experience Italy, off the beaten path



Join Elizabeth St. Hilaire on a Tuscan island, surrounded by the azure Mediterranean Sea, for her ground-breaking 7-day plein air workshop, Paper Paintings Tuscany Seaside. In contrast to her annual Paper Paintings Retreat in Umbria, Elizabeth’s NEW plein air workshop transports you outside where you’ll learn how to capture Tuscany’s breathtaking Mediterranean landscapes and seascapes in collage.   

Explore the quaint fishing village of Porto Giglio. Meander the medieval avenues of the hill town of Castello. Enjoy the splendor of Giglio Island’s coastal landscape with its bobbing fishing boats, crystal clear waters and inviting, sandy beaches. Capture the breathtaking Mediterranean scenery of Tuscany’s Giglio Island in plein air with paint and hand-painted paper.

Each day Elizabeth will be teaching you how to create painterly collage landscapes on location (Yes, collage on location!), inspired by Mediterranean Sea and Tuscany’s distinct coastal beauty.

BONUS! Elizabeth’s custom designed, St. Hilaire System mixed-media easel (hand-constructed in Italy by artist and inventor Louis Degni) is included in the tuition of this extraordinary workshop. The designer himself will demo for you the easy set-up and break-down of the system, which you’ll take home with you after the workshop. 

WORKSHOP details: At a Glance

  • September 23-29, 2018
  • 7 Days/6 Nights
  • Trip Price: $3,795 USD per person, based on double occupancy
  • Single Supplement: $495 USD

A $500 deposit is required to secure your space on this trip. Please note that a minimum number of students is required to confirm this workshop. We ask that you NOT book your flight until we advise you that the trip is, indeed, confirmed.


DAY 1: Arrival

  • Welcome to Giglio, workshop orientation, St. Hilaire System set-up demo, village walk, aperitivo, benvenuto dinner
  • Dinner

Legend tells us that once upon a time when Venus rose up from Mediterranean Sea, seven precious stones fell from her tiara, creating a chain of seven spectacular islands – now called the Tuscan Archipelago. And who are we to argue with legend, as these islands are truly gems of the sea – one is which is our beloved Giglio. Your plein air adventure begins here, in the charming fishing village of Porto Giglio, on Giglio Island, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the stunning azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Travel from Rome Fiumicino Airport via our private, Mercedes Benz van service, and then via ferry, to your boutique hotel accommodations on Giglio Island – overlooking the turquoise Mediterranean Sea. After check-in you’ll gather together with Elizbaeth for a village walk, workshop orientation and St. Hilaire System easel set-up demo. Then it’s time for a friendly aperitivo hour as the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea. Spectacular! A delectable portside dinner follows featuring local specialties.

DAY 2: Painting Papers

  • Instruction, presentation on how to prepare to paint the local landscape, painting papers!
  • Breakfast and dinner

Today, after breakfast, you’re in for a treat as Elizabeth shares with you her best-kept secrets and sought after techniques for creating irresistible collage landscapes in plein air. Then it’s time to paint papers! You’re learn a plethora of amazing tips and techniques for choosing the right colors and creating textures and designs to achieve a painterly look in your collage. Lunch is on your own in the charming village of Giglio Porto. The afternoon is full on painting papers with Elizabeth (if you’re not too distracted by that view of the Mediterranean Sea!) followed by aperitivo hour and a delicious seafood dinner at our friends’ restaurant.

DAY 3: Giglio Porto 

  • Painting in plein air in Giglio Porto
  • Breakfast and dinner

After a lovely, buffet breakfast at the hotel, it’s time to wander down to the village of Giglio Porto (just a few steps from the hotel), with your St. Hiliare System easel in hand, to begin your first collage in plein air. With Elizabeth’s expert instruction you’ll learn how to choose a scene and block it in with your brush, simplify shapes, block in expressive color, establish shading and values and create an outstanding acrylic underpainting – the road map for collage. Lunch is on your own in the village, followed by continued painting on location with Elizabeth. In evening you’ll gather together with your fellow painters for aperitivo hour at one of our favorite portside cafes, followed by dinner at our scenic, seaside hotel.  

DAY 4: Castello

  • Taxi to Castello Giglio, walking tour of villa, painting in plein air Castello
  • Breakfast and lunch

This morning after breakfast you’ll travel by taxi to the top of Giglio Island and the medieval village of Castello. Here you’ll wander the winding avenues with Elizabeth to find just the right location for collage in plein air. You’ll create an underpainting on location and utilize your hand-painted papers to apply collage over top. Elizabeth will instruct you on techniques for tearing to eliminate white edges, applying paper overtop of the underpainting without cockling and how to practice directional tearing and treating the paper pieces like brush marks. You’ll enjoy a delightful, local lunch at our friends’ restaurant with spectacular views of the sea, followed by an afternoon of collage in plein air. Aperitivo hour takes place this evening back in the village of Giglio Porto, followed by dinner on your own at one of the many charming options that Giglio has to offer – from pizza to pasta to delectable seafood. 


