ian robertsContact

Workshops - Plein Air Painting in Provence

Plein Air Painting in Provence with Ian Roberts: June 2-11, 2019

Same Spectacular Location for 2019

OK, OK, I know, I said I was finished teaching workshops in Provence. But last spring was the first time in over 20 years I hadn't gone to Provence and I really missed it. So I am teaching another workshop in the spring of 2019. No place calls me to paint like Provence does. And of course I'm not alone. Corot, Bonnard, van Gogh, Gaugain, Matisse, Cézanne and Picasso, all came to live and work here. I know you too will love the quality of light, the folds of the earth, the old stone farm buildings and medieval hilltop villages, the poplars and cypresses.

We're returning to Le Barroux. It's a place so rich visually, so full of possibilities, each day you will find something that sings to you. Where the visually poetic is everywhere. I travelled to Corsica two years ago to research the possibility of doing workshops there. Called The Island of Beauty, in eight days of driving all over the island I didn't find anywhere I liked as much as Le Barroux.

It is between Mt. Ventoux to the east, the highest mountain in Provence, and Les Dentelles to the west, a group of mountains with such intricate peaks they are named after lace (dentelle). The richly articulated landscape seems like a cross between Provence and the Chianti region of Tuscany, with its vineyards, olive groves, cherry and apricot orchards, cypress and the warm patina of ancient farmhouses and hilltop villages.

We will be staying in Le Barroux, a small medieval village perched on a rocky outcrop and dominated by a 12th century chateau. There are no tourists to speak of and no commerce except for our hotel/restaurant.

From the moment you arrive you will be enchanted by how visually engaging this undiscovered little corner of Provence is. To say nothing of the Provençal quality of life.

Photo Gallery:


Regardless of what kind of painting you do, plein air painting is a great teacher. Because nature is so vast, you must simplify, you must look for the essence. Because your source of light is moving, you are forced to make decisions quickly and accurately. It is exhilarating, demanding and will infuse your work with greater insight, subtlety and truth.

In this workshop you will learn to:

  • edit the intricacies of nature into a single, powerful image
  • block in accurate value masses quickly to form the basis of a strong, pleasing composition.This means learning to 'see' in masses, in shapes, rather than outlines
  • create rich color, particularly in the handling of color temperature

Ian and carinthiaThe goal of the workshop, in addition to your having a wonderful experience, is twofold. One, learning to build strong compositions. This is the foundation of great painting. Every artist must address it each time they start, building an arrangement of abstract shapes that sings. Only then do we start thinking about the 'subject.' Too often paintings are subjects, not compositions. As such, even if admirably painted, we feel it lacks something. The tendency is to go on adjusting the parts, when it's actually a strong composition that's missing.

When we spend time clarifying the composition at the beginning, we create far more engaging paintings. We feel it right from the start. The process becomes exhilarating.

The second goal is to help develop the insight to critique your own work more effectively at home. This makes your path more self-reliant and efficient.

This painting holiday is suited to every level of experience from serious beginner to professional. Any medium can be used depending on your preference. The emphasis is to provide as much painting as possible while still having time to enjoy the local charm.

Maximum of 12 participants. Additional nonpainting partners are welcome.

Student Work from 2015
Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence Student work: landscape of Provence
When you paint a landscape, you really see and feel it, far more than as a tourist. You open to the beauty, the culture and the depth of what makes a place unique.


The focus each day is painting. Since we are out to paint the light, we will start early. Breakfast is at 7:30 to 8:00. Each day we will find quiet, visually rich venues, not far from the hotel, to explore and absorb the subtleties and character of the landscape.

We will have a four and half hour session in the morning. Then we will return for a delicious Provencal lunch. We head out again at 3:00 for a four hour painting session in the afternoon.

We will return in the evening for dinner. Meals are delicious, the carafes of local wine abundant, and the camaraderie terrific at the end of a full day of painting.



Les Géraniums is the only hotel/restaurant in Le Barroux. In fact it is the only business in Le Barroux. The small family run hotel has recently renovated rooms, two fine terraces for dinner and another for breakfast. They serve a very good breakfast buffet. Our lunches are prepared by an excellent chef who runs a local chambre d'hôte. The restaurant's chef where we have dinner is also excellent. In keeping with the quality I always want to uphold on Atelier Saint-Luc workshops it will be the perfect home for us as we venture out daily into the spectacular surrounding landscape.


