La Bonne Etoile Artists Retreat was specifically developed to assist artists and writers who would benefit from an experience in another culture, along with a time of seclusion and solitude. But through the years it has developed into more....a community of friends. La Bonne Etoile Blog has been designed to expand the richness of that community by continuing the quest to create and recreate together.

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La Bonne Etoile workshops are ALL-INCLUSIVE, starting and ending with hospitality shuttles to and from any Paris airport. Our workshop instructors are well known for quality, patient instruction for all levels of students. contact kristina@labonneetoile.com for full information. Be sure to visit the individual websites of the artists, you will find links to La Bonne Etoile workshop information there as well.

Michelle Wells Grant Blog – France 2014 – Part 1

For those that are still on the fence on whether a stay at La Bonne Etoile is in your stars for the summer of 2015….pull up a chair, and have a good read.

It is always a blessing to experience La Bonne Etoile through the eyes of our guests.  10520846_10205246069459761_8159841505932365027_nPlease welcome Michelle Wells Grant from Austin TX as we share her blog from 2014 while attending the summer workshop of Margaret Dyer.  Reprinted by permission of Michelle Wells Grant.

Saturday, June 7, 2014 Hailing! And not the icy kind.

One more post before heading off to France on Tuesday where I will be learning to paint figures in pastel (and more) under the tutelage of the amazing Margaret Dyer. Two weeks of painting plus some day excursions to Paris and other local places to break up the studio time! So very excited about this!

I’m going to try to blog from there but will be using my iPad instead of my computer for that, something I’ve not done before, so this post is kind of a test. Hopefully it will all work out and I’ll be able to share photos and descriptions of the fabulous experience I’m about to have.

In the meantime, here is a painting I’ve almost finished of my daughter hailing a taxi in the rain in New York two weeks ago. Maybe just a tad more tweaking required. Suggestions are welcomed … there are a few things about it that are still bothering me but sometimes I can’t see what they are! Feel free to jump in.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bonjour, France!

Nope. I wasn’t able to blog from France after all. Access to wifi was limited and time was even more so. We were busy, busy, busy with painting both in the studio and en plein air, touring charming villages and amazing museums, shopping at the local brocantes and oui, oui … eating lots of beautiful French food.So I’ll play catch-up. This will be the first of a series of posts I will write to share my fabulous experience. For those who may not be aware of my reasons for going to France, here’s the thumbnail. My good friend, neighbor and fellow pastelist, Jane, and I decided that we MUST jump in on the great opportunity to study under the tutelage of award-winning and master pastelist, Margaret Dyer. She would be teaching this two week workshop at La Bonne Etoile in Fontaine-Fourche for the 5th year, I believe. Jane and I followed her daily blog posts from her workshop last year and we fell in love with the idea of it. So as soon as registration opened up last fall, we were the first two students to register for this year’s workshop. Voilá!Off we went to France on June 10. We were exhausted but exhilarated upon arrival. It was so beautiful there! The weather, the gardens, the food …  all gorgeous! Day one in the studio was challenging but fun and so informative. Margaret Dyer is an amazing teacher. Enough words … see for yourself!

Through these gates we found a wonderland waiting for us on the other side.

In the village of Fontaine-Fourche (east of Paris) is La Bonne Etoile, the magnificent home and artist retreat owned by Jerome and Kippy, the greatest hosts ever. The house and gardens are breathtaking!

This is the massive barn where the studio is located, right through that turquoise door and up the stairs.

Jane and I stayed in the gite (pronounced zheet) across the road from the main house. It was a charming little place that housed four of us. Jane and I were in the spacious upstairs bedroom with bath and there were two other ladies downstairs, where there was also a common kitchen and dining area.

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of our magnificent bathroom sink. We found most bathroom fixtures and faucets in France to be grand and beautiful.

We even had our own private garden at the gite. Here’s Jane enjoying her morning coffee.

Here we are … the fabulous artists and soon-to-be-friends attending Margaret’s workshop. There were 12 of us, hailing from all over the place; New Jersey, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, and three from Tasmania. Aka the Tasmaniacs. Which they are. We adore them. See Jerome, our fabulous French host, hiding amongst all those women!

Every night we were served a five course meal on this beautiful patio, lasting three hours from about 7:30 to 10:30. The food … magnifique! I returned home with extra baggage … and not in the suitcase!

Beyond the turquoise door lies the studio, where the magic happens. Next post: painting in the studio. Exactly what we came to do! Stay tuned!

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of Michelle Wells Grant’s wonderful blog of 2014

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