The Final Days

And that’s a wrap! Our first program of the summer is officially over. The students left yesterday and just the memories remain. The final two days of the session seemed to pass in the blink of an eye with all of the last-minute chaos and excitement, so here is a (quite long, but thorough) summary:

Following a full day of working in the studios on Friday, the Architects had their final Charette on Saturday. They presented their designs for a new house or community center somewhere in the hamlet, not only to a select group of student and faculty jurors, but also the rest of the hamlet as an audience. Their creativity impressed all of us, from towers and rounded-walled rooms to stained-glass windows and storage drawers under the stairs.

Saturday also brought our final banquet—everyone put away their paint- and dirt-streaked clothes in favor of something a bit more fancy. All twenty-six of us piled into the vans to drive into our nearby town for a delicious, traditional Ardéchoise meal. It was a lovely evening of food, toasts, awards, and friendship. The award for the drawing marathon, a three-day drawing competition during which students have to draw a ten-minute sketch during every waking hour of the day, went to Amy! Though she was an Architect rather than a Drawing & Painting major, Amy decided to accept the invitation for all to participate in the marathon; both the quantity and quality of her sketches aided in her win of the coveted prize—a sketchbook and pen from the art store Michel in Aix-en-Provence. After such an action-packed day, everybody needed rest in preparation for presentations the next day. 

On Sunday, the Drawing and Painting majors and the Photographers presented their massive collected works, along with oral discussions of their art and their experiences here at Les Tapies. The variety of works and level of curiosity and experimentation the students exhibited blew us away, as did their eloquence in talking about the work. 

The portraits, landscapes, and experimental works of the photographers exhibited their dedication in the darkroom and in their lessons all over the hamlet and the nearby towns and cities.

Drawing & Painting majors proved their development through the projects they all experienced, but also the works they were inspired to create and designed individually. 

After all of the stress of charettes and presentations, our last group event of the program allowed everybody to relax and connect through their creative energy once again. The giant game of Pictionary was something everyone needed, and it was the students’ last chance to earn points for the amiable house vs house competition—the Les Tapies Cup. After three weeks of various events like Art History Trivia, Les Tapies’ Got Talent (our talent show), an Uno battle, a Ping Pong Tournament, etc., Fouine rose supreme. Amy and Maria, two of our teachers and the founders of the Les Tapies Cup were beyond happy to present their house cup creation—a real bird nest painted purple and gold with golden eggs (aka rocks) inside to represent each of the five houses—to students Amy, India, and Nathalie, along with their house mom, Alyssa. They wrote their names on the trophy to be memorialized for all of history on the mantel of our main house. Congratulations Fouine, and thank you to everyone for showing such excitement for these fun events!

It is so difficult to say goodbye to this incredible group of students, but it only makes us even more hopeful for the next group arriving in just a couple of days on Thursday the 18th! Stay tuned for the second session and keep an eye out for Instagram (@lestapiesarts) and Facebook (Les Tapies Summer Arts Programs) posts.

Aix-en-Provence

As we begin to approach the work-heavy, exciting but chaotic final days of the program, the students have probably already forgotten about their last life-changing excursion to Aix-en-Provence, but we have not!

We journeyed down south for a full-day trip in the polished (in Joey’s words), historic city of Aix, known for being the home of Paul Cezanne, and one can see their pride on every single street corner and storefront, with Rue de Cezanne and the Paul Hotel providing just two examples. Cezanne was one of the most infamous artists in all of art history - he lived during the second half of the 19th century going into the 20th, and laid the foundations for all of 20th century art. The myriad of art movements and breakthroughs that exploded out of the 20th century all owe their thanks to this man. 

Not only is Cezanne now revered by the people of Aix, but all people from around the world, like us, can admire and remember his work by visiting his studio. Our students had the opportunity to see the space in which he painted, sketch his still life objects that one can recognize from his paintings, and bask in the light of his ginormous north light window (north light provides even light all day, which is important for artists) that covers an entire wall of the space.

We next walked down into the city center of Aix, stopping by a beautiful sculpture garden, in search of lunch, shopping (especially at a huge art store that offers everything imaginable for a young artist!), gorgeous architecture to sketch, and ice cream to battle the heat. Everyone had three hours of free time before reconvening for a visit to the Musée Granet, featuring an exhibition of Fabienne Verdier’s work entitled “Sur les Terres de Cézanne”. 

