DIY Art Vacations: Alternatives to Group Workshops

For those who aren’t quite comfortable with international travel, a group workshop offers a lot of advantages. But, if you are a more intrepid adventurer, there are many options for creating your own art vacation. You can combine learning, sight-seeing, and art-making into a custom itinerary for yourself and a friend at a time that works for you (rather than being stuck with a specific date for a group workshop):

Here are a few ideas:

Under the Tuscan Sun

Fly into Rome and after a couple of days taking in the sights, head to Florence by train (about 2 hours on a direct train). While you are in this magical city of art and artists (birthplace of the Renaissance), take a class in art restoration, or in the ancient art of gilding. Oro e Colore, a small, family owned atelier just off the Ponte Vecchio, has been restoring paintings and gilded objects from major museums like the Uffizi for generations. Next, do a bit of plein air painting! Take a road trip to one of the many beautiful villages in the region (Sienna, Lucca, Montelpuciano, etc.) or retreat to a wine estate to paint the vineyards..

Autumn at the Louvre

Spend September in Paris! It is a beautiful time to go. Most of the tourists are gone so you can easily get a table at the cafés and the lines for the museums are much shorter. Immerse yourself in this incredible city with a 3 week drawing class held at the Louvre (from Studio Escalier). Between class, you can experience all that the city has to offer.

Southern France Retreat

Would you like to get away from the noise of your regular life and be left alone to focus on your art?. Try La Muse artist retreat in southern France (near the incredible medieval city of Carcassonne). La Muse offers artists and writers a quiet, beautiful setting that encourages solitude and creativity during the day, and some great conversation in the evenings with a diverse group of artists and writers from around the world. La Muse will pick you up from the train station or airport in Carcassonne, so a car isn’t necessary. (Connecting flights come in from Paris, or you can take a long, meandering train ride through the French countryside with some stops along the way). There are several little villages within hiking distance of La Muse (and the ruins of a Cathar village), as well as a couple of restaurants nearby, but the setting is generally quiet and contemplative. This region of France (the Languedoc) is full of fascinating medieval history, so there are many options for a before/after trip in the region, or take the long way back to Paris by train with some stops in Provence.

Sunny Spain

Fly into Madrid and spend a couple of days soaking up the sites, then hop a train to Valencia, home of the Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla, who painted frequently along the beautiful beaches there. After you have exhausted Valencia, head to Dalvaro (not far from the city). Dalvaro hosts many group retreats, but they also host individuals and provide classes and studio facilities, in addition to some fabulous home cooked meals. If you have energy left after your visit to Dalvaro, hop on the train again and head to Barcelona (if you go to Barcelona, you must have a meal at Picasso’s favorite, restaurant El Quotro Gats .

Need a more detailed itinerary? Check out the Trip Guides (to be released March, 2019) for complete itineraries to many destinations around the world. The Guides include helpful information about where to stay, eat, and paint, “getting there” tips, and more.

Beja fellowhip

Dinan fellowship