1st-8th June Florence Watercolour Course

June 1, 2019 – June 8, 2019 all-day
1st-8th June Florence Watercolour Course

Treat yourself to this fantastic opportunity to paint water colours in the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence. It doesn’t really get any better than this for artists. Soak up the ambience and culture of this famous historical city. Allow your experienced tutor to guide you around from one inspirational backdrop to another. Learn to paint quickly with impressionistic flair through expert tuition from your Academy trained tutor. Whether you’re into the illustrious facades of the ancient cathedrals and palazzos or the grand spaces of Florence’s many piazzas, you really couldn’t be in better hands.
With this tour, you will learn to compose interesting urban scenes with famous landmarks as your focal points which will wow your friends and family alike! Locations may include the Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce, Il Duomo, The Boboli Gardens and views of the Arno.

This Retreat takes place in the magnificent historic monastery in the heart of Florence. A heaven for peace and tranquility with a typical walled inner court-yard and gardens, frescoed ceilings and walls and antique corridors.
The rooms in this B&B are simply furnished, and the focus is on providing tranquility and a place for reflection and relaxation in this busy city, yet you will find all the modern conveniences provided for a comfortable stay.

Lunch and dinners will be taken at carefully chosen Trattorias to provide a varied and local Tuscan cuisine from local fresh ingredients. Salads and a vegetarian option are also on offer. All meals are set for the week and include water and a glass of wine. If you are vegetarian or have dietary issues please ensure that this is stated on the guest registration form at the time of booking. On free day, breakfast only is included.

Water colour can be both a challenging medium and an exciting one that offers huge scope for experimentation and unusual effects. Many techniques have been around for centuries and still form the foundation of water colour work.

These need to be mastered first- without knowing how to lay a wash or work, wet-in-wet for example, little progress can be made. But it does not take long to become familiar with these processes and then the enjoyable part of experimentation can begin.

Day 1

9:00-12:00 Drawing and Painting foundation in the peaceful setting of the monastery.
15:00-17:00 workshop 3-5pm Colour theory workshop.

After a brief introduction to our materials and equipment, we start by considering drawing. Using an aquarelle stick (a special pencil with water soluble graphite) we make sketches of an architectural detail or a building. We will consider tonal value, edge quality, and perspective. A demonstration of drawing strategies and how to create washed effects will be followed by approx. 2hrs of practical time.

In the Afternoon, Colour Theory will be introduced, students will make a model which instructs the student how to mix secondary colours from primary and tertiary colours from a primary and a secondary. The model expands into neutrals and tints and black. It is designed for more advanced students, but is recommended to beginners as it thoroughly explains how all pigment colours can in theory be mixed from yellow, cyan and magenta. Which will be very useful when we use our set of paints and how the colours are related or not.

Day 2
9:00-12:00 Putting things in perspective!

‘Street view’ water colour workshop with composition based around single point perspective principles. Now we understand colour and how to draw, we can begin to paint. We will find a not so busy street view which will be chosen because it is a one-point perspective view. A demonstration of how to draw a one-point perspective scene will be followed by a demonstration of how to prime the paper for washes. Instruction about how to proceed to lay in colours from the background to the mid- ground and then to the foreground, will be emphasized by the use of ‘Action Lines’ in our composition.
Techniques-wet on dry, dry brush.

15:00-17:00 Water colour painting demonstration and practical.

The afternoon gives plenty of opportunity for the student to complete their study, or if complete, find another one-point perspective view and begin a new study.

Day 3

9:00-12:00 ‘Piazza view’ Two-point perspective and composition design.
We will walk to one of the famous squares in Florence. Two-point perspective will be introduced followed by a demonstration of how to draw out a simple two-point perspective view of part of the square.

Compositional concerns will be discussed and enlightened by the use of a viewfinder. There, we can create a Two-point perspective view and lay in watercolours. We will use flat wash to create a background sky. Techniques-Flat wash, lifting out, hard edges

15:00-17:00 Water-colour demonstration and practical.
The afternoon will give an opportunity to complete any unfinished work, or begin a new study from a different viewpoint.

Day 4 Free Day
The free day is an opportunity to explore the sights and attractions of Florence or nearby on your own accord. On this day, only breakfast is included.

Day 5
9:00-12:00 Guided tour and Gallery visit to the Piti Palace.
15:00-17:00 A view from the bridge. Demonstration and practical.

More techniques will be discussed and demonstrated after a walk to the river. We will make a study of a two-point perspective view of the bridge crossing the river and some of the buildings on the adjacent side of the river. Building on the previous days discoveries, we will endeavor to use more techniques including graded washes.

Techniques- Graded washes, wet-in-wet, granulation, soft-edges, running in and scraping back. Afternoon gives more time to complete this complicated scene.

