Interpreting the Tuscan Landscape through Drawing, Painting and Mixed Media

DATES: 10/09/2021 - 10/16/2021
LOCATION: Tuscany, San Fedele
PRICE: $2,995.00

Nan Hass Feldman is an optimistic, energetic person whose works are stylized while still recognizable, vibrantly colorful, intricate, playful, enlivening, and upbeat!  Her work reflects her love of art history and her direct response and interpretation of the culture, landscape, and architecture of each new trip and teaching experience she embarks on.

Table in Sorrento by Nan Hass Feldman

Since 1999, Nan has led and taught painting workshops in Dieulefit and Aix-en-Provence, France; Cortona and Cinque Terre, Italy; Skopelos, Greece; and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  She has run the Artists Loft on the Oceania Cruise Line in the Mediterranean, the Baltic States, the Caribbean, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. No matter the location, Nan enjoys interpreting everything through her screen of selective seeing, playful detail, heightened color, and bits of fantasy.

Having grown up in Brooklyn, Nan started taking art classes at the Brooklyn Museum when she was three years old.  She spent every Saturday of her teen years visiting the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.  Nan has a BFA, an MA, and an MFA in painting and has had over 50 one-person shows as well as numerous museum exhibits.  She is one of the founders of the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham, MA where she also teaches, as well as at the Worcester Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA.  Ms. Feldman has received many awards, such as the Massachusetts Arts and Humanities Foundation Award, two Worcester Art Museum Foreign Travel Awards, and a Basil H. Alkazzi International Painting Award.  Her work is represented in collections in six countries, but Nan is most proud of her pieces that makes people happy, some of which are included in fifteen hospital collections in the lobbies, corridors, and offices in major cities across the USA.

For Nan, art really is about enhancing and interpreting reality to create a more optimistic, luscious, and joyous world.

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Artist Statement

I’ve been blessed, for more than four decades now, to be able to do the two things I love most: painting and teaching. I have always enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm and passion for making art by exhibiting, teaching, and encouraging others to feel the satisfaction of creating.  I believe anyone can learn to make art, you just need good direction and technical information, along with encouragement and an open-mind.  Art is about an understanding on the human experience – your experience – and the uniqueness that each person brings to every lesson.

Animated. Energetic. Vibrant. Imaginative. And these words describe just the artist. Throw in colorful, joyful, funky, whimsical, and exuberant and you have a partial description of Nan Hass Feldman’s evocative paintings as well.  Leon Nigrosh, The Worcester Phoenix

Join us as we explore the hills of Tuscany through our own interpretive art!

Each day instructor Nan Hass Feldman will include lessons on technique, medium, foundations and color. For those who prefer not to be included in the instruction, Nan will be present to direct them individually if they wish, while all will take part in the group reviews and critiques.

Table for Two at Camino Real 24″ x 24″ by Nan Hass Feldman

Itinerary: (suggested, daily activities subject to change)

Leave the U.S. evening, Friday, October 8th (independent flight arrangements)

  •  Day One, October 9
    -Arrival, get settled in rooms, meet all for a welcome orientation and dinner together
  • Day Two, October 10
    -San Fedele Monastery/Historical Residence
    -Walk around the property
    -Overview of landscape principles: set-up stages, blocking in forms, establish three values, thumbnail sketches in a few different formats, fill in values
    -Use of charcoal, kneaded eraser, soft pencils, or white and black paint and brushes
    -Translate value sketches from a monochromatic drawing to a monochromatic painting
    -Afternoon and evening winery tour and dinner (optional)

3MB Little Buddhas Dream of the Floating World 28″ x 22″ by Nan Hass Feldman

  •  Day Three, October 11
    -Visit Radda, a picture-perfect town of warm honey-colored stone and green shutters, which is still encircled by the protective walls
    -Focus on simplicity of man-made elegant forms, students may create a series of cut and ripped collages inspired by the shapes and colors or draw/paint
    -Bring colored papers, scissors, gel medium, brushes, sketching materials to draw, paint, and create in Radda, focusing on local color with student’s paints of choice
    -Independent lunch in town
  • Day Four, October 12
    -Work on individual pieces at our studio in the historical residence, San Fedele
    -Create two views of landscape: one view towards the monastery and one view towards the landscape
    -Use a limited palette: one painting each in both warm and cool palattes
    -Critique at hotel
  • Day Five, October 13
    -Siena, home of hidden treasures, panoramas, medieval towers, churches and palaces, alleys  and green valleys within the city walls
    -Sketching to capture different views of the city
    -Lesson: focus on planes and shadows
    -Back at the residence, translate sketches to a painting using opposite color palette

