Plein Air Oil Painting in Tuscany

DATES: 06/15/2024 - 06/22/2024
LOCATION: Tuscany, San Giovanni d'Asso
PRICE: $3,375.00
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
VISIT WEBSITE

I’m after the light, it’s what makes an ordinary scene spectacular!

Whether painting on location outside or inside with a model, Karen Hewitt Hagan’s paintings  depict a strong feeling of light and include rich dramatic brushstrokes.

Theresa Golas, Director of the Iredell Museums said:  “She has an innate sense of color and composition and when it is coupled with the way she handles the media, magic occurs.”

Residing in Charleston SC, Karen owns and exhibits at Hagan Fine Art Gallery. She is a frequent juror for The Plein Air Magazine Art Salons and has studied and trained with many contemporary masters.

She credits working out of doors, en plein air as one of the most important parts of that training. “Nature is truly the best teacher”. Hagan was presented with the Award of Excellence at the COPA Plein Air Painting Event in Charleston, SC and was a signature member of The Plein Air Painters of the Southeast.

Her book Karen Hewitt Hagan; An American Impressionist (published by Morton Arts Media) has a section dedicated to the Contessa’s Farm in Italy where she taught for Il Chiostro many years ago.

I’m after the light, it’s what makes an ordinary scene spectacular!

Whether painting on location outside or inside with a model, Karen Hewitt Hagan’s paintings  depict a strong feeling of light and include rich dramatic brushstrokes.

Theresa Golas, Director of the Iredell Museums said:  “She has an innate sense of color and composition and when it is coupled with the way she handles the media, magic occurs.”

Residing in Charleston SC, Karen owns and exhibits at Hagan Fine Art Gallery. She is a frequent juror for The Plein Air Magazine Art Salons and has studied and trained with many contemporary masters.

She credits working out of doors, en plein air as one of the most important parts of that training. “Nature is truly the best teacher”. Hagan was presented with the Award of Excellence at the COPA Plein Air Painting Event in Charleston, SC and was a signature member of The Plein Air Painters of the Southeast.

Her book Karen Hewitt Hagan; An American Impressionist (published by Morton Arts Media) has a section dedicated to the Contessa’s Farm in Italy where she taught for Il Chiostro many years ago.

Karen Hewitt Hagan teaches plein air painting in oils in a noble Tuscan setting

Karen returns after several years to her favorite painting location in Tuscany.  Class size is limited.  Reserve your spot soon.

In this week-long landscape (oil) painting workshop we will concentrate on capturing the light effect quickly en plein air. There will be morning classes, demos, lively discussions on theory, sessions on color mixing and value study, and on using your iPhone camera, blind contour drawings and small plein air studies to  capture subject matter for your larger studio paintings.

This class is great for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. Karen will be instructing in oil, but you may work in any medium you wish. With a small class size you will be able to get as much individual attention as you desire to move your work to the next level while savoring painting at this incredibly beautiful location. We will paint the lemons and flowers in the garden by the pool and the rolling hill top vistas around the villa, in the poppy fields, in the piazzas of nearby villages and the small streetscapes, just across the street from our villa.

White Roses and Cypress Trees, oil on canvas by Karen Hewitt Hagan

We will:

  • Learn to create more vibrant paintings
  • Discover how to get big magic out of small canvases
  • See and apply color more accurately and in a spontaneous fashion

Karen with students in Tuscany

The class format will be:

  • Morning classes with Karen
  • Daily demos by Karen
  • Discussion of Impressionistic plein air techniques
  • Optional free painting with Karen in afternoons in various locations

This class is packed with plenty of painting time.  We will have 4 long morning classes and demonstrations with step by step oil painting techniques for creating light filled paintings on small panels. (6×8” panel sizes recommended). Lectures/ discussion, demonstrations and critiques paired with free time to explore.

Most afternoons will be “Free Paint with Karen” which means you will have time to apply the morning`s lesson at your own pace.  Some days we will have short excursions to explore the region.

Before dinner we will meet for several group critique sessions.  (There may be an optional night painting session if conditions permit.)

The class will be small (8-10 participants) with plenty of painting time.  Supply sheet and workshop prep notes will be provided.

Long view of Tuscan Cypress, Oil on canvas by Karen Hagan

Other Activities:

  • excursions to Pienza and Montalcino
  • optional local winery tour
  • visit to nearby botanical gardens Il Bosco della Ragnaia created by an artist who turned his
  • talents from painting and sculpture to designing and maintaining this beautiful space

If you’re a painter who has not painted in Italy yet, you owe it to yourself to join us on this experience of a lifetime!


Price: $3,375 p/p; non-participants $3,150
Supplements:  $485 for single room-limited availability

$500 deposit upon registration.  Balance due by April 15, 2024.

Clouds Over Tuscany, oil on canvas by Karen Hagan

Includes:

  • Shared double room with private bathroom in palazzo (single room available for a supplement)
  • Daily traditional breakfast and dinner, (including wine) prepared by our personal chef
  • 4 plein air classes with Karen
  • Afternoon free paints and critiques with Karen
  • Excursions to Montalcino and Pienza
  • Transportation for all local excursions
  • Pick up from Florence train station at 3:30pm on arrival Saturday
  • Transfer to train station in Buonconvento on final day for connections to Rome or Florence

Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Art supplies
  • 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 April 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: info@ilchiostro.com or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

Karen’s painters in the garden at San Giovanni d’Asso

San Giovanni d’Asso

SAN_GIOVANNI_D'ASSO-Gilbert RiosWhere We’ll Stay: This is part of our new Il Chiostro Nobile series. We will be hosted for a week in an authentic, elegantly appointed villa that was at one time home to a noble Italian family. The palazzo includes a formal garden, private swimming pool with inspiring vistas. Inside there are 8 twin, double or single bedrooms in the villa, each with a private bathroom. The rooms are decorated in authentic, elegant family antiques.

