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On Studio Italia

After several workshops with Walk the Arts (Italy, France, Colombia), I am still amazed by the quality and professionalism of this organization made up of Professor Yves M. Larocque and Mónica Marquez, in charge of logistics and a seasoned gastronome. Studio Italia 2022 was once again a most enriching artistic and living experience in beautiful and inspiring Tuscany. Yves is a very experienced and attentive teacher. He shares his skills in painting and in making connections between various aspects of art history without reservation. He is undeniably a source of inspiration. (S. Michaud, Montreal, Canada, Studio Italia 2022)

I very much appreciated Yves’s guidance. It certainly helped me define how I wanted my approach to painting to evolve.The lectures gave valuable context to our painting and our visits, especially to the Uffizi – I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much out of the gallery if Yves wasn’t there to guide and explain. Monica’s food was fantastic: healthy, fresh, plentiful, a wonderful variety and very well-prepared. Served with grace and love! (R. Ascroft, Westminster, Canada, Studio Italia 2022)

My participation in Studio Italia has given me the courage to let loose and explore new ways of expression in my paintings. I am very grateful for the opportunity to push the boundaries of creativity in the Tuscan countryside, and to learn about the Renaissance and see some of its important works in person. Thank you!  (K. Shissler, Ottawa, Canada, Studio Italia 2019)

The best of all worlds: artistic growth, delicious food, and wine, wonderful people, breathtaking beauty. Completely worthwhile. This workshop went beyond all expectations. #1: the people were kind, warm, friendly, talented, and very interesting. #2: the “work” was as challenging and rewarding as you let it be. #3: the tours, lectures, and setting were beautiful and enriching. #4: the food and wine alone were worth the trip. I would recommend this well-run workshop to all levels — to all artists! I learned so much about who I am as an artist and fell deeper in love with the beauty of Italian art, food, wine, and the landscape. Thank you Walk the Arts. You have given me an experience I will always treasure. (O. Moorehead, Los Angeles, USA, Studio Italia 2018)

In only ten days, an unforgettable human experience in the most appropriate surroundings; truly approaching art with excellent food and wine every night as a reward. (V. Neumann, Bogotá, Colombia, Studio Italia 2018)

‘Walk the Arts under-promises and over-delivers. The totality of the experience embraces intellectual rigor from Yves’s deep knowledge of art theory and history together with his teaching style; the interaction of many minds in the painting group — their personalities and their personal and philosophical views of life; the harmony of a medieval farm nestled into many acres of broad vistas, painting these scenes with opera arias floating and melding with the Tuscan sun. The gourmet food provided by Yves’s partner, Mónica, and accompanied by Italian wine and great conversation over candle-lit dinners; visiting hilltop towns offering cathedrals with 13th-century art and Yves’ deepening of our understanding of this art. This entire ‘package’ cannot be captured effectively with the statement ‘Walk the Arts’. It is an enriching and peak experience for anyone joining Yves and Monica in Tuscany. ’ (Barbara Cail, AO, Australia, Studio Italia 2016)

A wonderful week full of new experiences and friends! Work and fun and it all blended to make the workshop complete. (J. Guy, Cupertino, United States, Studio Italia 2015)

I learned so much, I laughed a lot, I loved Mónica’s fantastic food, I tasted wonderful Italian wines! Oh, and I painted a fair bit too! A great workshop thank you Yves and Monica (G. Ryan, Eden, Australia, Studio Italia 2015)

Energetic and demanding within a spectacular learning environment (B. Johnson, Kingston, Canada, Studio Italia 2015)

I learned a lot. I did not need the art history lessons so much, but what was presented supplemented my pre-existing knowledge. At the same time, I learned more about mixing colors, I practiced with palette knife painting and visiting nearby towns re-enforced the whole thing. I am very satisfied. Thank you. (E. Morgan, South Bend MI, U.S.A., Studio Italia, 2015)

