PAINTING & DRAWING COURSE
These are our most popular courses, and are intended for anyone who is a beginner or an intermediate painter looking to improve or just have a go for the first time. This page is only meant as a rough guide and your course is dependent on the nature of the group and, of course, the weather. Every course is different, and I try to vary the content to keep it lively and fun, whilst ensuring that you go home with work you’re proud of.
(As with all our courses, all the basic materials you might need are provided and, although they are 'student quality' they are fine. Feel free to bring any of your own materials, maybe a higher quality paint or brush, but don't worry as all you'll need is here for you in the studio.)
To give you an idea of what to expect, the week-long and 10-day courses are broken down something like this;
Guests arrive on Day One at various times after lunch, and we provide a free pick-up service to the house from our local railway station in Chiusi Chianciano Terme at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. We politely ask you not to arrive before 2pm as we need time to get the house ready for our guests.
Let us know your arrival time by message or phonecall on the day or an email to Amanda in order that we can be there to meet you at the correct time.
We are always happy to send you details of how to get here and your probable train connections from airports etc.
Having settled into your accommodation at the house during the afternoon, later on in the evening there is a welcome pre-dinner drink for the group to meet up and get to know each other. We then have dinner together and the evening is free for you to relax before the first working day.
We begin work on Day 2 after breakfast. I generally like to start with a series of drawing and painting exercises, partly to get everyone warmed up, and also to begin to see what emerges from the group. We start nice and simple. During the day, the work incorporates more and more elements (line, tone, form, colour etc.) as we build towards our first painting later on in the afternoon, interrupted only by tea and coffee breaks and to enjoy lunch and dinner together.
On Day Three we go together as a group to our local Tuscan town, Chiusi, where the nomadic Etruscan tribes first settled here around 1000 years BC. It’s a charming town, not ‘touristy’, but with a wonderful Cathedral, the National museum of Etruscan art and plenty of other things to see. There is also a great little restaurant for pizza and pasta where we will have our lunch. In the afternoon we will take a short drive to a similar Umbrian hilltop town and see the differences and explore this equally charming location. We use this day to gather information, take photographs, learn about the area and begin to see what might emerge during the week.
This is our second full studio day and we use the material gathered to begin work together. We work pretty much all day, breaking for coffee and a light, fresh lunch under the pergola. At various points during the day we can go out into the landscape on the estate which surrounds the house for a further opportunity to paint outside.
I try to keep to my studio hours as the teacher, (3.5 hours in the morning and 3.5 hours in the afternoon), but students are free to dip in and out during the day, and if you would like to go for a swim (in season) or for a walk or a run, or just get away for a while, you are more than welcome. The courses are for you to enjoy as you wish.
This day is set aside for a trip to one of the major towns in our part of the world. This could be Florence, Rome, Cortona, Perugia, Assisi etc. but recently I have been taking students to Arezzo – a beautiful, elegant town just South of Florence in the heart of Tuscany which has some wonderful things to see, not least a Renaissance fresco masterpiece by Piero della Francesca, The Legend of the True Cross. It is a break from the studio and a very full day and, having had lunch there and drawn in our sketchbooks, gathered more reference material, photographs etc. we get back to the house for dinner together.
We get back to working in the Studio for the final day. This is a chance to try out new techniques, push yourselves (and each other), and see your work through to a level of finish. We stop only when everyone is ready to stop and then lay out all the work on the huge studio table to look at what has been completed. It’s hard not to be impressed by the amount produced during each course in what is a relatively short space of time, but always very gratifying to see the improvements in everyone’s work.
At the end of an informal critique, we go out as a group together to celebrate and to relax. We go to lunch or dinner (depending on progress) in a beautiful town, Castiglione del Lago, which juts into the wonderful Lago Trasimeno, the largest lake on the Italian peninsular. The restaurant, very popular with locals and tourists, has a large atmospheric outside courtyard where we enjoy our meal together.
This is the final day of the week long courses and so, once I have packed up your paintings carefully for you, guests will be taken back to Chiusi station for various train connections to airports or wherever they may be going on to in Italy. This is the bit where we all say goodbye, swap email addresses, promise to come again next year and make sure that the paintings we are clutching so carefully onto are our own!
However, on the 10 day courses this is a free day for you to enjoy however you choose; either working in the studio or taking a day trip.
Days Eight and Nine (only for the 10 day courses!)
On our 10 day courses, we use Day 8 to continue building on the work already produced. This little bit of extra time can make a huge difference as the group is now firmly established and everyone has their own stylistic direction to follow.
I am on hand in the studio all day, working with you all as individuals, and keeping the creative juices flowing!
The following day, we go to Florence, Italy’s wondrous Renaissance city. I will give you a personal tour of some of the highlights as we wander round, stopping at various museums and churches along the way. A normal tour might include the monastery at San Marco, Castagno’s Last Supper at Sant’Appollonia, the Ospedale degli Innocenti, Brunelleschi’s magnificent Dome, the enormous Piazza della Signoria, along the Arno to the Ponte Vecchio, a superb Ghirlandaio Adoration of the Shepherds at Santa Trinita and the finest Gothic church in Italy, Santa Maria Novella, which boasts Masaccio’s Trinity, the first truly Renaissance fresco!
It’s a busy day, but a real feast for the eyes.
We have our dinner in Florence and return to the house later that evening. Guests leave the following day and, as outlined before, you will be taken back to Chiusi station for various train connections to airports or wherever you may be going on to in Italy. We politely ask students to organise a departure time for mid-morning to allow us time to clean the studio and the rooms.
Some people enjoy painting in a traditional way, and others feel the need to experiment and try new techniques as part of the creative process. These 'Art Workshops' follow the same pattern as the painting and drawing courses but are different in the respect that students either come with a pre-existing idea of a personal project or want help to take their work wherever it may lead them.
As a result it’s a little difficult to be too prescriptive and to say what types of images we will produce, but that is part of the excitement of this type of course, and we work on a combination of drawing, painting, printmaking and collage.