Sketching & Painting in Venice-SOLD OUT

DATES: 10/07/2023 - 10/14/2023
PRICE: $2,950.00

Marni Maree’s vibrant watercolors represent her love for drawing, desire to create beauty and her inner joy. Her favorite subjects to paint are flowers, camels and scenes from her travels to the American West, Greece, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Russia, France and Haiti. Marni never travels without her sketchbook and mini painting supplies and is always ready to capture the spirit of the various cultures.

Marni earned her BFA from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, PA. She worked as a freelance graphic artist after graduating but gradually transitioned to colored pencil and then to watercolors. Her primary medium is watercolor but she changes the surface on which she paints from paper to yupo (a slick plastic surface) to masa (rice paper), and canvas. Since watercolor acts different on each surface it is almost like changing mediums and the thrill of not knowing just what will happen makes each painting exciting.

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Marni has been teaching an International Workshop in France for the past three years and is also planning a Carribbean Cruise Workshop in 2017. Since the France workshop includes all VA locals, it begins at home with plein air practice sessions, continues in France by painting many beautiful locations with a final exhibit in the town with other local artists. Once home, the students continue to paint using their sketchbooks and reference photos to prepare for an exhibit at the Ernst Community Cultural Center’s Verizon Gallery in Annandale, VA. This gives her students the full experience of being an artist.

Marni also teaches Watercolor and Drawing in the Northern VA area at the Workhouse Arts Center, The Loft Art Center, The Fairfax Retirement Community, Green Spring Gardens, as well as private students in her studio.  Her monthly Art Feast Workshop is very popular with beginners as well as more experienced painters because Marni teaches the thrilling and surprising things that watercolor can do while providing a safe place to experiment and be creative with positive encouragement.

Marni coordinates the Enrichment Program at Village of Hope School, in Gantier, Haiti ( where she, along with 14 other American and Haitian teachers, has been teaching art classes every summer since 2007 to children ages 10 – 18. As you might be able to tell, Marni loves to teach almost as much as she loves to paint.

Marni exhibits continuously at the Workhouse Arts Center, participates in local group shows and has had a solo show about once a year for the past 17 years. She has won numerous awards for her watercolors.

Marni has a studio at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA and the Loft Gallery Art Center in Occoquan, VA, She is a member of the Springfield Art Guild and the Potomac Valley Watercolorists, a juried organization of professional watercolorists.

We’re sorry, but Marni’s workshop is full.  Please have a look at our other course offerings in the Browse Workshops section of our web site.

Sketch and Paint the Light and Excitement of Venice

The Rialto at Sunset, photo by Cindy Bartosek

What a great way to record lasting memories! Each day you will visit a new location in this incredibly unique city of the world.  There is nowhere like Venice anywhere in the world.  We’ll choose different perspectives, from canals to lively piazzas to vistas overlooking the town every day for a few hours of sketching and painting. Marni will demonstrate and teach various ways to see, draw, simplify a scene, and creatively collect information to fill up your sketchbooks.

There will be daily art “challenges” that will help to think out of the box as you see and draw. You will also have ample time on your own to wander as you find new things to record.

At the end of each day of sketching and painting you will return “home” to our small hotel in the Dorsoduro for fine wine, food, and fellowship with the other artists. Casual and encouraging critiques and instruction will be offered each evening, or you can paint and relax on your own. You will also learn how to use your sketches to create larger paintings if you like.

Our hotel garden

A typical day will include early breakfast at our hotel from 8:00- 8:30 so that we can start out painting by 9:00 am. Marni will guide you with demos and then you will select your painting spot. Lunch will be on your own at local cafes in one of the villages where we paint. We will continue to paint a few hours during the afternoon or visit local sites or gardens.

Group dinners with local wine will finish off our adventurous days nicely.

Non- painter friends and family members are welcome to join us.  They can accompany us on all excursions and enjoy exploring the lake area while we are painting.

On the final evening, we will have an exhibition of our week’s creations.

Come with us and capture your personal impression of this stunning corner of Italy.

Passing Gondola, black and white photo by Linda Mironti

Accommodations: The week will be spent at the Pensione Accademia in the quieter Dorsoduro sector.  It is just off the Grand Canal, with a private dock for gondolas and water taxis. When you register you can choose either a single or double room with ensuite bathroom.  Rooms are filled with Venetian character.  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.

Burano by Andy Holtzman

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 Marni and an intimate walking tour of the back canals of this ancient city, will be organized around the workshop. We’ll also spend a day at the stunning island of Burano out in the lagoon.

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: $2,950 p/p Sorry, this program is sold out.
Non-painter partners/friends are always welcome for a reduced fee of $2,650


  • Single room supplement, add $475 (none available)
  • Large, superior double room supplement, add $175 p/p
  • Find your own accommodations, reduce fee by $800.  (Click the “Accommodations” tab above for some of our nearby suggestions.)

Cicchetti – Venetian tapas – along the canal beside our hotel


  • 7 nights at classic Venetian pensione – double or single (with supplement) room with ensuite bathroom (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
  • Guided art history walking tour of Venice with local art historian
  • Private boat to the colorful island of Burano
  • 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. 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.

In Venice we will stay at the charming Pensione Accademia for the week.  This hotel, which once was a 17th century private villa, was used in the filming of the Katherine Hepburn movie, Summertime.  It is tucked away in an alley in the Dorsoduro section of Venice, right near the Accademia Bridge.

Once you enter the gates, you are in a quiet oasis with a pleasant garden and a view out onto the Grand Canal.  This will be the perfect place for painting in the garden, enjoying pro secco in the evening and watching the traffic cruise along the Grand Canal.  The Accademia is centrally located within easy walking distance of many of the important sites of Venice like the Accademia Museum, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Zattere, Campo San Barnaba, the vaporetto stop, etc.


For those participating in the week in Venice:

Please plan to meet the group at the Pensione Accademia by 6pm on the first Saturday.  We will send specific directions for arriving from either the train station or the airport, but essentially:

  • From the train station – take a water taxi to the hotel or take the vaporetto to the Academia bridge and walk around the corner from there.
  • From the airport – take a water taxi to the hotel or the Alilaguna ferry to either the Zattere or Ca’Rezzonico and walk to the hotel.

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