Olive Us: Painting in Honfleur

December 18, 2013

By Gabrielle.

Oh. This episode is one of my favorites! About an hour north of our little town in France, you’ll find the village of Honfleur. It’s a small fishing town that is such a delight to visit! (I wrote about it here .)

We spent many lovely afternoons in Honfleur. It’s near the beaches of Deauville, and we loved taking our visitors who had already seen all the “big” sights in France and were looking for something less known.

Honfleur, France | Design Mom

One thing we learned about Honfleur is that it’s considered the birthplace of Impressionism. Monet and Boudin painted here and it became a meeting place for their contemporaries. Fantastic, right? And if you visit, it’s easy to see why — the light in the little town is extraordinary. (Laurie White helped us with the research — her Great Artist program is terrific!)

So we thought it would be fun to make an episode about painting “en plein air“, and share what it’s like to visit Honfleur for the day. I hope you enjoy it!

Tell me friends, do you bring paints or a sketchbook with you when you travel? Have you ever tried painting en plein air? I’d love to hear.

P.S. — Would you like to know more about Olive Us? Here you go:

- Find the official Olive Us website here, and subscribe to the Olive Us Newsletter here.
- Find all the posts I’ve written about Olive Us here.
- We’ve made 44 episodes so far and collaborated with ulive on 20 of them! You can find the Olive Us page on ulive here.

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Bloggers Guide to France | Prêt à Voyager
July 14, 2014 at 5:39 am

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy3 December 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

That was so charming! Maude looks sophisticated and sweet all at once. And I love those shoes!

Honfleur looks like a wonderful place to spend a day. We recently visited England and bypassed most of the big sites for bumming around in the Cotswolds. It was the most amazing experience. The road less traveled really can yield unexpected adventures.


2 Heidi December 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I loved this. What an inspiring video.


3 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity December 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I can’t wait to watch the Olive-up episode (but need to wait until I’m home from work – shhh!). I did want to share that my husband I went to Honfleur too when we were in France and loved it. It was so much fun poking around the alleyways and side streets.

I go to an art class that my friend runs and one of the things we did was paint a bridge en plein air. It was so much fun and I loved that we even used the same colours of paint that Monet used. You can read about it here: http://gracie-senseandsimplicity.blogspot.ca/2013/07/monet-on-my-mind.html.

I have also done a bit of sketching when I go out on day trips and I wrote about some inexpensive tools you can use to help with the sketching en plein air experience: http://gracie-senseandsimplicity.blogspot.ca/2013/09/inexpensive-tools-for-outdoor-painting.html.

This post is right up my alley – I’m so glad my work day is almost done so I can go home and watch the video.


4 Lily @ Lily Runs The World December 18, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I spent some time in Honfleur with my parents a few years ago (we actually rented a really neat architect’s modern home in Beuzeville nearby), and we all loved it so much we are going back next year! It really is so charming.


5 Mairi December 18, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Although I have not been a young adult for many years, although I am almost 40, these videos make me want to live my life more deeply, to not simply watch people and admire them, but to actually dare to do the things which I want to do. Thank you, Maude, for reminding me of the joy of looking ans searching for the light.


6 PARIS BEE kids blog December 19, 2013 at 4:39 am

Lovely! I love Honfleur, it’s such a little jewel. I think we’ll have to do a weekend trip there at some point this year!



7 Tere December 19, 2013 at 5:25 am

It was really beautiful! Inspiring! Maude looks so happy and lovely, like she found her path. We all want to visit Honfleur someday now. Thanks for this Olive Us, Blairs!


8 Maggie December 19, 2013 at 8:19 am

These Olive Us episodes never cease to amaze me. Recently, my daughter started using a mini ipad for school and she loves making i-movies, etc. I think these Olive Us episodes are (on a much grander production scale, of course) a great example of how we can use technology to create something beautiful. I want her to see this as an example of how you can educate and inspire and teach via these types of videos. She adores seeing life through the eyes of your kids :-)


9 from utah with love December 19, 2013 at 10:01 am

There are plein air work shops all over Utah in the summer that are really fantastic. This would be totally diffrent and exciting to be in a place so full of light and culture. How fun!


10 Maralee December 19, 2013 at 10:16 am

I love the Olive Us episodes, but I haven’t been able to watch them since you switched to ulive. I don’t know why, but as soon as the ad is finished, the title comes up, then it either stops completely or starts playing the ad over again. I’ve tried waiting out the ads, but they just keep playing over and over, and I’m not sure why—or how to fix it. Is anyone else having this problem?
Is there another place I can view the videos?


11 Ben December 19, 2013 at 10:42 am

So sorry, Maralee! This is the first I’ve heard of this type of issue, and it has made smoke come out of my ears… I’ll bring it up with the ulive team. In the meantime, I imagine you have tried with different browsers? I’d be happy to try to trouble shoot over email: benblair@oliveus.tv. So sorry again for the trouble. Thanks for watching (when you could)!


12 Tracy Laverty December 19, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Gabrielle- I love your Olive Us video series. What darling, and sweet short videos you and your family are making! My daughters love to watch them with me and they are so inspiring and uplifting. Thank you for sharing beautiful places in Europe and all of your travels.
I love that you did an episode on painting in plein air in France. What a great topic! I have a background in art and Art History so I love to help my daughters understand some of these subjects. I’ll be showing this one to them tomorrow!


13 Jennifer December 26, 2013 at 7:45 am

This is just so lovely! Thanks for sharing a peek at a French town that I hadn’t heard of, but now very much would like to visit.


14 Laurie January 18, 2014 at 7:27 am

Hello! What a wonderful video. I love how this turned out. Thanks for having me on board for the some of the content. Watching this makes me want to fly to France and have a painting vacation.


15 Sarah Rogers May 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm

Fantastic image in such a beautiful part of the world.
I love painting, and love the challenge of plein air painting. It’s great way to build confidence and receive criticism graciously from people passing by. The criticism is usually wrapped up as a comparison to someone else…..”oh I know this painter, he is REALLY good”!

Anyway after recently submitting work for a competition (and not being selected…sigh) I have decided to focus my energy on small paintings of subjects in and around my home.

I look at your blog everyday, and love to read about the creative mother juggle many of us take on. Thankyou!


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