Autumn Arts Festival – Watercolor Journaling en Plein Air

DATES: 10/19/2021 - 10/27/2021
PRICE: $3,850.00

Kathy Rennell Forbes is an accomplished international artist and instructor. She has taught plein air workshops in Cuba, Italy, France, Spain and the USA. Her artwork is in private and corporate collections around the world, including the French Olympic Committee in Paris. In 2019, Forbes taught watercolor workshops in Vence, France; Cinque Terre, Italy and Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Kathy is a Signature Member and past President of the Georgia Watercolor Society and has won numerous awards.  She was one of thirty master artists invited to the prestigious Olmsted Plein Air Invitational in Atlanta and Georgia Color’s Inaugural event. Her recent awards include 1st Place at the Plein Air Paint Out (PAPO) in Eatonton, GA, 1st Place at the Lake Country Fine Art Show, and Best Watercolor at Stone Mountain PAPO.

Forbes earned her BFA in Art and Art Education at the University of Georgia in Athens. Kathy currently creates, instructs, and exhibits her paintings at Studio Z in Atlanta’s Westside Arts District, at Binders Art Supply & Frames in Atlanta, GA and the Art House in Acworth, GA.

Kathy on location

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Artist Statement

Although I create many of my paintings in the studio or at live demos, my favorite place to paint is outdoors. There I become one with nature, lost in the scenery and the painting. It also keeps my work fresh and provides new challenges, whether it is a new location in a different country or dealing with the changing elements of nature. I oftentimes work in a small watercolor journal making notes in the margins and then create larger studio pieces from them, especially when traveling overseas.

You can follow Kathy on Facebook at:

Il Chiostro celebrates the harvest time of the year in Tuscany with The Autumn Arts Festival. We offer 4 separate workshops that all overlap throughout this week-long celebration of the arts, the harvest, the wine and this wonderful region of Italy.  The workshops are:

In addition to your workshop we offer Italian Opera Appreciation lectures with Prof. Patricia Pease each evening before dinner.  This is open to all participants.

Program DescriptionWatercolor Journaling En Plein Air:

Join Kathy Rennell Forbes for her 4th plein air workshop with Il Chiostro, this time at the Dievole Winery in Tuscany, Italy. You will receive daily painting demos and hands on instruction with inspiration around every corner.  You will learn about composition, mixing colors and capturing this area’s beauty and charm in watercolor. We will travel light with just a small bag of watercolor supplies and a journal.

Painting journal on location in Dievole by Kathy Rennell Forbes

Kathy encourages your own painting style while sharing her watercolor secrets. You will bring home your personalized watercolor journal that you can share with others and inspire your larger paintings. This is a great workshop for beginner and intermediate painters who want to enhance their watercolor skills while traveling.

Essence of Tuscany at Dievole by Kathy Rennell Forbes

“Kathy did a fantastic job of leading us in painting each day through the towns and landscapes. The Italy trip totally exceeded my expectations! Never having gone to Europe, I didn’t know what to expect really. But now I fear I’m completely spoiled by our trip to Italy as it was the most amazing, stress free, wonderful time of my life! The people, food, art and painting were perfect. Thank you so much for this fantastic experience!”  –
Katie K.



Dievole Vineyard

Price: $3,850 p/p; optional supplements include:

  • limited number of suites available for a $450 p/p supplement (minimum 2 persons)
  • single supplement $695 (limited number available)




View from Cortona


  • Room (double or suite) with full bathroom-8 nights
  • 2 meals per day (dinner with wine and full Tuscan breakfast)
  • Workshop tuition and fees (except where noted)
  • General activities (except where noted)
  • Full day excursion to the iconic hill town of Cortona, featured in Frances Mayes Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Transfers between Siena train or bus station and Dievole
  • All local transportation and guides for excursions

Departure is on morning of October 28th.

Kathy instructing

General Activities Open to All Participants (in addition to workshop):

Most activities take place in and around the 900 year old Dievole estate & vineyard.

  • Winery tour and tasting, featuring Dievole’s Chianti Classico
  • Italian Opera Appreciation classes every evening before dinner
  • Excursion to Siena and Cortona
  • Dinner in the old cantina
  • Various topical excursions with your class
  • Special evening events and surprise entertainment, TBA
  • Pig Roast celebrating the harvest and the arts

Price does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Museum admissions
  • Art supplies, laptops or other equipment for workshops.

Contact us for more information: or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

Dievole Chianti Classico Winery, Tuscany

Participants in the Autumn Arts Festival will stay in Dievole’s 16th century inn and guest houses floating in the magnificent Tuscan hills. We take over the whole winery so it will begin to feel like home after a few days.  The entire facility recently underwent a major facelift transforming all rooms into spacious, luxury lodgings.  Rooms are doubles or suites with modern bathrooms and heating.

