The stunningly beautiful setting of the Dordogne Valley in which the seminar takes place would be enough to inspire any observant artist.
That environment, coupled with Dean’s serious, well organized instruction, insightfulness and personalized encouragement, combines to form an unparalleled opportunity to develop as a painter.
And, the icing on the cake (or should I say “le glaçage sur le gateau”) are the memorable, instructive suggestions and delightful company offered by Dean’s wife and fellow painter, Jo Robinson. A jolly good time was had by all!
Mauri Tamarin USA
Spectacular is an understatement! Everything about this experience was beyond my expectations; the chateau is spacious and replete with old-world charm, the peaceful surroundings and scenery of rolling fields enveloping the winding river are beyond stunning, truly a painter’s dream with almost too many opportunities to choose from. Every one of Noelle’s meals were so fresh and delicious, perfectly prepared with artistry and care. Most notable, however, was the expertise and insight of our instructors, Dean and Josephine, whose knowledge, vision, patience, and guidance made every one of us feel more confident and inspired in our work. I’ll be returning next year!
My week in the Dordogne was the trip, and the class, of a lifetime. Dean’s instruction, always enlightening and inspiring, took on a whole new depth in these extraordinary surroundings. Easily within walking distance were places to paint of astonishing beauty and variety: views of lush river and hills,;vistas past village streets and fairy-tale castles of golden stone; a swimming pool David Hockney would have envied: a picturesque pasture and orchard. Mornings were misty and mysterious, afternoons and evenings bright and clear. It’s easy to see why this area draws tourists from around the world. Every evening, hot air balloons drifted past us along the course of the river, once so close we could hear the flames roar on and off, sounding like the breath of dragons.
The chateau itself was just beautiful, and just the right size to accomodate our very congenial and stimulating group of painters. We were beautifully taken care of not just by Dean and Jo — who arranged the logistics to make transport etc.easy — but by Noelle, the chef, who prepared three delicious meals and an aperitif feast daily. I felt as if I was dining at a Michelin starred establishment, but was astonished to find on my return that I had actually lost weight, despite feasting on bread, cheese, charcuterie, and every rich dessert Noelle offered. Three different regional wines provided by her friend Jerome, plus a tiny tutorial on each, were offered at each meal. Oo la la!
I couldn’t recommend this experience more highly.
This painting week in the Dordogne was an unforgettable experience. The painting lessons and live demonstrations were inspirational and educational, after which Dean gave every student personal attention and instructions.
On top of being a master painter, Dean is a wonderful person, friendly and knowledgeable. Dean and his wife Jo spared no effort to teach and help and take care of everyone.
The location is amazing . A whole chateau with wonderful views on the river in one of the most beautiful villages in France. There are endless beautiful landscapes to paint around the chateau. The group was joined by chef Noëlle who made magical meals paired with wonderful wines, a real treat.
The whole week was wonderful, enriching, and very tasty experience. I hope to be able to repeat it next year.
That was truly an amazing week. The beautiful location, the Chateau, the instruction, the quiche that made me cry (thank you Noelle) and a whole new group of friends were all part of an experience I will never forget!
Thank you for helping me get to my next level of painting!
I signed up for Dean’s Dordogne painting course hoping to improve my painting skills.
But I left with so much more.
When it comes to painting courses there are loads out there with good painters who aren’t very good at teaching. Dean is both a great painter and teacher. He has a calm and logical method of teaching that truly inspired and connected with me.
Dean made me aware of the gaps in my knowledge that were preventing me from moving forward. I now have a much better understanding of how to critique my own work and this alone has made a huge difference.
Dean is so knowledgeable and passionate about art and with Jo they make a wonderful team. I was delighted to find that you get “two for one” as Jo offered some great tips when I was struggling.
I am now building a body of work knowing how to look at my work objectively.
I signed up specifically to paint better but I would have enjoyed the week just as much if I had just wanted to come along and paint the beautiful scenery and enjoy Noelle’s delicious food (and the wonderful choices of wine). .
Not only was the course both fun and challenging but Dean’s direct feedback for improving my painting was invaluable. I cannot speak highly enough of this course!
It has been a month since we are back from Dean Fisher’s workshop at Dordogne, and the feeling of the extraordinary experience is still overwhelming.
A dream week in all meanings for all senses. For a short moment we were transformed into the fairytale princesses living in a fantastic castle, catered with aesthetic gourmet meals cooked by chef Noel, delicious wine selected for ever serving, aperitifs on the balcony overlooking the Dordogne river at sunset and hot air balloons as the stage decoration for the daily works critique.
And the important of all: the infinite inspiration, knowledge and sharing of Dean Fisher, who was always with us and for us at morning lectures and discussions, at virtuosic demonstrations, at responding to requests of each of us with kindness and sensitivity.
