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I imagine that when companies design feedback forms they anticipate far less than a 100% return rate, but my fabulous students who attended my first ever painting excursion did just that. I have a friend in communications to thank for that. He suggested that I include no more than 5 questions with room for comments. In the envelope I also included a self-addressed stamped envelope for ease of return.

Tonight I sent out a feeler email about a possible painting adventure this Feb. 2014 to Arizona. (I would love to paint the flowers in bloom in the desert and the Grande Canyon.) Within 2 hours, two of these lovely students who came with me to France had responded favorably to the Arizona idea requesting more info. Here is some feedback for you ladies. I cant wait to paint and travel with you again!

Here are the responses received with permission to reprint, along with names of those commenting.

“I thoroughly enjoyed being part of Paint France 2013. The opportunities for painting as well as the fabulous historical & archaeological sites were truly inspiring. I’d love to go again.”

~ Donna Dynna; Regina, Canada

“Hi Nikki! I think the trip opened my world to Europe & it was so great even taking photos, something I’ve never had much chance with a digital camera. Two days (in Paris) were rushed and I didn’t get to shop for souvenirs but that’s OK. Found better bargains in the country. Wished we maybe could have painted more and ate less but it was all good. Thank you & I’m eager for more.”

~ Mary Jensen; Regina, Canada

“Mostly because of weather.”, she commented in response to rating a 3 out of possible 5 for feeling she had advanced her artistic ability during this trip and that there was a good balance of sightseeing activities to instruction time.

~ Myrna Gibbens; Lebret, Canada

“This was a wonderful experience and great introduction to Europe and France for me. I liked all the tours and sights we saw. Ray & Lynne Johnstone were fabulous hosts. The two things that could be improved on would be more time for painting… and maybe a guide in Paris.

Muse d’Orsaywas fabulous. The Louvre was overwhelming and great. The Seine River Boat Night Cruise, I would have later and possibly with the meal included but that may vary the cost too much. Loved the express train ride, the introduction to French food, the Mill was a great place to stay – comfortable (even in the cold southwest France.

The pre-trip socials were a great idea even though I didn’t make most of them. It was helpful to know a few people on the trip. Loved the quaint town of Poudernas and the quaint French countryside. The variety of things we did was great Nikki. I know the work that goes into the planning of an excursion and appreciate all your efforts Nikki. It was well planned – even though the weather did not co-operate. Thank you! Thank you!”

~ Christine Rumancik; Qu’Appelle, Canada

“Nikki- I think you did a very good job with this 1st painting trip. Overall, I enjoyed the trip and was happy with the instruction from you and Ray Johnstone. The hospitality of Ray & Lynne Johnstone was fantastic.”

~ Sharon Turner; Regina, Canada

“I did accomplish everything I had set out to do and the company was excellent. There were no surprises and I had lots of money left over. Southern France was very enjoyable & more like a holiday than Paris. The balance of activities was good, easy pace except for a time of being lost in Paris.

Photography became the art option of choice to provide good reference materials for later. The outline hints on vertical / horizontal lines and searching out shapes when sketching buildings was good.

The selection of venues was very good – lots of variety and some unexpected surprises that turned out very interesting like the blue pastel factory, the wine maker /photographer and of course the pilgrims.

The Mill venue was nice, safe enough to enjoy walks about town and comfortable inside. The food was excellent. The hosts were friendly and accommodating. The option to opt out was nice too although we did not use it much. It accommodated the different abilities of the individuals in the group. To do it again I would like a city tour to start that gets you oriented to the place you are in (Paris). These are usually only 1 – 2 hours long and pick up is often at your hotel.”

~ Carole Young; Saskatoon, Canada