Although she is French, born and raised, Verdier spent considerable time in China exploring the tradition and technique of Chinese painting with ink and brush. For this collection, she combined her study of this style with her French heritage, going out into the landscape where Cezanne painted to create giant plein air minimalist masterpieces with her massive horsehair brushes and thick acrylic paint. And best yet, we were all beside ourselves when Fabienne Verdier was there, in the flesh, in the last room of her exhibition! A few of our students had the opportunity to speak with her about her work and came back with eyes wide and feelings elated.

We now have just our final presentations and the end of program banquet remaining—stay tuned! 

Charrette #1, Portraits, Printmaking, and Gallery Opening

Things are still in full swing here at Les Tapies - some might say that our lives here are ordered chaos, and we definitely agree, but in the best way possible! We never sit still here and that is why our students produce such incredible work, both in quality and quantity, and why they encounter so many life-changing experiences.

Just a few days ago, our Architecture students reached a major milestone - their first Charrette (what we call their Architectural presentations, meaning “cart” in French, or a public meeting to discuss the plans for something). In front of a low-stakes panel of judges, the students presented their plans for a treehouse here at Les Tapies, taking into account optimal location on the grounds, thoughtful choice of the base tree, and the design of the structure itself. The students learned the importance of precision in their measurements and their ideas as the panel questioned their visual plans and the clarity of their presentation.

Both the Photography majors and the minors are in the process of exploring portrait photography. They are learning how to set up useful lighting, and how to use natural lighting to their advantage with placement and reflectors. The manual settings of the camera used for portraiture are also quite different than those used for other styles of photography, so they can add this to their repertoire. The majors even had the opportunity to photograph Paul Chalencon, a close friend of Les Tapies and a goat farmer that lives just down the road. A trip to the internationally acclaimed Arles Photography Festival renewed the majors’ and minors’ excitement and energy going into our final week.

Drawing and Painting students tackled the Les Tapies road in acrylics and oils, leaving some feeling frustrated, some satisfied, but all aware of the beauty surrounding this place. They have also received an introduced to printmaking, beginning with linocuts, and many students have discovered the all-consuming power of carving where two hours can pass unnoticed with the project unfolding in front of them.

And finally, we opened our faculty gallery exhibition for the students to see what we do as artists, and told them about our artistic inspirations and processes. It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to look at pieces by working artists and be able to ask them questions about the work itself. They also read each faculty member’s artist statement, preparing them for writing their own for their final presentation as the culmination of their time here. Much is in store in this final week! Check out the Instagram (@lestapiesarts) and Facebook pages (Les Tapies Summer Art Programs) for more updates, including highlights from our talent show - Les Tapies’ Got Talent!

Week 1, Short Trips, and Exhibition Opening

A whole week has passed here at Les Tapies since the students first arrived! On Sunday the 30th, the whole hamlet enjoyed a much-needed lie in, abruptly ended when word spread that our head chef, Perrin, had arrived with a mouthwatering display of viennoiseries for breakfast! After a morning trip into the tiny, but lively nearby village, Saint Pierreville, for Sunday market, each group set off for a short day trip. 

The Architecture students headed for a collection of tree houses that are rented out as vacation homes, in order to glean possible ideas for their own tree houses they are designing for our hamlet. Following an introduction to portrait photography yesterday, the Photo majors left for the gorgeous hill town of Chalencon to test their skills with the people in town and capture the character of a truly historic and unique rural French town environment. The D&P majors remained a bit closer to home, readying themselves for a walk just up the hill from our hamlet to plein air paint in the landscape, some working in acrylic paint, and others in oils.

Much awaits for our students this week, beginning with an excursion to Avignon on Tuesday and a gallery opening in our own Les Tapies gallery on Wednesday, featuring the work of all the faculty. This gallery opening follows the taking down of our P&D instructor, John’s, incredible solo exhibition, “Memory, Recollection, and Invention,” combining the history of this area in both physical objects and in theory with geometric abstraction in a moving and varied display that students viewed and heard about Friday afternoon.

Today, Tuesday the 2nd, our students travel to Avignon to visit the Palais des Papes, where the popes lived for a century leading up to the Great Schism, the Collection Lambert, which houses a private family collection of contemporary art, and the Pont du Gard, which is considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. More soon!