It was an unanimous opinion that there was absolutely nothing to complain about during the week! Thanks to Jo, everything went exceptionally well and smooth.
Thanks for an unforgettable experience to you: Jo, Noel and Dean and all our new friends in the group.
Yana and Yardena
I am looking back fondly at my painting trip to France this past summer with Dean Fisher and Josephine Robinson.
I love to look at the paintings I made to remind me of what a wonderful experience it was. The chateau where we stayed was full of old-world grace, and in a very picturesque location above the Dordogne River. It had a tower section where my room was, and my first painting was made in my bedroom with gouache, on a rainy day. (We were not allowed to use oil paint indoors). It was a toss-up whether to paint out the window from the bathroom and capture the landscape across the river, rolling hills and fields and barns, or the leaded glass windows and pink toile and rose velvet furnishings, and I chose the latter. The result was a moody and luscious interior.
Every day after that we made two and sometimes three paintings outdoors en plain aire, following an inspirational session of looking at paintings by famous artists. There were so many locations that were suitable for painting all around the property. There were fabulous views of the river, rooftops, hedges, orchards, great old Lebanese Cyprus trees, magnificent rock cliffs, a swimming pool, outbuildings, a pigeonnaire, far views with clouds, sky, fields and trees of various kinds (walnuts, poplars) and houses. There was always something to inspire a painting, but I learned that all I had to do was to shift my point of view a little and a good painting could be created from the same spot that I had been in the day before. It was a rigorous schedule, but excellent practice to get up and paint every day for hours.
Dean and Jo made their rounds and helped out when the going got rough, and were generous with fresh suggestions, but sensitive to the style of the painter too. The chateau was equipped with an art cave in the bottom of the tower where all the wet paintings and the equipment was stowed. There were 43 steps up to the top, past the old kitchen (which was full of many implements befitting some gorgeous still life paintings and where the washing machine was), to the patio on the ground floor. There we had our evening aperitif and critiques of the day’s work, with the amazing backdrop of river, landscape, and hot-air balloons which descended from the cliff every evening. From there Noel would summon us to the dining room for another delicious and imaginative meal which we always looked forward. The food overall was excellent, fresh and healthy.
The group was congenial. It was satisfying to be in the company of other artists from different parts of the world who had similar interests and struggles of creating paintings and the talk was lively and sometimes deep. In addition, walks to the town were interesting and picturesque.
As I look at the paintings I made I feel I made progress in my work, getting out there and getting it done.
Dean helped me especially with color intensity and perceiving values and temperatures, showing new combinations of hues to achieve this, and encouraging freedom of brushwork. His thoughtful comments and perceptive eye are reassuring and true.
I really don’t have the proper words to express my experience painting in Dordogne Valley but I’ll try to do it justice.
I spent an unforgettable week in southern France with Dean, his wife Josephine (also an incredible artist) and 8 other wonderful folks from all over. Gary, Judith, Maurie, Nadine, Trish, Yana, Yardena & Yolanda. We’d all gathered at Chateau Lamalartrie in La Roque- Gagaec to try out or improve our skills in landscape painting.
It’s amazing how close you become and how much you come to admire and learn from the people you paint with in such a short time. We spent many hours all sitting around the dining room table looking at and discussing works of many different artists, old masters through to contemporary artists, whose love for the landscape compelled them to paint. And we did all this while being treated to Chef Noelle’s delicious fresh meals and local cuisine, desserts and lovely wines. Is there anything better?
After a daily morning talk by Dean, we all packed up our plein air gear and found spots on the chateau grounds or surrounding areas. And we painted all day. Uninterrupted. For seven days. I’m sure this was not unusual for some of the company but for me, this was a test. I had not painted for more than a few hours at a time. Would I get frustrated and discouraged and give in to the fear that I am no artist? Quit for good? Or would I be able to slow down and see and listen and learn. Find beauty in the simplest things. On about the third day of class it all just clicked. This is what I want and need to do.
Dean’s individual instruction, dedication, encouragement, his passion for art are so inspiring.
He emboldens you to develop your own personal style. He teaches you to see what many people only care to get a glimpse of. And he instills in each student the desire to see more. He is beyond generous in sharing his knowledge and talent and I cannot thank him enough for this opportunity.
And of course it helps that class was held in such a charming location.
The beauty of La Roque-Gagaec is indescribable. I cannot forget the way the sun fell over the hills across the river in the afternoons. The exquisite light. The ethereal sunsets. We were even graced with a rainbow. There were times when I felt like I was in a Cezanne. Even in the rain it was magical. It all feels like a dream…
I told Dean the first day that I had hoped this would be a life-changing experience.
And it was. I now know that I want to paint, to draw, to create. I want a life full of art. Regardless of what I produce this is my passion and I am beyond thankful to Dean for helping me realize this. So thank you, Dean. It was wonderful to chase the light with you.