Since 2013 we have been running art trips to the Verrocchio Art Centre in Italy, an authentic and atmospheric building with stunning views, situated on the fortified walls of the charming hill-top village, Casole d’Elsa in Tuscany. The Verrocchio Art Centre and the St. Ives School of Painting have formed a strong relationship based on shared principles and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere for our students to work in. We follow in the footsteps of many of the St. Ives modernists who visited this area of Italy and received huge inspiration from the surroundings. The first art trip took place in May 2013 with Gary Long. You can see pictures taken here from the hugely succesful trip. These creative holidays include six days tuition, self-study time in the studio and opportunities to visit San Gimignano and Sienna. There will be sociable evening meals on the terrace to discuss ideas with like- minded people while enjoying the wonderful Italian food and wine. The course is booked through us and includes your tuition and art materials. Accommodation, meals and transfers are booked directly with the art centre Verrocchio , at a cost approx £100 per night. Contact 0117 330 4973 to discuss all accommodation options. You will also need flights to Pisa.
NEXT COURSES 2020
This inspirational course will get you truly immersed in the spirit of Tuscany. Absorb the evocative Sienese colours and explore an expressive and vibrant approach to capturing landscape and place in your painting.
Gary Long 22 May – 1 June 2020 Spring is a beautiful time of year to capture the Tuscan landscape. Use sketchbooks to capture areas of interest in the natural landscape and vibrant Italian life and architecture. Back in the studio develop gouache studies into oil paintings. There will be six days of tuition. On other days, students can work self-directed in the spacious studio or enjoy the surrounding area.
INTRODUCTION TO THE ART CENTRE In 1986 sculptor Nigel Konstam established the Verrocchio Art Centre. Today, the historic walls of the building and the spacious and airy painting studios with their stunning views looking out over the Tuscan landscape make Verrocchio an energising and inspiring creative retreat. Outside the Centro, the medieval streets are lined with bars and restaurants, and regular local dances and fiestas, allow visitors to experience and enjoy traditional Italian life. The local museum and churches are home to some beautiful artwork and panoramic views from the village look out over the rolling Tuscan hills to the nearby towns of San Gimingano, Volterra and Monteriggione. From beginners to those with more experience, all skill levels are welcome and both trips are suitable for those aged eighteen years of age and upwards. It is possible to share your accommodation with a non-painting partner. ACCOMMODATION An important part of life at the Centro is ‘good company and a congenial house-party atmosphere. The bedroom accommodation is simple and rustic in classic Italian style. There are a mix of doubles and singles, a few with ensuites and some with shared bathrooms. A beautiful terrace perfect for inspiration looks out over the Tuscan countryside right down to Monte Amiata in the south of Tuscany. Here breakfast is served in the morning sun and dinner in front of the huge, red moon.
A TYPICAL DAY
The day starts outside with breakfast on the terrace in the warmth of the morning sun. Teaching begins at 9.30 until 12.30 making use of the landscape and the spacious studio. For lunch you can wander into the village and choose from the mouth-watering local cuisine or you are welcome to make use of the kitchen and bring lunch back from the local markets or delis.
There will be time for a siesta or to gather inspiration from the library, or even to catch some sun on the terrace before teaching resumes at 3 until 5.30. At the end of the day take a dip in the indoor plunge pool, meet new friends for an aperitif at the bar or a take a walk around the old walls of the village and watch the sunset.
At 8pm a three course meal with local wine will be served on the terrace, after which you may wish to stroll into the village for a night cap or an ice cream from the local gelateria, browse the once a week craft market or catch an open air concert.
GETTING THERE Most people fly into Pisa when travelling from the UK , the art centre will collect from the airport once or twice a day please liaise with them about the pick up times so you can make sure you book the most convenient flight. The nearest big town is Colle di Val D’Elsa which has buses running to Casole 4 times a day or a taxi costs approx. £20 Train The nearest train station is Poggibonsi. You can get from Poggibonsi to Casole by taxi or if you take the bus you have to change at Colle di val d’Elsa. Taxi The cost of a taxi is usually around €1,40 per km.
Here are some videos of the tutors leading our Tuscany trips this year, Gary Long and Liz Hough . The videos were shot while the artists led students on courses in St Ives ranging from using oils in the landscape, working from the figure and using collage to quickly create dynamic paintings.