Mazan Abbey and the Massif Central

Mazan Abbey, an 11th century, now-ruined Cistercian monastery, presented our students with an endless number of spectacular views for their first big excursion away from our hamlet home base on Friday the 28th. We traveled up into the highlands of the Massif Central in hopes of escaping the overwhelming heat with the rise in elevation. Our hope proved true, evidenced by the students’ level of excitement and energy, in addition to the incredible level of work they created during the day.

The Drawing and Painting majors produced studies of architecture that focused on linear perspective and suggesting mass and volume. The variety of color, texture, and shape in the stone ruins of the abbey provided the perfect subject matter for these drawings in pencil and conte chalk. 

Photographers went wading in the nearby river, searching for compositions featuring the picturesque rippling water and vibrant wildflowers, thrown into intriguing combinations of light and shadow. Of course, they also enjoyed the opportunity to take of their shoes and cool off in the refreshing water.

Finally, the Architects explored what was, for most, a completely new chapter in their architectural studies - watercolor perspectival studies of architectural forms with our resident watercolorist, Drawing and Painting instructor Alyssa. The combination of the exceedingly grandiose Romanesque style of the abbey with the largely fallen and worn sections of the structure made for a perfect location to introduce this new skill in preparation for their own buildings the students will design on our own hamlet property.

And before returning home, some of the students made a side trip on the way home to a viewpoint looking out on the utterly unique and indescribably beautiful landscape of the Massif Central to take photos, draw, and relax amongst the vista and the wildflowers.

Beginnings

And here we go! The first of our two high school summer arts programs is now under way at Les Tapies. The seventeenth century hamlet, beautifully renovated over decades by co-director Fernando Gonzalez, already feels livelier and more filled with excitement and artistic desire than just a few days before. Now two days into the session, we were so excited to welcome our eighteen students to this incredible part of the world and hit the ground running in each of the three majors: Drawing & Painting, Photography, and Architecture.

 After a much-needed lie in, we began the first full day of our three-week session with a group hike to a tree, accurately named Lone Tree, which protrudes solitary from the landscape along the nearby ridge. Interacting with the breathtaking land around us, bonding between students and teachers, and shaking off the heavy jet lag were just a few of the takeaways from this short, but exciting trip.

 The students have now experienced their majors in two action-packed sessions and will shortly begin their minor courses as well. Photography students overviewed the basic functions and components of manual film cameras and shot their first rolls of film around their new home, focusing on stone, nature, and the intimate moments in which they interact with each other and the man-made world. They must now learn the challenging process of developing their film before they can start printing the images.

The architects discussed what it means to create a building, especially one that becomes a person’s home, like Les Tapies, and broke down the most important components of designing a structure. They also went on a scavenger hunt around the hamlet to find unique aspects of our own home for the next few weeks. Their discoveries included dates carved into the stone of the buildings, etched shapes like hearts and crosses, and the exact number of arches interspersed throughout the architecturally-masterful complex.

Drawing and painting majors began with seemingly straightforward drawing exercises; however, these tasks were anything but simple. D&P teachers John and Alyssa chose ones that challenge the mind by broadening one’s ability to observe from multiple perspectives, utilizing senses other than sight to decipher one’s subject, or by imagining something that does not yet exist. Understanding the characteristics required of an artist, such as curiosity, courage, vulnerability, and imagination provided the building blocks for the preliminary introduction to the major. In their second session, the students walked out into the landscape around the hamlet to find aspects of nature to sketch from direct observation.

 Check back in for more soon and be on the lookout for photos from our first excursion tomorrow to the twelfth century Cistercian monastery, Mazan Abbey!

Banquet and Departures

With the arrival of the second session students, it is time to finally bring the first session to a close. On last Sunday, everyone got dressed up for a final banquet in our nearby town of Saint-Pierreville.

During our three-course classic Ardéchoise meal featuring goat’s cheese, lamb, and chestnuts, the instructors presented gifts to a few of the students. Tara and Maria João received sketchbooks and drawing pens for winning the Drawing and Painting three-day sketching marathon.

Soon after, Fernando and Alyssa recognized Maria Valderrabano as a double major of Architecture and Drawing and Painting for the incredible quality and quantity of the work she managed to produce in both areas during her time at Les Tapies. Fernando gifted Maria a book about the history of architecture in the Ardèche region of France, and Alyssa printed a copy of her own linocut carving of a raven that was created during the session.

The culmination of the evening, however, was the beautiful toast that Frøya delivered, thanking the instructors and her newfound friends for such a lifechanging experience. We are just as grateful to you, Frøya, and the rest of the students, as you are to us for the impact you had and the inspiration you sparked.

