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1000 miles, 200 plein air paintings and one donkey! Sharon Bamber’s artistic journey through France and Spain

Article by Sharon Bamber

sharon Bamber 1000 miles and a donkey image

Hi everyone, I thought you might be interested in my incredible 1000-mile walking and plein air painting expedition with my donkey through France and Spain and over the Pyrenees!


This is me

I’m Sharon Bamber, an artist living in British Columbia, Canada. I’m a Signature Member of the Artists for Conservation and the Federation of Canadian Artists. My work has been recognised internationally, with awards including first place in the Pastel Journal’s International Pastel 100 Competition, Pastels USA and BBC International Wildlife Artist of the Year. It can be found in private and corporate collections in Canada, UK, France and USA.

On my 51st birthday, I’ll be taking the first step on the most ambitious art project I’ve ever attempted.

This September, I’ll be setting out to walk and paint the Way of Saint James, along the Via Podiensis and the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I’ll be walking 1,000 miles through France and Spain alongside my donkey, Midas, and will be stopping to do a plein air painting every five miles along the ENTIRE route.

painting in France and Spain

The journey will take four months of walking and painting, crossing over the Pyrenees at the onset of winter. By the end of the journey, I’ll have created a series of 200 plein air paintings that tell the story of this ancient and powerful route as it is today, seen through the eyes of a contemporary artist.

Going outside with my easel and painting from life – also known as plein air painting – forces me to live in the moment, frees me to leave the studio and fully experience nature; to really see, really feel. Painting from life, responding directly to the subject, is an addictive and exhilarating way of working and I really believe that this emotion and connection is reflected in the art.

I’m raising the funds for this art project through a Kickstarter campaign -it’s a way for you to follow the journey and buy the paintings that I create along the way. You can see the 3 minute video and find out more here http://kck.st/2N8tZU7



This project is all about connection; getting to the heart of the sense of place on a journey that stretches back centuries, while celebrating the value of walking journeys and slow time outdoors.  


It is my hope that this journey will inspire people to slow down their hectic pace of life, take time to connect to the land and nature around them, to its history and culture. To re-kindle an essence of connection and a sense of belonging and caring in a fast-paced world.

 sharon Bamber plein air paintings image

People have felt the pull of this journey for thousands of years. Religious pilgrims have been drawn to it since 950AD and before that, my ancestors the Celts. Among them have been painters, writers, poets.  I’ll be painting places where ancient man painted on the walls of caves, where Sorolla painted some of his great works and where Robert Louis Stevenson walked with his donkey, Modestine. Donkeys have been walking this route alongside pilgrims since the beginning, so Midas is a perfect companion.


By translating what I see into a visual pathway, I can share my conversation with the landscape and let viewers make their own connection, joining us all with the pilgrims, artists, and people that have walked this route before me.


Feeling vulnerable, putting your dream out there.

I think that stepping out into something challenging is scary at any age, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. If it’s something you really believe in, something important, something bigger than you – believe in your ‘why’. It will help you overcome your fear, push you through the long hours needed and drive you to uncomfortable, challenging and ultimately amazing things.

sharon Bambers paintings image

I’m raising the funds for this art project through a Kickstarter campaign -it’s a way for people to follow the journey and buy the paintings that I create along the way – and it’s now 80% funded! JOIN over 100 other backers from across the globe and become part of this incredible art project! Learn more about and/or support this art project here http://kck.st/2N8tZU7 

The Kickstarter campaign ends on 28 July 2018, so there’s only 10 days left to become involved!

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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