Ian is a very encouraging teacher and is known for his insight in helping each student find their own voice as an artist. He has inspired many students to recognize and act on their desire to paint more seriously. Every year he receives several cards from students who have gone on to have shows and exhibitions.

Ian RobertsIan does two or three demonstrations during the workshop. Taking 20 minutes, he shows how to lay in the composition, how to build a good foundation. But he feels the best way to learn to paint is to paint, not watch. For the rest of the workshop he critiques and demonstrates individually on the specific problems each person is facing at that moment with their own painting. He will go to each person two or three times in the morning and do the same in the afternoon, giving equal time to each course participant.

He is an honors graduate of the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, and studied figure and landscape painting while living in Florence, Italy. His father was a well-known Canadian landscape painter. He has been represented by galleries in Toronto, Dallas, Denver and Carmel and lately has been selling most of his work directly to a growing group of collectors. He is an artist member of the California Art Club and a signature member of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association.

He is the author of Creative Authenticity: Sixteen Principle to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision and the North Light publication Mastering Composition: Techniques and Principles to Dramatically Improve Your Painting, which has sold over 40,000 copies world wide. He has produced numerous instructional videos.

He teaches plein air painting workshops in Provence each year as well as five-day plein air workshops in the U.S. and Canada. He lives with his wife, the painter Anne Ward, in Los Angeles, California.

"Ian's patience, encouragement, and 'magical eye' have been amazing. I am honestly astounded at the progress I was able to make in ten days."


"The combination of the intense learning process and focus of the workshop and the beauty of the light of Provence leads to an almost euphoric experience by the last day of the course. You come away with a clear direction and inspiration to follow through with all you have learnt."

"Ian's obvious sense of reverence for the creative spirit in each of us provided the perfect atmosphere for both neophyte and experienced painters to grow."

"It was, in a nutshell, brilliant. The whole workshop, although informal and relaxed, was tight and intense from my viewpoint as a student. It just sweeps you along. I come away from these really good, thought -provoking days with the life of the Thing adding another layer to me."

"You clearly see where people stand in their development, and help them move a step ahead by sharing your knowledge generously, bringing the essential message across calmly and with patience, and above all with a great sense of humor."

"Ian has an incredible knowledge of composition and design. It was a great workshop. Highly recommended."

"I have been to three of Ian's workshops. Each year he adds something new so each year the workshop evolves to include more and I make another step forward. His workshops always exceed my expectations."

"Ian is a gifted teacher and communicator. He sees where you are individually and can tell you just what you need to hear to develop your own artistic voice."

"Ian's workshop surpassed all my expectations. My progress from one day to the next was measurable and exciting . Also being in the company of several serious artists fed my artistic soul."

Read more comments from past participants »


"Ian has an extraordinary talent to find in your painting just the part that you have most enjoyed doing and encouraging you to develop it. That makes the whole experience extremely enriching and satisfying and creates a stage to proceed with future work."

"Definitely the most informative and inspiring workshop I have ever experienced."

"I will always remember this trip. Ian was able to nail my trouble spots and always gave me sound advice. He is an excellent teacher and very enjoyable to be around. It made my trip."

"It was more than an opportunity to paint in Provence- it was Ian as a teacher. He brought his knowledge and skill to our level and challenged us ahead while appreciating what was good in our work. It is so unusual to experience this level of instruction, communication and encouragement."

"Ian has a real gift to teach to each individual's level and needs. It was hard work. It was fun. A truly enjoyable experience."

"Individual instruction was unparalleled."

"Ian has a special capacity to reach your underlying creativity and to encourage, persuade and cajole you to express it in the best possible way."

"I can't even imagine that I will ever have a more healing and replenishing experience, but I came back from the workshop different. What was amazing to me was the richness and vividness of colors. I knew I was experiencing a new way to see and to live life in a more meaningful way, shedding the unessential and seeing the beauty in the important masses."

"You created an environment where the spirit could speak to my inner self. Words don't begin to express the depth of meaning and joy I had from the time in the workshop."

