Favolosi Florals! Tuscany with Elizabeth St. Hilaire

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Join Elizabeth St. Hilaire in Italy for Favolosi Florals! Tuscany – her inspiring, collage experience in Italy – the ideal combination of personalized art instruction, spectacular inspiration and florals!

Open to students of all artistic levels, each day of Favolosi Florals! Tuscany brings a new collage or paper-painting lesson with Elizabeth, all based on the gorgeous flowers of Tuscany, in the stunning setting of a private, Italian villa. Although some painting experience is helpful, it is definitely not necessary.


LEARN HOW TO…

🌻  choose flowers based on pre-determined palette

🌻  arrange flowers in a free-flow still-life (ideal for collaging!)

🌻  easily see basic shapes in flowers

🌻  create a stunning, floral underpainting

🌻  hand paint, stain, stamp and pattern your own papers (sooo fun!)

🌻  paint papers based on your desired palette

🌻  use hand-painted and found papers that infuse your floral project with your own personal style 

🌻  develop imagery and form so that your collage has depth and interest

🌻  incorporate essential light and shadow into your paper painting

🌻  master directional ripping (Elizabeth’s signature technique) so that your project has a painterly look

🌻  use Elizabeth’s “paper mosaic” technique to add interest to your project

🌻  varnish and display your paper paintings

🌻  post your artwork on social media



MORE THAN A WORKSHOP!

Favolosi Florals! Tuscany is more than a collage workshop. It’s a week of fellowship, camaraderie and fun beyond your wildest dreams – all situated in the gorgeous Italian countryside. In addition to carefully crafted, daily lessons with Elizabeth St. Hilaire, you’ll enjoy excursions to picturesque, medieval hill towns, an extraordinary flower farm and private visits at local sites that are nothing less than extraordinary.

And your accommodations? Well, once you get settled into your room at 17th century Villa Poggio alla Trese you won’t ever want to leave. Think swimming pool, chef-prepared meals and panoramic views that will leave you speechless. Plus Elizabeth has reserved the entire villa exclusively for her group. You’ll be saying, “Pinch me. I must be dreaming!”



TRIP ITINERARY


DAY 1 – Sunday, September 5: Arrival

  • Tour of Villa Poggio alla Trese, retreat orientation, instruction/class, aperitivo hour, special welcome dinner
  • Dinner

Benvenuti in Italia! Upon arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport, sit back and relax as you are transported by private Mercedes Benz van service to the Italian countryside and Poggio alla Trese, your 17th century villa accommodations near the Tuscan town of Chiusi.

After check-in you’ll have the opportunity to explore your surroundings and studio space before taking part in an orientation and paper paintings lesson with Elizabeth where you’ll get a preview of retreat, as well as an introduction to Elizabeth’s unique approach to collage. Afterwards it’s time for aperitivo hour together before enjoying a delicious, regional-style dinner prepared by our own Chef Lorenza.


DAY 2 – Monday, September 6: Puscina Flower Farm

  • Visit to organic flower farm, flower arranging class, take-away flower arrangement, instruction/class
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning after a delicious breakfast at the villa, you’ll head off with Elizabeth to a romantic, organic flower farm in the heart of Tuscany’s wine country. Sisters, Mara, Laura and Teresa will give you a personal tour of their incredible farm (where they grow more than 500 varieties of flowers!), followed by a hands-on, free-form flower arranging class. Afterwards you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch under the grape arbor as you soak in the atmosphere of this authentic, family-run farm.

In afternoon it’s back to the villa with Elizabeth – and your flower arrangement – where you’ll begin the beautiful process of creating your collage from a living subject. After a friendly apertivo hour, you’ll enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by chef Lorenza. 


DAY 3 – Tuesday, September 7: Poggio alla Trese

  • Instruction/class, paper painting techniques, ciambelline demo with Paola
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after another delicious breakfast, get ready for a fun-filled, inspiring day with Elizabeth! First, you’ll be heading to the onsite studio to learn a plethora of methods for painting paper. From stamps to rollers to stencils – and so much more – you’ll be learning Elizabeth’s signature techniques and tips for creating a multitude of designs and textures on your painted papers, plus she’ll reveal her best tips for developing imagery and form.