    Through the Arch Into Camogli 32″ x 22″ by Nan Hass Feldman

  • Day Six, October 14
    -Visit a nearby Tuscan village
    -Walk the town and choose an inspirational spot to set up
    -Demonstration of using multiple mediums: sketch first, use caran d’ache crayons (wax-non water-soluable), then oil pastels, and lastly watercolor or open acrylics diluted
    -Lunch out, either restaurant or picnic
  • Day Seven, October 15
    -At the monastery, finish works already started and use mediums of your choice, or students may create new pieces incorporating three points of view: far, middle, and close-up
    -Focus on color: earth tones and low key colors or students may work on subjective color with focus on trees; the beauty of one or the whole scene
    -Students may also work on abstract landscape pieces with no preliminary sketch
    -Last critique
    -Farewell dinner
  • Day eight, October 16
    -Depart after breakfast

Cafe in Naples 14″ x 17″ by Nan Hass Feldman

Additional Activities

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

  • Day trip to Medieval Siena to sketch, take photos, explore and shop
  • Excursions to nearby hilltowns like Radda, Castellina, Monteriggioni, etc.
  • Visit to Chianti winery for a tour and tasting
  • Variety of plein air locations to paint landscapes, villages, and the Tuscan light
  • Discussions of Tuscan cuisine with our personal chef

After excursions or painting on location, we’ll return each evening to relax in our 1,000 year old monastery to enjoy the surroundings, have a glass of wine and an informal critique of the day’s work. Then we will move to the dining room (the authentic refectory where the monks used to assemble) to enjoy our local chef’s authentic, home-made Tuscan meal, recapping the day’s adventure with good company.

Welcome to dinner, by Kathy Hawkins

Price: $2,995 p/p based on double occupancy ($2,695 for non-painting friends)

Optional Supplements:

  • $550 for single room-limited availability
  • $250 p/p for Jr. Suite


  • Shared double room in restored monastery (singles available at a supplement, see above)
  • Daily traditional breakfast and dinner, including wine
  • Daily painting classes and critiques
  • Excursion to Siena
  • ½ day painting excursions to nearby plein air settings and hilltowns (Monteriggioni, Radda, Volpaia…)
  • Pick up from Florence train station at 3:30pm on arrival Saturday
  • Transfer to bus/train station in Siena (not Florence) on final day

Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch (we’ll always make sure you have options when we are on excursion)
  • Art supplies
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing
  • Gratuities (about 25-40 euros per guest suggested to cover the whole staff)

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.  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.

Borgo San Fedele

— San Fedele is a restored 12th century monastery floating in the Chianti hills —

©Lester Lefkowitz 7003-001Il Chiostro at San Fedele is the combined skills of Linda and Michael of Il Chiostro joining together with Nicolo and Renata of San Fedele to produce a unique and inspiring environment rooted in the traditional Tuscan values of beauty, great food, an appreciation for nature and the value of community.  The monastery, dating back to the 12th century, was meticulously restored using traditional building methods and all original materials. Today, the monastery remains true to its original spirit, rich architectural detail. The 16 rooms and suites where participants are housed have lovely modern bathrooms, screened windows, air conditioning, period furniture, wi-fi internet service, satellite television and minibar, all designed to perfectly compliment the medieval surroundings.

The original soaring chapel is now used as a large art studio or workshop space. The monks’ refectory, where a lost 16th century fresco was uncovered during renovation, is now the dining room connected to a state-of-the-art kitchen and the old stone cantinas where they stored their wine have been transformed into studio and classroom space.

For information about the history of this monastery, Click here to go to San Fedele’s web site…


Rather than  hotel, San Fedele is classified as a historic residence in Italy.  That means that it is an intimate setting, preserved along strict historical guidelines to preserve the spirit of the setting.  The owners are on site to oversee this unique combination of historic landmark and modern day comfort.

Accommodations are spacious shared double rooms or junior suites. Each room, because it was converted from the original structure of the monastery without altering the building, is unique in shape. Furnishings and decor were selected to coordinate with the historic, subdued feeling of the monastery, but in a comfortable, modern style. All rooms have two beds that can be separated into twins or combined into one large matrimonial. There is a sitting area, refrigerator, DSL wi-fi, television, air-conditioning, heating, modern private bathroom with shower and hair dryers.

lester-lefkowitz-room3 lester-lefkowitz-room2

There are a limited number of single rooms available at a supplement of $550.

