Experience Sicily through Expressive En Plein Air!

DATES: 09/15/2021 - 09/22/2021
PRICE: $3,895.00

I’m a native New Englander who has been involved in art all my life. I grew up in western MA taking classes as a child at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts. In an editorial interview my senior year of High school I said I would own my own Gallery and exhibit my work.

I received an MFA in painting and a BFA in Art Education from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Since 1977 I have been professionally active with my own paintings exhibiting as far away as Seoul, Korea, The Republic of Macedonia, Italy, The US Virgin Islands and many group and solo shows across the country and on the eastern sea coast.  

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Most of my career has been centered in teaching. I was a full time instructor of painting and design at the private school Williston Northampton from 1978-2012. During summers since 1990 I have taught painting at Maine College of Art in Portland. I’m now affiliated with Snow Farm the New England craft program for eleven years instructing weeklong workshops in painting. Since 2001 I have had the good fortune to be connected with Il Chiostro and have taught adult painting workshops in Sardinia, all over Italy, France and Turkey.

I cut my teeth as Grubbs Gallery Director/Curator on the campus of Williston Northampton from 1996-2012.  I have now since retired from that position and full time teaching to reinvent myself as a new business owner. I now devote my time to my own personal work.

I have come full circle now owning a Gallery in historic downtown Milford! Gallery 37- A Destination for Artful Living represents my paintings and the art of over forty five visual artists and high end craft artisans that I love.  The gallery won The Best of Delaware 2015 Best Gallery category in southern DE.

I have also participated in many group and solo shows in galleries, art centers and museums on the east coast and in my new home and state of Delaware.

Not a day goes by where I’m not educating the public about the importance of art and why it has intrinsic value in our culture.

I paint landscape forms that intrigue me by their shapes. I paint in watercolor and oils. I add expressive colors while making loose painterly marks and lines to create the landscape forms.  I suspect what keeps me engaged in painting the landscape is the continuous complex interchange between expressing color and movement. I find it compelling creating that visual surface tension between the two. The imagery is a jumping off point and excuses for shapes that I find exciting to paint.

It has taken me so many years to get to this point in my work where drips and open areas on the canvas are just as important to me as dominant structural elements in the painting. I feel I am doing my best work when I know my strengths and also recognizing my vulnerabilities.

Marcia Reed

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Sicily in the fall!

This workshop is for those who truly love to travel and paint.  If you are looking for guided classes where you can paint outdoors, yet you’re still wanting more from your paintings than direct exact observation, then this is the workshop for you!

I was becoming bored with my paintings over the years and I wanted a change for my work while plein air painting. I now get all my ideas from the shapes, patterns and colors in the landscapes around me. I find it more challenging in creating engaging, expressive compositions with these forms.  I observe nature, yet I’m not copying or replicating what is before me. Through my numerous sketches, I push through and find what it is about the landscape that excites me, what gives me expressive meaning, as well as from the experience of being in that particular location.


We will start by working from studies and sketches.  As we continue, I will guide you on how to combine your previous sketches and ideas into a new cohesive, expressive painting.  It is about the process. This new approach will determine the direction of your work, and you will discover countless ways to create new pieces, all while infusing your personal mark-making and shapes. The warming-up daily exercises thru sketching will help you build intense color harmony and strong compositions while taking in the incredible Sicilian landscape in an expressive or abstract work of art.

Each day will conclude with a group discussion in a positive, encouraging environment so we can learn from each other. It’s about finding your visual voice in your own painting while traveling with like-minded people. A winning combination!

You don’t have to be an experienced painter to join in the fun.  You can work in the medium of your choice: watercolor, oil, acrylic, or pastel.  Our focus will be taking the inspiration before our eyes and translating that into paintings that capture the essence and beauty of this special place.

Nature’s Pulse, by Marcia Reed

Sicily is the island off the southwestern coast of Italy.  Being the crossroads of every Mediterranean culture since time began, it is rich in cultural history, art and culinary tradition.  It is also filled with natural beauty, from its volcanic mountains, pristine seacoast and spectacular array of spring flowers. Sicily, where so many of America’s immigrants originated, is synonymous with the best of Italian cuisine and wine.

In this program we will spend time in the capital, Palermo, and the area around Agrigento in the south central section of the island.  Agrigento is a UNESCO World Heritage site, particularly famous for the Valley of the Temples, an archeological treasure of ruins from the classical Greek period.  Sicily in the fall is magical.  Come explore with us, capturing your impressions in watercolor, acrylic or oils.

Itinerary Highlights: (breakfast and dinner provided daily)

Day 1:  meet at our hotel in Palermo, orientation and first dinner together

Ancient temple at Agrigento

Day 2:  morning walking tour of the center of Palermo, transfer to Monreale for independent exploration and lunch.  Proceed to the Agrigento area and Fontes Episcopi, our home for the next 6 nights.

Day 3:  after breakfast the first painting class of the workshop in the Fontes gardens.  Dinner at home with local wine.