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Finally, after a wonderful meal and many commemorative photos, we all headed back up the mountain to our hamlet for one final night together.

Early the next morning with bags packed in the vans, we all gathered for our final goodbyes and last-minute promises to visit in the coming year. First session—you will be sorely missed, but we hope you have an incredible rest of your summer. And, please, keep creating wherever you go!

Final Presentations

In the last few days of the first session, everyone was in a mad dash to put together their final presentations both visually and orally. These presentations are the culmination of the students’ time at Les Tapies featuring, for the Photography majors, a selection of their best pieces produced during the last three weeks, combined with a verbal reflection on their time at the program.

The Architects presented their plans for a new building at Les Tapies, which was placed, designed, and drawn entirely by them. In the process, they defended the choices they made for their building and explained how the "clients" would interact with their newly constructed home.

Finally, the Drawing and Painting majors presented a selection of their best pieces, ensuring that they displayed a variety of media and techniques. Included in this array of artistic works were examples of the writing pieces the Drawing and Painting students completed during the writing portion of the major. And, like the Photo majors, they delivered a verbal reflection of their Les Tapies experience and their artistic progression during that time.

Each student found a way to make their presentation a unique and complete reflection of themselves as an artist, a fact that was punctuated by the artist statements every student wrote under the guidance of Amy, our writing instructor.

Each student presented for 8-10 minutes, followed by feedback from the instructors on the student’s work and his or her growth at Les Tapies. The most important aspect of these presentations, something that is critical for people to learn and utilize in any area of their lives, is developing the ability to accurately and eloquently articulate their thoughts and intentions in front of a group. All artists should be able to communicate their artistic message both in their art form, be it painting, photography, drawing, etc., and in spoken and written words. This is the lesson that we hope to teach through the final presentations, and, from the incredible finesse and articulacy with which the students presented, we believe we have achieved that goal.

Aix-en-Provence

Our trip to Aix-en-Provence was a long, nearly three-hour drive each way, but the city and its many sights more than compensated for the journey. Upon arriving, we stopped first at the Musée Granet for a special exhibition of Picasso and Picabia’s works, looking at the parallels between both their artistic trajectory and their personal relationship.

Next, we walked to the Planque Collection, an extension of the Granet housed in the beautiful Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs which was modified for the museum’s use in 2011.

After absorbing such a significant amount of masterful art and architecture, the students were in need of some free time to shop, eat lunch, and explore the city of Aix with its interesting juxtaposition of 17th century Baroque architecture and a thriving modern society, in part due to its growing student population.

In the early afternoon, our group met at the Hotel de Ville to walk together to Paul Cezanne’s studio just outside the main sector of the city, stopping on the way in a lovely sculpture garden that is adjacent to the Cathedral Saint-Sauveur.

Touring through Cezanne’s studio inspired quite a surreal atmosphere around our students as they took in the scene before them—a collection of his handwritten letters to friends and family, a shelf lined with many of the objects he actually used in his still lives, a couple of his jackets and hats hanging on their pegs, and all of the accoutrements for painting in the 19th century.

The dappled light provided by the trees outside the studio lent itself well to a respite from the sun on such a long and hot day.

Ambling our way back down the hill into the city center, we paused for any last-minute purchases and a couple scoops of ice cream before loading into the vans for the long drive home.

First Architecture Charrette

On Monday, the Architecture students experienced their first Charrette. With the partners they had been working with since the first day of majors, each student presented the ideas and designs they had tirelessly detailed in their drawings for the interior of Chabanes—John and Perrin’s house just a five-minute drive down the road.

Each group created their own plan for the house based on the skeletal structure of the building already in place and was made to explain the reasoning behind their choices to a jury made up of three students and two teachers—one of whom was John himself.

The one exception was Uliana who, as a returning student to the program, had already participated in this particular exercise. Instead, she designed an external art studio for John of her own design and placement on the site.

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Most of the students and instructors from the other majors came to observe and support the Architects during their presentations, and both the audience and the jury asked pertinent questions and gave both positive and constructive feedback for the five presentations.

Some of the presenters in particular (aka Claudio from Milan, Italy) provided the audience with refreshing and entertaining comedic relief while detailing their layout of the house.

When describing their goals in designing the space, the groups emphasized such aspects as the efficiency of natural light use, the flow of inside space, and the simplicity of design. Attempting to contend with both the unfamiliarity of Ardéchois architectural techniques and several pieces of input from the clients seemed a challenging task to say the least, but the Architecture students exceeded expectations, receiving much encouragement and praise from the jury.