DAY 5: Campese

  • Boat ride to Campese, beachside painting in plein air, expressive use of color
  • Breakfast

After an ample breakfast this morning, you’ll travel by boat along the spectacular coves and beaches of Giglio, to the opposite side of the island and the beach town of Campese. Here you’ll find a number of delightful scenes to capture, along with charming beach shops and coffee bars where you might enjoy a cappuccino as you set up to paint. Elizabeth will assist as you create your underpainting on location, as well as supply one-on-one instruction as needed, including her signature focus on expressive use of creative color. Lunch is on your own at a beachside trattoria or pizzeria, followed by an afternoon of painting on location. Then it’s back to Giglio Porto by boat to enjoy a relaxing evening, apertivo hour and dinner on your own. 


DAY 6: Giglio Porto

  • Optional morning trail walk, finishing projects, gallery, farewell dinner
  • Breakfast and dinner

This morning, after breakfast, you might opt for a seaside walk before joining Elizabeth for your final session of collaging in plein air. Today you’ll revisit the adorable village of Giglio Porto to pull it all together, combining all you have learned about how to choose a scene, create an underpainting, and apply collage independently on location. Elizabeth will meet and intruct one-on-one to answer questions and offer guidance. After lunch on your own, you’ll spend the afternoon finishing up your project to prepare for a lighthearted gallery presentation and discussion with Elizabeth about students’ finished pieces. Aperitivo hour follows, along with a special farewell dinner to celebrate!

DAY 7: Departure

Our drivers will transport you to Rome Fiumicino Airport.


Giglio Island: Situated on a stunning cliffside overlooking the azure sea, and built upon the ruins of a Roman villa (you can even spot remnants of mosaic floors!), 3-star, boutique Hotel Saraceno is tucked along a picturesque avenue, just steps from the charming fishing village of Giglio Porto. With its fresh, seaside rooms and welcoming atmosphere, it’s the ideal home base for your plein air workshop with Elizabeth St. Hilaire. And that view!

INCLUSIONS Paper Paintings Tuscany Seaside with Elizabeth St. Hilaire

  • 6 nights stay in boutique Hotel Saraceno, Giglio Island, Tuscany
  • Private Mercedes Benz van service to/from Rome Fiumicino Airport on arrival and departure days
  • Ferry transport to/from Giglio Island
  • Boat transportation to island painting sites
  • Excursion to village of Giglio Castello
  • Excursion to village of Campese
  • All generous buffet-style breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • 4 regionally inspired dinners with wine (accommodations for special dietary requirements, including gluten free, dairy free, Paleo and Vegan)
  • Evening aperitivo hours
  • Presentation: The How-tos for Collage in Plein Air
  • Daily collage and plein air instruction with Elizabeth St. Hilaire, including how to: create an outstanding underpainting (the essential roadmap for collage), “see” shapes and values and simply them (the key to painting more efficiently on location), establish the right shading and values (learn how Elizabeth does this herself), focus on and incorporate color to make your painting come to life, lock in expressive color and be more creative with color (the key to adding interest to your painting), choose your ideal scene (a must for painting in plein air), block in an underpainting and sketch with your brush, paint papers with ideal colors for your in plein air collage, tear and apply papers to achieve a painterly look, practice directional tearing and treating the paper pieces like brush marks, apply paper overtop of the underpainting without cockling, tear papers to eliminate white edges, and so much more!
  • One-on-one instruction with Elizabeth St. Hilaire
  • St. Hilaire System mixed media easel: Solid wood, hinged, water-sealed media box with easy-fit tripod brackets, 9 dry media ports and 2 wet media ports, comfortable carrying handle, plexiglass box insert for paint or wet media, Masterson Sta-Wet Palette Cellulose Sponge Insert, sheet of Sta-Wet acrylic palette paper, 9 wire-mesh, mixed media mini-bins, plastic collage glue container, disposable plastic water containers, solid wood panel holder with tripod quick release, adjustable track guide system – accommodates flat – 3/4 inch panels, up to 20″ in height, Slik U8000 lightweight, portable tripod, Slik U8000 tripod canvas carrying case with should strap, twin, custom-made PVC brush-holders with quick-connect box attachment , plastic misting bottle
  • St. Hilaire System set-up and demonstration on site with artist/inventor, Louis Degni

Not included: Airfare, ground or water transportation outside of that listed in the trip itinerary, alcoholic drinks, wines or meals ordered “on your own”, gratuities for hotel staff and drivers

Paper Paintings Tuscany Seaside with Elizabeth St. Hilaire 
7 Days/6 Nights
September 23-29, 2018
Trip Price: $3,795 USD per person, based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: $495 USD

A $500 deposit is required to secure your space on this trip. Please note that a minimum number of students is required to confirm this workshop. We ask that you NOT book your flight until we advise you that the trip is, indeed, confirmed.


Have questions? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.


REVIEWS : What People Are Saying

“Words cannot describe this experience. It’s hard to pick out what I enjoyed most, because each element of the trip just flowed seamlessly into the next. The whole trip with Elizabeth was an uplifting and inspirational experience that I will carry with me forever.”—Yolanda W.  Willow Grove, PA

“This was the most wonderful trip! Elizabeth is absolutely the best teacher! Every detail was exquisite! Our villa was stunning, the cuisine was amazing, the excursions and day trips were perfectly planned. The entire trip was the vacation of a lifetime!” —Kathryn K.  Simi Valley, CA