Art Adventures

Preparing and packing for Paint Tuscany 2018! I had no idea three years ago when Gina and I created Paint Tuscany workshop and tour adventure that we be able to continue to offer the trip annually. It’s a dream come true! Ahhhh…Tuscany. Love! Can’t wait to return next week!

I’ve been compiling new painting lessons this month, all Italian themed, while I dream of the rolling hills of Tuscany.

Take off in one week! And I still haven’t packed my clothes. Paints and brushes? Yes. Clothes? Later. 😃

I’ll be posting daily blogs as I’m there. Check in or follow me to get posts on our adventures. Who knows, maybe you join us next year!


The focus for today’s event was not so much about painting, but more about 2 tours and individual free time in Florence. 

First, a stop at my “official favorite” store in Florence : Zecchi, an art supply store. I place the phrase in parenthesis because I have so many favorite stores in Florence!

Best art supply store!

After visiting about 4 or 5 times this trip, I managed to control my purchases and only bought a pad of watercolor paper. They have the most wonderful sable brushes, with their logo imprinted on the side; a treasured purchase I made on my first day here. The group purchased watercolor paints, paper, brushes, and other items. On our first day in Italy, we all purchased aprons from this store that we used for the entire workshop. You can see the aprons in our photo day seven. 

Afterwards,  we headed across Ponte Vecchio to tour Il Papiro,  a paper shop. But we had to get a pic on the bridge, of course. 

At Il Papiro,  Gina had set up a tour to observe the company’s process in marblizing paper. 

Gianni, illustrating his marbling technique

And then, much to my suprise, Gianni offered to let me try! I couldn’t believe it!

First the apron.

Tap, tap, tap the acrylic pigment into the base.

Drag a tool through the paint to make designs

Another tool, like a comb, makes the floral pattern


 Wow. Love!!!

Next, we visited an apothecary. 

Santa Maria Novella Farmaceutica

The aroma in the building? Orange, clove, and herbal spices. Gorgeous.  

Late afternoon, we met up in our apartment for one last painting session. The group finished their paintings, and we visited about our experience, summarized our trip  and planned next year!

Final group meeting.

Pictures of everyone’s art by person:

What an amazing  trip. Now, homeward bound to plan next year!

Thanks to all those in group who provided pics to me what my phone camera was full. You know who you are. 

More pics and posts to follow when I get home. 

For now, arrivederci!

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Time to depart our second home, Casa Bolsinina,  today and head up for a beautiful lunch in the Chianti region of Tuscany. 

Here, a photo with the group, everyone holding their favorite painting. 

Here we are in all our glory, wearing our aprons from an art store in Florence. 

Okay, I’m having a few technical difficulties with WiFi. This is the only pic I am going to post from today. More tomorrow! 

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This morning, while barn swallows swooped through the sunny skies around our Tuscan studio, we began painting pots of flowers in a loose and vibrant technique. 

Here is my sample, as I began the first wash. 

First loose wash, with a finished sample on the left.


At noon, we broke for lunch/picnic in the upstairs loft. 

What a yummy picnic lunch!

After lunch, we returned downstairs and noticed that local swallows had to get involved by taking paper and paper towels from our studio to their nests for their kids to enjoy REAL art. 🙂

“Here, peeps, look closely at the complimentary color scheme on this crumpled canvas.”

And bonus of the day? We spotted a bee-eater!! I’ll post the pic later when I can download them from my camera. 

Tomorrow’s adventure? Drive through the countryside to an olive grove for lunch and head into Florence for more fun! Can it be possible! !?? I’m thinking yes!

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It rained last night in Tuscany. Soft, gentle rain, sweetly scenting the soil and lush vegetation. On our way to paint, sunshine began peaking it’s way through the clouds, heating moisture away from stone walls, and soaking Mediterranean air around the studio. 

Sunlight today provided a much lighter studio space than yestereday, while the group worked on finishing their red roosters they had all begun the day before. 

We painted this rooster step-by-step, together; they all look similar. But everyone learned important techniques for glazing, lifting, charging color, and working with small details, as well as creating a convincing black out of Ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. 

Everyone did such an amazing job! First time rooster for all!

After painting, we visited Monterrigioni, a small town about a 45 minute drive away, known for its 14 towers and mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The town was built in 1214-1219 as a lookout for the Sienese in their wars against Florence. 