2 Jr. Suites for a minimum of 2 people are available for a supplement of $250 per person.

Night shot piazza©Lester Lefkowitz 7003-010© Lester Lefkowitz 7184-022Archway from rose garden and breakfast buffet in the refectory (photos by Lester Lefkowitz)

Terrace-MJossThe back of San Fedele is surrounded by a large al fresco dining terrace with the original terra cotta tile designs reproduced down to the smallest details. The terrace overlooks the same organic vegetable and flower garden tended by the monks for centuries. Beyond are the rolling Chianti vineyards that make this part of Tuscany so breathtaking.

Other common spaces include a large classroom carved into the rock of the ancient wine cellar, an expansive private piazza, a 16 x 7 meter swimming pool and sprawling landscaped grounds on a rolling hillside.

To San Fedele-LMFlorence will be our meeting point on the first day of the workshop. A van will pick up the group at the train station at about 3:30 pm on Saturday afternoon.

We recommend that you fly into either Florence, Pisa or Rome (Milan is a bit too far away). Florence is closer but it doesn`t have an intercontinental airport, so there are no direct flights from the US. You would have to change planes in a larger European city. From the Florence airport you must take a shuttle bus (Volainbus) into the center (20 minutes).

There are more scheduled flights from the US to Rome, many of them direct. From Rome, you will need to take a train to Florence (about 2 1/2 hours).
Important! In making your return flight arrangements, if you are flying home on Saturday after the workshop, try not to book a flight too early. From our location allow 1 ½ hours to get to the Florence airport or 3 ½ hours to get to the Rome airport.

For suggestions about getting to Rome or Florence, accommodations or other logistics, please consult ourTraveling to Italy link. Renting a car from all the major rental agencies is possible if you prefer to be more independent during the week.

Fall vineyards

Fall vineyards


Borgo San Fedele sits conveniently on a country road connecting the charming medieval walled town of Radda and the village of Vagliagli. Other nearby hilltowns include Castellina-in-Chianti, Monteriggioni and Volpaia. It is about 45 minutes from San Gimignano and Volterra. Many of these towns have roots in the earlier Etruscan civilization that permeated this area prior to the Romans.

San Fedele is located about 12 km northeast of Siena and 45 km south of Florence.

The Food

For us at Il Chiostro, helping our guests to experience the traditional food in one of the earth`s richest, most sensual areas is our pleasure. The Chianti region of Tuscany is Italy’s famous wine and olive oil producing region. Here we want to expose you to the wonders of simple Italian cooking known in the area as cucina povera. Our chef is a Tuscan native who uses recipes from her mother and grandmother to bring the tradition of not only Tuscany, but specifically the Chianti region, to the table each evening.  We use seasonal, organic products, locally produced by small farms and family shops. Our chef searches for the best of Tuscany to serve you. Tuscan cuisine is a simple art that has been refined over the centuries to surprise our palates while the red chianti wine comforts our souls. Come explore what food can really be all about.

© Lester Lefkowitz 7184-057Candle Light Dinner2-CharlesAnderson
About Your Il Chiostro Hosts
Linda and Michael, and their program managers will host your program in Tuscany. They have been organizing workshops in Italy since 1995 and each person brings a special talent to the program. You can read more about them by following the About Il Chiostro link. At the Tuscan Renaissance Center, the owners of San Fedele, Nicolo and Renata, live on site. They will be available throughout the program to talk about the history of the monastery, the renovation and this area of Tuscany they call home.

In addition to your workshop
Optional activities offered with this program will focus on the cultural, gastronomic, historical and artistic heritage of Tuscany. This area has been an inspiration to countless people for centuries. What Tuscany offers its visitors is truly astounding:

Bell tower-smallArt – San Fedele is located conveniently between the cities of Medieval Siena and Renaissance Florence packed with some of the most famous masterpieces in the world.

Wine -You are in the heart of the Chianti region, synonomous with the most famous wine that Italy produces. But the innovative Tuscan vintners are also producing Super Tuscans, red varietals that are quickly ascending the ranks of world-class wine.

History – this area was settled by the Etruscans centuries before the Romans were a civilized society. Their necropoli dot the fields throughout the area. Nearby towns like Radda, Vagliagli and Castellina date from the early Middle Ages. Florence was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. San Fedele witnessed most of this from its panoramic perch atop the hillside.

Foodcucina povera is the typical Tuscan cuisine that has become popular around the world. The recipes are simple, emphasizing local and seasonal products: porcini mushrooms, salumi, legumes, vegetables, pasta, bread and game meats. Visiting an outdoor food market, you will understand the wisdom of this very healthy cuisine.

Crafts – perhaps the harmony of the landscape has been the inspiration for many local craftsmen. Exquisite hand-painted ceramics are the prime example, closely followed by mosaics, leather, woodworking, and textiles.