Tag Archive: France

To all of my wonderful creative friends around the world! 

Laara WilliamSen visiting Francis Pratt at the Montmiral School of Art April 2014

Laara WilliamSen visiting Francis Pratt at the Montmiral School of Art April 2014

April, 2014

I travel down a narrow cobbled lane where the springtime heat bounces off the high stone walls. The air is scented with fresh baking and something more; the sense of an ancient road well traveled. 

Around the next corner, I have arrived at The Painting School of Montmiral in France!  As I enter the building, I am at once at ease in the cool air and heavy stone walls supported with huge old wooden cross beams.

Coming down the stone stairs to welcome me is Francis Pratt, a true Master of Painting, Art Education and Science!  It is my pleasure to introduce to you this brilliant person and his passion for sharing his knowledge!




Francis Pratt's students at The Montmiral School of Art

Francis Pratt’s students at The Montmiral School of Art

Francis Pratt’s quest for knowledge is only surpassed by his passion for sharing this knowledge. His many years practice as an artist, of research into questions relating to drawing and painting and of working as an Art Educator informed his decision to move to France and begin his own art school. It took Francis Pratt just a few months to organize and establish The Painting School Montmiral in May, 1988.

With excitement he gathered up all of his collective artistic and scientific knowledge and his skills as an Art Educator to create the Art School courses.  His years of seeking the truth about creativity along with his years of teaching art became fully expressed in the content of the Courses offered at the Art School.  He then refined and tailored his Courses to individually facilitate for the students.

Student painting on the Esplanadee

Student painting on the Esplanadee

As a testament to the success of his vast knowledge and experience, The Painting School of Montmiral has been operating with success for twenty eight years.  Thousands of students from beginners through to professionals have taken his Courses and each one leaves with confidence, a new way of viewing the world and practical skills to enhance their future paintings.

A very different and vastly more interesting type of artistic education than I have met before.” Yolande Hart

A magical place, good company, intensely stimulating ideas and teaching. I came to Montmiral to have my eyes stretched and I do not think I have ever looked so hard.” – Unity Couzens

“This course, with its application and explanation of the latest researches in both colour and line psychology, completely redefines and resolves the anomalies of what we see. The reference to proven research and the patient explanations of its implications with respect to how the brain receives and interprets information provides a fundamentally sound approach commonly lacking in other courses and literature.” – Iain McCowan

Painting in the Sunflowers

Painting in the Sunflowers

Francis Pratt is writing, what I consider to be, a manifesto that is very important to our contemporary art world. We are in an age of rapid scientific discovery and his writing includes this along with many other areas of his studies to redefine how we view art and making art. Here he shares his thoughts and a brief sketch of his writings.

“As for my writing, apart from contributions to the scientific literature, I have written articles for popular art magazines such as The Artist, the Artist and Illustrators Magazine and Modern Painters. Currently, I am writing four interrelated books, all of which are the fruits of a lifetime of pursuing my quest for a deeper understanding of the subjects of creativity and self expression.”

Painting is fun

Painting is fun

Below he outlines his four interrelated books and/or his manifesto.

1: “What Scientists can Learn from Artists” describes the scientific experiments and ideas that played such an important role in determining the content of my teaching. The research had its origin in a critique of the strengths and weaknesses of established artistic practices and teaching methods that emerged from my efforts to help my students at every level.

2: Drawing on Both sides of the Brain” is a compendium of two books that concentrates exclusively on line drawing. They are “Drawing with Feeling” and “Drawing with Knowledge”. The approach is, first, to explain what I see as the strengths and weaknesses of traditional artistic practices and teaching methods and, then, to suggest how the weaknesses can be overcome using the new ideas coming from my research.

3: “Painting with Light and Colour” is also a compendium of two books: “Painting with Light” and “Painting with Colour”. As with the two books on drawing, both provide critiques of traditional ideas and practices, many of which have been submerged by the processes of history. The remainder of the books resuscitate submerged ideas in the light of recent research and add many new ones. Topics dealt with include “illusory pictorial space, whole-field colour and lightness relations, harmony/discord, shadows, shading and highlights and new perspectives on local colour interactions.