Day 4:  morning paint, followed by an independent lunch.  Afternoon guided tour of the Valley of Temples in Agrigento.

Making pastry at the pasticceria, photo by Linda Mironti

Day 5:  excursion to village of Sant’Angelo Muxaro, paint locally in town or fantastic vistas overlooking the landscape to the sea, typical Sicilian pizza lunch, wine tasting.

Day 6:  excursion to private beach of Cala del Re, painting and independent lunch; visit to pasticceria in Favara where they make “the best cannolis in Sicily!”

Day 7:  painting on site at Fontes, optional cooking class to prepare lunch, final exhibit and dinner

Day 8: morning transfer back to Palermo and airport (3 hrs.)

Accommodations and Meals:

Fontes, our home outside of Agrigento, used to be the mansion of the local bishop.  It is an intimate venue full of Sicilian charm, from the original artifacts displayed throughout the property to the traditional kitchen where the owner will prepare our meals for us.  There are vistas of the Sicilian countryside from every angle and window, but there are also smaller, intimate corners and gardens where you can absorb the peaceful atmosphere, imagining yourself traveling back in time to a gentler era.  The entire venue will be reserved exclusively for our group, so it should feel like home after just a few days.  There are only 7 guest rooms at the inn so our group will feel like a family sitting around the dinner table every night.

Breakfast and dinner is included each day.  We try to offer typical Sicilian culinary experiences with local products and seasonal produce.  Local wine will be served with each dinner.


  • $3,895 p/p, $3,595 non-painting participants
  • $550 single room supplement


  • Shared double room in Palermo hotel and Fontes resort
  • Daily traditional breakfast and dinner, including wine
  • Daily painting classes and critiques with Marcia
  • Excursions to Agrigento, including guided tour of the ancient temples
  • Other half-day excursions to explore and paint the area
  • All local transportation provided
  • Guides/escorts included for every excursion
  • Transfer to Palermo center or airport on final day

NOTE: the venue is fairly small with only 7 guest rooms.
When you register, please specify which of the following
types of accommodation you request:

  • Shared double room, 2 twin beds – 2 available
  • Shared double room for couple, 1 queen bed – 2 available
  • Single room (supplement applies) 3   2 available
  • Shared double room, 1 queen and 1 twin bed 2  1 available

Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch
  • Art Supplies
  • Gratuities
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing

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 1st, 2020.  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: info@ilchiostro.com or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

We will spend our first night at the Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa in the center of Palermo.  The group will meet there, have an orientation and go out to a typical Sicilian restaurant for our first dinner together.

NOTE:  if you want to arrive early and spend a few extra days in Palermo, feel free to contact the Piazza Borsa hotel directly to book your room.

The next day we will be transported to Fontes Episcopi, an authentic, family-owned and run resort in the countryside outside of Agrigento.  There are only 7 rooms in this historic mansion that once welcomed the guests of a local bishop for gathering and enjoying nature.


Today the mansion has been transformed into a small hotel and wellness center, with gardens, fountains and a swimming pool.  The guiding philosophy of Fontes is to preserve the beauty and methodology of Sicilian life by raising much of their own food, displaying antique artifacts and sharing their traditional way of life with appreciative travelers.  We will take over the entire facility, so we will have free access to all gardens, common spaces, courtyards and suggestive corners to paint undisturbed.

Rooms have been carefully restored for comfort and relaxed country charm, each with a private bathroom.

The house chef and owner will prepare breakfast and dinner for us each evening in their rural kitchen.  They serve their own local wine.


We will meet as a group at a hotel in the center of the capital city of Palermo.  On the final day of the program, we will return the group to Palermo, so it is best to fly in and out of the Palermo International Airport (Falcone-Borsellino).

The airport is about 30 km from the center.  We recommend taking a taxi (especially with luggage) into the city of Palermo and to our hotel (about 40 euros, which you should confirm when you get into the taxi).  There are also buses (Prestia e Comande) that will take you to the center for about 7 euros.  You can purchase tickets from outside the airport where the buses are parked.  The trip takes about 50 minutes.  And finally there is a train, the Trinacria Express, that connects to the main train station in Palermo.

Palermo is one of the most important cultural centers of Italy.  We’ll only be staying there one night together, so if you have time, you might consider extending your stay there on either end of the trip.  There are many important things to see there.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.  Southwest of the Italian mainland, many imagine it as the “football” being kicked by the “boot” that is Italy.

Home to about 5 million people, Sicily has been a crossroads of civilizations all around the Mediterranean for nearly 10,000 years.  It has stunning natural beauty from mountains to seasides (it is an island!).  The culture is a grand mix of ancient peoples and modern Italians. It was a kingdom under many dynasties until if was united with the rest of Italy in 1860.

The food and wines are reputed to be among the best on the planet, thanks to its fertile, volcanic soil and warm climate.

Thanks to all of those civilizations leaving behind their culture, artwork and history, Sicily has a remarkably rich heritage.  There are many web sites with information about Sicily.  Here are some that we find particularly useful: