A Week Painting in Tuscany with Karen Pearce

Course dates

Saturday 24th June to Saturday 1st July 2023

Enjoy A Week Painting with Karen

The course outline will be simple - to get immersed in the evocative Tuscan atmosphere and be ready for some relaxed creativity!
The beautiful and diverse locations on our itinerary are the focus for a relaxed and informally structured plein air painting course. A new landscape wakens the senses and individual responses often vary, so I offer practical support to participants on how those responses might be expressed. Using demonstrations I teach experimental techniques along with traditional art skills; tutorials are available on ariel perspective, composition, colour mixing and mixed media. How the quality of light affects the landscape will be of special interest.

In my painting I use a variety of water based media such as acrylics, gouache, watercolour, pastels or inks, and invite course participants to paint and draw with whichever materials they enjoy. A suggested list of materials and equipment can be given on enrolment.

Painting on location is a major part of my own art practice, and the lifeblood of my teaching. I am excited to be tutoring on such a stimulating painting holiday - in which beginners as well as those with longer experience can participate and enjoy.

Karen Pearce

I have been a freelance painter and art tutor for over for over 30 years, working for exhibitions and commissions and teaching in various settings such as community art groups, Aberystwyth University and Arts Centre and also privately.

I was encouraged early in my career with the publication and worldwide distribution of semi-abstract floral work as posters for The Art Group, Ikea and Habitat in the 1990’s.

I undertook formal art training at Aberystwyth University in 1998, completing a BA (1st class hons) and an MA in Fine Art (2003). I paint in my studio above Aberystwyth town and work currently as a skills tutor for Aberystwyth Arts Centre and for community art groups.

My primary interests are in landscape subjects, painting for exhibitions and private commissions. A common thread that runs through my work is a focus on the light and its effect on the landscape. I often paint “en plein air“ for the pleasure of it, or as a starting point for larger studio canvasses, usually in acrylic. Other paintings are developed as experiments with mixed media – watercolour or gouache, pastels, ink or acrylic , combined with various textures and surfaces. It all celebrates a sense of place, a love of the elements, and an abiding fascination with the expressive potential.

Locations & visits

EVERYTHING is included in the cost of your painting holiday: tuition, accommodation in a good sized double/twin room with en suite shower-room, all meals, plus pre-dinner aperitivi enjoyed next to the plunge pool on the lower terrace. Lunch will be taken out at local restaurants in the vicinity of where you will be painting, and dinner will be served back at The Old Olive Press, where you will enjoy freshly home-made traditional Italian dishes.

There’s plenty to do each day, and you can be as busy or as relaxed as you want. Days are structured with tuition in the morning, in different locations and with one-to one advice from Marianne, followed by lunch either in Terenzano or out at a local restaurant. There’s no tuition in the afternoon, it’s free for you to take time off or continue sketching or painting as you want. Towards the end of the day you can have a one-to one tutorial if you want, and then there’s aperitivi ‘al fresco’ followed by a light evening meal.

Your painting holiday usually starts in Terenzano village, ideal for its contrasting scenes, its views of the mountains with small villages in the distance, street scenes (usually with a cat present), interesting doorways, water fountains and olive groves. A little further by car the Medieval town of Fivizzano offers a wealth of interesting things to see and paint, not forgetting the weekly Tuesday market when the town really comes to life. On your last evening we will drop you off in the square after dinner - on a warm summer evening Fivizzano comes alive! Go for a stroll, enjoy a gelato or even a digestivi in one of the many local bars. From Fivizzano a few minutes drive takes you to the beautiful village of Verrucola with narrow winding streets dominated by the ancient castle. Here you will enjoy lunch at Ristorante Locanda al Castello. After lunch there’s a visit to the castle with a guided tour, including the opportunity to see many of the models made by Pietro Cascella – famous Italian sculptor, now deceased. Approximately 30 minutes drive from Terenzano is Monte dei Bianchi, a small mountain village with remains of a monastery, and a recently restored monastic vineyard, Monastero dei Frati Bianchi, with spectacular views. This small family-run vineyard produces around 12,000 bottles a year. Between Terenzano and Monte dei Bianchi is the village of Codiponte where there is a delightful small Romanesque Church, with naïve carved stone column capitals. The nearby Agriturismo in Reusa serves a wonderful lunch, after which you may relax by their private pool, and enjoy a glass of wine or two! 5 minutes drive from Terenzano is the now disused Carmelite Convent . The Convent has been recently restored after years of neglect; it is a fine venue for painting and sketching with its frescoed cloister and extensive grounds. The complex is now used to host events, weddings, etc., but there’s no restaurant so a picnic will be provided so you may continue to draw and paint throughout the afternoon.

There will be five days of tuition and one non-tuition day during your holiday, where you will have the opportunity to visit the famous walled city of Lucca, birthplace of the opera composer Puccini. We will drop you off at Aulla railway station where you will take a direct train to Lucca, the journey should take one and a half hours and the ticket is included in the cost of your course.

What to bring

Your tutor will inform you before the course with a suggested list of materials. The following will be provided for you, if necessary:

  • Portable chairs
  • Easels
  • Drawing board

As for clothing, the weather is likely to be warm but it can rain, so a waterproof will be advisable. Good walking shoes are essential.

Non-participating partners

We would like to welcome ‘non-participating partners’ or friends of people attending the painting course but who do not wish to participate themselves. You will be able to accompany your painting partner on their various excursions, which are all to interesting historic locations, and enjoy lunch with them at local traditional restaurants. Or just relax and enjoy the local surroundings and walks.

The costs of these extra activities are not included in the rate, however we can advise prices and availability during your stay.

Getting here

Flights are not included and you will need to book your own flights to Pisa. Many UK airports fly here including Heathrow, Stansted, Luton, Birmingham, Bristol plus many more. We will collect you from Pisa Airport between 11 am and 1pm, a precise pick-up time will be organised closer to the date once we know all our guests arrival times. For guests arriving by train or if you are unable to make it to Pisa in time for collection you can travel to Aulla, which is our nearest mainline train station, where we will collect you. Transfers to Aulla are not included in the holiday. On the day of departure we depart for Pisa Airport shortly after breakfast at around 9 am. It takes approximately one and a half hours door to door. If you need to leave outside of these hours we can arrange transportation for you at an additional cost. If your flight is leaving later in the day, you are able to leave your luggage at Pisa Airport and spend a few hours sightseeing in Pisa. There is a shuttle service (People Mover) which departs for Pisa Centrale every few minutes. For guests wishing to arrive by car, we do not have a car park however there is on-street parking near by.

Cost of the Course

Included in the cost of your painting holiday:

Single: £1240 single occupancy
Sharing: £1040 per person sharing (there is a £400 saving if you share!)

We look forward to welcome you to The Old Olive Press

Important Coronavirus Information

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