The Village & Region

The Village & Region

The Village & Region

The Village & Region

The Village & Region

The Village & Region

The Village & Region

The Village & Region

The house is in a quiet street. It is one of the older dwellings of this mainly 17th century village, Aubais. Thirty minutes from the sea, close to Nîmes and Montpellier, six kilometres from Sommières and a little further to Lunel. The area has a rich history, from ancient Greek and Roman settlements to the Templars’ hospitals, the Moors and the Cathars. More recently influences from both east and west have honed this region of France into the Languedoc Roussillon we live in today.

The village is set amongst vineyards and olive groves; it is typical of the region, on top of a hill with an imposing château. There are many footpaths and bridleways with interesting and unusual flora. A cycle path called the Voie Verte, that joins Sommières with Nîmes is nearby. The village is tranquil although the house is in the heart of it. The surrounding area has many walks that lead to vistas reminiscent of Poussin and Claude. The indigenous bulls, white Camargue horses and birdlife abound.

This is the region that inspired so much of Gustave Courbet’s work and which drew many generations of painters including Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin to its wonderful light, terrain and mediterranean ésprit.

A visitor’s description:
“Aubais is an ancient village in the Gard departement of France, situated between Montpellier and Nîmes, some miles from the little town of Sommières that grew up on rising ground on the banks of the river.
The remains of a roman bridge and village lie a few miles to the east at Villevielle. The Camargue stretches far to the south and the sea, and to the west the light falls on the Pic St. Loup in the distance. Vineyards, meadows and the garrigue surround the village which is presided over by a crumbling château. There are stone houses, red tiled roofs, narrow streets and courtyards with iron gates, vegetable plots and meadows with the small black camarguais bulls grazing under chestnuts trees. The village square lies below the chateau where fetes and parties are held. There is a bar, restaurant, pizzeria and cafes, a chemist and a patisserie. Despite an international mixture of newcomers to the village it remains very French or rather carmarguais which means the inhabitants are probably of Greek, Roman, Occitane and Provençale descent with a liberal mixture of Spanish and especially Catalan, which makes for an exciting amalgam.”
Julia Rushbury’s impression of Aubais

Courses 2019

The Lifesaver Course

Our very popular course of drawing and painting the model from life, in movement and repose.

Portrait Painting Course

Painting portraits from life. Every technique of portrait painting and drawing from the model taught in detail.

Landscape Course

An opportunity to be tutored to paint and draw plein air in our exquisite region.

Generation Art

A five day course for children and parents to learn to draw and paint in an artists studio.

"Tod Ramos makes painting fun, exciting and rewarding.

He is the type of teacher we all want to find. I felt encouraged but always challenged in any task he taught me. What ever level you arrive at you can guarantee you will leave more advanced. In short he makes learning seem easy and so much fun.”

Tessa Campbell Fraser, world renowned painter and sculptress

"Tod, thank you for your immense patience, inspiration, encouragement and brilliant tutoring

You have a very special ability not just in your own talent but enabling others to find theirs, a true gift. It was wonderful to see how you, while still giving us the methods, teased out each individual style and gave the room for them to expand and excel. My head and dreams have been spinning with painting ever since.... Kate, you are just amazing ... the cooking... well, all those clean plates and greedy expectant faces said it all. I have been trying to emulate some of it here but it is not quite the same. And cooking is only a small part, you are the mainstay and absolute core of all fun, producer and alchemist, making that special Academy Studios Abroad mix work. Huge huge thanks to you both.”
Jo, Lifesaver Course 2015

"A huge experience in so many ways

enormous information and practice in different art skills, wonderful accommodation and food"

Kirsten

"Challenging and fun. Great food and company. Top shelf"

Roger

"I value my time at Aubais more than I can tell you

It was a full, rich experience and Kate and Tod struck the perfect balance between hard work, rest, and nourishment; work and play! Thinking about it, what I wanted and needed was to be pushed in new directions, expanded (pried out of hard earned ruts), and that is exactly what I feel happened.

Very pleasant, comfortable, well-organised. Rigorous. Challenging. Frustrating. Rewarding."

Schellie

"The landscape course at Academy Studios Abroad was a life changing event

Studying and staying with Tod and Kate combines excellent, technically grounded - yet uplifting and inspirational - tutelage with a heady mixture of delightful food and delicious conversation in a truly beautiful environment.

I learnt more about painting in oils in 10 days than I had in 7 years at 3 different art schools. I will be back for more!"

Jonny

“Great experience with you all. Thank you for your generous and delightful hospitality.”

Charlotte

"It hasn’t just been a 'trip to do a course in the South of France' for me, it has been an utterly meaningful experience

you were so right when you said to me that you witnessed a journey …  I feel as though my eyes opened wider to take so much more in - that a thin film that was covering them, soon to be getting thicker, has dissolved!"

Michelle McCulloch, Tour de Horse Masterclass student, now well-known horse painter.

"The art course itself is superb

The art course itself is superb. The teaching is of the highest standard with each person getting their coaching and encouragement entirely individually. Having said that, Tod also managed to make us all feel very comfortable with each other, despite considerable differences in age, experience and temperament between us. I think we all benefitted hugely.On the domestic front I don't think it would be possible to outdo the wonderful Cordon Bleu cooking of Kate Lovegrove, the rooms were well provided for and the whole setting absolutely delightful. We were given the chance to see some of the local countryside, go to the art gallery in Montpellier, visit a market in Sommières and also relax at the weekend. The swimming pool on the property was a real treat.”
Claire, Lifesaver course

"In the vast studio of the painter Tod Ramos

Florian, a beautiful French saddle horse of 17 years to pose. With his brown coat and black mane, the horse is sketched on the white pages of students passionate about painting.”
La Gazette de Nîmes

"Tod is the most encouraging and illuminating teacher

He corrects and challenges one's work and inspires you to do better. I learned more in one week on his horse painting course than I could have imagined.”
Do Burgess, Masterclass student

"Tod Ramos makes painting fun, exciting and rewarding.

He is the type of teacher we all want to find. I felt encouraged but always challenged in any task he taught me. What ever level you arrive at you can guarantee you will leave more advanced. In short he makes learning seem easy and so much fun.”

Tessa Campbell Fraser, world renowned painter and sculptress

"A huge experience in so many ways

enormous information and practice in different art skills, wonderful accommodation and food"

Kirsten

"Challenging and fun. Great food and company. Top shelf"

Roger

“Great experience with you all. Thank you for your generous and delightful hospitality.”

Charlotte

"In the vast studio of the painter Tod Ramos

Florian, a beautiful French saddle horse of 17 years to pose. With his brown coat and black mane, the horse is sketched on the white pages of students passionate about painting.”
La Gazette de Nîmes

"Tod is the most encouraging and illuminating teacher

He corrects and challenges one's work and inspires you to do better. I learned more in one week on his horse painting course than I could have imagined.”
Do Burgess, Masterclass student

Residential Art Courses in France

Maison Jean, 6 Avenue Emile Leonard, Aubais, 30250, France.