Art Workshop or Art Retreat

Painting Workshops or Art Retreats?

painting workshops art holidays art retreat Tuscany Italy Provence France




I am right now (September 28) at the Frankfurt airport and have a few minutes to write this post. In a few days, we will be a group of 10 artists from both hemispheres, painting the landscape in the middle of Tuscany in Italy. Ah! Studio Italia!

For the next 10 days I will be repeating the following:

  • Be holistic; from the very first moment you start to paint.
  • What is in front is just a reference! No one in the USA will know if the cypress was exactly “there”!
  • Just Let Go! The fleeting light is hounding you!
  • Make peace with what you see in front of you. Surrender!

In conclusion, at Walk the Arts we aim to facilitate our art makers to explore new territories. Our painting classes and art tours are meant to offer an environment that fosters creativity.

In two weeks, we are off to Studio Colombia ART&EAT, and for this summer 2019 Atelier Provence, ony 1 spot left.

Our painting workshops in Tuscany, Italy.

Art workshop ItalyPainting techniques and demonstrations during our painting workshops

OK! We always received a few phone calls and email asking the same question about our painting workshops in Tuscany: “do you teach the following techniques…?” or “I want to learn this technique…”Of course we teach techniques! But since to teach painting tips and techniques takes only a few minutes (let’s say 10) and our workshop lasts 10 days (14,400 min.), we have to offer much more than mere techniques.

Moreover, we are at the era of Internet. Offering a painting workshop today is not the same as it used to be in 1997 when we started. We all have evolved. For example, if you type on YouTube, “oil painting techniques”, you will get 267,000 results; “encaustic techniques” > 12,600; “How to paint a landscape” > 179,000; and wow, look at this one : “How to paint an Italian landscape” > 8,360. And many of these videos include step by step tutorials on topics as specific as “how to achieve heavy textured paintings” or “glazing oil painting technique the fast way”. Furthermore, you can even learn how to paint like your favorite artist: “how to paint like Van Gogh” > 18,000 results. And we could go on and on! … rest of texte on our blog at

Affordable painting workshops in Tuscany, Italy & Provence, France

Fair-priced painting workshops and art classes

affordable painting workshop

Studio Italia is a reasonably priced 10 full days of plein air painting, art history, touring, discussions and gourmet cuisine Tuscany, June and October 2019. Why we keep it so low? So you can take advantage of our art experience and our currency is the Canadian dollar. Rest assured: no pasta for every meal, not only one glass of wine. You will see that Walk the Arts is very generous. Here is our official cookbook,

American artists of all levels! Take advantage of a low Canadian dollar. US$2430 (exchange rate Sept 2018) for a quality art class (10 full days)! All inclusive except airfare. Call 800.611.4789

Alberti and Gastronomy during our Painting Workshops

Gourmet food during our art classes

Gourmet cuisine offered painting workshops art classes
Our Quail recipe, from our cooking book. One our served dish.

When attending one of our painting workshops, one eats and drinks very well; it is part of this unique experience. But not only for the body but also for your soul and intellect.

Immersing people in the experience of art, this is what we do as a profession. We lead art workshops in Italy, France and Colombia. We paint the seducing landscapes of the Val d’Orcia and the Val di Chiana, or the Provence. Every evening, around the supper table, usually dimly lit by four candles dripping on Chianti bottles, we would have lengthy discussions on various topics such as art marketing, contemporary art, sociology of the arts, etc.

The great Renaissance humanist Alberti (1404-1472) would agree when taking this approach. But who was he?

Born in Genoa,  Alberti excelled as an architect, sculptor, painter, art theorist and writer. He wrote on a wide variety of subjects, including painting (Della Pittura), architecture (De re aedificatoria), sculpture (De statua) and even family ethics. In his I Libri della famiglia, four books written around 1434 in a Tuscan dialect, Alberti discussed education, marriage, wise household management, family prosperity, and friendship in the work place. Book Three reveals beautiful excerpts on meals such as: “…but let there be a proper table for good citizens, so that no well-disposed member of your family would want to eat elsewhere in hopes of assuaging hunger better than at home. Let your table be a good domestic spread, with no lack of wine and plenty of bread. Let the wine be pure and the bread, too, good enough, and let there be fine and sufficient condiments for the bread.” And let’s not forget the cheese!

We will follow Alberti’s advice during our art class in Tuscany and in Provence.

See the official Studio Italia and Atelier Provence cook book >

Art workshops in South America

Colombia ART&EAT Workshop
February 20 – 28, 2019
Introduction to Watercolors and Colombian Cuisine

This winter season, instead of staying one “short” week somewhere in a Caribbean “compound”, why not staying a “long” week (9 days) in Colombia to experience the stunning Caribbean coast from Puerto Colombia (Barranquilla) to Cartagena. In an Anthony Bourdain’s kind of local food experience learn the fundamentals of Colombian Caribbean Cuisine… and watercolors.

