Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Hi Art lovers , 

It's official! 
Painting is good for you and it's never too late to learn! 

Learning to paint is great for your brain according to medical experts and your brain can continue to grow new areas no matter your age. 

Our brains need to continue to learn and to problem solve , to have challenges and discover new things in order to continue to grow. 

The stimulation of learning something new and engaging also aids our memory. If we continue to repeat what we already know and not reach for the new then our brains will not be as healthy . 

Just in case you think I may  be losing my mind, I've pasted a link below you can checkout for yourself ! 

As a painting teacher and mentor I encounter lots of students who put their creativity on hold while they raise their families,  and stay in jobs they don't love. When they connect with painting and are shown they can do it, which I do with my Blooms Painting Method the transformation and empowerment of my students is amazing . 
A painting workshop in progress

Day job ditched for bohemian life style 

Emma Targett with a student work she created is now a launched artist
With new knowledge my students can do amazing things. They get a wonderful creative reboot. 
Emma Targett from Hobart was working in a successful family business but wanted to try something creative. She fell in love with painting when she tried it for the first time at the Blooms Painting Workshop in Kapunda and has never looked back.

       Student sells her artwork to the teacher

She went on to receive further mentoring with me and emerged as a fully fledged painter with her own painting studio and now curates exhibitions as well as her own work. I bought a painting off her last week for my weekender! that's the second painting I've bought from Emma!

       Student From day job & first time painter to sought           after artist in 9 months

Jo White of Moree has a very good day job but was looking for something more when I met her last November for the Brisbane Blooms Painting Workshop. She learned to paint with me in 6 days, then opted for further mentoring as she grew her own look with her paintings with her own totally charming body of work painting everyday subject matter in a way that makes us look at it differently. 

It's nine months later and Jo is now fielding offers from several top Sydney galleries, selling her artwork and loving how her whole world has opened up creatively with loads of new possibilities. Catch her at Sydney's forthcoming The Other Art Fair. 

I know I've been in that position where I half liked my job but was festering , wanting to do something new and creative but afraid to give it a go. Thankfully I snapped out of that. Now creativity is my delicious main course every day with no day the same ever! 

I'm writing this from Paris having spent the day immersed in the summer flower varieties at Monet's garden . The Inspiring reference such as dahlias and sunflowers I'll share with my students at my forthcoming Blooms 

I will never retire from painting. It gives me energy because I love it. It's a path that constantly beckons because I see life as beautiful, filled with colour and everywhere I look there's a painting waiting to happen. 

Yep, I'll be wielding a paint brush when I'm 99 for sure! And I'll be able to remember where I put the brush down because I'm constantly exercising my brain. 

Cheryl Erskine now a painter
Here's what Cheryl Erskine whose kids are older now , of Melbourne, had to say about her experience of learning to paint with my Blooms Painting Method;

'I was dreading retirement but now I have something I love to do and can do for the rest of my life'

Julie Christensen who owns and runs  the fabulous Flower Lovers stores in Brisbane came to me about three years ago to learn to paint in the Blooms Painting Workshops. I bumped into her at the Rockleigh flower markets earlier this month and was thrilled to hear she's planning an exhibition and opening a gallery of her own which represents a whole new chapter just when some people would be considering retiring .

' I'm doing all of this at my age but I love it ! '

Julie was so excited and full of plans. It was great to see. That's what unlocking another new area and learning to paint can do for you. What an inspiration. What a passionate powerhouse! 

Everyone wonders if they can do if it not and everyone comes through my classes with beautiful paintings and the knowledge to do more, no matter their lack of experience .

Colour mixing is pleasurable and a part of learning to paint
Whether you would like to learn to paint and have art as a pleasurable accompaniment to your life or if you prefer to make it your main course, painting is a proven positive activity that will help keep your brain healthy. It's also relaxing to do. the following are some typical student examples of paintings created at the Blooms Workshops. Students can use what they learn as a springboard into other painting styles and subject matter.

                      Babs Dogan from Vic had never painted before.She sold this artwork before the workshop finished.