We are home and trying to recover from the jet lag, our time in the Cinque Terre was scenically beautiful, but a bit disappointing after our special time with you all in Tuscany. We found it still very touristy, the food was nothing compared to your feasts Mónica…Our time with you was so special it will take a lot to ever compare, the wonderful setting, the trips to the villages, the amazing meals, the really interesting lectures and for me, of course, the painting! I haven’t done any painting since you last saw me and am longing to get into my studio and let loose, try my new style and benefit from all the patient instruction from you, Yves! I feel that I have grown in my ability, am inspired to be bold and am hoping for great things!! John enjoyed his time as an observer and listener and photographer much more than he expected… (D. and J. Lombard, Lake Macquarie, Australia, Studio Italia 2014)

You can read all the art books you want but the inside knowledge that you get from Walk the Arts is quite remarkable. A very wonderful tutor who is so enthusiastic and conveys his own experience with such skill. We learn so much! (M. McDonald, Lower Hutt, New Zealand Studio Italia 2014)

I would have liked to let you know in person that you have inspired me. In both courses, you have conveyed a true passion for art and the history of art. I think that a major lesson I learned is to look at art in the social context and to think more about how the message is spread. I loved both courses. Sincere thanks. I hope you know that your message does reach people. I am taking your advice to tell my story in my art. And I intend to do that in a contemporary way (Pat Kenny, Ottawa OSA 2015)


I used to paint, now I am an artist! (Sue Pluck, Adelaide, Australia, Studio Italia 2009)

Unforgettable friendships, fun, food, happy hours and hours, painting, learning, seeing gorgeous historic places and driving through the beautiful scenic country. A feast for all the senses! (M. & B. Hyde, Adelaide, Australia, Studio Italia 2009)

Thank you for a wonderful time, best workshop, marvelous motivation, and discussion, superlative food and ambiance; words fail. (G. Sahlberg, Adelaide, Australia, Studio Italia 2009)

A fantastic journey! Learning, loving, laughing, eating!… I was absolutely blown away by the workshop and it far exceeded my expectations. (M. Oliver, Adelaide, Australia, Studio Italia 2009)

You both have given us the most wonderful, eventful and meaningful adventure and taste of Tuscany. My experience was one that I shall never forget…I learned about Tuscany, its lifestyle, languages, food, wine, the lay of the land and painting! I am glad I selected this kind of experience that allowed me to be part of a smaller group of like-minded folks and get to paint as well. It was the perfect balance for me. (Peggy Firth. New Mexico, USA, Studio Italia 2007)

We had been traveling in France and Italy for four weeks when we tumbled from the train at Arezzo into the (figurative!) arms of Yves and Monica — our guides and mentors extraordinaire for the next ten days. Our house, nestled sweetly in the Tuscan landscape, absorbed, inspired and provided us with a touch and scent of ancient grandeur. We felt the brush of life long past and explored the lively colors of the present. How could we not be inspired by this land? (J. Johnston, Ottawa, Canada, Studio Italia 2007)

Thank you, my great instructor! You did a great job Yves covering the diversity of the group. Your extremely great attitude…you acted as a critique, teacher, facilitator, host, slide presenter, driver… I could go on… Betty and I thank you again for such a marvellous learning experience. We can also say what a tremendously good time with the congeniality of you two and the others as well. (G. Davis, West Vancouver, Canada, Studio Italia 2007)


On Atelier Provence and Barcelona

I learned more in the seven days I painted under Yves’s watchful eye than I did in the last five years.  Yves made us think and become better versions of ourselves. We were constantly pushed into thinking how and what makes our art our very own.  What we needed to do to create better art and what it was we wanted to communicate to this world through our medium. Mónica was outstanding. I can’t stop singing praises of her meals. The visits to the major museums and sites in Barcelona were wonderful. I recommend this workshop to arists of all levels. (H. Paul, Dayton, US, Atelier Provence and Barcelona Art Tour 2022)

The time with you was amazing and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. The painting experience was just what I needed, the food and drinks so delicious, and it was a great group to be with. Thank you both so much. (C. Klyne, Eugene, OR, US, Atelier Provence and Barcelona Art Tour 2022)

