Capturing Venice on Canvas & Paper

DATES: 10/07/2018 - 10/14/2018
PRICE: $2,695.00

Jane McElvany Coonce has been in the art field for over 30 years. She works primarily in oil, pastel, and terra cotta. Her works are held by private and corporate collectors, including the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, the International Country Club of Fairfax, Virginia, Georgetown University, the Rickover Naval Academy, and the Judicial Chambers of Arlington County, VA.  She has won numerous awards for both her paintings and her sculptures, including first prize at the International Miniature Society of Washington, D.C. in 2000, and first prize in the Plein Air Competion of Kensington in 2005. She was a featured artist in Elan Magazine, June 2004, with her art work appearing on the cover, and in spring 2009 she was the featured artist at NBC News in Washington, D.C.

In the summer of 2009, Jane had an exhibit at The Ratner Museum in Bethesda, MD. One of her paintings was also featured on the cover of the Washington Post Magazine, October 14, 2001 and her work is featured in the newly published book, How Did You Paint That? 100 Ways to Paint Still Lifes and Florals Vol. II, published by International Artist Publishing.  Her work is represented by The Kevin Butler Gallery in Martha’s Vineyard, MA and in West Hampton, NY, Aerie Gallery in Rehoboth, DE, and the Northern Virginia Art Center in Arlington, VA.

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Jane has been an art instructor for Arlington County Adult Education since 1980.  She is the founder and President of the Arlington Artists Alliance and is the former Vice President of both The Art League in Alexandria,Va and the Miniature Society of Painters, Sculptors, and Gravers of Washington, D.C. She is presently the Executive Director of the Gallery Underground located right outside Washington, DC.  Jane is also the President of Potomac Valley Watercolorist.

Born in Washington, D.C., Jane McElvany Coonce was raised in Arlington, Virginia and still resides there with her husband and three sons.

Jane Coonce is a terrific art teacher.  She has that rare ability to take any artist, beginner or highly advanced, and make them significantly better without changing their natural painting style in a very short period of time.  I was fortunate enough to be part of her prior art class trips to Southern France and Italy that were highly successful and fun.  Equally pleasing was the fact that many of our paintings sold at a special exhibition upon our return. –Jean Moore

This popular workshop is currently full.  We are starting a waiting list, however, so if you are interested, send us a note and we’ll add you to the list.

 Find Your Artistic Passion in Venice

Venice is a great city of the world that is pure enchantment.  No cars, the sound of water lapping in the canals, world-class art, incredible history and architecture – Venice deserves more than just a couple of days to explore.  Spend a whole week getting to know the back canals, wandering the quiet streets at dawn, feeling your way through the evening mist.  For centuries people have come to Venice to feel the pulse of this unique city.  Artists have tried to capture it, photographers have shot it and writers have set great novels here.  But there is still plenty of room for new interpretation – yours.

Blue Door, by Jane McElvany Coonce

The class will be geared to all levels. Artists can work in oil or watercolor.  We will paint outdoors in view of canals, bridges, boats and cafes.  Instruction will be given on how to start the painting and then how to develop it into a piece suitable for framing. Students are encouraged to take photos of the scene they paint in order to work on it back in the studio.

Topics covered will be:

  • perspective
  • aerial perspective
  • color harmony, and
  • composition.

Demos will show how to add people into a scene, textures of architechture (stone, stucco, tile roofs) and also creating a mood to the painting.   Critiques will be done to help students resolve issues that are causing problems in the painting.

Bridge Over Canal, by Jane McElvany Coonce

Activities:  Our daily painting in Venice will be combined with other adventures such as:

  • Instruction and critiques
  • A guided walking art history tour of Venice
  • Visit to morning fish market
  • Visit to selected outer islands in the lagoon (Burano)
  • Selected evening activities such as visit to San Marco when the orchestras play
  • Studio time to work on the compositions you started on location

General Activities: Our first activity will be an orientation on the first Sunday followed by dinner with the group.  After that most activities for the week will be organized around the individual workshops but all participants will come together for meals and events, like the guided walking tour of selected highlights of Venice. Then, at the end of the week the artists will stage an exhibit of their work to share their visual impressions of enigmatic Venice.

