Les Tapies

Hey guys! I’ve seen that the brochures for this year’s Les Tapies program are starting to be shown to students, and thought that this would be a good time to share with everyone my experience last summer and how influential it was for not just me, but for my artwork. Whether you’re interested in Drawing & Painting, Photography, or Architecture, the program has classes for everyone’s interests. A professional photographer was the teacher last year, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all you photo students.

The view from the main outdoor patio.

The view from the main outdoor patio.


art students on their way to paint in the south of france, TASIS summer program

On our way to paint en plein air!


architecture students putting in a stone terrace

The design and build group putting in a new stone patio.


figure drawing   a student working on a woodcut print

Life figure drawing, featuring Mr. Smalley and a student working on a woodcut print.


One of the Wednesday excursions, to the Pont Du Gard. The Pont Du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct from the 1st Century AD. It is a raised channel used to carry water from mountains into cities. In this case, it carried water to Nimes.


student collaborative figure drawings

Figure studies during Drawing & Painting. In the background, hung up on the wall, are drawings done in an exercise of switching seats with one another every five minutes and working on each other’s drawing of the same figure at different angles.

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A bit of a recap here on our summer Arts + Architecture program in the South of France. Drawing and Painting is the last major area of study that I was not able to cover in-depth during the program. High school students in this program explore considerable materials and techniques including observational drawing and painting exercises, painting en plein air (in the landscape) with both oil and acrylic, portraiture and self-portraiture, figure drawing from a life model and multiple types of printmaking (to name a few). Below is a collection of images from all of our drawing and painting classes this summer. Thanks to Alyssa DeLaBruere, our visiting artist this summer, for taking many of the fantastic photos in this post. We were very lucky to have Alyssa, an artist and arts-educator based in Vermont. Alyssa has been teaching visual arts for many years and recently opened her own studios for private art instruction. You can find out more about Alyssa’s program here – www.atelierartstudio.com


student painting en plein air - summer drawing + painting program

figure drawing session with models

students outside observational drawing exercise

students in a group critique of portrait paintings

Students in a group critique with their portrait paintings

visiting artist working with students in the landscape

Visiting Artist Alyssa DeLaBruere working outside with students in the landscape

summer drawing + painting program students working in the landscape

drawing and painting exercise - drawing with both hands

art studio objects

summer drawing + painting program students in the landscape

studio work - drawing of a french village

painting demonstration

gallery space at les tapies

A view of our art gallery at Les Tapies

summer drawing + painting program students working in the studio

Students working in the studio

On their way to paint en plein air

student woodcut prints - self portraits

Student woodcut prints – self portraits

en plein air painting

painting supplies

painting class en plein air france - st. pierreville

Painting excursion by the river in St. Pierreville

Visiting Artist Alyssa DeLaBruere

Visiting Artist Alyssa DeLaBruere

The Les Tapies summer architecture program for high school students enables students to take on the role of a professional architect through a variety of dynamic projects including conceptual designs, technical drawings and renderings, and model making. Students study the vernacular architecture of Southern France and learn about the function and design of local hamlets, towns and monasteries. The hamlet at Les Tapies, in its spectacular hillside setting, is a living model of this vernacular heritage and presents an incredible opportunity for architecture students to engage with.

For their first assignment in the program, architecture students were tasked with designing a ‘summer kitchen’ for our very friendly neighbors, the Chalancones. The exciting part about this project is that the family intends to actually build this structure in the near future. The design parameters included being able to seat their extended family (up to 18 people), having an indoor and outdoor eating space, and all of the necessary parts of a kitchen/dining area. Students learned about the vernacular architecture of the region and put great effort into integrating their designs into the surrounding buildings and landscape. Architecture students interviewed the family and worked in teams to take measurements, develop their ideas, and produce several technical drawings. The project culminated in a charrette presentation in which the Chalancones had a front row seat to review the student architect’s designs.


summer architecture program for high school students - measuring the site for their first assignment

Architecture students recording measurements and notes on site after speaking with their client, Jeannette Chalancone

student architects taking measurements on site

Taking measurements

student architects meeting with their client for our summer architecture program in france

Speaking with Jeannette about her ideas for the kitchen

discussing student design parameters

architectural studio

student architectural designs and technical drawings

Working on designs

architecture students taking measurements and notes

Taking measurements around the hamlet

architecture students taking notes

architecture design materials

As a compliment to the architecture major, the Design + Build elective course offers students the chance to design and construct a new project on the Les Tapies hamlet. This summer, we worked on several building projects including a new studio/exhibition space underneath spoon terrace, a new stone patio in front of Pont (the architectural studio space). We also added a chimney and extended a roof to cover the existing bread oven connected to the terrace. Students helped to plan out the deisgns and made the decision to add a window to brighten the interior studio space.

