Tuscany Watercolor Sketchbook with Elizabeth St. Hilaire - September 16-21, 2024

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Open to students of all artistic levels, Tuscany Watercolor Sketchbook is an immersion in Tuscan inspiration, as you create your own personal sketch journal with daily, in-depth instruction and guidance from Elizabeth. 

For years Elizabeth has been using watercolor sketch journaling to document her own personal trips to Italy and in this popular workshop she shares with you her process, techniques and approaches – plus a vast variety of tips!

But Tuscany Watercolor Sketchbook is more than a sketching workshop. It’s a week filled with fellowship, camaraderie and fun beyond your wildest dreams – all situated in a medieval village, surrounded by the gorgeous Italian countryside. In addition daily lessons and demos with Elizabeth, you’ll enjoy exciting excursions, private visits with locals and delectable food.


  • create your own, beautiful sketch journal from hand-made Fabriano paper
  • break your subject matter down into simple shapes
  • incorporate vibrant color into your work
  • achieve shading, depth and dimension
  • add text to your journal pages to document your Tuscany experience
  • sketch in your journal while staying within a desired palette
  • compose a compelling page layout in your journal
  • incorporate borders as a design element
  • find your own personal style
  • use an empowering approach to improve your water color sketching
  • embellish your watercolor with ink pen details
  • develop imagery and form for depth and interest
  • paint with saffron (a local tradition)
  • incorporate essential light and shadow into your sketches
  • easily improve your sketching skills through daily practice
  • pencil sketch your subject and keep it loose
  • post your artwork on social media


DAY 1 – September 16: Arrival

  • Arrival, retreat orientation, welcome dinner
  • Dinner

Upon your arrival at Rome Fiumicino Airport, our private drivers will transport you to the Italian countryside, and your boutique hotel accommodations in the unspoiled village of Città della Pieve. After check in, you’ll enjoy a walking tour of the historic center of the village, followed by a workshop overview with Elizabeth. Afterwards it’s time to enjoy a welcome aperitivo, followed by a delectable, Tuscan-style dinner.

DAY 2 – September 17: Orvieto and Marbled Paper

  • Highlights: Orvieto, marbled paper lesson, studio
  • Breakfast, dinner

This morning, after breakfast, our drivers will transport you to the stunning town of Orvieto, perched on a dramatic bluff overlooking the Val d’Chiana. Here you’ll head to our friend, Lambert0’s, paper studio, where you’ll learn the fascinating history of paper in Italy, and have the opportunity to design your own sheet of marbled paper – to be used as the colorful cover for your sketchbook. Afterwards you’re free to explore Orvieto (the magnificent cathedral is a must see!) and to choose a spot for lunch on your own.

In the afternoon, it’s back to Città della Pieve for workshop session with Elizabeth as she guides you, step by step, through the process of making your own watercolor sketch journal with hand-made Fabriano paper – including a lesson on how to enhance your pages with coffee and wine. This evening you’ll enjoy a friendly aperitivo, followed by dinner at our friends’ trattoria.

DAY 3 – September 18: Market Day and Pizza Night 

  • Highlights: Market day, studio, pizza night
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after breakfast, you’ll join Elizabeth for a short walk to the local farmers’ market, where you’ll help select a variety of fruits and vegetables to take back to the studio for this morning’s lesson. Elizabeth will be focusing on how to identify simple shapes, and how use color in imaginative ways as you sketch the vegetables you’ve gathered.

After lunch at a local cafe, you’ll head back to the studio with Elizabeth for a lesson that includes how to embellish with postage stamps, date stamps, collage paper, and more! This evening we’ll enjoy aperitivo together before walking to a family-owned pizzeria for a casual pizza night.

DAY 4 – September 19: Stamping and Saffron

  • Highlights: Stamping lesson, studio, saffron painting
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after breakfast, get ready for a fun-filled morning of stamp-making with our talented friend, Gaetano, a local stamp-maker and artist. You’ll learn the history of stamping in Italy, carve your own stamp with Gaetano’s guidance, and use your own stamp to embellish a page of your sketch journal. What a beautiful way to create a memory of this special experience.