A principal underlying both practical books is to spend as little time as possible on topics that have been well dealt with in the past.

4: “New Perspectives on Creativity” is relevant to all domains of creativity, although the bulk of the new ideas presented come from a combination of my scientific studies and my research into the history of Modernism in Painting and the cornucopia of new approaches that it spawned, a subject that runs as a leitmotif through all four books. It is argued that the roots of all subsequent progressive painting and conceptual art are to be found in the last decades of the nineteenth century.

Francis and student in the landscape

Francis and student in the landscape

Francis Pratt – EDUCATION

At the Academic Community of the Wilno University in London Francis Pratt studied under Professor Marian Bohusz-Szyszko, Polish artist and teacher. Bohusz-Szyszko influenced him so deeply that these teachings became the foundation of his life as an artist and later as a scientist and art educator.

During the following years, Francis Pratt spent twelve years at the University of Stirling, first, as Cottrell Memorial Fellow and, then, as Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology. The first of these two appointments was as an artist and enabled him to work on a project that involved exploring new approaches to colour in painting. The the second of them allowed him to do research on how artists use their eyes when drawing and painting. During this time he worked with colleagues from various departments, with expertise in the psychology of perception, developmental psychology, neurophysiology and computer modeling. He says, “I took on the Research Fellowship because I saw it as an opportunity for at least seeking answers to many seemingly insoluble questions that had arisen in the classroom and in my own work during the previous twelve years, during which I had been teaching painting and drawing at all levels from evening class to postgraduate.”

He attended the Bath Academy of Art earning a degree equivalent Dip AD and then he studied at the University of Bristol, Department of Education earning an ATD which is an art teaching qualification.

His activities included wide ranging research into

  • the psychology of perception,
  • developmental psychology and
  • Neurophysiology.

g-Figure drawing class-1


Francis Pratt has taught figure drawing and painting in various Institutes of Further Education and, as a Visiting Lecturer, has been employed at all levels in Art Schools, especially for his knowledge of colour. For more detailed information please see the Course Director page on the Painting School of Montmiral website.



Color Mixing

Color Mixing

It is rare to find a Painting School not only based on individualization for each student but a Painting School that includes the enormous professional research in both art and science that Francis Pratt has achieved.

Francis is the most remarkable teacher of painting I believe you will find. I first encountered him when my mother, who had been a painter for over fifty years, returned from his course with some beautiful and exciting paintings, the like of which she had never done.

He had somehow managed to nudge her forward just enough to produce towards the end of her life some brave and surprisingly beautiful landscapes which challenged much of what she had done before.

He then took me on, a difficult unschooled banker who wanted to find out if he had any talent as a painter late in life. Francis provided me very easily with the tools, not only to progress and judge my own work, but to give me the means to look at the work of serious painters with a really appreciative and informed eye.

His teaching is not difficult to take on board if you have had no teaching before or if you are open to change. He distills the very essence of how the eye and the brain work in looking at images and how this translates into working on a canvas or a sketch book.

The reward is self evident in the quality of the output. His influence and effect on me has been transformative. I have an enormous amount to thank him for.” – Paul Zuckerman, a banker, on behalf of myself and my mother Joan, an exhibiting artist.


Relaxing in the countryside

Relaxing in the countryside

Students setting out for a day of creating!

Students setting out for a day of creating!








Francis Pratt at The Painting School of Montmiral aims to help students to be better able to solve their own problems so that when the course is over they go home with confidence and the knowledge to assist them in their future paintings.  Francis Pratt comments, “I have been delighted that the courses in Montmiral have attracted students of all levels, using a wide range of mediums and with very different goals, from slavish accuracy to abstraction and self expression.”

