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Venice Watercolour Course Details


This Retreat will take place in Venice and your stay will be hosted at a magnificent Monastery within walking distance and or a small boat ride to all painting locations.

Book early for a single or double room with private bathrooms. If you prefer to organise you own accommodation then a reduced rate is negotiable!


Breakfast and dinner are included at the historic monastery we call home for the course. During the course, your tutor will introduce you to the classic Venetian ‘Spritz’ with cicchetti, the traditional late afternoon drinks during your painting feedback sessions and explorations around the lagoon.

Lunch is not included in the package as we will be at various beautiful locations around Venice and your tutor will make suggestions for great and economically priced restaurants, bistros and trattorias near to the painting location. It will give you the opportunity to explore the scenic spots of Venice further during lunch break and grab a tasty quick bite for those who want to paint longer or explore the sights of Venice during their break or sit and linger for longer and just soak up the atmosphere with your chilled white wine.  Your tutor will advise you on great locations for your lunch break or where to get a bite on the go.

About the Course

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

These techniques need to be mastered first, without them little progress will be made quickly. But it does not take long to become familiar with these processes and then the enjoyable part of the experimentation can begin.

Day 1

15:00-17:00 Arrival at Palazzo Contarini Minelli “Casa Cardinale Piazza’

19:30 Welcome dinner with Course introduction and orientation

Day 2

9am-12:00 morning

Group meets after breakfast in the monastery. After a quick tour of St. Mark’s square and a photo opportunity, pupils set up their spot in a quiet location with an excellent view of the church of Santa Maria della Salute. Here we can study aspects of perspective, and placement in our compositions. We learn about wet in wet washes, and how to judge the correct amount of ‘wetness’ for our effects. Focusing on values and the change of light to dark, we learn to create cool and warm washes of colour to create depth in the shadows. Temperature of the lights and darks is an advanced feature of this first tutorial which will assist the beginners as well as more advanced students.

15:00-17:00 pm

The afternoon will be spent in the back streets and canals of the Cannaregio. We will focus on reflections and make tonal studies that will advance our use of edge quality to create depth and focus the eye on particular events in our painting.

Day 3


After a short boat trip we will arrive at the island of Burano. Leading on from our first workshop we will focus on the beautifully coloured buildings and their poetic reflections in the canals that surround them. Today we explore colour theory and link our effects to edge quality…to create dreamy impressions of this illustrious island!

Lunch may be taken at a local restaurant (some of the very best in Venice!).


In the afternoon we will travel to the very close island of Murano! Famed for its glassware and revolutionary processes, the island boasts many still working glassware factories. These factories with their terracotta brick facades and their ancient kilns and chimneys are stunning to paint. You may wish to take a tour of the glassworks, while the rest of us paint the famous factories and the canal sides!


In the evening there will be a guided tour of the city, giving a historical context that who will complete the walk with a history of famous events and the landmarks of Venice! Learn about the notorious people who have shaped the City historically with a fair share of gossip and rumour. Capped off with an aperitivo!

Day 4


What a fantastic opportunity to advance our understanding of perspective, proportion and placement as we paint an impression of the grand canal!

Enjoy the changing nature of the scene, with its bustling boats and Gondoliere, all competing for their lane in this magnificently busy waterway!


Round off the day with a trip to the Galleria Academia! Venice’s premier art gallery and museum that houses its collection of sumptuous renaissance treasure! Whether its Tintoretto or Bellini that float your boat, who could not be impressed by this exceptional collection of old masters! Plenty of opportunity to glean some ideas from past painters that painted the very scenes that we will be encountering! Canaletto, anyone?


The evening activities can include a mask making workshop, the Carnival mask so emblematic of the romantic and sometimes darker side of this famous city for lovers! Ooh la la! This workshop is at additional cost and is held by a local artisan skilled in the practice of mask making! Why not make a special gift for a loved one?

Day 5


It gets better with every passing day! The last day on this workshop is the perfect ending to our immensely enjoyable and creative time together!

How fitting to paint views of the famous boatbuilders workshops? Imagine a scene that could fit into any of Venice’s past centuries? A family run Gondola manufacturer its yard and boats all reflected before you, untouched by time. Very few of these places still exist and our workshop will witness one of the last remaining boatyards in Venice!

Today the boatyard has been inherited by the daughters of the last master craftsmen of the Gondola building tradition. Lets paint a little bit of the history of Venice! The boatyard offers the painter a fantastic counterpoint to the busy tourist aspect of the city! A quiet spot frozen in time! A moment to relax as we convey all of the techniques learnt together in our last morning together this trip!


In the afternoon we can paint our last view of Venice together this trip. Painting as the sunsets and the romantic sepia and blue grey tones advance reducing our Gondoliere to moving silhouettes as they bob up and down making their way  through our final scene of the Venetian panorama!

We can enjoy a last celebratory glance at our painterly achievements whilst refreshing ourselves with a well-earned glass of Prosecco!

Exchange farewells and sincerely promise to meet same time same place next year!!! Happy painting everybody!

19:30 Farewell dinner

Day 6

10:00 check-out and departure after breakfast

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

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 Venice.


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 the hotel
13:00: Lunch break

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.

Tuition included with one morning or afternoon 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 Venice 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!



    • 5 nights accommodation with breakfast and evening meals (lunch not included)

    • mornings and afternoons tuition and 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

    • guided tour of Venice

    • optional extras incl. cooking classes, mask-making workshop, visit to Murano glass factory available


This course is based at a charming monastery in Venice along the grand city’s picturesque canals. , 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 airports

Venice Marco Polo airport

Treviso Sant’Angelo Airport

Verona Villafranca Airport

Trieste – Friuli Venezia Giulia Airport

Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport

Milan Linate

Florence Amerigo Vespucci

Rome Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino

Rome Ciampino

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 15% reduced rate and can join us on all excursions.


Deposit: 25% non-refundable

Full amount due: 21 days prior to course start date

For our full cancellation policy see our Terms & Conditions