13-18 May & 9-14 Sep 2024
We invite you to join us for an exceptional art retreat en plein air. With your tutor Jo’s personalised approach, from offering advice on fundamental techniques to guiding you on your own creative path, it’s suitable for people of all abilities. Mornings and afternoons will be spent sketching or painting, immersed in the splendid nature of the region, evenings spent talking art, relaxing and enjoying shared meals. If you are looking for an authentic art course, to gain new skills, build your confidence and explore your creativity in the great outdoors...then our art retreat is for you.
A practicing artist, with 15 years teaching experience under her belt, Jo will share her expertise to guide you through your creative journey. Jo has taught art & design and photography in secondary schools in London and Cornwall, UK, run adult art groups and classes, delivered community workshops and private tuition.
In the summer months she ran popular outdoor sketching and painting sessions on location in the rugged countryside of Cornwall. In 2022 Jo and her partner Steve moved to the Pyrenees Audoises, France, with the idea to do the same here: a completely different yet stunning and wild landscape.
Jo can give you advice on developing your observational drawing and painting skills through using line, tone, shade and colour whilst encouraging you to explore your own creativity by building on existing skills or learning new ones. Whether you want to use traditional sketching techniques and visual aids such as viewfinders or are interested in pushing the boundaries of your own practice, Jo can support and guide you whatever your approach or chosen medium. She is experienced in teaching to a range of levels in mixed-ability classes, so all art-lovers are welcome and encouraged.
We will visit some of of our favourite locations to draw inspiration from, featuring mountains, hills, forests, rivers, lakes and old villages. After a morning’s study, you can enjoy a pique-nique of local produce – and a glass or two of wine – before continuing sketching or taking up some brushes to paint for the afternoon.
Returning to the house ‘L’Occitania’ for an evening’s relaxation, a shared home-cooked meal and drinks, you’ll have opportunity to discuss your work or take time for yourself. Should you wish to explore the local area, Puivert has several cafes and restaurants, a bar & brasserie and a swimming lake.
Jo has exhibited (as Jojo Blacksmith) extensively in Cornwall and the UK, at the Gallerie du Bassin in Chalabre, France and will be showing with Artistes a Suivre this year in Puivert.
Her artwork can be seen on the walls at L’Occitania and online at:
Sample Itinerary (activities may vary)
Pick up Carcassonne, return to house/arrive at house (if using own transport), welcome drinks, dinner followed by art chat - an opportunity to discuss your thoughts and ideas with Jo
Breakfast, set out on location, sketching, pique-nique lunch, afternoon sketching or painting, return to chambre d’hotes for drinks, a look at the day’s work, dinner and drinks
Breakfast, set out on location, sketching, visit café for lunch, afternoon sketching or painting, return to chambre d’hotes for drinks, dinner and a look at the day’s work, visit to local bar (optional)
Breakfast, followed by an art chat - a review of the weeks’ work and the chance to discuss your personal practice with Jo, lunch followed by drop-off at l’aeroport or la gare
We will provide you with a sketchbook to keep and all required equipment and materials. However, if you have your own materials and/or equipment, feel free to bring these with you. Some locations will require walking on uneven ground, short hikes or climbing steep stairs, so it’s advisable to bear this in mind and to bring appropriate footwear. As we’ll be outdoors for most of the day, we’d recommend a sun-hat and good sun protection.
We can accommodate up to 7 people. We have 2 double rooms (with double beds) and 1 triple room (1 double + 1 single bed). Bathrooms are shared. Non-artist partners/friends are welcome.
1,150€ per person for artists
550€ per person for non-artists (price includes accommodation, meals, drinks, pick-up/drop-off if required)
For participating artists this price includes:
5 nights/4 days accommodation
Breakfast/lunch/dinner/drinks – café lunch on one of the days
Transport to locations
Equipment & materials
"Jo has such enthusiasm and knowledge of her subject which makes the classes so interesting and gives so much confidence to her students. What I think is so great that she can have 6 people in her class all doing a project and come up with 6 vastly different results...and get the best out of us all."
“I have spent the afternoon sketching with Jo, sat on the cliffs and down on the beach. What a fantastic experience, Jo is a great tutor, very patient and helpful. I loved being able to try different mediums and am definitely going to invest in some pastels…thanks Jo.”
“…a lovely afternoon…we really enjoyed the experience…appreciated Jo's kind and gentle encouragement”
“Great location and fantastic tutor”