design and build students after mixing cement and pointing

The design and build team ready to do some pointing!

design and build architecture students working on a new studio space

Working on the interior space

the team laying stones for the new terrace

Laying stones and pointing the new terrace


Our summer photography program for high school students is based on traditional black and white film photography. Students here at Les Tapies have been exploring many different types of cameras and film formats these past few weeks. Working with visiting photographer Sally Gall, students have learned a range of technical processes and camera functions. They have been producing a substantial body of work and they are currently gearing up for the final presentation, which will culminate the program. Photography majors also had the opportunity yesterday to take a group trip to Recontres d’Arles an annual photographic exhibition just south of us where we were able to spend the day viewing some incredible exhibitions from world renowned photographers. 

visiting photographer sally gall teaches at our summer photography program for high school students

Sally Gall explaining the Hasselblad to Kyle.

photography student at our summer program in france
reviewing contact sheets

photography group critique with sally gall

Reviewing prints in a class critique

sally gall discussing student work in a photography class critique

Discussing work in a critique

photography trip to arles france

Inside one of the exhibition spaces at Arles.

photography students in arles, france

Les Rencontres d'Arles - photography exhibition

hiroshi sugimoto arles

We were all blown away by the scale and technical quality of the Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibition

photography students eating lunch in arles france

The group after a great lunch in Arles

roman amphitheatre arles france

After lunch, we also visited a Roman amphitheatre dating from 90 AD

Les Rencontres d'Arles photography exhibition space

arno minkkinen - arles france

Arno Rafael Minkkinen

photography students

photography student with her camera

minniken arles france


Last week’s excursion took us to Avignon, also known as ‘city of the popes’. Students visited contemporary and historical art exhibitions at the Palais des Papes (seen below) and the Petite Palais. After a delicious lunch, we also had a chance to explore the rest of the city. Afterward, we visited the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct built in the 1st century AD, where we did some sketching and jumped in for a swim!

Palais des papes avignon france  art students on our avignon trip in front of the palais des papes

inside the palais des papes - avignon

Inside the Palais des Pape

art student renaissance painting france

Nicole viewing a painting in the Petite Palais

contemporary artist kiki smith avignon france

A Kiki Smith installation piece in the Palais des Pape 

art student sketching at the pont du gard

Julia sketching at the Pont du Gard 

art and architecture students sketching

Sketching at the Pont du Gard

swimming at the pont du gard

Our first really hot day – students jumping in for a swim at the Pont du Gard

students from the summer arts + architecture program in france

arts and architecture students sketching in france

The Les Tapies Student Arts + Architecture Summer Program is a three week intensive study in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, architecture, and photography all located in the incredibly picturesque Ardèche region in the South of France. We’ve just kicked off this year’s arts summer program here at the hamlet. This program is an intensive three week study in studio-based fine arts and architecture for high school students aged 14-18. We have a wonderful group this year. Students have just arrived from countries all over the world. I’m going to do my best to document our program this summer with regular updates here on the blog so check back often. Here are a few photos from the first several days to get us started. Enjoy!

panoramic view of the les tapies hamlet - summer arts and architecture program

The Les Tapies Hamlet as viewed from above – this is where we are! Click the image for an enlarged panoramic view!


art students picking cherries

The cherries are perfect this summer. Kyle and Maddie climbed up to get some good ones 

les tapies summer art + architecture program chefs with cake

We had a birthday on the very first night. Happy birthday Gloria!!! Our fantastic chefs Perrin and Beezy prepare the cake 

les tapies arts program - swimming pool

Students relaxing by the pool 

Students Arts + Architecture Summer Program - photography lab

Preparing the photo lab for photography students. Almost ready!

Students Arts + Architecture Summer Program - printmaking studio

Our printmaking studio is looking good!

summer architecture program - architecture students check out the studio 

architectural model of buildings on the hamlet

An architectural model of the entire hamlet built entirely to scale

student excursion

After arrivals on Sunday, students made a walking excursion to the nearby town of Saint Pierreville

from our trip to saint pierreville

Our trip to Saint Pierreville 

cheese and meat tasting on shepard's terrace

We followed with a taste of the Ardeche – a cheese and meat tasting!


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