So if you've been doing the same thing over and over, if you would like to engage with painting, and discover a wonderful new activity that will be good for you as well as fun, 
I have a couple of spots left for the forthcoming workshops ;

Brisbane Blooms Painting Workshop commencing evening of Sunday  Sept 4
Them paint daily from Monday Sept 5-10 at Metro Arts 

Sydney Blooms Painting Workshop September 20-25 inclusive daily 9-5
At Willoughby Arts Centre 

For bookings call Nicole Sweeny on Mobile 0412 587 438 

But be quick! Brisbane starts next Sunday evening ! Don't miss out ! 

And we are taking final places for Sydney September dates too.

So what's it going to be ?  Are you going to grow and learn and keep your brain healthy? Not to mention  produce some wonderful paintings? 

Love and paint brushes ,
And I hope you can join me and discover the wonderful nourishing and loving 
addition that art is.

Jacqueline Coates
From my temporary studio at  Rue Saint Lazaar, Paris 

Hope to see you in Brisbane next weekend ! 

Here's that link I promised 

Booking number again is Nicole Sweeney 0412 587 438 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

French Art School; Spain & Morocco Oct 18-31, 2016

French Art School Tour Spain and Morocco
October 18-31, 2016

What is French Art School?

French Art School is a new concept of engaging in art and touring for creative inspiration and fun inspired by French and European artists and beautiful locations. The last tour of Paris and the Creuse region of France earlier this year, was a great success. Numbers of guests are limited to 8 so we can stay in unique places.

The French Art School Tour scheduled for October 18-31 takes in
·       Madrid, Marrakech & Barcelona.

French Art School Tours are distinctive because they allow you to live like a local in distinctive charming accommodation where you can also paint and express yourself creatively with Jacqueline showing you easy and productive techniques, inspired mainly by French artists and artists native to the countries we visit. You will create a minimum of 10 artworks on your tour and have plenty of inspiration to continue to build your body of work when you get home.

There are daily classes where possible on tour and prior to your trip you get a value added bonus of an e-course specific to this tour and its inspirations so you are warmed up to what we will be doing before you even leave home. You will be able to refer to these useful notes and art tips long after the tour finishes. You can even start your paintings before you leave home.

Your tour leader and art tutor, global art teacher and mentor Jacqueline Coates, a practising artist of 28 years, and a well-seasoned travelling artist with a home and studio in France as well as the Barossa Valley, understands the practicalities of painting and travelling with a limited luggage allowance. She supplies all the art materials and has several techniques to help you capture the magic and to make it fun.

This particular trip is inspired by the French artist Henri Matisse, Spanish Impressionist painter Joaquin Sorolla and French Impressionist and Orientalist Jacques Majorelle, with many other art inspirations along the way from the Prado in Madrid  to Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech, new art talent in the galleries along Las Ramblas and the Barcelona food markets, Gaudi and Picasso. And of course we have plenty of room at our unique locations to paint our own artwork.

'You don’t have to be born with a creative bone in your body. I love seeing the joy with my students when they see they can have this too.
When touring we have the chance to paint and tour, engage with inspiration, local colour, texture and atmosphere capturing it while we are there.
........there is no better way to take in and appreciate a place than being an activated artist on tour!”
                                                                    .................Jacqueline Coates

October 18-31

Inspired by Henri Matisse’s two visits to Morocco in 1912 and 1913 and his colourful paintings of Moroccan still life and interiors, figures in interiors, the distinctive Moorish architecture and exotic gardens, a smorgasbord of painting opportunities awaits us.

In Marrakech we will visit the former home and studio of Jacques Majorelle, a French Impressionist painter, whose house and garden was stunningly renovated by Yves Saint Laurent. We will also visit lush exotic gardens and the fascinating souks. Our Riad supports us to feel like Arabian princesses.

In Madrid we will visit the Prado Museum, home to the largest collection internationally of works by Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Velasquez and Goya with the focus on Baroque painter Velasquez.

In Madrid sketch and watercolour in the magnificent Botanical Gardens.

French Art School appreciates the stunning work of Spanish Impressionist painter Joaquin Sorolla.  Visit the Museo Sorolla, the former studio and mansion of Joaquin Sorolla, an artist excelling in fluid and captivating paintings of people and landscapes, especially women and children, and of Andalusian gardens influenced by Moorish features. The museum also has his garden maintained as he designed it and houses some of his own collections.

