On the way to the Oppède quarry, located in the Luberon, I could already enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Provence. This area is known for its limestone, which has been used to build the palaces and churches in Avignon and the many fountains in the region, among other things.
This limestone is a soft stone that is easy to work and therefore suitable for beginners to learn the techniques of sculpting. But the visit to the quarry was not just a practical matter. It was also a wonderful and impressive experience.
Once I arrived at the quarry of I was overwhelmed by the size of the quarry and the beauty of the limestone quarried here. I was allowed to choose my own stone and it was fascinating to see how the limestone is cut from the mountain and then moved with the help of machines.
As I walked around the quarry, I felt small and void among the huge limestone blocks around me. But at the same time, I also felt inspired and honored to be part of this artisanal process that has been taking place in Provence for centuries.
After choosing my stone and paying the price, I left with a car full of limestone for Menerbes for a delicious lunch with a great view of Provence. I also visited nearby Rousillon, known for its ochre mines. On the way back, I made another stop in Avignon to stroll through this beautiful city and enjoy the square near the Palace of the Popes.
A day to the Oppède quarry was not only a practical matter to buy limestone for my sculpture course, but also a wonderful experience that gave me inspiration and introduced me to the artisanal process of quarrying limestone in Provence.
Welcome to the sculpting course at Saint Bérain. I have enjoyed teaching the sculpting course for more than 20 years in Saint Bérain, a beautiful setting in France. From late April to October, beginners and experienced sculptors can enjoy an active vacation.
We start the morning with the course where I teach you all about the techniques and process of sculpting. Together we work with different materials, such as alabaster, limestone and serpentine. I teach you carving techniques and how to approach the process of sculpting: from designing and sketching to creating the primary main form and playing with positive and negative forms.
But it’s not just about technique. During my course, your personal creative process is the focus. What do you want to make? Are you more interested in figurative images or just abstract forms? I would love to help you discover your own style and find inspiration.
After the morning class, you have the afternoon free to spend. It is wonderful to explore the beautiful surroundings of Saint Bérain and enjoy French culture and cuisine. And speaking of which, in our bed and breakfast you will be spoiled with the most surprising and delicious meals that Ahmed, our cook, prepares especially for us. His creativity in the kitchen is inspiring. Eating together and chatting about the day is always an important moment of the course.
Every year I look forward to meeting new students and guiding them in their artistic journey. It is a special experience to see how my students develop during the course. I hope I can also welcome you to my sculpting course in Saint Bérain.
Welcome to the course week Urban Sketching! I am Jaap and I am an artist who focuses on capturing the world around us in my sketchbook, drawings and painting.
This year I am organizing a course week in the beautiful region of Haute-Loire. We will hike together through this breathtaking nature, taking us through mountains, valleys, forests and small villages. It is the perfect setting for hikers and to unleash our creativity and be inspired by the beauty of the natural environment.
During this course week we will explore the basics of, light and dark, use of color and composition. I will teach you how to capture key features of the landscape.
I will guide you in developing your own style and techniques as we take inspiration from the landdscape, villages and our own creativity. I look forward to exploring this beautiful area with you and capturing it in our sketchbooks.
Urban Sketching course weeks are in June and September.
And we can’t wait to get started ! We will begin our painting and sculpture course on Saturday, April 22, and we still have places available for this week. What makes this course unique is that we offer you a personalized approach to your creative process. Jaap van der Wal will guide and support you in developing your creative skills. And while you get inspired by the beautiful surroundings of Auvergne, Ahmed takes care of the culinary part and offers you a delicious culinary experience.
Whether you are a beginner or advanced student, this course is suitable for anyone looking for an inspiring and creative experience. Together with a group of like-minded students, you will be challenged to push your limits and discover new artistic possibilities. We cordially invite you to join this course and enjoy the silence and tranquility of Auvergne while developing your creativity. Reserve your spot for this experience.
During our visit to the Netherlands, we visited a Dutch mill. Mill de Ruiter in Vreeland.
This mill is run by volunteers, one of these volunteers is Karen a guest who regularly comes to sculpt with us in Saint Bérain. We had the idea to meet her other hobby miller!
On a cold Saturday afternoon, we were given extensive tours of an old wind mill that has been converted into a grist mill. Incredibly interesting and impressive to see how a mill functions. Nice to meet the all the other millers who keep this heritage running. You can visit the small store in the mill every Saturday to buy flour. We fell head over heels, during our visit we could taste the first speculoos cake still warm from the oven.
The mill is beautifully situated on the Vecht River and can be visited every Saturday.
Mill de Ruiter Nigtevechtseweg 24, 3633 XT Vreeland. www.korenmolenderuiter.nl
This weekend, the first snow fell in Saint Bérain. Our house is at an altitude of 1000 meters, and at this altitude we have snow every winter. The first snow always gives a magical feeling. Nature is coming to a halt and it is time to walk in the snow and read a book by the wood stove. Our Department is on average the highest department in France and also the one with the most snow days. While the highest mountain is only 1700 meters high.