Portrait Painting Week In France

From £1019 pp

France, French Pyrenees

6 Nights / 7 Days

Join a Group of 6-8

Portrait Painting Week In France

From £1019 pp

What You'll Do

Discover the South West of France where the Pyrénées meets the sea. Learn to paint in a relaxing environment with an experienced and talented tutor.

The portrait painting holiday is a step out of our busy lives and a chance to reset. Kate will show you how she develops ideas and creates her paintings.

Learn how to work from both photographic sources and a life model. We will go through the stages of oil painting and learn a variety of oil painting techniques. Kate created her painting holidays, so our community of participants can discover or reconnect with art in a beautiful and serene atmosphere. Physical and mentalwellbeing are of utmost importance for creating artistic endeavours and, through our painting courses, she hopes not only will you engage with your own painting but find that much needed space to relax. Learning new skills and techniques and being able to be part of a collective of artists will give you artistic energy and a shared experience. Creating lasting memories in the majestic scenery of South-West France.

The painting holiday comes with full accommodation in a beautiful local auberge, delicious French meals, painting equipment and three full days of tuition learning how to paint from a qualified art teacher and professional artist. Each room has an ensuite. The restaurant is renowned in the area for it’s traditional French cuisine. Enjoy a three course evening meal.


Located in the heart of the village of Laàs, between the city of Navarrenx and the medieval city of Sauveterre-de-Béarn, the Auberge de la Fontaine is the very expression of hospitality and rural friendliness.  All rooms have an ensuite.


During your stay you will learn the following skills:

  • Select and take good source photographs for portraiture
  • Work from a direct subject
  • Prime and prepare our canvas
  • Set up an oil painting palette and organise your working space
  • Mix solutions for oil painting
  • Mix a range of colours and tones to create realistic flesh tones.
  • Create an underpainting using principals from the Masters
  • How to block in tonal areas and understand the planes of the face
  • Use a range of techniques to add detail, including glazing techniques
  • Create a portrait to take home

2024 DATES:

26th May – 1st June 2024


Learn oil painting techniques from a skilled tutor to create your own stunning portrait in oils

Relax in the majestic scenery of South West France

Enjoy authentic French cuisine and experience French culture

Your Local Host:


I am a professional artist who has exhibited in both London and Hong Kong. I have my own art studio and gallery in South West France. I am a fully trained art teacher with a BA in illustration and a PGCE in art teaching. I am so happy to share my love of art with others and show you techniques for developing your own oil and acrylic paintings.

Experience Itinerary


Arrive at the local Auberge for a relaxing evening with a beautiful three course French meal. Explore your beautiful surroundings, decompress and meet the other members of the group.

Introduction to Portrait Painting

8.45am -9.45 am

A continental breakfast awaits you. Transfer to the studio in Laás to start the day.

10 am- 12.30 pm 

We will start with a drawing lesson exploring proportions and planes of the human head. Exploring how to build up tone using one colour. 


Lunch at or local French restaurant

1.45pm-4.45 pm 

Working from photographic reference we will work on a small painting to understand the principals of oil painting. 

We will prepare the canvas and continue to develop the underpainting. 

Looking at how to see tonal ranges in a portrait we explore how to set up a work space and oil palette developing colour mixing and creating flesh tones. 

Students will learn to mix solutions for painting and how to use them. Getting ready for our next day of painting.

5pm- 5:30pm Drinks

7:39 pm- A three course meal for dinner.

Followed by your own relaxation time.

A Day in the Studio

8.45am-9.45 am

A continental breakfast awaits you. 

9.45am -10am 

Transfer to the studio

10am -4.45pm 

Day of painting in the studio in Laás.

Kate will teach you the next steps to successfully create a portrait using layers to build up your piece. This will give you the confidence before we work with a life model.

Lunch 12.30-1.45pm Picnic by the river and opportunity to swim

1:30 – 5:30 pm- Continue painting

7.30pm- Dinner at the hotel

Followed by your own relaxation time.

Portrait Painting and Artist Talk

8.45-9.45 am

A continental breakfast awaits you. 

10am- 12.30pm

Working from a live model. Developing colour studies of the subject, we will explore the narrative in portraiture. 

12.30pm-1.30 pm Buffet style light lunch


Students continue to develop colour studies from the model. 


You will take a photo of the model and develop your own concept.

5pm Free time- River swim or a lovely walk around the village.

7:30pm Dinner at our house

9pm Drinks and an artist talk. Local artists will come and discuss their work with you.

A Day to Relax and Explore


An early breakfast


Visit to the morning market in Salies de Béarn. 

Taking a break from painting we will explore the thermal town and it’s traditional French market. 

11.30am-12.30 pm 

Return to the studio.

Prepare your canvas for our final painting. 

12.30pm-1.45pm -Lunch in a local restaurant 


Sketching out you’re painting and underpainting.

5:45- 7pm Visit a walled village and local art galleries

8pm Dinner at the restaurant

Finishing Touches


Breakfast at the hotel 

9.45 am Transfer to the studio 


Continuing to work on our final painting we will begin to build up layers adding glazes. 

Students will develop their own art piece exploring the narrative in portraiture. 

12.30pm-1.45pm Lunch at a local restaurant.


We will discuss glazing and how to explore further techniques in your painting.

5pm transfer back to hotel 

7pm Beautiful three course meal to celebrate the end of the course and your fabulous creations.


Enjoy your last breakfast and say your goodbyes!

Location Information

You will be staying in a beautiful and idyllic rural french village, Laas. It is situated in the valley of the gave d’Oloron, to the southeast of Sauveterre-de-Béarn and north-west of Navarrenx, in an area called the Béarn des Gaves.

Getting there:

We can arrange airport pickups for you and an additional cost.

The nearest airports Biarritz or Pau are one hour away.

The nearest train station is Orthez. 

We are situated in a rural area with limited public transport and so there is also the option of car hire if you wish.

Transfers can be arranged from Biarritz or Pau airports at an extra charge – please let us know at the time of booking if you would like us to arrange them.
The cost for a return shared taxi will be approx. 50 euros per person

  • 5 full days of painting tuition from Kate Sparrow. Learn how to paint the portrait in oils
  • Half day working from a life model
  • All art materials
  • 6 night's accommodation with breakfast in the local Auberge with ensuite bathroom
  • Lunch each day for painters, this will be buffet style/picnic
  • Dinner each day is a delicious 3 course meal
  • Visit to a local walled village and the local art galleries
  • Drinks and an artist talk. Local artists will come and discuss their work with you.


Transfers can be arranged from Biarritz or Pau airports at an extra charge - please let us know at the time of booking if you would like us to arrange them.
The cost for a return shared taxi will be approx. 50 euros per person

6 x Breakfast, 5 x Lunch, 6 x Evening Meal