Common spaces include 2 elegant living rooms, a terrace overlooking the garden, large fireplace, kitchen and formal dining room.

The villa is across the street from a castle and within easy walking distance of the small town.  You can easily be independent to meet and interact with the locals.

The villa from the garden

The Villa: a 13th century manor house situated on a hillside in a small town with views of the Val d’Orcia. Owned by the current family for 102 years, it was gracefully restored in the 19th century with comfortable period furnishings. The rooms are bright and airy with high ceilings and beautiful views out to the gardens and the valley beyond. Bedrooms are elegantly appointed each with a private, modern bathroom. Because we will be the exclusive residents at the villa during the program, the experience will be intimate, like living in our own Italian mansion. Our meals will be shared in the formal dining room, on the terrace or in the garden. All living quarters of the villa are on the second floor, accessible only via a staircase.

Dinner table
Dining Room and Living Room in the Villa

View from our window, photo by Linda Mironti

The Grounds: the setting is extraordinary overlooking the valley towards the Brunello wine country. There is a formal garden with a pool, lounge chairs, a shade arbor and plenty of seating for outdoor meals. The Villa is an easy walk through the facing castle (now the museum of truffles) to the quiet village of San Giovanni d’Asso.
The villa and grounds consist of:

  • 8 twin or double bedrooms, each with bathroom either ensuite or next door.
  • A dining room and breakfast area
  • Large terrace with tables
  • 2 sitting rooms
  • Wi-fi internet access
  • Heat or air conditioning as necessary
  • A large private formal garden area with fountains and, seating area
  • A private pool at garden edge with a valley view
  • There is a changing room near the pool with WC
  • Air conditioning or ceiling fans in bedrooms
  • Very quiet setting in small village

SGA-Bathroom2 SGA-Bedroom3
Double bedroom and bathroom

SGA-Bedroom Twin2Twin bedroom

The Town: San Giovanni d’Asso is in the Siena section of Tuscany. It is famous throughout Italy for its production of truffles. Small and quiet with fewer than 1,000 residents, the town has a café, grocery store, 2 restaurants, several historic churches and a weekly outdoor market. A very special addition is the beautiful botanical gardens “Il Bosco della Ragnaia” (http://www.laragnaia.com/EN/) created by an artist who chose to turn his talents from painting and sculpture to designing and maintaining this beautiful space that is open free to the public.

The Area: San Giovanni d’Asso is 30 km southeast of Siena in the area known as the Crete Senese (see photo below). Pienza and Montalcino and the famous Brunello wine country are easy day trips.

Garden View-Gilbert Rios-sm

Garden View by Gilbert Rios

 

Florence 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.

Above the Ponte Vecchio, photo by Andy Holtzman

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 1½ 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 our Traveling to Italy link in the main menu bar above. Renting a car from all the major rental agencies is possible if you prefer to be more independent during the week.


If you have time, it is a nice treat to stay in Florence before the workshop starts.  It gives you a chance to get over jet-lag while at the same time allows you to see this incredible Renaissance City.  It is filled with incomparable artwork, architecture and history – not to mention great shopping.  Why not stop in for a few days.  (Look at our Travel to Italy tab above for accommodations suggestions.)

Florence-2008_SunriseOverCity-ABenvenuto

Florence: Sunrise Over City, photo by Anne Benvenuto

 

The side of the Duomo, photo by Andy Holtzman

Linda at SF-ESThe Food: For us at Il Chiostro, helping our guests experience the food in one of the earth`s richest, most sensual areas is our pleasure. This area is part of Italy`s famous wine and olive oil producing region, but is specifically famous for truffles. Here we want to expose you to the wonders of simple Italian cooking. Linda, a director and founder of Il Chiostro, will be your personal chef.  She uses seasonal, organic products, locally produced by small farms and family shops.  She creates her own twist on pasta dishes, shops in local markets for fresh mozarella and peccorino for our dinner tables. Tuscan cuisine is a simple art that has been refined over the centuries to surprise our palates while the wine comforts our souls. Come explore what food can really be all about.

Terrace Lunch2-AH 2013 Terrace Lunch-AH 2013

An excerpt from a recent article in the NY Times (February, 2013):

The diet that seems so valuable is our old friend the “Mediterranean” diet. It’s as straightforward as it is un-American: low in red meat, low in sugar and hyperprocessed carbs, low in junk. High in just about everything else — healthful fat (especially olive oil), vegetables, fruits, legumes and what the people who designed the diet determined to be beneficial, or at least less-harmful, animal products; in this case eggs and low-fat dairy. This is real food, delicious food, mostly easy-to-make food. You can eat this way without guilt and be happy and healthy.


Linda-Michael with glasses-smallAbout Your Il Chiostro Hosts:  Linda and  Michael, Il Chiostro’s directors, will be hosting you at San Giovanni d`Asso.  Linda will be our chef while Michael will coordinate our excursions.  They have been organizing workshops in Italy since 1995. You can read more about them by following the About Il Chiostro link. For this week the owners of the palazzo will turn their home over to us so we can live like a noble Italian family ourselves.


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:

Art – San Giovanni d`Asso is located near 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 wine growing region, synonomous with the most famous wine that Italy produces – Chianti. 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.

montalcino-mf-sm

Montalcino by Michael Ferris