Fernando, our Architecture instructor, seemed incredibly proud of his students’ calm demeanor and articulacy while presenting, the tireless work they put into their design ideas and drawings, and their ability to work together as a team.

Nocturnal Session and Waterfall Trip

NOCTURNAL SESSION

The full moon appeared and declared it was time for a Nocturnal Session. On the terrace outside the studio, the instructors set up spotlights and a modeling platform for a life drawing exercise at night for the Drawing and Painting majors.

At the mention of dramatic lighting and loud music, the Photographers decided this was an event not to miss. Even several Architects decided to show off their drawing or photographing skills given the fun and exciting atmosphere. Amy, the Les Tapies summer intern, became the artists’ muse for the night as they drew with conte chalk and experimented with shutter speeds.

One of our photographers, Carolina, trudged her way up to the infinity nest overlooking the hamlet in complete darkness to capture the scene from above, but soon became distracted by the beautiful night sky, and documented it in an incredible compilation.

As the night grew darker, the students struggled to see even with which color of chalk they drew, but this only added to the intrigue of the session, which ended all too soon.

We are all hoping this will not be the last Nocturnal Session of the program, but only time will tell!

 

WATERFALL FIELD TRIP

Yesterday, the Photography majors went on a field trip to a nearby waterfall for an exercise on shutter speed. Our Photography instructor, Barry, wanted the students to use a low shutter speed in order to capture the waterfall as a velvety surface; he believes the best way to learn about technical aspects of the camera is by experimenting with different settings and analyzing the results. 

After making the trek through the woods to the waterfall, some of the students braved the current, impressively avoiding falling on the slippery stone surface, to perch themselves on rocks under the waterfall for a better perspective. They also learned how to handle their cameras in the rain, which meant sticking the cameras under their shirts in the worst of the rainfall. On the way back, the girls convinced Barry that a stop for coffee, tea, and cappuccinos was entirely necessary before driving back to the hamlet to develop their waterfall photos.

L'Abbaye de Mazan

On Sunday July 1st, the Les Tapies crew traveled to Mazan Abbey in the Massif Central of the Ardèche, with a stop at the Saint-Pierreville Sunday market on the way.

Upon arriving, the students viewed the Cistercian abbey for the very first time, but not, perhaps, in the way they expected. The abbey is currently playing host to a contemporary art instillation meant to attract the attention of visitors, like ourselves, and give them a new view of the 12th century abbey. At a certain viewpoint on a ridge above the abbey, all of the circles line up perfectly. The artist accomplished this project by projecting the circles onto the abbey ruins at night while he and his team painted every piece of stone illuminated by the projection.

After walking through the crumbling walls of the abbey and trying to imagine what it would have looked like in its original splendor, everyone got to work. Drawing and Painting students chose the view they would attempt to capture in acrylic and began sketching prior to beginning their painting.

After observing the beautiful, now ruined structure of the abbey, students in Architecture worked with Alyssa, our incredible resident watercolorist, to try their hand at watercolor perspectives.

And finally, our Photographers captured the ruins both on film and digitally, looking for the texture and form of the stone, and doing their best to find unexpected angles of such an old and well-documented structure.

With slightly less time-consuming, but no less challenging tasks set before them, the Architecture and Photography students headed back out on the road for Les Tapies in the early afternoon, leaving the painters at their easels.

After an additional three hours of work that seemed like no time at all, except for the rampant resulting sunburns, Drawing and Painting majors packed up their panels, easels, and paints. They didn’t travel straight home, however, and stopped at a viewpoint on the edge of the Massif to look out over the breathtaking landscape, pick some wildflowers to bring back to our hardworking chefs, Perrin and Jen, and enjoy the freedom of being surrounded by nothing but sun, grass, and sky.

Avignon and Le Pont du Gard

Our excursion to Avignon was a complete success with sunny weather and bearable heat. The excitement of city life was a welcome change for the day from the quiet solitude of our hillside home, and everyone, including the instructors, took the time to capitalize on the opportunity by sketching and photographing their surroundings.

Photography and Architecture students visited Le Palais des Papes—a fortress built in the 14th century as the home for several popes during the same time as the Papal Schism. As the largest gothic palace in the world, Le Palais provided an incredible amount of architecture, art, and historical artifacts for the students to explore.

