The image is very romantic. The artist rises late in the morning, pours himself a cafe, grabs a croissant and walks to the balcony of some villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and he waves “Bonjour” to the people on the sailboat below. He sips his espresso and breaks off a bit of his croissant, nibbling as he contemplates how he will paint today.

He finishes his petit déjeuner (breakfast) and walks to his studio where he puts his favorite Edith Piaf record on the antique player. The room swells with music as he slowly turns around, eyeing the large canvas in front of him. His eyes narrow and he cocks his head to the side as if he is about to commence a duel with the canvas. He mutters to himself, shaking his head as he fiddles with the small table of paints and brushes. The music is building  in the background as he picks up a brush he has chosen as his tool. ‘The Little Sparrow’s’ voice spills out of the windows into the air of the Cote d’Azur as he approaches the easel.

He’s chosen his color and prepares to work. He approaches the canvas like a former lover with the hope of seducing her once again. With his brush dabbed with paint, he reaches out to her , gesturing for the dance between artist and canvas to begin.

And so it was, maybe, at one time for Picasso the way he started his mornings. But for the rest of us it is just that; a dream. To be a working artist now in this day and age of ‘get it now, get it cheap and be done with it’ is probably harder than ever. And to try and do this in the shadow of some of the greatest painters who have come here is equally daunting.

Why the south of France?  I met the love of my life here. And I decided that this is what I wanted to do. After 18 years in California, I wanted to see if I could really do something that I always dreamed of doing. Living from my art. Being an artist  is one thing but being able to live from it is another . And it is also the single most difficult thing to do; to make a living as a painter (next to being a working actor in L.A. of course!)

What does it take? It takes a lot of love and trust. Friends who are willing to help you. Random acts of kindness in the way of time, energy, thoughts and opinions. People who not only love your work but want to see you succeed. It takes holding on to what you think you were meant to do. It takes belief that if you don’t try then you will never know. It takes confidence. It takes showing up at the canvas so the muse can do her work.

And it takes even more. I will attempt to share with you what it’s like. The trials and victories. The fear, the dread and despondence. The  influences of past artists and thoughts of the new trends in the art world. Or just a new cafe I happened to eat in. Some new wine bar. A funny story related at a dinner with friends. Or my struggles with the language and customs here. Essentially, my life as an artist in the south of France.

So, what do you think it takes to be a working artist in France? Is all what it’s cracked up to be? Are you in the same situation; an expat artist living here in France? I’d like for you to share your thoughts and experiences.



  1. msftman says:

    Love you… you will succeed, it is written!

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