After lunch, right here at the villa, you’ll continue painting a variety of papers, as you develop your special, Italy-inspired paper painting project. In late afternoon it’s time for a break – and perhaps a dip in the pool – before Paola stops by to make her grandmother’s recipe for ciambelline, simple biscotti that are made with wine. Sampling some right out of the oven is a treat! Afterwards you’ll gather together with your fellow students for sunset aperitivo, followed by another delectable dinner prepared by chef Lorenza. 


DAY 4 – Wednesday, September 8: San Casciano dei Bagni

  • Instruction/class, visit to San Casciano dei Bagni, aperitivo and dinner in the vineyard
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning after breakfast, you’ll be heading to the onsite studio with Elizabeth for continued instruction as your floral project comes to life. At this stage, you’ll be confidently adding a variety of found and painted papers, with Elizabeth’s expert guidance, to create depth, form and painterly quality. Lunch with be right here at the villa, followed by free time to relax poolside or to continue working on your project.

In late afternoon, we’re heading off on a beautiful excursion to the charming, medieval village of San Casciano dei Bagni, situated on a picturesque hill, teeming with hot springs that have been used as thermal baths for centuries. Here you’ll wander along a countryside lane to our friend, Daniel’s, family vineyard, making a stop along the way at an incredible archeological park to see the remains of Roman baths and a newly found Roman temple. Exciting! Once at the vineyard, you’re in for a treat as we enjoy aperitivo and dinner right here, while gazing up at the town’s romantic castle. What a special experience! 


DAY 5 – Thursday, September 9: Città della Pieve

  • Instruction/collage, saffron tasting and painting, pizza night
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning after breakfast, Elizabeth will be sharing more of her sought-after techniques and best-kept secrets for creating a floral collage that looks like a painting. Her signature approach to collage is renowned! After a light lunch at the villa, you’ll have time on your own to relax poolside, take a walk on the countryside lane or continue working on your floral-inspired project.

In the afternoon our drivers will be taking you on a short drive to the nearby, medieval town of Città della Pieve, with its unique red-brick building and layers of history. After a guided walk to get oriented, you’ll enjoy time on your own for shopping or exploring. Be sure not to miss Francesca’s organic shop, Fabio and Giovana’s fashion boutique or La Fema – an artisan shop that sells exceptional local gastronomic specialties. Then we’ll meet up to head together to our friend, Alessandro’s, saffron shop, where you’ll learn about cultivating saffron and painting with saffron (yes, painting!). Plus you’ll have fun painting your own paper using “watercolor” made from Alessandro’s organically grown saffron. Afterwards, Lorenza has invited us to her restaurant for pizza-making and dinner!


DAY 6 – Friday, September 10: Poggio alle Trese

  • Instruction/class, gallery finale and farewell apericena
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after breakfast, you’ll be heading to the onsite studio for instruction and one-on-one assistance from Elizabeth, as you rip and glue your way to project completion. At this stage it’s so exciting to see your piece coming together! A light lunch will be served up right here at the villa, before you head back to the studio with Elizabeth, using the afternoon to continue working on your project, taking breaks as needed (delicious biscotti are always on hand!). You might also hop into your bathing suit for a dip in the pool, or perhaps stretch your legs with a walk along the nearby vineyard.

In late afternoon the time has come to hand over your completed project 😄  before gathering together with Elizabeth in a “secret” location for a gallery celebration and very special farewell aperi-cena (aperitivo and dinner combined) – the perfect culmination to an extraordinary week!


Saturday, September 11: Departure

Our drivers will be transporting you this morning to Rome Fiumicino Airport.



ACCOMMODATIONS

Accommodation for Favolosi Florals! Tuscany with Elizabeth St. Hilaire is beautiful Poggio alle Trese, a 17th century villa, nestled along the border of Tuscany and Umbria, near the town of Chiusi (Tuscany). The villa boasts an ample studio space (available 24/7), sweeping terraces for dining or lounging, swimming pool and elegant breakfast/dining hall. Sleeping rooms are furnished with family antiques are offer either an ensuite bathroom or shared bathroom (max 2 guests per bathroom). Rooms options are made available upon booking. View photos of Villa Poggio alle Trese here. 


WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • 7 days/6 nights at elegant Villa Poggio alla Trese, situated in the picturesque countryside near the charming Tuscan hill town of Chiusi
  • Group transportation by private transportation service to/from Rome Fiumicino Airport on arrival and departure dates. 
  • Private transportation service to/from all towns and sites included in the itinerary
  • All abundant breakfasts, featuring fresh-baked Tuscan pastries, organic sheeps’ milk yogurt, local cheeses, seasonal fruits, organic cereal, and more… plus Italian caffè, cappuccino and herbal teas
  • All lunches  
  • All regionally inspired dinners with local wines 
  • Evening aperitivo
  • Elizabeth St. Hilaire’s in-depth lessons, demonstrations, presentations and one-to-one instruction
  • Fluid acrylic paints in a variety of colors and acrylic collage adhesive
  • Canvas panels
  • Paint brushes
  • Saffron “water color” painting and saffron tasting
  • Visit to organic flower farm 
  • Hands-on flower arrangement class
  • Ciambelline-making demo 
  • Tour of archeological site
  • Pizza night!
  • Dinner in a private vineyard
  • Time on your own for shopping and exploring

Not included: PAPER! (Elizabeth prefers that you bring your own personal papers), airfare, meals, alcoholic drinks, buses, trains or boat transportation outside of that which is specifically listed in the trip package, gratuities for villa staff and drivers

The Unexpected is Part of the Journey: At Strada Toscana we weave amazing, authentic experiences into every trip, but sometimes unexpected things come up. If a site has an unscheduled closing, we improvise to include something equally as wonderful and interesting. The quality of the retreat is never at risk, as our team is committed to excellence, along with our vast, local, Italian connections.



MORE ABOUT ELIZABETH ST. HILAIRE

Elizabeth’s love of collage started with a scrap box of mementos from her childhood. She decided to incorporate these memorable papers, notes and snippets of her family’s past into something both memorable and beautiful. Thus was born a representational collage “painting.” This piece, Looking in on Jane (a portrait of her mother), won Best of Show at Orlando Visual Artists League in 2005, and for a second time at the Women’s Caucus for Arts’ Matriarchs and Madonnas exhibit in 2007. The success of this piece plunged Elizabeth head-first into her love affair with collage. Her inspiring work has earned her a Signature Member status with the National Collage Society, a solo exhibit at the Maitland Museum of Art and can be viewed in numerous galleries across the US. You’ll also find Elizabeth’s paper paintings reproduced on everything from prints to comforters in stores such at Kohls and Pier One.

Her technique has evolved as a result of experimentation with hand-painted, hand-made, and a wide variety of textured and patterned papers, focusing on intense and vibrant colors combined with a sensibility of design. “My collages invite the viewer to look, and having looked, to linger,” says Elizabeth. “Layering and weaving, pushing and pulling the colors, patterns, and values makes collage liken to music. I go back and forth, alternating and overlapping until the rhythm creates something I love.”

In her article for the HUFFINGTON POST, BJ Gallanger wrote this about Elizabeth: “Once in a great while, an artist comes along whose work is so distinctive, so unusual, so imaginative, and so colorful that it stands out from the crowd, much like a peacock stands out in a colony of penguins. Elizabeth St. Hilaire is such an artist.”

Learn more about Elizabeth St. Hilaire by visiting her website PaperPaintings.com


TRIP DETAILS: At a Glance

  • Favolosi Florals! Tuscany with Elizabeth St. Hilaire
  • Dates: September 5-11, 2021
  • 7 Days/6 Nights
  • Arrival and departure airport is Rome Fiumicino
  • Trip Price (choose your room configuration upon booking):
    • $3,790 per person – single occupancy room with ensuite bathroom (2 monthly payment available for a limited time!)
    • $3,590 per person – single occupancy room with shared bathroom (no more than 2 of same gender per bathroom – 2 monthly payment available for a limited time!)
    • $500 deposit is required to reserve your space on this retreat

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