Meanwhile, the Drawing and Painting students toured through La Collection Lambert, which houses a considerable collection of modern and contemporary art with a focus on minimalism.

Of course, while in Avignon, we all took advantage of the delicious cafés, restaurants, and ice cream shops. Many students also perused the many storefronts that line the streets and came away with some lovely purchases, including Maria’s two new hats from an 18th century hat shop.

By the time we all left the city walls of Avignon and travelled to Le Pont du Gard, we were all feeling exhausted (though the car ride functioned as the perfect time for a nap) and ready for a refreshing swim and a cold drink while we observed the best preserved Roman aqueducts in Europe—a true architectural beauty. While some students jumped right into the chilly water, others decided to make their attempt at capturing the intimidating structure of the aqueduct on paper or on camera.

By the time we finally arrived back at the hamlet, Perrin and Jen, our wonderful cooks, had a gigantic pot of gazpacho waiting for us—the perfect meal after a long, hot day. After dinner, the students began to trickle back to their rooms for some well-deserved sleep to gear up for the coming Major-Minor day.

Our next outing is to Mazan, a cistercian abbey located in the Massif Central of the Ardèche—stay tuned!

Introductions and Gallery Opening

The students have finally arrived and we have jumped head-first into the Les Tapies routine. On Tuesday, our first full day, we all journeyed down into the village of Saint-Pierreville to walk off the jet lag and enjoy some much-needed ice cream and freshly baked pastries.

The day's main event was the opening of the faculty gallery. The space was covered with pieces of all artistic mediums created by the Les Tapies instructors including oil and acrylic paintings, collatype prints, film and digital photographs, letterpress prints, and mixed media pieces (using mainly paper, pastel, and paint). We were so excited to share this work with the students because Les Tapies is truly an artists' community, not simply an art camp, where the instructors and the students create art together, learn from each other's work, and grow closer as a group by sharing their artistic inspirations and passions.

This presentation also featured the story of how Les Tapies came to be—both the program and the hamlet itself. Fernando Gonzalez, the founder of Les Tapies and co-director of the program, detailed the renovation process of the buildings that make up the hamlet and the importance that Les Tapies holds for him. 

The next day, after a Morning Meeting full of exciting news of our upcoming excursion to the city of Avignon, everyone went off to their majors for the first official day of classes. Our instructors are apparently promoters of digging right in because Drawing and Painting students experienced their first life drawing session with our resident model, Camila. At the same time, the Photography majors explored the hamlet and shot their first roll of film, and Architecture students travelled over to the site of which they will be designing the interior for their first charette. Wednesday was also the first day of minors—students chose from Drawing and Painting, Design and Build, Photography, or Art History.

And the real treat was the unveiling of Portuguese sponge cake made by one of our students, Maria. After that delicious success, we are all hoping that our diverse group will share more of their national dishes and introduce us all to new cultures and traditions.

It was a day full of new experiences and hopes are running high for what is afoot in the coming weeks, especially our trip to Avignon. Look out for photos from that excursion in our next blog post!

Cistercian Abbey and Les Rencontres

In rounding off the second week of the program, we made the last of our excursions before the few remaining sessions leading up to the presentations. First, the photographers, along with a few extra students, had the pleasure of visiting the city of Arles for the Les Rencontres festival. In going to the premier photography festival in the world, those who traveled were able to see contemporary photographers and their work whilst also viewing more retrospective pieces such as the early work of Annie Leibovitz. Les Rencontres provided the photographers a fantastic insight into professional fine-art photography and illuminated the different methods they can use to group and present their work for their final exhibition.

 

Meanwhile, drawing and paintingalong with the architecture students traveled further into the Ardèche to visit the Cistercian Abbey of Mazan. Built in the 12th century, Mazan was the predecessor to the now famous Abbey de Sénanque. Upon arrival, staff and students were both surprised to see the Abbey partially converted into a contemporary art instillation for Le Partage des Eaux program featuring across the region. As can be seen in the photographs, the artist painted Mazan with gold circles, which can only be fully viewed at specific viewpoints in the surrounding hillsides.

Nevertheless, both staff and students quickly set to touring the grounds and beginning the days work. The architecture students were given a watercolour perspective tutorial, while at the same time, the drawing and painting members toured the Abbey’s grounds and settled on their own spot for an acrylic study. The trip to Mazan provided another great insight into the culture and history of the Ardèche, whilst giving both groups the chance to supplement their already growing body of work.