Day 5 All day Workshop with picnic 9am-5pm-ish? Vista-view with demonstrations and practical.

We will take a little tour over the other side of the river to the rose garden of the Bobili Gardens. From here we will see an uninterrupted panorama of Florence. We will make a study using a toned ground, but before we paint we will then apply a mask to highlight areas to protect prominent building outlines and highlights. We will work quickly building up layers of colour as we come forward in the painting through the cityscape, trying to keep brushstrokes loose to convey an impressionist feel.

Techniques-Masking, reserving highlights, applying glazes, spattering, scumble glaze.
Afternoon as this location is a good walk, a picnic and tea would make an ideal lunch before continuing this beautiful scene amongst the roses.

During your course, you may be given other tasks, which could include

Materials supplied: Winsor & Newton Watercolours, a selection of Kolinsky sable brushes, aprons, watercolour paper/sketchbook A4, carry caddy, etc. Some more experienced painters may wish to bring some of their own brushes and paints out of preference.

Excursion Day- The Florence excursion is to the Pitti Palace, home to the
finest collection of Italian 19century artworks. Your tutor will escort you
through the gallery and take you to the highlights whilst avoiding the queues
and giving insight into particular artists and the paintings viewed. The excursion is usually a.m and leaves the afternoon free for more sightseeing or painting during your free-time.

Evening time leaves you free to relax and enjoy the city of Florence.

Non-painters: Non-painters are welcome on all our painting excursions and outings where there is plenty of opportunity for sight-seeing and exploring the beautiful city of Florence.


Breakfast 7:30am-9:00am
9:00 am: Instructor meets you at reception, then it will be a walk to the
painting location, all materials needed will be supplied, but you may need to
take spending money for coffee breaks etc, some sunscreen and appropriate clothing for the day.
12:00: end morning workshop. However you may wish to continue working or return to B+B.
13:00: Lunch is at a local trattoria and is included, with the exception of free day and when on location in the Boboli Gardens, when a packed lunch or picnic will be provided.

15:00-17:00: Workshop continues at morning location. Those who have finished work can be given a new task by the instructor. Review of work .
19:30: Dinner at the restaurant.

The schedule may be subject to change due to weather, seasonal festivities and other reasons beyond our control.

There are 5 days of tuition included of which one morning or afternoon will be dedicated to a group gallery visit. Your instructor will provide the ticket (included) and guide you through the gallery.  One day is a free day and reserved for your personal exploration of Florence or surroundings. Please note, only breakfast is provided on the free day. On the last evening before your departure, there will be a review of the group’s work and an aperitivi to celebrate before your leaving dinner!


  • 7 nights accommodation with breakfast, lunch and evening meals (lunch and evening meal not included on excursion day)
  • 5 mornings tuition and afternoon program of study with critique of your work in the evening
  • all materials, Winsor and Newton watercolour paints, Kolinsky sable brushes, drawing equipment, incl. watercolour sketchbook
  • Day of sight-seeing (unaccompanied)
  • guided tour of Florence’s historic art museums on excursion day


This course is based at a charming monastery in the heart of Florence, a short walk from all the main attractions of this grand city. With beautifully frescoed walls and ceilings, a beautifully landscaped inner court-yard garden and cloister walk-ways, it makes a perfect peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle. Thus, allowing you to re-charge your batteries after a day’s painting and exploring this magnificent city through the eye of an artist. The rooms are simply and comfortably furnished, many reflecting the monastery’s history. Yet all the mod-cons for the modern-day traveler are provided.

Nearest major airports:

  • Florence Amerigo Vespucci International
  • Rome Leonardo da Vinci - Fumicino
  • Rome Ciampino
  • Pisa international
  • Bologna Giuglielmo Marconi

Comfortable casual clothing and sensible shoes for walking, sandals, for the summer and comfortable shoes for when we are out and about all day. It rains even in Italy, and at times heavily. A rain coat, umbrella, layered clothing, a hat and long sleeves for sun-protection are recommended.Adequate clothing for painting, clothes may get stained. Aprons will be provided.

Spring/Autumn: Days are usually mild and sunny but it can be cooler in the mornings and evenings. We recommend layers and a raincoat as well as a jumper.

For Groups: If you are wishing to book a tour with your painting group, we are happy to arrange a specific course of your choice for you. Group discounts apply. Simply contact us with your requirements.

Non-painting partners are welcome at reduced rate and can join us on all our trips and excursions.

Course Price:
Room Type                                                              7 Day Course
Twin/Double room en-suite p.p.                           € 1.700 £ 1,500
Single Room en-suite                                               € 1.800 £ 1,600

Deposit: 25% non-refundable

Full amount due: 45 days prior to course start date

For our full cancellation policy see our Terms & Conditions

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