I started my French journey this month with a week in Paris, since getting over jet lag and cafe hopping are absolutely a must for preparing to teach a 10-day workshop in the Southern regions! Each time I visit, I fall in love with Paris all over again. There is something gentle about the beauty of this city and a physical poetry to its flower gardens that reaches out and wraps you in a perfumed embrace.
Here are a few of my favorite photos from the most recent journey, and read on below for travel tips for the faint of heart – and for the courageous adventurers, too! Do you have a fabulous European travel tip to share? If so, please let me know – I would love to hear from all of you intrepid road warriors!
All images fully copyright protected, merci beaucoup!
Do you have a European painting workshop on your bucket list? In my first leg of our trip to Paris this month, I squeezed in some tours, a trip to Monet’s Garden, dinner in Montmartre, a few museum tours and a trip to Sennelier, one of the oldest art stores in France. After Paris, we we were on a plane to Toulouse to begin my workshop in Southern France with students from New Zealand, Canada, and across the US. This will be my eleventh time teaching a European workshop, and I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. I want to share a few of those with you here! Here are the top five tips for traveling to paint in Europe:
1 – Shipping your goodies
Going LuggageFree – are you planning to stay for more than 10 days? If so, I recommend shipping your luggage (and supplies!) ahead. LuggageFree.com is a company I’ve used for years. They will pick up your bags on your doorstep and deliver them (almost) anywhere in the world. Like all shipping services, you have to account and insure for possible losses, but this is true when you check bags on flights these days, also.
2 – Noise-cancelling headphones
These are not just for the plane. Older hotels and buildings in Europe tend to have thin walls, and even if you have a private room, chances are you will be able to hear a fellow traveler snoring in the next bedroom over. If you get the kind that plug into your phone, you can listen to an Audible book or your favorite tunes to drown out even the loudest noises.
3 – Priority economy seating
Maybe you can’t afford to fly first class or business class to Europe. As an alternative, book seats in priority economy. You’ll have a bit more breathing room and space. These seats do cost a bit more, but if you book them early it’s golden!
4 – Car rentals and Uber-ing
If you’re traveling cross country in Italy or in France, renting a car is super easy at most airports. Driving in Southern France is similar to driving in the US countryside ~ lots of country roads. French and Italian drivers drive on the same side of the road! Rather than rely on our phone, we bring our own road navigation unit, and download the European map system in advance, although many European rental cars come with great navigation systems. If you’re in a big city such as Paris, Uber is a lifesaver, and is super convenient and reliable. Be sure to download the Uber app before you leave the States.
5 – Be like Gumby
The most difficult thing for me to do, when I first began traveling to Europe, was to slow down. I couldn’t believe that our van driver spent 15 minutes chatting with the traffic cop, when he was simply needing to ask the policeman whether to turn left or right at the next intersection. But I quickly learned, this is the pace of life in Europe. It’s not the frantic connectivity that we’ve become addicted to here in the US. Going to Europe is a bit like traveling back in time. As much as you can, imagine you are doing just that: Breathe in and enjoy the beauty around you. This is your dream come true trip, and it’s all on you to make it a great experience.
Art supplies – this is a MUCH bigger discussion; I’ll save it for you for a rainy day coming up soon. However, here are a few quick tips:
Never, ever pack solvent in your suitcase. It is flammable and combustible. If you’re painting in oils, you can find solvent at art stores after you arrive, or you can find substitutes such as baby oil at the local markets. Often your workshop host will provide solvent for you, so be sure to check on that in advance. PS – Want to join me in Italy this fall – learn more here!
Thanks to everyone who submitted a painting to the Garden Party Contest. There were over a hundred entries, and it was a feast for this flower lover’s soul to go through all of the gorgeous submissions! Please join me in congratulating Sharon Dwello. Sharon submitted the winning photo from her garden. In the next few weeks, I’ll create an original painting from her image and she will receive a fine art print (and I’ll share it for you here). I’ve also sent notes to the top 10 runner up submitters, with tips on color choices to paint the images provided.
Merci beaucoup for sharing all this beauty, flower friends!
Get more joy with monthly online classes!
A Super Supply Giveaway!
As a bonus especially for you, spring is the perfect time to give away a new $100 gift certificate for art supplies! Tubes of joy, boxes from Dickblick.com on the doorstep, brushes in pristine clear wrappers, all the things that make an artist’s heart to go pitty pat! To be entered to win, leave a comment on this blog, easy as pie. I’ll announce the gift certificate winner on July 12, just in time for the Birds and the Bees in the studio!
Italy is calling!
Join me for a VIP painting dream getaway in October 2018.