Sketching in Tuscany: a workshop reviewPosted: September 25, 2019
A few weeks ago when I was teaching in Italy, during a day off, I tried to post some workshop photos. I spent hours trying to upload images, but had no success. Frustrated by the experience, I gave up. But teaching in Tuscany was such a rich experience for me that I wanted to share some of the photos I took, as well as some of the amazing work produced by my students. If you’re at all curious about what it’s like to be in a week-long workshop like the ones I teach with French Escapade, here’s a little summary of both weeks. And a warning, this is a longish post since I added more images than usual.
First of all, with the luxury of a full week, we can really practice our sketching skills because we draw in many different places. We start with smaller subjects, like the vignettes below, and then move on to more complicated scenes. My goal is to make people feel comfortable sketching in public, and be confident on their next travel sketching trip. And of course, since French Escapade takes care of the logistics, I can happily focus all of my time on teaching.
I do lots of demos, both in quiet spaces and also in crowds. In Tuscany, we alternated between days at the agriturismo where we were staying, as well as in Certaldo, San Gimignano and Siena. During our time together, we sketched intimate scenes, panoramas and urban chaos. We spent time both in the studio and out in the field.
I even took requests! Someone asked for a demo on reflections, and in the absence of a lake or river, I sketched at the pool.
There was lots of time for individual feedback, as well as a review at the end of each day (or sometimes at the beginning of the next if we were really tired!).
During the week there were also opportunities for participants to sketch on their own in some of the towns we visited. I think that’s really important and I think people appreciated having a bit of free time to practice concepts that they’d learned. Or to shop!
I really appreciated having a studio space so that students could finish up work. There were times when we only got to complete a drawing on site, so the studio was useful for adding colour or lettering to the work, or creating mixing charts.
On our last evening together, we used the studio to exhibit all of the work. It always amazes me to see how much gets produced when you have a full week to focus on sketching.
Here’s a very small selection of the work produced by these two very skilled groups of sketchers. You can see why I returned home feeling elated.
Thanks to everyone who sketched with me in Tuscany, and especially to our generous and attentive guide Natalia who made sure we got where we needed to go, and that we tasted our fair share of Italian cheeses, wine, pasta and desserts.