At the final exhibition

At the final exhibition


The Painting School of Montmiral is the very essence of Francis Pratt’s ever increasing knowledge and creative skills. For Francis it is all about each student fulfilling their own aspirations!

Students relaxing outside a gite (French for accomodations)

Students relaxing outside a gite (French for accomodations)


If you wish more information about Francis Pratt’s individualized teaching methods please view the Course page on The Painting School of Montmiral website.  http://www.painting-school.com

Cuurent Art Course Enrollment Information

Cuurent Art Course Enrollment Information

Thank you for reading this article about Francis Pratt and if you enjoyed it

Please feel free to share it on Twitter, Facebook, Linked in or wherever

else you wish to….

Very Best Wishes to Everyone

Laara WilliamSen

International professional painter

Vancouver area, B.C. Canada







PLEASE EMAIL ME AT….. laara63@gmail.com

It seems complicated but it is not…. I can only have one Gmail account.  So laarawilliamsen@gmail.com is down and

laara63@gmail is up and running!

Upcoming articles include a feature about Jeanette Luchese, an accomplished Canadian painter and

special news of a unique art school that  I had the pleasure of visiting while in France!



Laara WilliamSen

New Dawn 2 -  Peace,  8 x 10 inches, oils

New Dawn 2 – Peace, 8 x 10 inches, oils

International professional painter

Vancouver, B.C., Canada

April 16th

Beautiful day here in David,s village 700 people on a mountain top!  We are going to Caussade to do some shopping.  We again triedd to upload pictures with no luck.  Perhaps, I cqn get some on here after I am in Italy at Ozu Culturql Centre.

Love Laara



Tuesday, April15th

Hello my Friends

Right now, I am happily staying at David Marshall’s home in Puylaroque, France.  He is a very good friend and a wonderful host.  We toured the countryside yesterday, visiting Saint Antonin – Noble – Val, a village where we had wonderful ice cream, Abbey de Beaulieu, a beautiifully restored building and we also spent time at the castle Cornusson.


I am trying to add pictures but the uploading is very slow today.  So instead for now,here is a description of David`s home.  It is over 300 years old and has gorgeous large original stones on the walls both inside and out,  There are four stories with hand carved stairs and raili.  The floors are planks and tiles.  each windowhas full wooden shutters that are closed at nigh;  The lqrge kitchen is filled with spices and hanging cooking utensils.


David`s art collection of large contemporary canvases have a perfect location against these vast stone walls creating an eclectic and comfortable space.  I am truly enjoying every moment.







Love and Light to All


Laara WiliamSen

International professional painter

EMAIL laarawilliamsen@gmail.com  NEW ADDRESS







Hello to all of my dear friends and Linked in members!

About 3 weeks ago my computer crashed! Totally! I am not able to access my laara63@gmail.com account due to the fact that I have forgotten both my password and my recovery account password.

I have telephoned some of you to let you know that I am alright. Finally, I realize I can do this wonderful post and it will reach many of you who care about me!

My son, JP will be getting me a new computer and also trying to rescue my hard drive but this will not happen until May!

The reason for this is because I am going to fly to France and then to Italy to visit friends and stay at Ozu Cultural Centre again! I leave on Monday. Hopefully, I can use my buddy David’s computer and do a blog about my travels while I am away!

Here is a new email address for you to use to reach me!


Sending you all lots of Love and Light

Laara WilliamSen
International professional painter
and Bossy Angel to some!
Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Recently I met a wonderful new friend on my Linked in network!


Her name is Sylvia and she lives in France.  She introduced me to a project

smiles project france, S.A.B.+M.Wysoczynski JUST PRESS TO VISIT THE SITE


sylvia adjabroux  » smilesprojectfrance «
24 rue Arnaud Miqueu 33000 Bordeaux France

This  project was started by M. Wysocrzynski in Poland and is now spreading around the world.  This very simple idea is to share a drawing of a SMILE, and then it will be placed into the hospital wards of sick children!


