to be around.
HHFA: Bonjour, Allison! First of all, we're thrilled you're coming to France with us in 2018. Tell us a little bit about the painting trip you just went on last fall:
AC: I LOVE FRANCE. I have traveled from the magical wine regions around Saint -Emilion to the beautiful coastline. I've stayed in the romantic village of Eze, experienced the museums and shopping of Paris, but my favorite has to beautiful Provence. The light there is just enchanting. Everywhere you look, there is a painting. And experiencing it with fellow artists who see the same beauty you see is truly a thing of joy. I had the privilege of painting there in September 2017 with Huff Harrington.
HHFA: we're so glad you enjoyed it!
AC: the trip for me was a bucket list item. Not only because of the incredible scenery and the countless feasts for the eye, but also because the trip was so well planned. As an artist and a guest, you are well taken care of from the minute you sign up. You are instructed how to plan, prepare and how to travel. The accommodations are breathtaking and the food is simply delicious, Linda keeps us all organized and her French is beautiful.
I describe the trip as “ joyful". That is my goal for our trip in 2018. Of course, I want to inspire my fellow artists with nuggets of art wisdom but mostly, I want to impart the same spirit of pure joy I felt while I was there.
HHFA: we love it just as much as you, Allison. We think our home base of Les Murets works perfectly to accommodate the artists. And it's hard not to swoon over the pool, tennis court and the view. We also drool over the fresh and seasonal meals that our caterers whip up for us - always accompanied by plenty of the local rose.
Christophe is our amazing driver (we're pretty much convinced he was a Renaissance artist in another life.) He drives us all over Provence and loves finding supremely paintable spots for us.
But we want to know more about you. Tell us a little bit about your art background.
AC: although I did not major in art , I graduated from Meredith College with a degree in clothing and textiles and was a retail buyer for years with Ivey’s. When I had kids and wanted more flexibility and creativity, I started a faux and mural painting business in Charlotte and did that for 20 years . My life began again when I remarried, got four new daughters and became a mom of six. My husband encouraged me to follow my dream of fine art so here I am, 10 years later, a full time professional artist and art teacher. Living my dream!
HHFA: let's talk inspiration. Where do you find it - and how do you translate it onto a canvas?
AC: Inspiration is all around me. My favorite place to paint (and to be) is the low country of North and South Carolina (I must have salt water in my veins!) But I find inspiration in so many other places too. My travels to France, Italy and Napa, to name a few, have offered me countless ideas to take to my easel. I love to experiment with interpretations of these beautiful landscapes in unique palettes and compositions. The possibilities are simply endless.
HHFA: tell us about where you paint. Is it a dedicated studio or a space you call your own?
AC: for years I had a studio outside of my home. A year ago we moved and built a studio in our new home for me. I have enjoyed that very much and find myself often painting in my pjs.
HHFA: and do you paint everyday, like a job? Or when the mood strikes?
AC: I work my day around my painting. Painting makes me very happy therefore I make it a priority. I basically NEED to paint.
HHFA: what's your favorite art museum?
AC: wow there are so many wonderful museum but I just recently went to the Sorolla in Madrid and it was so intimate and breathtaking. I so love his work ! His palette is beautiful and the brushwork is stunning. So inspiring.
HHFA: which artists inspire you?
AC: there are so many from past and present from whom we can learn. As a teacher, I am inspired by Richard Schmid, and as an artist, Monet.
HHFA: favorite vacay spot?
AC: my happy place is Sullivans Island near Charleston, South Carolina. I get so much painting inspiration there!
HHFA: favorite palette to paint with?
AC: I paint with a limited palette but I add viridian. I can mix it to make so many wonderful colors and different brands are fun to experiment with.
HHFA: favorite art city?
AC: although there are many cities with wonderful art museums, Paris is probably my favorite. How can you not be inspired by art in the Louvre, Musee de l ‘Orangerie , Musee d'Orsay, and so many more?
HHFA: you're having a dinner party with four artists. Who do you invite and why?
AC: it would be amazing to have four painters from different centuries so we could marvel about how art has progressed through time. Wow, this is hard, but I'll choose Monet, Matisse, Picasso and of course my dear friend Andy Braitman. Andy has been my teacher and mentor and would lead some very lively conversation! I think we would have Italian and most definitely a lot of nice red wine!
HHFA: Allison, our 2018 painting trip is ten months away but we're ready to soak up that gorgeous Provencal sunshine and scenery with you...
Interested in coming with us? Check out all the details right here and give us call if you have questions. We can talk about Provence for hours!