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.
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 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.

Summer 2014: What a Start!

KathleenHeadshot55Bonjour from La Bonne Etoile!

My name is Kathleen Hilliard, and I’ll be the resident assistant, blogger, and coffee maker for the first few workshops of the summer. I’m a recent college grad from Valdosta State University and I am here to learn from these wonderful instructors, eat French cuisine, and see as much of this beautiful country as possible. This being my first time in France, I am so fortunate to have this opportunity to learn about art and culture in such a wonderful setting. This workshop features Stephanie Birdsall, a painter who specializes in floral paintings and en plein air. Her work is outstanding and her techniques are clean, polished, and efficient. The ladies and I have already learned so much and made some serious strides in our work after just a few days of Stephanie’s tutelage. We’ve also had a lot of fun! Just yesterday, we were painting en plein air in a neighboring village when workers came to pull up the flower beds that some of my classmates were in the middle of painting. It was truly like a scene from a movie or an episode of “I Love Lucy.” We all had a good laugh and decided to take a break for lunch at a local pizzeria. Speaking of which, I tried gizzard salad at the recommendation of Kippy, and it was divine! One thing I have learned since arriving is that it is a mistake not to try foods just because they are unfamiliar. Every single meal I’ve had has been out of this world. The ingredients here are so delicious because they are fresh and local, something I have to seek out (and pay extra for) in the United States. Last night we attended an art opening for local sculptor Jean Paul Guenver in a big barn one village over. His woodwork is amazing and it was such a cool experience for the ladies and myself. We socialized to the best of our ability and just took time to examine and enjoy the product of a fellow artist.  Being the youngest one here, I was uncertain what the group dynamics would be like once the guests arrived. What a silly thing to worry about, as these women (and Jerome) are so fabulous I can’t even stand it. Being able to discuss art and experiences with them over a candle lit dinner of vegetables au gratin is such a treat; there is just so much knowledge that each of them brings to the table. Everyone contributes something different which results in a well-rounded and interesting group where dull moments are rare and boredom is nonexistent. I feel like a sponge just trying to soak everything up. Well, that’s enough for today- it’s almost lunchtime, after which I’ll be joining the ladies for an all white still life study (how fun!?)

Until next time, au revoir!

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