Summer Abroad France - Instructors

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Art Studio in Paris and the French Riviera

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Gina Werfel

Art Department

I teach painting and drawing classes at UC Davis and have always had a strong relationship with artists from France: Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso, and Bonnard. I have spent many months abroad, studying great works of art in museums and churches there.

I set up the Art Studio in Paris and the French Riviera class based upon my undergraduate experience of designing my own semester abroad program to study art. That semester long ago convinced me that being an artist was to be my life’s work. 

I wanted to introduce my own students to the life-expanding experience of living and working abroad. I taught in a Rhode Island School of Design program in Brittany, France several summers ago and then was an artist in residence at a program in Umbria, Italy. It reinforced my desire to bring such opportunities to UC students. From 2007-2010, I taught a Summer Abroad class in Italy and these sessions far exceeded my expectations as I continue to see the impact the month abroad has had on my students’ work and lives. The last five summers in France have been very exciting- seeing art closer to our own time and to live where many of the artists had lived made a strong impression. For myself, these summers contain some of my most memorable teaching moments and enriches my own practice as an artist.

French art has meant a lot to me both as a young artist and as a mid career artist now. Matisse, Cezanne, Monet, Chardin, Corot’s works are familiar to us through reproductions, but seeing the work in person is so profound. I also love the light and the color of the French Riviera and feel inspired that we as 21st century artists still seek inspiration there. Paris contains so much history - it is a delight to introduce students to its vast resources.

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Hearne Pardee

Art Department

I’ve enjoyed introducing students to art in Europe for the past nine summers. I first traveled to France as an art student in the 1970s, while studying at the New York Studio School, and find in our program an opportunity to share with students today the excitement of discovering the wealth of its art and culture. France is special in that much of its painting is linked to its regional landscapes. Our locations in La Napoule and Paris offer excellent starting points for the exploration of such integration of painting and landscape, a special interest of mine. I have worked on site from landscapes throughout the United States and have focused for the past ten years on the local environment of Davis.

Study of works of the past has played an important role in my own development as an artist in my courses in drawing and painting. In France, visits to museums introduce students to basic themes – the integration of space and the human, the exploration of color in Impressionism, and the introduction of abstraction in the 20th century – through first-hand experience.