Tuesday October 18, 2016    Madrid
Arrive to Madrid and meet at our hotel, The Hesperia, located on the city’s most chic avenue, the Paseo de la Castellana. The Hesperia Madrid Hotel has 2 Michelin stars  and is designed by Pascua Ortego.  It’s close to Plaza Mayor, Gran Via, & Peurta del Sol. Nearby streets are home to Spanish high street names such as Zara, Pimkei, Bershka, Fnac and El Corte Ingles.

The hotel has a Michelin two star rating and many restaurant options. Breakfast is included (international buffet).
We will meet up and visit the Prado Museum. The Prado has the largest international collection of Spanish art. We will look at the paintings of the Spanish royal family by Velasquez and Goya’s controversial La Maja Desnuda then enjoy free-time to roam the Museum.
Dinner at leisure. You might like to explore the Mercado de San Miguel with Jacqueline which is a unique and colourful market for dining out with tapas and bars open till midnight and a great selection of Spanish wines.

Wednesday October 19, 2016  Madrid

After breakfast we head off Madrid’s flower markets at Mercado de las Flores de Madrid, Plaza Tirso de Molina to check out the local flower markets. Take your camera!

Then we head to the Botanical Gardens in Madrid where we will paint from the comfort of the outdoor café, enjoying a coffee as we sketch and make watercolours of our surrounds. Meander through the exquisite gardens.
Session 1; Watercolour and sketching.  Lunch at leisure.

After lunch we visit the Museo De Sorolla, the former mansion home and studio of Joaquim Sorolla, an outstanding Spanish Impressionist Painter. The Museum is surrounded by an Andalusian style garden designed by the artist himself and maintained in the same style today.
Free time. We’ll be painting in Marrakech so enjoy exploring this wonderful city.

Evening at leisure.

Thursday October 20, 2016  Madrid  to Marrakech

Following breakfast at the hotel you will check out and be transferred by private vehicle to Madrid International Airport.  Depart from the hotel at 8.45am. Our Flight departs 11.45am arriving Marrakech 12.50pm

Afternoon at leisure to settle in and explore your beautiful fully serviced Riad with staff within the walls of the Medina, our home for the following 7 nights.
It’s an easy distance to all the attractions and a safe neighbourhood being located in the Kasbah district in the Royal Quartier. Behind us is the Royal Agdal Gardens and the Ourika Valley beyond, to the front The Saadian Tombs where past Sultans are buried, the Kasbah Mosque then the Jemaa el Fna and world famous Souks.

To the side of us is the Palace of Hassan II and the other side the Palace of Mohamed VI (the current King) with the Koutoubia Mosque beyond (the centre of Marrakech. In short we are in the best area of Marrakech.
Enjoy free wifi, a sun terrace and a splash pool.
In the early evening a Moroccan welcome dinner has been prepared for us at the Riad.

Friday October 21, 2016  Marrakech

After breakfast at the Riad we are off on a guided private half day walking tour
To enjoy the local architecture and significant buildings, the Bahia Palace, the Koutoubia Mosque and the Saadian Tombs. Then we tour the Jemaa el-Fnaa square where you can see snake charmers and henna women plying their trades. Wear comfy shoes. Lunch at leisure.

In the afternoon we will have our first painting session in our new surrounds and produce some gorgeous work. Inspired by the paintings of Matisse we will paint keyhole doorways, Riad interiors, Arabian gardens and Moroccan produce from the Berber markets over the coming week. We have so much inspiration to paint.

Session 2; Paint a Moroccan Rose Demo and Prac warm up easy peasy painting session
Session 3; Enjoy an informal tutorial regarding the life and works of Jacques Majorelle and Moroccan refreshments during our break
Session 4; Explore the colours of Morocco in this colour mixing exercise to get you warmed up!
Then Paint a Moroccan Medina scene with figures Demo and Prac

Aperitifs at the Riad then evening at leisure. Dinner own arrangements. Perhaps explore the wonderful options in our own neighbourhood?

Saturday October 22, 2016  Marrakech

Visit Jardin Majorelle, the home and garden once belonging to French Impressionist artist Jacques Majorelle who was a Frenchman smitten with Marrakech. Later Yves Saint Laurent brought the property back to life.
Today it has a beautiful 12 acre botanical garden, host to more than 15 bird species including toucans.  The Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech is housed there and includes a Berber collection of textiles and artifacts, jewellery, much of it from Yves Saint Laurent’s collection, and paintings by Jacques Majorelle.

