I am delighted to be able to offer 8 places on this fabulous retreat.  It caters for all abilities from complete beginners through to experienced artists.  This retreat, with tutor Jane High, offers the perfect setting in the stunning Cognac region of France.

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Jane High - Zebra 1.jpg
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Artist: Jane High


Our new for 2022 Art Retreat is aimed at everyone, regardless of painting ability. Imagine being surrounded by stunning views with fields of sunflowers, vineyards, and cloudless blue skies in the idyllic French countryside. What more inspiration could you need to bring out the artist in you? 

I am a complete beginner

Join our art retreat and learn something new. Be inspired by the stunning views, wonderful tuition and other participants.

I have some experience

Perfect for those looking to enhance a particular painting skill or use a different medium.

I've been painting for years!

Come and be inspired by the rolling fields of cognac grapes and wealth of stunning sunflower scenes to paint. 


Tuition & Working Environment

Full tuition will be available in a relaxed, fun an informal manner and there will be opportunities to try your hand at acrylics, watercolour, pastels or your chosen medium if you
are supplying it. You can relax while watching an art demonstration or continue working on your own artwork with access to informative direction and critique.


You may just want to find a shady location under the canopy of a nearby tree or breathe in the heavenly scent of lavender as you sketch or paint it or something else, Inspiration is all around you.


The whole idea of this painting retreat is to enjoy yourself and spend time with likeminded people while working at your own pace and learning some different art tips and tricks along the way.

It would be useful, if you have produced any previous artwork, to bring an example along or some images of your work to show your tutor what level you are working at.

Art Materials

All art materials will be supplied, but you are welcome to bring your own equipment if you so desire. 


If you enjoy painting animals then please bring a photograph with you, it could even be one of your pets, as your tutor, Jane High, specialises in animal portraiture.

Exploring the Local Area

Not only will we have a wealth of local views there will be trips to take in the sights and gather subject matter from the beautiful river in Cognac, local markets and for those who enjoy architecture even historic chateaus and fairy-like castles to name but a few, so bringing your camera is a must!

So, pack up your brushes and let’s get painting!

"Every artist was first an amateur"

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your tutor, the lovely and talented Jane High specialises in animal portraiture as you can see below.  However whatever you choose as your subject matter Jane will be there to guide you every step of the way. 


As a young child I would while away the hours drawing, lost in my own little world... nothing has changed there! 


Many a comment could be found in my primary school books, irrelevant of the subject, that my drawings were lovely, but I needed to write more.

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As a young child I would while away the hours drawing, lost in my own little world (nothing has changed there!). Many a comment could be found in my primary school books, irrelevant of the subject, that my drawings were lovely, but I needed to write more.

Born and bred in Romford, East London in 1960, I had a solitary childhood until my brother was born seven years later. But I fondly remember the afternoons spent with my grandad, who was an artist in his spare time, when I would have great fun rolling his cigarettes in his special machine while he demonstrated how to use watercolours. Magical memories, although children would not be encouraged to hand roll cigarettes these days!

Coming from a working-class background it was assumed that I would aspire to a career in the clerical field once I had turned sixteen. It was no surprise, however, that my father did not agree with my desire to attend art school, for which I had been accepted. He thought this prospect far too bohemian. After a battled negotiation I managed to secure a sixth form place to study A level art, with the proviso that I would conform thereafter. Another ten years passed working as a Foreign Bank Clerk, which although this was not my first choice it held me in good stead and made my father proud. At this point I married and later had my family (a son and a daughter). It was not until my mid-
thirties that I ventured back to art again. Having completed an Adult Education computer course, to try to keep up with my children, I was about to sign up for the next level when my head was turned by an art course. That was it. My passion had been re-ignited and to my amazement my father offered to pay for my first year of tuition! This was finally the beginning of my journey as an artist, if not somewhat delayed.