One of two entrances into the town

Small courtyard within the town. The large illustration and map display information about Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route running from France to Rome. 

Simply gorgeous

Great shopping for things like jewelry, scarves, honey, linens and other Tuscan souvenirs

Tomorrow,  we will finish the doors we began today and take another tour. Can’t wait to see how the doors turn out!


Woke to sunny skies this morning that quickly changed to rain as we painted in our Tuscan studio. 

Blue skies and an open door to our painting studio welcomed us after breakfast.

Today, instead of everyone painting the same landscape scene, each person chose their own image from photos they had taken during the trip and dove in!! A challenging task, without step-by-step instruction. But the ladies created beautiful watercolors. Look at the difference! Each painting shows each person’s individual personality! I love it!! This, THIS  is why I teach!

After workshop, a picnic lunch (inside…too rainy!), then off to…but wait, can it be? Yes, a winery!!!

We toured Ciacci Piccolomini d’ Aragona. Gorgeous! 

Ciacci Piccolomini d’ Aragona

Post tour from our beautiful host, Giada, we, of course, FORCED ourselves to taste the wine! Oh, and olive oil, honey, and grappa. 

Group shot after grappa. Whew! It packs a punch! Though I might need to taste it again. Just to be sure…

What a day! Can we possibly have more fun tomorrow! !??

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A marathon painting day, today! After a beautiful breakfast in our villa, we stepped outside to a misty courtyard and into the nearby stables, which have been converted to a temporary painting studio. Once the mist burned off, the studio filled with warm Tuscan light filtering through large windows looking towards flowered courtyards and green valley fields.

We finished our “cheat sheets” from yesterday and dove readily into painting a Tuscan landscape. Afterwards, we headed into a nearby Tuscan town for a quick grocery – shop adventure. 

Making use of plenty of blue and intense colors during “cheat sheet” painting today.

Next, to tackle a Tuscan landscape. 

Look at the gorgeous view behind me!!!

How can I concentrate with that view??

Everyone painted their own interpretation of the landscape. Here is a pic of each person’s work:

Finished today with smiles on all our faces. Tomorrow, more painting and a winery tour!! Love!!

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Second day Paint Tuscany. How can life be so wonderful in Italy!!??

Before heading out to the country villa from Florence, we stopped for coffee. 

Call me Princess Flowerhead

Outside our rental car place, we tried out our popular and much-requested model poses. 

Fish lips and three quarter turns for the crowd.

After lunch in Florence,  we headed to the country villa for our first watercolor workshop. We had time to immerse ourselves in the surrounding grounds of the Tuscan farmhouse. 

Taking photos of the countryside for inspiration

Patina the cat remembered me from last year. 🙂

After we settled our belongings,  we began the first official day of watercolor lessons in the renovated stables. 

Learning about our supplies and vocabulary. 

Mixing greens and darks on paper

One on one help with color selection.

Making a personal color wheel

We had a blast painting! Wonderful dinner at Casa Bolsinina. More painting, shopping, eating, and wine tomorrow!

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Amazing day in Florence! This was our first full day in Italy after arriving yesterday evening. We are shopping and exploring the city before heading to the country for our watercolor workshop. 

We had to shop for shoes. 

So matchy, us!

We found the most amazing art store…EVER!

Watercolor painting, anyone?

Glorious colors

Buckets of brushes

And then, lunch!

Prosecco wine with lunch. Yum!!

It rained during lunch, but we sat under an awning, people watched, and enjoyed our bruschetta and boar. 

First meeting in the evening, we went over all our supplies and schedule for the upcoming week. 

For now, however, I need to catch up on sleep. More adventures tomorrow!

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I’m flying out to Italy today at 3pm to teach a painting workshop in Tuscany! I can’t wait! I have a couple of layovers, and will end up in Florence tomorrow at 5pm. So excited. Can’t wait to experience the beautiful light and sights of amazing Tuscany. LOVE Italy.

Italian Farmhouse we will call home for 6 days!


View from one of the beautiful little towns in Tuscany last year


Roman spa from 2016 tour


Montepulciano window box. Gorgeous.

I have uploaded Google Drive to my devices, so that I can send my phone photos to my tablet and post a blog update every day. That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how it works. In any case, I’ll be posting on Facebook and Instagram. Watch were we go, what we see, what we paint, and (probably) what we eat!! Oh, and the wine, of course!

Follow this blog, my FB page and Instagram to share the adventure with us!


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