There is a charming café at the gardens for lunch if you choose.
Afterwards we visit the beautiful Hotel Mamounia and provide a stylish afternoon tea on the terrace overlooking the incredibly exotic Morrocan Garden complete with orange grove, tiled pathways and arches, and fragrant flowers. Afternoon tea will be at your own expense.  Bring your camera! Return to the Riad for another painting session.

Session 5; Make your own easy peasy pomegranate print tea towel to take home!

Aperitifs on the terrace. Dinner own arrangements. Choose from any of the marvelous recommended restaurants and cafes in our locale.

Sunday October 23, 2016  Marrakech

After breakfast, we will learn to cook the authentic Moroccan meal in our very own kitchen under the guidance of a local cook.   Learn about how to use the herbs and spices, and their importance in Moroccan cuisine. Take home tips you can use in your own cooking. Enjoy the end result of these beautiful spices and produce being prepared tonight at dinner!

After our demo let’s go rug and Moroccan slipper shopping in the Medina, and see what else we can find?!
Rest of day at leisure or have a relaxing free choice paint back at the Riad.

Session 6; Late afternoon Aperitifs on the terrace and an informal chat about Matisse in Morocco and some images of his Moroccan still life interiors as inspiration for own work. Optional sketching and watercolours at leisure at the Riad or relax on the sun terrace with a book.

Our specially prepared meal is served!

Monday October 24, 2016 Marrakech

This morning we visit the Berber food market and look for beautiful produce to paint, then enjoy a studio style day at the Riad with a delicious local lunch provided while we create, with Matisse as our inspiration.

Session 7; Painting Pomegranates, with water based oils
Session 8; Painting Moroccan flowers, with water based oils

Afternoon tea supplied.

Evening Aperitifs on the terrace.
Dinner own arrangements. Try one of the many choices of excellent local restaurants to savour the flavours of Morocco!

Tuesday October 25, 2016 Marrakech

Today I demonstrate a fun and quick technique which is a little bit Impressionist in style so we will paint a few paintings featuring Moroccan gardens.

Session 9 Paint a Moroccan Garden 1

Enjoy a Light lunch at our home

Session 10; Paint a Moroccan Garden 2

Aperitifs on the terrace
Evening at leisure. Dinner in the neighborhood anyone?

Wednesday October 26, 2016 Marrakech

Day at leisure or choose an optional activity ;

·        Day trip to Essaouira. Visit this ancient port on the Atlantic Ocean. On the way see how the famous Moroccan Argan oil is made at a women’s cooperative
·        Half day spa including lunch at a Riad in the Medina of Marrakech.  Enjoy a traditional 30 minute hammam, a traditional wrap, an exfoliating scrub, a clay and orange blossom cleansing treatment, and moisturising treatement. This is followed by a relaxing massage with Argan oil before enjoying a sumptuous traditional Moroccan meal of several courses.
·        Day trip to the Atlas Mountains 3 valleys through Berber Villages
Enjoy stunning scenery including the snow capped mountains, a waterfall, fruit orchards and Berber houses built from adobe and stone. See the Berber women extracting Argan oil.

Or chill out at our gorgeous Riad and have a relax, or fit in some more shopping!

Dinner own arrangements and evening at leisure.

Thursday October 27, 2016 Marrakech to Barcelona

Today you will say goodbye to your gorgeous home and travel to Barcelona via Madrid. We transfer to the airport.

On arrival in Barcelona you will be transferred by private vehicle to your city based private villa.

Our home for the next 4 nights is a spacious Spanish villa with a large restful garden and terraces, just 10 minutes from the city center of Barcelona. After we arrive we refresh and enjoy dinner at home.

Friday October 28, 2016 Barcelona

After breakfast, you will see see the sites of this beautiful city on a hop on hop off bus tour.  The tour will allow you to visit the sites you want and for as long as you want.  During the tour we will have a skip the line pass to the Sagrada Familia, a large Roman Catholic Church designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.  As amazing on the inside as it is on the outside.
Afterwards visit the food markets on Las Ramblas.