A limited number of single rooms and suites are available for a supplement.

Dievole will seem more like a family inn rather than an impersonal chain hotel.  Dievole is located in the town of Vagliagli, about 12km northeast of Siena and 40km south of Florence. If you wish to explore the area independently during your stay we recommend renting a car. The link below will give you a glimpse of the winery:

Click here to visit Dievole’s web site…

Visit them on Facebook:


Die vole vineyards, photo by Jim Palmer

Dievole wine bottles-GRios

Dievole wine bottles, photo by Gilbert Rios

Gianni pouring-2014

Gianni pouring for a tasting, photo by Andy Holtzman


Dinner in the old wine cellar, photo by J Michael Sullivan


Dino ready to carve at the harvest pig roast


Early morning at Dievole, photo by Gabriella Pascoe


Orientation in the vintners’ room, photo by J Michael Sullivan

We will pick you up in Siena anytime between 1 and 5pm on the first day of the program. The recommended arrival airports are Florence or Rome from where you can take a bus or train to Siena. Florence is closer, but there are no direct flights from the US. You would have to change in another European city. Rome provides more flight options.

The bus/train from Rome to Siena is about 3 hours.

We can also arrange for a car to pick you up from Florence or Rome. You pay the driver directly. Just let us know a few days in advance so we can make the arrangemenst for you.

If you are departing from Rome on the last day, remember it is 3 hours by car or bus from Siena so try to book an afternoon flight.

If you have time, you might consider lingering in Italy for a few days extra on either end of the festival. Allow the Italian rhythms to seduce you. A few days in Rome or Florence upon arrival is a wonderful way to get over jet-lag. For other travel help check our Travel to Italy web page.

  • If you like dealing with a person, try our travel consultant, Nancy Schaffer with Travel Solutions, Inc. in Westborough, MA.  You can reach her at or 508-836-0143.  Mention that you are traveling with Il Chiostro.
  • For this trip and whenever you travel, we strongly recommend personal travel insurance. It protects you against penalties should you need to cancel your trip at the last minute. If you don’t have a policy, contact Travelex (800) 5047883 or [Note: Travelex requires that you take out a policy within 21 days of registering for a travel program.]

Specific Travel information to get to Dievole:

By Train: There are regularly scheduled trains from all major towns and cities in Italy. Head towards Siena. From Rome there are several trains daily from the main station (Termini). You don`t need a reservation. Although you purchase a through ticket, it is necessary to change trains at Chiusi. The ride takes about 3.5 hours (approximately 240 km.) and the cost is around $20.
NOTE: in Italy it is the law to stamp your train ticket in the little yellow meter near each train platform. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines, even if you plead ignorance.
By Bus: There are also buses from almost anywhere in Italy to Siena. These are modern and comfortable coaches.

From Florence: buses leave the SITA terminal (next door to the train station) nearly every hour. If you take Siena Rapida, the ride is direct on the highway and should take 1 hour.

From Rome: the ride takes 3 hours (non-stop). If you plan to arrive at the Rome airport and plan to come directly to Siena, this is the quickest method. From the airport, take the train on the left-hand track to the Tiburtina station (NOT Termini). From there, go outside into the parking lot.
If you are already in Rome you can take the Metro to the Tiburtina station. Take the B (blue) line towards Rebibbia. Follow signs to Pzle. Stazione Tiburtina.
With the long side of the station at your back, cross under the overpass into the parking lot. Buy your ticket from the building marked Biglietteria C (17.50 Euros, approx. $20); the bus usually leaves from Gate 8. These buses leave every day at regular intervals. To get current fares and schedules for the SENA bus you can check their web site:

Once in Siena, get off at the Siena train station (Ferrovia). Don’t get off in the center of Siena.

Tuscany in autumn is a sensual feast. Russet and golden hills. Crisp air. Trees weighted with olives. Woods rich with mushrooms and chestnuts. The scent of grapes hangs over the valleys like mist. The harvest is the soul of the Tuscans. In autumn the hilltowns revert to the locals. Their art is to prepare the bounty: prosciutto, nuts, olive oil and especially Chianti. Traditional festivals celebrate every phase from the vendemmia (harvesting of grapes for wine) to the wild boar. Music, folklore, dancing in the piazza.And there, in the heart of Tuscany, is Siena. The legendary medieval town packed with history and art. In autumn, her museums and churches relax, uncrowded. The streets echo her architecture, art and heroes.

IC pix 07-425

Surrounding Vineyards, photo by Linda Mironti