Although the eight of us were all at different stages in our art, I sensed that Yves knew exactly what each of us needed from him and he was able to give it to us helpfully and encouragingly. He made me realize how I really wanted to paint, and to believe absolutely in my ability to create. I am forever grateful for this validation. The lectures, and Yves’ enthusiasm and passion, have greatly enriched my knowledge and appreciation of art. On top, I enjoyed everyone in our group, and I looked forward to every day of painting, learning, laughing and enjoying together Mónica’s artistic meals. (H. Steele, Ottawa, ON, Atelier Provence and Barcelona Art Tour 2019)

My goal in attending this workshop was to paint more freely. I knew I would struggle, and I did, but the feedback from Yves and discussions with the group has shown me the way forward. It was an amazing experience both gastronomically and artistically. Thank you both. (C. Mattice, Ottawa, Canada, Atelier Provence and Barcelona Art Tour 2019)

Atelier Provence and Barcelona was fabulous! It exceeded my expectations in every area. The itinerary and pace were just right. The art and art history were covered by a master instructor. The food prepared with love by an amazing chef and every evening was a superb dining event! Yves and Mónica are the perfect team. It was an awesome and highly recommended overall experience! (M. Campbell, High Point, USA, Atelier Provence& Barcelona 2018)

An inspiring week in Provence of painting at excellent sites and beautiful scenery, delicious food, and wine. Finishing with a productive critique of all the work. Barcelona was busy, hot and exciting with all visits to galleries and other places pre-booked and hassle-free. Walk the Arts offers the only and best Art Courses to do in Europe, a huge thank you to Yves and Monica. (D. Lombard, NSW, Australia, Atelier Provence and Barcelona 2017).

Atelier Provence and Barcelona was a continuum from our trip to Tuscany. The scenes and vast vistas of lavender, fields and mountains, the aromas, inspired us to paint… but the instruction and guidance gave me the ability to see…beyond the visual, to see what the soul would see, tell a story, create a mystery…and express it in color…Atelier Provence and Barcelona provided both the inspiration, instruction, ample knowledge of art history, and memorable moments of leisure with delicious meals, and excellent wine…Thank You (G. Priniotakis, Montreal, Canada, Atelier Provence and Barcelona 2015)

Atelier Provence and Barcelona proves to be a unique experience — there is nothing quite like it anywhere! Yves and Monica’s organization is superb and the schedule is full and overflowing. We paint, paint, paint — and then paint some more! Encouraged to try new painting techniques, I notice an improvement — and an exciting change in my style as I respond to Yves’s excellent instruction and feedback. All this in the beautiful countryside of Provence where we experience fields of lavender and poppies, historic medieval villages, brilliant ochre cliffs and busy, colorful local markets — we paint them all! The opportunity to visit Cézanne’s atelier in Aix au Provence — and to paint at the base of Mont St. Victoire — is absolutely unforgettable! Barcelona’s itinerary is great and we saw it all: Gaudi Picasso, Miro, the Museum of Contemporary Art… The entire experience is terrific, fuelled by the delights of Provence and Barcelona cuisine. This workshop is a special gem! (J. Haney, Ottawa, Canada, Atelier Provence and Barcelona 2015)

On New York Art Trip

Monica is kind, well organized and a great communicator. A person who is a pleasure to know. Yves is fun and very knowledgeable. His “talks” are fabulous and inspiring. (P. Betcher, Perth, New York Art Trip, 2018)

The experience was highly enlightening, including the artwork itself in museums and galleries, the information shared by Prof. Yves Larocque as well as his charming partner Monica. (Ottawa, New York Trip 2018)

This was my 4th trip to NYC with Walk the Arts they have made improvements to the trip over the years. Especially this year with the excellent new location of the hotel. The rooms were great, normal, not NYC size but normal. The pace of the tour is fast but well organized and timely. This city has so much to offer we see all the art highlights and there is free time to do things on your own. I will be joining them again in the future. No higher recommendation than that. (D. Sayeau, Ottawa, New York Art Trip 2019)

We are writing to thank you, sincerely, for the wonderful trip to New York City.  We had a truly enjoyable time and were inspired by the incredible artwork in museums. We particularly appreciated Yves’s lecture about the history of art through Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”.  We also appreciated your expert organization.  We were always where we had planned to be; there was never a fuss or the feeling of being rushed.  We covered so much in a short time, and it is remarkable how you were able to keep us all organized. (S. Abraham and P. Kenny, Ottawa, New York Trip 2018)

