The Art of Travel: The Tour Du Mont Blanc in Paintings

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Travel has always been a source of inspiration for the creative mind. Whether you're a poet, photographer, novelist, philosophic thinker or indeed, an artist.

That's certainly how travel has affected Neil Pittaway, Exodus trekker. He used his iconic Tour Du Mont Blanc Camping Trek to inspire a host of fantastic watercolour paintings and sketches that truly capture the beauty of these magnificent mountains.

Neil was kind enough to share his beautiful work with us. We'll let him tell the story in his own words...

Mont Blanc in Pictures

Neil painting at the Bovine Refuge Switzerland 

Capturing the mountains on the Tour Du Mont Blanc Camping trek

“I managed to produce some 40 sketches on the Tour Du Mont Blanc circuit camping trek over 13 days, which I completed in August 2016.

Our guide on the trip, John Briggs, was excellent, enabling me to create my sketches and paintings throughout the trip. He accommodated my time to paint, with expert knowledge of the trails affording great stops for phenomenal views and vantage points.

The full view of Aiguille d'Argentiere and Aiguille Verte 

Clare Appleby, our logistics manager on the trip, was also like John - excellent at accommodating my time to paint in camp before dinner.

I cannot thank them both enough for their hard work, patience and dedication!

Views towards the Chaîne des Aravis mountains 

The landscapes I encountered on this trip were beyond my expectations and were truly inspirational. The campsites Exodus uses for this trip are particularly good, offering fantastic views of the Mont Blanc Massif and elsewhere.

Some of the sketches I made show these amazing views, particularly Les Bossons camp with its panoramic views of the Aiguille Du Midi, Mont Blanc and the Bosson Glacier.

Sunrise on the midi from Les Bossons camp


Views of Switzerland 

Aiguille du Midi

The other must-see view (if clear) is from the summit point of the Aiguille Du Midi cable car, which you can do on one of the trip's rest days. (The cable car journey is from Punta Helbronna).

I last visited the Aiguille Du Midi view in 1985 when I was about 13 years old and I remember it so clearly. My return journey was not to disappoint. I spent some five and a half hours drawing from the Aiguille Du Midi.

Views of the Aiguille Du Midi 

I liked the fact that this tour allowed me to have time to create my work and for phenomenal views at different times of day.

If you are thinking about doing this trip I would definitely recommend the camping option for this reason.

The Mer de Glace painted at a lunch stop 

All the images of my work (reproduced here) were created in situ in the Plain–Air tradition of painting produced using a combination of ink pens, pencils, acrylics and watercolours in a handmade Italian leather-bound sketchbook to emulate the days of artists works from the grand tour in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Neil's sketchbook 

The sketches I produced on this trip are records in time, capturing the momentary majesty and effects of an ever-changing landscape. I would definitely recommend this trip one of the best trips I have ever done so far!!

I hope my paintings give you some insight and inspiration to undertake this amazing journey! And to appreciate further the beauty of the mountains."

Lac Blanc


Val Ferret painted on Neil's birthday 

You can see more of Neil’s work at and on social media. Follow Neil on Facebook, on Twitter and on Google +

About Neil

Neil Pittaway was born in Yorkshire in 1973. He studied at Cheltenham School of Art, University of Bradford, Royal Academy Schools and the University of Huddersfield. 

Neil is a member of the New English Art Club, the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and an Associate Member of the Alpine Club, London.

He travelled on the Tour Du Mont Blanc Camping Trek in August 2016.

Thank you for sharing your work with us, Neil!

Neil paintingNeil painting

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