Art Colony-Giverny offers a seven-day painting and photography session in Claude Monet’s Garden during hours when the home is closed as well as the unique opportunity to enjoy the French lifestyle.
“(Art Colony-Giverny) is not about just coming in as a tourist and seeing the garden. It’s about experiencing the way of life,” she said. Nuckolls pursued a fine arts degree at Sullins College in Bristol, Va.
Married during her second year of college, Nuckolls returned to school after her son was born and earned a nursing degree. Since 1981, Nuckolls has worked as a lactation consultant at WellStar Cobb Hospital, and she teaches childbirth classes as well.
Although Nuckolls did not actively work with her art because she was raising a family and working as a nurse, she said, “I never really stopped thinking about my art.”
She first came to Giverny in June 2001 after reading an article on the five legendary places to paint in Artist’s Magazine that included Monet’s Garden. Knowing she and her husband, Rich, would travel as members with the Georgia Festival Chorus to Europe — with a layover in Paris — she contacted ArtStudy/Giverny.
“Several emails later, I ended up with a private lesson at Monet’s Garden,” she said. The email explained that the private lesson would be with the resident artist Gale Bennett at a cost of $500. “My husband said, ‘You have to do it. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.’”
The meeting proved to be just that. “Nobody was in the garden but us. It was truly the finest day of my life,” she said. “This was a life-changing day.”
In September 2001, Nuckolls returned to Giverny for an 11-day session. Because of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Nuckolls was unable to return to the U.S. Instead, she completed 43 paintings.
“It was just eat and paint, eat and paint. I didn’t have to worry about anything except eating and painting,” she said. The next year, she traveled to Florida for a workshop under Bennett. “I convinced him that I should be his assistant,” Nuckolls said, which she did in 2002 and each successive summer.
After Bennett died in March 2008, Nuckolls became the resident manager of ArtStudy and returned in 2009 to manage the final sessions of ArtStudy-Giverny. Because of her long-standing relationship, Nuckolls has been granted unlimited access to Monet’s Gardens for her Art Colony-Giverny classes.
“We go in at 5:00 after the garden is closed. We have access all over the garden,” Nuckolls said. “For what I thought was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has turned into something just amazing.”
The 2012 workshop is Sept. 12 to 19. The session costs $3,500 per person. Visit www.artcolony-giverny.com, call (770) 977-3434 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information