Painting & Sketching in Venice

DATES: 10/05/2024 - 10/12/2024
PRICE: $3,150.00

Liz Haywood-Sullivan, PSA-MP, IAPS/MC, has led popular workshops for Il Chiostro in Italy since 2017. She is dedicated to working exclusively in the pastel medium and is a sought after instructor and judge for pastel societies and arts organizations around the world. Liz authored the popular book Painting Brilliant Skies and Water in Pastel. Her award-winning pastel paintings have been featured in numerous books and magazine articles, and have appeared in national, international and museum exhibitions worldwide. Liz is a President Emerita of the International Association of Pastel Societies (2013-2017) and is the current president of the North River Arts Society in Massachusetts.

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Liz Haywood-Sullivan Artist’s Statement

All my life I have been an observer. Light is my muse and will stop me, literally in my tracks. Don’t drive too close behind me during the magic hour when the sun is setting! I am also drawn to the interplay of man in the environment, of man-made edges against the chaos and beguiling beauty of the natural form. My life’s work is to record these observations. So much of what catches my eye and imagination is ordinary and taken for granted. I truly believe that it is through the artist’s hand that the beauty of the world is revealed.

Teaching is a very important part of my being an artist. My teachers shared their wisdom with me, shaping and informing my artistic vision. Now, as I pass this wisdom on, I have discovered that my attempts to put into teachable words about what and how to paint have made me not
 only a better teacher but a better artist. What I love about teaching is that each day brings new challenges and new opportunities. Traveling with
 a workshop of artists allows for wonderful art moments beyond the daily painting sessions, be it in the evenings during casual conversation over a glass of wine or meal, or during a walk as day breaks. How fortunate are we to have the gift and the ability to express ourselves through our artwork?

Paint the Light and Excitement of Venice

The Rialto at Sunset, photo by Cindy Bartosek

Immerse yourself in painting the light, architecture and canals of Venice – the most iconic city in the world.  Sketch from a cafe, capture the reflections in a quiet canal, paint the sun shimmering on the windows along the Grand Canal.  All media and levels are welcome in this plein air workshop where, regardless of where you are in your artistic journey, you will improve your ability to draw and paint what you see. I work in pastel and will conduct daily demonstrations in the pastel medium, but the concepts I teach are universal to all mediums.

  • We will work on how to locate compelling compositions, and how to use your drawing skills to make your paintings better.
  • Working in the iconic Venetian setting offers a perfect opportunity to work on architectural, water and reflections, and aerial perspective techniques.
  • We’ll discuss plein air techniques and share travel and portability tips.
  • Plenty of one-on-one instruction at your easel, and interesting painting tips and techniques.
  • Sketchbooking will be an important part of this workshop. We will travel light with sketchbook in hand to capture Venice in it’s essence from bridges, cafes, and pathways. 

This exciting workshop will be a well-rounded immersive experience with a three-part focus; sketching, painting, and art appreciation. In addition to creating our own art, we will take advantage of the world class museums in Venice and view historical and contemporary artworks.   I promise a unique artistic opportunity that only Venice can provide.  Once you register I will send a detailed materials list and will be available online to answer your questions.

NOTE:  there will be a maximum of 10 students in Liz’s class.

Painting the Grand Canal

What Liz’s Students are saying:

I want to take a moment to share that besides being a fabulous artist, Liz is a fabulous instructor. Liz shared concepts and techniques throughout her demos. She provided highly informative handouts.  She generously shared her experience and tips. She took time to truly know the students. Liz joined us for meals and for the evening receptions. In addition, she was in constant motion coaching each student as we did our own work.    – Dr. Rita Smith

I enjoyed your workshop more than any I had taken in the past. You are a great instructor, organized and caring about your students. I learned a lot every day both about painting in pastel and the practical tips that make the set up so much easier. Thank you, also for talking about getting organized, setting goals, keeping records. These are all things no one had talked about in previous workshops. It was very valuable & new information for me. Lastly, I loved your sketchbook. It reminded me of sketchbooks I had seen displayed in museums with shows of great artists. I think you should publish it as a book. Thank you so much for everything.   – Sawsan Alhaddad

The cloister at our convent

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.  If you would prefer to find your own accommodations in a nearby hotel or AirBnB, no problem.  Just click that option on the registration page.
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 Liz 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 we’ll stage an exhibit of the 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: $3,150 p/p
Non-painter partners/friends are always welcome for a reduced fee of $2,850


  • Single room supplement, add $475 (limited number available)
  • Find your own accommodations, reduce fee by $800.  (Click the “Accommodations” tab above for some of our nearby suggestions.)

Capturing Burano


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


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. 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.

Picture yourself here!

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.

Convent Alternatives:

If you would prefer to find your own accommodations in Venice, that is not a problem.  Just select Program only-no accommodations when registering and the room fee will be deducted from your workshop fee.  There are many options for hotels or AirBnB apartments that you can research.  Here are some of our hotel suggestions with web sites and number of stars.  They are all in the Dorsoduro section on the same side of the Accademia Bridge as the convent.  Contact them directly through their web sites:  [NOTE:  our studios for classes will be located in the convent so you might want to stay nearby.]

Very Near the Convent

On the Zattere

On Side Canals

Near La Salute:

Inexpensive alternative (save money – less expensive than the convent):

  • Casa Accademia, ex-convent beside Hotel American (not to be confused with Pensione Accademia above), 45 euros/single, 55 euros/ double, cheap, convenient:

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.

Travel Agent

If you don’t have your own trusted travel agent, here are two we can recommend:

They are familiar with Il Chiostro programs and can help you with flights, hotel reservations, extensions before or after your trip, transfers, and especially booking the right travel insurance to cover your trip.

Over the last couple of years, how we travel has changed.  For that reason, we now encourage everyone to use a travel professional to help arrange your travels.  One of the most important services they can provide today is to help you choose and enroll in the right travel insurance program. With Covid and the possibility of changes and postponements of itineraries, travel insurance is all but essential.  On your own, it can be overwhelming to select the right plan from the variety available.  Also, if you confront any obstacle while traveling, a travel professional will take the stress off your shoulders and help you to navigate through whatever issues may arise.  Booking through an online site like Expedia or Hotels is convenient and possibly less expensive, but they won’t be much help if you need to alter your plans.  A travel agent, on the other hand, is there to assist you throughout your trip.

If you choose to Go It Alone, we highly recommend taking out travel insurance for the trip in the event of any unforeseen obstacles to your travel.  We recommend Travelex (800) 504-7883 or Travel Guard International (877) 901-7599.

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