This was a fantastic trip, we truly” Walked the Arts’ and enjoyed the vibrancy of NYC!! I was able to enjoy beautiful art and learn some more art history while having lots of fun in NYC. The trip exceeded my expectations, I plan to attend next year. In the meantime, I have been inspired to take time to be more creative and to and seek out the Arts in my daily life. Thanks so much. (S. Murphy, Ottawa, New York Trip 2017)

The art I saw over 4 days left me awed, enchanted, challenged, and inspired. I feel a soul restored and renewed. You are wonderful hosts. Thank you so much. The trip was perfect. (J. Berringan, Kingston, New York Trip 2017)

It was a wonderful trip. Everything went smoothly and your hard work, attention to detail, your flexibility in suddenly adding something special (Odd Nerdrum) and all the excellent information was very much appreciated by everyone. The trip was superb, a great learning experience — and much fun! Many thanks to you both! (Ottawa, Canada, New York Art Trip 2012)

I did not know what t expect but I do know that what I saw is still through my mind. Thanks to you both for planning, these wonderful art trips…they are works of art. (Pat McDowell, Ottawa, Canada, New York Art Trip 2013)

Just a note to thank you both for the great trip to New York and its ever-luring art scene. I appreciate all your efforts to offer this special experience. (S. Richards, Calgary, Canada, New York Trip 2013)

This was my first trip with WalkTheArts, but it won’t be my last! I met delightful people, enjoyed a comfortable (and surprisingly fast) bus ride, and 3 nights in a super hotel — not to mention the museum visits and opportunities for independent exploration. Already looking forward to next year! (A.M. Battis, Ottawa, Canada, New York Art Trip 2013)

On Studio Colombia ART & EAT

It was a very enlightening art class and the food tour was memorable. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and guidance. (J. Cosgriff, Oak Park, MI, USA, Studio Colombia Art & Eat 2019)

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

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 color, culture, and beauty of the country and its people, and I can’t think of better guides than Mónica and Yves. They were the consummate hosts, always solicitous of their little group and accommodating of our individual needs. 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. Thank you for the wonderful experience that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone! (H. Gasewicz, Ottawa, Canada, Studio Colombia 2013)

From non-artists and accompanying partners who have attended our painting workshops

As a non-artist accompanying my wife on the Walk the Arts workshops on both the Tuscany and Provence/Barcelona workshops I can only encourage anyone to join. I joined my wife Leanne who is the artist on Yves and Monica’s Walk the Arts program with no real expectations but was amazed and astounded at how much I enjoyed the whole experience.
Yves is a marvelous teacher and mentor to all artists who take this journey, he has a wealth of knowledge and delivers it in such easy to understand and entertaining manner, I was enthralled and couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it all. Monica’s menu was a delight, a degustation every night and the conversations around the table every night was a highlight. I would encourage anyone to participate in Walk the Arts and have their mind expanded on these programs (G, Aide Port Macquarie, Australia, Studio Italia 2014 & Atelier Provence 2015)

I am a non-artist who was accompanying my wife on Studio Italia. However, I attended many of the lectures and learned so much about colors and art history, which I found thoroughly enjoyable. The day trips to medieval towns were very enjoyable. Yves provided so much information about all aspects of history and culture on these trips that it was like having our tour guide. Meals prepared by Monica were equal to Martha Stewart creations. (G. Logue, Ottawa, Canada, Studio Italia 2013)

I have to say to you both, I have done my share of traveling and trips overseas…  but I have to say that the experience I had on the Walk the Arts Studio Italia trip ranks as one of the best experiences of my life… Yves and Monica…you two have created something special. I can’t tell you how many times since I have been back that I think of that trip, the two of you… and the wonderful group, all the lovely people that I was privileged to meet and get to know…(G, Aide Port Macquarie, Australia, Studio Italia 2014)

Since 1997 Walk the Arts (icscis inc.) has been offering top quality painting workshops, art classes, and art history tours in Italy, France, Colombia, Spain, and the United States.

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