Read below what they have said on our first edition of Studio Colombia, an art workshops South America!

Studio Colombia is so much more than a perspective painting workshop … although I’ll never look at a horizon line in quite the same way again! As a first-time visitor to Colombia, I was blown away by the colour, culture and beauty of the country and its people… As at any of their workshops, we laughed and we learned, we sampled the local spirits and grappled with the meaning of life (usually in that order), and we feasted on the local delicacies. (Halina Gasewicz, Ottawa, 2013)

Through it’s excursions, Studio Colombia is far more than art and touring. This is a trip that challenges one to stretch, to connect with one’s own Being, whether artist or not, yet as well, it offers skill learning on an applied and practical level in a very collegial way. (Gerry Giuliani, Ottawa, 2013)

Read our post on

Art and Algorithms

The future of artists

A few hours ago, I gave a talk to a group of artists of the Detroit region. I did not “knock” them out, nor “convert” them (as some Studio Italia friends from the area suggested), but just shared one of my concerns when it comes to art. I hope I was not to provocative. In a few years from now, algorithms of all sorts will be actively part of our lives. We will not need lawyers anymore to draft a contract of some kind, nor a physician for our annual checkup; a third of the blue-collar work force will not exist anymore. This is already happening. Today, in an American university, there is an algorithm constructed of all Beethoven’s works, fed into a computer, which is already composing beautiful concertos to the point that we think that they were composed by the German genius himself.

What is an algorithm? It is simply a recipe, a procedure that lists all necessary steps to complete a task. Some of these algorithms are constructed from a vast array of data fluxes created and shared through the multiple existing networks, or information repositories. But what about painting? Are we, artists, in a way protected from this evil thing called algorithm?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, if you choose to break established artistic rules. No, if you choose to be a conventional artist. One of the major repositories of art information is YouTube.  Just Google “how to paint a chickadee”, or “how to paint an Italian landscape”, and you will find thousands and thousands of short videos. In a few years from now, the human being will manage to assemble all the simple instructions from these thousands instructional clips to create “the” algorithm of the quintessential reproduction of my now notorious “chickadee”.  The same applies in painting a barn in a field, a swan, a mother with her child (just google “mother art”). In simple terms, a computer will be able to paint the perfect chickadee and not only in its most realistic way but also “à la Impressionist”, “à la Modernist”, “à la…” and also “à la You…” Therefore, on top of lawyers and physicians, graphic designers, illustrators, Sunday artists are going to be part of the disappearing breed.

So, what is left to do?  This is exactly what I talked about during my lecture. And this is exactly what we deal with during our painting workshops in Italy and Provence. In the long term, it is up to us to fool these new algorithms: to imagine new ways in painting the Italian landscape, to engage our art into the national and international sociological fabric, to imagine new art forms with our new technological tools. In the short term, it is time now to reflect on our own art, to question who we are as participants of this new society which is, at the very moment, unfolding. We must be aware. And by doing this, of course, we will be contributing to the creation of new algorithms for the vast information repositories. Maybe this is the future of artists, being art-algorithm-makers.

Risk-taker or not, everyone is welcome to our painting workshops in Italy

You the Italian Mannerist during our art workshop in Tuscany!

Attending one of our painting workshops in Tuscany or Provence, is being a member of a wild bunch!  We are not going to rob the Banca de Toscana, like the aging group of outlaws of the notorious 1969 movie The Wild bunch, but we will paint with a Mannerist’s philosophy. But who were the Mannerists? click here for the rest…

Perseverance is the key to successful artists

Artists of Studio Italia June and October 2019

Never forget perseverence

As I told my students last night at our painting class, perseverance is the key for succeeding in the arts. You have to approach art as an artist, and not as an amateur, and only then will you be able to do great works and consequenly, to succeed in your art-world. I have also recommended the famous text Refus Global or Total Refusal as one of the most important texts written in Canada.

This anti-establishment and anti-religious manifesto, written by Paul-Émile Borduas and co-signed by a group of sixteen young French-Canadian artists and intellectuals, was released in 1948. This text brought finally modernity in Canadian art; or Canadian painting ceased to be the trailer of international art. Canadian art became professionnal.

A few pages long, this text has all the wisdom of all the self-help books in the market. During our art class in Provence this fall and summer, we will discuss about it.  I always ask my painting students to memorise the last sentence because it will become their mantra if they want to succeed as artists:

“Until then, we will not rest or falter. Hand in hand with others thirsting for a better life, no matter how long it takes, regardless of support or persecution, we will joyfully respond to a savage need for liberation”. Perseverance is the key to all successful artist. (read the rest of this post on our blog)