Take the opportunity to enjoy a lunch of tapas or amazing seafood prepared in front of you and take in the atmosphere. If you still have energy to burn stroll the Las Ramblas and pick out exquisite Beaux Arts architectural details and enjoy the shops.

Return to our villa for aperitifs and antipasto.

Saturday October 29, Barcelona

After a leisurely breakfast we enjoy a studio session

Session 11; Paint a Barcelona café or night scene
Session 12; Paint Spanish figs or other market fruits

We head into Barcelona for the afternoon and evening, strolling the gallery end of Las Ramblas and finding dinner out!

Sunday October 30, Barcelona

Today you have a day of leisure.
Perhaps you’d like the optional tour, of travelling to Montserrat for the day with a relaxing lunch and a wine tasting.

Montserrat is the most important mountain in Catalonia. A unique massif famous for its gothic shapes, beautiful views.
Visit the monastery, the holy cave or walk to the top of the Cavall Bernat and enjoy a 360º view of the area at 3000ft above sea level.

After Montserrat visit The Oller del Mas Castle , one of the most important and beautiful wineries in the region. Located in an impressive Castle that dates back over a thousand years old, some of its walls are still 10th century originals, the winery reigns over 1000 acres of land.
Lunch is served with an exquisite regional menu topped with wines produced organically from the vineyard. After lunch meander through the winery with your guide an enjoy wine tasting paired with local cheeses.

This evening feel the passion of flamenco at the Palacio del Flamenco in Barcelona. An excellent way to learn more about the cultural heritage of Spain during an hour of Flamenco dance and local traditional music. Dinner included

Depart Oct 31 Barcelona

Today you will depart the villa and make your way back to Australia or if you want – continue on to other parts of Europe or the United Kingdom.  Contact Karen at ECM Travel for ideas on additional for travel or stopovers in Dubai or Asia.

COST - $6,765 inc GST – twin share in the Riad and Villa.

·        2 nights Madrid - SINGLE room – with breakfast Hesperia Hotel
·        return transfers Madrid to hotel in mini vans if arriving on the same flights as the main body of travellers
·        tranfers to visit Museo Prado, flower markets and botanic gardens
·        Flight Madrid/Marakech on Iberia *
·        return transfers Marrakech to Riad
·        Private Riad - 7 nights Marrakech TWIN SHARE ROOM – TWO BEDS IN A ROOM SHARING WITH ONE OTHER LADY
·         Breakfast daily in Marrakesh
·        Cooking lesson in the Riad in Marakkech
·        Walking tour of the Kasbah
·        Flight Marakkesh/Madrid/Barcelona on Iberia *
·        4 nights in a private villa Barcelona TWIN SHARE ROOM – TWO BEDS IN A ROOM SHARING WITH ONE OTHER LADY
·        return transfers Barcelona to Villa in mini vans if departing Barcelona on the same flights as the main body of travellers
·        Hop on Hop off Bus Tour in Barcelona
·        Skip the Line entrance to La Familia Sagrada
·        Some lunches and dinners
·        Farewell dinner at a Flamenco Show in Barcelona (drinks not included)
·        Art classes with Jacqueline Coates
·        Art materials
·        E-course provided by Jacqueline to provide you with cultural background information prior to the tour, and painting tips.


·        International airfares – it is recommended to fly with Jacqueline for ease of airport transfers
·        Visa or passport fees
·        Items of a personal nature
·        Meals will be at your own expense at certain times during the tour and your final itinerary will reflect those which are included but a good indication is given here
·        Optional tours – these can be pre-booked prior to departure
·        Tips to guides and drivers – at your discretion


·        Accommodation in the private Riad and Villa is limited to 2 single rooms – all other rooms will be twin share.  There is a $600 supplement to book a single occupancy room in Marakkech and Barcelona.
·        Accommodation in Madrid is in a single room for all travellers
·        Airfare allowance for the flights to Marakkech and return is based on current rates – should these airfares not be available at time of booking a surcharge may apply.  Once you have booked and paid your deposit these flights will be confirmed and ticketed.
·        International airfares are not included and we suggest you contact Karen at ECM Travel as soon as you decide to join the tour.  Currently there are great specials to Europe in the market place!

Max of 8 guests


For a booking form and full terms and conditions