Come to Venice with Me & Experience the Joy of Creativity!

DATES: 10/06/2019 - 10/13/2019
PRICE: $2,795.00

Elaine has been an artist since she was a small child, using the chalk from a broken wall to draw on the slate sidewalk in front of her home. Her long career has included illustrating an international children’s magazine and creating paintings that hang in public and private spaces across the US, including Joy Gardens in California, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and The Brentwood Library in Tennessee.

With her passion for teaching, Elaine has created an art curriculum for active senior centers, instructs community programs for adults, and runs art programs for kids.

I love to teach art and have been teaching classes, camps, and workshops for many years. I share what I know about many different media because I feel that an individual is drawn to specific ways to express their unique form of creativity.  I’ve been astounded to see some of the life changes that come about because of creative activity. The scientific studies that have been done about creativity prove what I see firsthand – that fulfilling the basic human drive to create actually changes the brain. I’ve seen students become more confident, have better communication skills, and have enhanced problem solving skills. Making art is therapeutic, so it’s a calming, centering activity. A lot of the folks who show up for my classes are looking at what’s next for their lives. I believe that creative activity is one of the best things they can do on that journey of discovery. The experience is what is important, not the end result of the work.  Elaine Allen

Elaine Allen is the teacher I have been looking to find for years.  I have taken several classes over the years but with Elaine I feel a real sense of accomplishment and growth in my art.  I would usually throw away the pieces I made in classes. But with Elaine’s classes I have finished works I am proud of.  She has a knack for really inspiring her students to create.  I would recommend any class you can take with Elaine. She has impressed me in a variety of mediums.  She has even helped me impress myself!  Thank you, Ms. Allen. Please keep doing what you do.  –Vickie Frazier

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Elaine was able to take me from a person sitting before a blank canvas to a woman who saw herself as an artist! I created a beautiful seascape that gives me such a feeling of pride.  Thank you, Elaine for bringing out such talent in me – yes, me!  I still can’t believe it! –Jane Meade

Your inherent creativity is humming and stirring quietly in its deep reserve . . . if you’re alive, you’re a creative person. You and I and everyone you know are descended from tens of thousands of years of makers. Decorators, tinkerers, storytellers, dancers, explorers, fiddlers, drummers, builders, growers, problem-solvers and embellishers – these are our common ancestors.  –From Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.

Bellagio by Elaine Allen, Oil

     We’ll find “Joy in Creativity” as we collect daily delights and moments to savor…we’ll experience awe and appreciation as we explore this breathtaking city, which is filled with spectacular architecture, priceless art, and deep history.

Our class time will be focused on learning to do quick drawings and paintings, where I’ll encourage each student to capture their impressions of being in this visually stunning location. Students will work in a book of watercolor paper, producing a personal journal of their experiences in Venice. Each student will then return home with a beautiful, personally painted record of their time in the Most Beautiful City in the World.

We’ll be painting with watercolor, and students will learn how to use a limited palette to achieve a full range of color.

We’ll be writing brief descriptions in our journals because words can capture the sounds, the scents, and the feelings.  Part of our classes will include simple drawing lessons. We will be creating sketches, and students will learn through active practice how a few well-placed lines can define a scene. But this class is not just for artists, it is for anyone that is open to exploring their own creativity.

Even though this sounds like a serious, “you must perform” time, that is not my intent at all!  We’ll be Art-Making with a great-big-heaping-serving of PLAY! I want to have fun with this, as I’m sure each student does as well!

Lemon Sherbet by Elaine Allen

I can’t wait to ride a little water taxi, to see the glass making on the island of Murano, to fiddle around with one of Leonardo DaVinci’s machines! I want gelato and Italian pastry and pizza. And…and…and! As the days will fly by, we will form new friendships as we revel in all that beautiful Venice has to offer. Come and join me!



An artist learns that creating is play, and in playing there is no failing. It is simply learning to play better through trial and error. There is also a release of creativity as you relax and learn to play without trying to impress someone else. Play helps lift you out of yourself. –Dorsey McHugh

Bellagio Sunset by Elaine Allen

Venice Biennale

This world famous international exhibit of contemporary art will be taking place during our week in Venice.  Artists from all over the world are chosen to represent their country which set up pavilions in the old ship building arsenal and the formal gardens.  Artists who have exhibited and won prizes at the Biennale over the years include Henry Moore, Matisse, Calder, Jena Arp, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and on and on.

Accommodations: The week will be spent in the a brightly renovated ex-convent on the Zattere in the Dorsoduro sector. When you register you can choose either a single or double room with ensuite bathroom in the complex where our studio is.  Rooms are clean and comfortable, but simply furnished.  We’ll enjoy traditional cuisine at local restaurants or prepared by our personal chef. It will be an ideal place to improve your painting skills.

General Activities: Our first activity will be an orientation at 6pm on the first day followed by dinner with the group.  After that, most activities for the week, like museum visits with Elaine and an intimate walking tour of the back canals of this ancient city, will be organized around the workshop. It’s easy to be independent in this entirely walkable city, but all participants will come together for meals and excursions. Then, at the end of the week, you may participate in an exhibit of class work to share our personal impressions of enigmatic Venice.

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 we find at 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.

Price: $2,795 p/p

Marsh Mountain by Elaine Allen

Non-painter partners/friends are always welcome for a reduced fee of $2,495
Options: single room supplement – $475 (limited number available) No single rooms available, only a shared double.


  • 7 nights at refurbished 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 buffet breakfast and 5 dinners at local restaurants, including wine
  • Workshop tuition, daily classes
  • Entrance to the Venice Biennale exhibit
  • Selected other museum entrance fees with Elaine
  • Guided art history tour of Venice with local art historian
  • Selected excursions with class


    Circular Venice, photo by Andy Holtzman

Price does not include:

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

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 August 15th, 2019. 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