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Painting in Southern France


Auvillar and Collioure, France

Program Description

This program will consist of rigorous painting and intensive drawing on the landscape and in the teaching studio Monday through Friday for a total of 6 credits. Informal French lessons will occur daily for no credit. We paint each day in the studio and outdoors, interact with the local community and complete a performance art work combining visual art and movement in the Chapel du Port gallery under the direction of Agnes Carbrey. During the weekends, we visit the treasures of the region, such as local vineyards, the medieval villages of Rocamadour and Carcassonne, the Musee Ingres, the Saint Cecile Cathedral in Albi and le Gouffre de Padirac, one of France's natural wonders.

Landscape Drawing: An introductory to intermediate course emphasizing the skills, approaches and concepts involved in drawing. Composed of studies in landscape, perspective, figure and still life with special attention to composition and expressive possibilities. Basic skills will evolve into more complex descriptive choices utilizing a variety of media including pencil, charcoal, and experimental materials. Student will work in small groups with the instructor both indoors and in the field, ending each day with critiques in the studio facility.

Landscape Painting: This course extends previous practice in design and drawing through daily experiences in painting. Introduction of materials and techniques in oil and acrylic painting with attention given to composition, setting up a palette, color mixing, and paint mediums. Daily on-site focused "quick" painting sketches will lead to more complex paintings built on longer sessions.

Performance Art: An experimental short session where students, pilgrims and local residents will create a large drawing that will document 2 weeks of interaction and movement. This will culminate in a final exhibition and performance in the Chapel du Port Gallery.

Location Description

The hillside village of Auvillar provides expansive views for "plein air" painters. The village abounds with events: concerts, exhibitions, poetry readings, open air markets, museums and monasteries, among them the Musee Ingres in Montauban and The Augustins in Toulouse. Recognized as one of "les plus beaux villages de France" Auvillar is set on the broad green Garonne River, with clearly visible remnants of ancient hilltop fortifications, centuries-old buildings and a spirit of hospitality that has been passed down through generations in this stopover on the historical pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostella. The region is noted for Faience pottery, superb restaurants, troubadour singing, cassoulet, foie gras, strawberries, exquisite wines and tantalizing cheeses. The studios and accommodations are provided by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) at the Moulin a Nef. During the last week of the program we travel to the coastal town of Collioure on the Mediterranean Sea. There we live in a private seaside villa and visit the museums and historic sites of the Catalan region such as the Fort St Elm. This is the fishing village where Matisse and Derain discovered Fauvism: we follow in the footsteps of the masters and create vivid works of art in pastel and paint.


Agnes Carbrey | | 540-570-9831 | Art, Design and Art History
Martha Saunders | | Studio Art


Accommodations will be provided for through a villa, with two meals per day being covered in the program fee.

Additional Items to Consider

This program is targeted towards sophomore through senior level Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Humanities, Photography, Writing, and French majors.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Interview with Program Director
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

apply now 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ART 392: Topics in Art - Landscape Painting (3 credits)

ART 392: Topics in Art - Landscape Drawing (3 credits)

ART 102: Two-Dimensional Design: A French Journal (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.