Over the next few years, I continued with private tuition and started exhibiting my work and undertaking commissions. Then I took the next step and began teaching from my conservatory at home. This led me to securing a studio at Hadleigh Old Fire Station, in Hadleigh, Essex where I have been offering tuition for the last several years for both children and adults. During this time, I started delivering demonstrations and workshops around Essex and I am also a tutor for Create98 in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Among my achievements are mural projects produced in collaboration with local primary schools, awards gained and in addition to this I have exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London.

It is never too late to give up on your hopes and dreams and I look forward to inspiring others on their artistic journeys.


You will be staying in our beautiful gite, Maison D'Hibou and painting in and around here. You can relax in your own environment making the most of the gite.  You will be fully catered for, with our exceptional home cooked meals so no need to shop for anything. The aim is for you to get the most out of your art retreat and even though we have fixed times for teaching and food, you can leave your creations in the art area of the gite and paint whenever you feel inspired! 

Art Tuition

  • Welcome drink and brief tour of the creative space

  • First night pre dinner drinks and introduction session on the terrace in the main house

  • Morning art tuition at 10am to 12.30am

  • Afternoon tuition from 2pm to 4.30pm

  • All art materials supplied, but please bring any specific equipment you wish

  • Inspiration is all around but again please feel free to bring any photos you may wish to paint

Outings & Visits

  • You can't go home without a trip to the beautiful local towns of Cognac and/or Angouleme

  • Test out some local wine and cognac 

  • Trips to local shops as required

Food and Accommodation

  • Breakfast- Buffet style 8am to 9.45am

  • Lunch - Buffet style from 12.30 - 1.30pm

  • Evening meal - Served at 7pm

  • Wine with dinner and lunch

  • Teas, Coffee and soft drinks available throughout the day

  • Accommodation either in the gite or the main house

  • All linen including pool towels

  • Full access to all the grounds including use of the heated pool and terraces

* Special diets catered for on request


  • Transfers from and to Bordeaux Airport* or

  • Bordeaux/Angouleme stations as required

Vintage Afternoon Tea - SPECIAL

Join our 2022 retreat for a very special treat. We offer mid week Vintage afternoon tea including tiny sandwiches and cute cakes, made by Kate.

Farewell Dinner - SPECIAL

For those taking advantage of our 2022 retreat they will take part in our farewell dinner party including cocktails and bubbly on the last night.


If you like the sound of our art retreat please take a closer look at the remaining information and contact us or take a look at the Pricing & Booking section to find out more.


  • Please inform us of any dietary requirements, allergies or preferences before arriving.

  • All the rooms in Maison D'Hibou are twin with ensuite or access to a private bathroom.

  • All bookings are made on a 2 room occupancy. (Unless organised before hand, where a supplement will apply).

  • Only other artists will be staying in the gite during the retreat.

  • All visits and tours are optional,  so if you prefer you are welcome to stay home and paint to your heart's content.

Not included

  • Your flight or journey cost to Bordeaux or Angouleme

  • The cost of admission to any tours or attractions visited

  • Lunches or meals taken whilst out

"I have been running Sew Many Pretty Things for a few years now from my home in the UK but  have moved it to our house in France. 


After starting our sewing retreats we realised that the format would really suit other creative interests and so began our Art Retreat introducing in 2021 Artist Jane High. The emphasis here is to enjoy a week in the company of fellow artists and it is not too structured.  This is  your holiday/retreat and I want to make it as enjoyable as I possibly can."

Kate Hughes




I can't thank you enough Kate for giving me the ‘gift of sewing’. I get so much enjoyment from it and would never have taken it up without your lovely classes. Sending hugs and enjoy the sewing bee! 


What can I say - a wonderful holiday as usual. Thank you for look after us all, we really enjoyed it. We now need to go on a diet!!


Thank you for another thoroughly enjoyable & relaxing time. We all look forward to our yearly visit, and upon arriving back home will no doubt look towards next year's visit!