Sketching in Tuscany: a workshop review

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.  

14 Comments on “Sketching in Tuscany: a workshop review”

  1. Bill Fagan says:

    Bravo! Will you be doing Tuscany in 2020.?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Bill! Next year I’ll be in Spain with French Escapade. In June, on the Costa Brava. It’s such a beautiful area. I was there a few years ago, and I can’t wait to sketch there again.


  2. Judy Sopher says:

    Looks like a great group. Very talented. I am so jealous.I know I’ll never see these places.

    Love when you show your work along with a photo. Like the pool.



  3. Chris Rusk says:

    Beautiful work – really talented artists. They were very skilled handling perspective. The value scale paintings and paintings showing the pallet colours were also very interesting. Many thanks.


  4. Sherry says:

    Thanks Shari for posting this! A fabulous reminder of the great experience we had in Tuscany.
    See you in Nanaimo next summer! We will have to do a different chart of greens for the West Coast – looking forward to it. 🙂


  5. When I sketch, the external activities mean less to me till I’m completed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Annee says:

    Inspirational students’ work. Sign of a gifted teacher!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Donna says:

    Oh how beautiful! Thank you for sharing all of this. Need to practice more before I would attempt something like this. Still am intimidated in attempting something like this. I’m a slow sketcher. Maybe I can attempt something stateside. Do you have a list of upcoming workshops? I haven’t browsed to find your info.


  8. Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

    Good Evening Shari,

    Nice to meet you in these photos and appreciate all your activity with group.
    Bless you with more Happiness and prosperity.

    Regards and blessings


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