"A quick note of thanks. I've been painting non-stop since my return. I've respected and admired you as a teacher and artist for several years now (through your books and videos), and working with you in Provence has only served to strengthen my respect and admiration a hundred fold. The best workshop I've taken."

"I just came back from a plein air society event. We painted for 3 days then had the opportunity to show and sell our work to the public on Sunday. I painted 6 paintings and sold three of them!!! I know that your workshop jumped me to a more confident level of painting. I was able to use a number of skills that you taught us in the workshop over the weekend. I don't feel the confusion and frustration of what to paint that I did before your class. I am actually using thumbnails and value sketches.............and they work!!!!!"

"It's not easy to find a teacher who can take each student wherever they are in their art journey and move them forward in eight days. It is even rarer to find a teacher who does so with kindness, humor, and sensitivity. Ian is such a teacher."

"The Ian Roberts workshop is not for sissies. It is work. He is serious about painting and serious about seeing you improve. You will never look at a landscape the same way again. No matter what level you are, or what medium you use, you will progress because he will identify early on your strengths and weaknesses and give you the tools of observation to better establish a strong framework for your painting."

Plein Air Painting"I was amazed how much I learned from Ian and the other artists in the group. His humor and non-threatening style guide you through the knots of frustration to help you to become a better artist."

"Every person in our group improved. It was exciting, adventurous, strenuous and enormous fun. Provence is breathtaking ,the food delicious."

"You will leave pumped with enthusiasm and the confidence to continue on you own. By far the best workshop I have taken."

"I was so grateful and full of joy that I could paint for hours on end with no clutter of family problems in my head, no meals to cook, nothing but being me tuning in to seeing more than I ever have before. The beauty and serenity of the landscape was a wonderful source of inspiration."

"I've gone to four workshops and Ian's has been the best—his teaching skills are phenomenal. He's able to meet a painter where they are, guide them at that level, with encouragement and precise insight."

"Ian's art and instruction are poetry. He always found the understandable words and sensitive guidance for each and every one of us."

"I can't think of a better, more enjoyable way I could have spent the last twelve days."

"Having attended many workshops, Ian is by far the best instructor I have ever had. His workshop has inspired me beyond my highest expectations."

"It has been a wonderful experience. I learned more in two weeks about landscape painting than I did in four years of formal training."

"Ian gives the kind of individual attention that you dream about but never experience. He spends the time and energy to know exactly what it is that the participant needs to learn. He will not let you not learn."

"Ian's teaching is the heart of the workshop. His devotion to art and teaching combined with great energy results in an intensive learning experience that produces a watershed breakthrough."

"Ian goes right to the heart of your problems and guides you to solutions in a way that is easily and quickly understood. I have had a real breakthrough in this last workshop. I can see it in the paintings I've done since I came home."

« Show less comments from past participants


$3690 for double occupancy
$4290 for single occupancy (limited availability)

This fee includes:
· pick up and drop off in Avignon TGV train station
  (with a direct connection to Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport)
· 9 nights accommodation
· all breakfasts
· all lunches
· all dinners
· workshop tuition

Not included:
· Airfare and train to Avignon
· wine with meals

Non-painting partners are welcome. Cost $2190.

Cancellation Policy:
· 60 days before departure—full refund less a $100 administration fee.
· 60-30 days before departure—50% refund
· less than 30 days—no refund

These refund policies apply only if we cannot fill your space. If we have a waiting list and can find someone to take your place, you will receive a full refund less the $100 administration cost.
Insurance to cover tour and flight cancellation, baggage loss and any medical cost incurred, is the responsibility of each participant, and should be purchased at the time of sending in the deposit.

Note: the course fee could vary slightly depending on the exchange rate between the euro and the dollar when the balance of the course fee is due in the spring.


Application form

Responsibility: Atelier Saint-Luc, Ian Roberts and /or their agents provide services and can not be responsible in part or in whole for any delays, missed carrier connections, delayed departures or arrivals, error or omissions, accident irregularity, faults, loss, damage or injury to persons, or property or negligence of any cause. The company reserves the right to alter arrangements or itinerary if necessary, to cancel tours if enrollment is insufficient to cover costs. By purchasing this tour the participant acknowledges and accepts these conditions.

If you have any questions you can leave a message using the contact form.

Copyright © 2018 Atelier Saint-Luc