Venice Salute, by Lester Lefkowitz

Dinners: During the week we will have 5 dinners together. To experience a good cross-section of typical Venetian cuisine we will sample diverse neighborhood trattorie and Michael and Linda will host our group for two home-cooked meals with ingredients from the outdoor market. Two nights of the week you will be on your own to follow your nose to restaurants or concerts or the opera or whatever else might pique your curiosity. There is plenty of time for independent exploration.

City Sidewalk, by Jane McElvany Coonce

Price: $2,695 p/p

Single room supplement – $475 (limited number available)

Non-painting partners/friends are always welcome.  Non-participant fee is $2,395 or they might consider enrolling for the concurrent photography workshop with Lester Lefkowitz.


  • 7 nights at the renovated convent – double or single (with supplement) room with ensuite bathroom and shower (Note: departure is after breakfast on the final Sunday.  The last class activity will be Saturday evening.)
  • Daily Venetian breakfast and 5 dinners at local restaurants, including wine
  • Workshop tuition, daily classes
  • Guided art history tour of Venice
  • Selected excursions with class

Price does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing
  • Museum entry fees
  • Workshop materials
  • Local transportation: vaporettos, water taxis

NOTE:  unfortunately we are experiencing a temporary glitch with our registrations online.  Until we have that fixed, please click on the link to download a registration form that you can fill out and return either by email or mail.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Registration Form

Typical Venetian “cicchetti”, canal-side

To Register:  just click on the Sign Up Now button.  A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot in the workshop. Payment can be made on line with a credit card, or you can follow the instructions to send in your registration and payment by mail. Once we receive your deposit we will send you a formal Registration Confirmation with further information about the program. You will receive 2-3 other correspondences by email prior to the workshop with information about Italy, a supplies list and an electronic invoice for the balance. Final Balance is due by September 1st. Any time prior to your arrival, if you have questions about anything regarding the trip or the program, you can contact us by email or phone and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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

For our week in Venice we will be staying at the renovated monastery of Don Orione Artigianelli directly on the Giudecca Canal.  The complex is built around a series of quiet cloisters where the only sound is of the bells ringing on the hour.

Rooms are single or double, simply furnished, but each with its own private, modern bathroom.

Breakfast is served each morning in the dining room on the main floor.  We will use one of their conference rooms as our studio.

To arrive either you can fly directly into Venice or into Milan and then take the train to Venice. Specific arrival instructions will follow, but from the train station you can take the vaporetto and get off at the Zattere.  From the airport you can take the Alilaguna ferry (Blue Line) and get off at the Zattere.  In either case, Artigianelli will be right in front of you.  We’ll send you easy walking directions so you won’t get lost.  Remember that Venice is a walking city, so pack light because you will have to pull your luggage down the alleys and over the bridges – there’s just no getting around that.

Our first activity will be an orientation at 6pm on the first day, followed by dinner with the group.

Departure is after breakfast on the final day.  If you are flying out that day you might try to arrange your flights for 11am or later to avoid getting up at the crack of dawn.

If you have time you might want to explore the Lakes district or enchanting towns like Bergamo or Verona, the site of Romeo and Juliet, before you arrive in Venice. This will give you plenty of time to recover from jet-lag before you settle in at the convent and start your workshop. Besides, Italy is not something that should be experienced in a hurry. Its charms need to seep into your skin while you linger at a café or amble through a piazza.

Venice, city, empire, wonder of the world, is one of the most visually stimulating places on Earth. Stripes of canals, Byzantine mosaics glittering in the sun, window cases of blown glass, leather-bound books, plumed masks, woodcut puppets. Each step through the crooked passages is a delight. Spend a week (or two) probing unknown corners. Stay long enough to lounge at a café. Get to know the old woman at the vegetable stall. Return to that tiny mask shop again and again. Photograph it. Artists and writers have been interpreting Venice since it was born in the lagoon centuries ago, from the Grand Canal to the tiny sculptures above the doorframes. Get lost in the sensuality.

Because Venice is such a visual feast that is a collection of its past, our program offers weeklong workshops in painting or photography. Participants coming from the different disciplines will capture and be stimulated by the passion of Venice.  Throughout the week the groups inspire one another to see in new ways and to experiment with their work in a city that has awed writers, painters, colonels and kings.

Bartosek-rialto sunset

Rialto Sunset by Cindy Bartosek