There you go!  How easy is that!  So I drew three Smiles with pastels and sent them to Sylvia and now they are going to be displayed in the Children’s Hospitals!   It felt wonderful to contribute to this worldwide offering to hopefully bring a bit of cheer to little children who are suffering from terminal illnesses.

You can join too. Here is Sylvia’s message to you!


smiles project for children


est une idée simple


«   collect smiles from people

around the world,

show them at children hospitals

around the world.   »

Une idée

de Marek Wysoczynski


une  :) dée

partie de Pologne


a franchi le temps, les front :) ères et toute différence


qui s’expose sur les murs des hôpitaux

offrant aux enfants

des sourires du monde des bien portants

qui s’expose dans des lieux culturels

offrant à tout visiteur une visite assurée de bonheur

à travers une galerie incroyable de dédicaces heureuses.

Cette idée

Smiles Project for children de Marek Wysoczynski

directeur culturel de l’Agence de Promotion culture Gdansk

Krzywoustego 22/14

80360 Gdansk



a déjà récolté plus de 10000 smiles à travers le monde à l’occasion de ses voyages culturels. Peu à peu, a wall smiles  s’est créé, peu à peu  des ambassadeurs d’autres pays d’abord autour de la Pologne puis jusqu’en Orient organisent avec lui des expositions soit dans les hôpitaux soit dans des lieux culturels et artistiques offerts au public.
smile de jean maraisjean marais
C’est en répondant à son invitation artistique d’ajouter mon « smile »  pour le Smiles Projet de Marek Wysocsynski  que cette collaboration artistique, culturelle et philosophique est venue. Le désir de faire connaître en France ce projet ainsi que le partager à mes amis artistes qui ne seraient pas encore au courant est la raison de la création de ce blog.  Vous inviter, amis, inconnus, sportifs, politiques, artistes, tous ceux à qui le coeur en dit de nous rejoindre pour qu’on arrive à faire une belle exposition de cette collection formidable, une belle exposition qui s’enrichirait de nos sourires jusqu’à une prochaine édition.

create a smile DEDICACE, your smile will make us all happy

a genious idea came from  Poland that passed time, front eras and any differences which will be exhibited on the hospital walls providing children smiles from the world of the healthy and which is exhibited in cultural centers offering every visitor a tour of happiness guaranteed through a gallery of amazing dedications – happy.
This idea –  Smiles Project for Children originated from Marek Wysoczynski the Cultural Director of the Agency for Cultural Promotion, Gdansk and has already collected over 10,000 smilies worldwide on the occasion of its cultural tours. Little by little, smiles on a wall was created, little by little ambassadors of other countries first around Poland, then in the East will be organized exhibitions with him, either in hospitals or in places of cultural and artistic offered the public.
By responding to his invitation to add my artistic « smile »for the Smiles Project Marek Wysocsynski that this collaboration of art, culture and philosophy has come. The desire to make known in France this project and share it with my artist friends who are not yet aware of it, is the reason for creating this blog. You invite friends, strangers, sportsmen, politicians, artists, anyone who tells the heart to join us so that we arrive to a beautiful exhibition of this great collection, a beautiful exhibition which would be enriched by our smiles up in a forthcoming edition.

thank you in advance for your smily participation


votre  » ambassadrice smile » artiste
sylvia adjabroux  » smilesprojectfrance «
24 rue Arnaud Miqueu 33000 Bordeaux France


Autographs in the form of smiles for exibitions in children hospitals around the world.   Children are also doing
the smile workshop, learning to do something for each other.  There are smiles by musicians, sportsmen, politicians and last
but not least artists smiles meeting smiles made by children
from all over the world. See also the Smile examples on http://www.promocjakultury.pl

Hope you can also join our Smile project,
and send Smiles to our Project, and a big SMILE to you all 🙂


CHILDREN, you’re not forgotten!

sylvia adjabroux  » smilesprojectfrance «
24 rue Arnaud Miqueu 33000 Bordeaux France



Thanks! LOL

Laara WiilliamSen

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