After lunch at a local cafe, you’ll have a bit of free time before heading back to the studio for an  Then it’s off to our friend, Alessandro’s, saffron shop for a lesson on painting with saffron (a local tradition!), followed by a private saffron tasting and informal, buffet dinner. You’ll also get the chance to taste Alessandro’s amazing, organic olive oil!

DAY 5 – September 20: Cappuccino and Cornetti  

  • Highlights: Sketching cappuccino and Italian pastries, farewell celebration
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, after breakfast, it’s off to the studio with Elizabeth for a lesson and demo on sketching Italian pastries, before heading to our friends’ coffee bar to practice sketching with cappuccino, espresso and various local pastries – the perfect addition to your Tuscany inspired sketchbook. Today you’re free to enjoy lunch on your own.

In the afternoon, it’s back to the studio for a wrap-up session with Elizabeth, as you add final touches to your Italy sketch journal. This evening we’re off to a private home for a celebratory aperitivo, followed by a special, farewell dinner prepared by Chef Vito.

DAY 7 – September 21: Departure

Early morning departure to Rome Fiumicino Airport.

VENUE: Boutique Hotel Vannucci

Hotel Vannucci began as a project of Vittoria Spinola, daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele II, who fled Pisa (and an arranged marriage with her elderly husband) to start a new life with her lover in Città della Pieve. Here, she and her soon-to-be new husband, Paolo, built two villas that became luxurious holiday accommodations for wealthy Romans vacationing in the countryside. In 1903 one of the villas became Hotel Vannucci, and today it maintains the elegance and refinement of its inception, with luxurious sleeping rooms, marble bathrooms and inviting gardens. A stay here is truly special, nestled just outside the medieval walls of the historic, and unspoiled, village of Città della Pieve. 

VIEW the Photo Gallery


  • 5 nights stay at Boutique Hotel Vannucci
  • Group transportation by private 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 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches  
  • All dinners with local wines 
  • Elizabeth’s in-depth lessons, demonstrations, presentations and one-to-one instruction
  • Water color sketch set
  • Marbled paper lesson (includes making your own!)
  • Hand-made Fabriano paper for making your own sketch journal
  • Italian stamping lesson
  • Ceramic-painting mini-lesson
  • Saffron painting and tasting
  • Onsite cappuccino/pastry-sketching lesson
  • Free time for shopping and exploring

Not included: Artist brushes (bring your own brushes!), airfare, meals, alcoholic drinks, buses, trains or boat transportation outside of that which is specifically listed in the trip package, gratuities for hotel staff and drivers

The Unexpected is Part of the Journey: Sometimes unexpected things come up. If there is unscheduled closing or schedule change, we carefully pivot to include something that is equally as wonderful and interesting, so that the quality of your experience is never at risk. ☺️

ABOUT Elizabeth St. Hilaire

Elizabeth St. Hilaire is an award winning full-time artist, art workshop instructor, and published author. She is an Artist Educator for Golden Paints, a former Ambassador for Princeton Brush, and Creative Team Artist for Gel Press. Her work is also featured on Fredrix Canvas packaging.

Her unique mixed-media artwork is created from torn tidbits of hand-painted paper which she glues down over an acrylic under-painting. St Hilaire’s collages are collected and have been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Images of her work are reproduced and available nationwide on wall canvas, household items, stationery, clothing, jewelry, and more.

Elizabeth is a Signature Member of National Collage Society, holds a BFA from Syracuse University, and has been working in her medium for over 15 years. She has published seven books on her process. She also enjoys painting en Plein Air and has participated in the Wekiva Paint Out (FL), New Smyrna Beach Paint Out (FL), and the Sedona Plein Air Festival (AZ).

Visit Elizabeth’s website at PaperPaintings.com


  • Dates: September 16-21, 2024
  • Trip Price: $3,495 USD – $3,995 USD per person (choose room type upon booking)
  • Room Descriptions:
    • Classic: Single occupancy, double bed, private ensuite bathroom with walk-in shower
    • Deluxe: Single occupancy, double bed, private ensuite bathroom with tub and shower
    • Deluxe: Double occupancy, double bed or two singles, private ensuite bathroom with tub and shower
  • A $700 deposit is required to book your space
  • Arrival and departure airport is Rome Fiumicino
  • View our Terms and Cancellation Policy