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Painting in Spain

Let Spain seduce you! Costa Brava, where the mountains meet the sea, is the setting of this exciting painting tour in the province of Gerona. Craggy cliffs, sandy coves, pristine beaches and inland, the fascinating, ancient history all await to be painted and experienced. This region was also the home and setting for the surreal world of Salvadore Dali.


Day 1: Arrival at the Costa Brava

We will pick you up at a specific hotel downtown Barcelona and drive you to our hotel located in one of the most exclusive beaches on the Costa Brava, Calella de Palafrugel. Upon your arrival at our hotel by the sea, take time to settle in or start enjoying the wonderful white-washed and preserved fisherman village on the beach.

Enjoy the beach in front of the hotel, walk along the pristine seashore, take in the sun from the terrace or have a drink in the Mediterranean breeze.

Before dinner, we will take an easy walk along the shore that offers breathtaking vistas along the way.

In the evening, you will enjoy a welcome reception followed by a delicious dinner.

Days 2-3: Painting one of the most Beautiful Villages on the Costa Brava

This "little fishing village" is an hidden gem amongst all other villages along the Northern Costa Brava. The village of Calella de Palafrugell is made up of endless rocks, cliffs and extremely beautiful beaches.

................Village of Calella de Palafrugell: view from our hotel (Watercolor demo by Keiko Tanabe)

The parish church lies in the center of the village and is surrounded by numerous small, windy alleys, which lead down to the beach and give Calella de Palafrugell its picturesque charm.

Calella de Palafrugell consists of a series of pretty coves strung out like pearls behind a fishing village with whitewashed arches on the promenade.

Day 4: Flowers, Coves and Sea Views at the Botanical Garden

Ten minutes up the road, lies The Jardi Botanic de Cap Roig. It is considered one of the most important botanical gardens in the Mediterranean.

The most characteristic plant species in the Mediterranean region mix with trees and plants from other continents are a must see and a must paint...

High above the bay, the garden offers stunning views towards the ocean.

In 1927, a Russian Colonel and his English wife began building a castle and a magnificent park. The garden runs down in terraces from the castle to the sea. These ornamental and extremely beautiful gardens containover 1000 species of plants and flowers from all over the world.

Front door of the castle in the botanical garden

Day 5: Pals, an unique Preserved Medieval Village

As you walk through the narrow village streets, next to the city walls, towers and churches, you will feel as though you have walked into a new time altogether.

The stone archways, cobblestone streets and wrought balconies adorned with flowers create a welcoming feel in this Romanesque village.

Day 6: The Surrealistic World of Salvator Dali

For those interested we will go to see the largest surrealistic object in the world created by Dali, the Dalí Theatre-Museu in the town of Figueres, his birthplace.

We will step inside the surreal world of Salvador Dalí and find a museum like none other. Dalí wanted visitors to see his massive collection as a ‘whole’ work and therefore refused to have his works placed in chronological or subject order.

Inside is a world of fantasy mixed with architecture, paintings and sculptures. It's a complete surrealistic experience.

Dali museum in Figueres

Day 7: Magical Barcelona: Market, Gaudi's Architecture and Tapas

Flamenco night, watercolor by Keiko Tanabe

Leaving the countryside for a more urban atmosphere, we will drive to Barcelona and settle into our new hotel in the center of town.

Lunch: You will have free time for lunch. Why not go to the Market of la Boqueria with its incredible contrast between colours and activity, an ideal place to discover why Mediterranean cuisine is internationally known due to its ingredients?

All of the best products from Catalonia in one place: fruit, vegetables, fish, seafood and the world famous ham de Belota, the "pata negra".

Afternoon: Medieval and Gothic Quarter:
On this guided tour, we will walk through the ancient narrow streets of one of the best preserved medieval districts in Europe. Discover the secrets behind the stones of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter.

You will learn about ancient and current traditions of Catalonia, about the differences between being Spanish and Catalan while discovering the stunning Gothic architecture of Barcelona's most magical neighbourhood.

Evening: Dinner and Flamenco

In the evening, we will have our farewell dinner together followed by a wonderful and unforgettable Flamenco show. Flamenco singers, dancers and guitar players will be offering a powerful staging and musical event.

Day 8: Departure

It is time to say Hasta Luego! But don't worry - you'll be back. We just know it!

You can choose to stay a few more days in Barcelona or fly home if you have to.


You will be taken care of from the start to finish of the trip, in Barcelona and the Costa Brava.

We will drive you to different painting locations in our comfortable A/C mini van.


We have chosen this friendly and peaceful hotel located in the heart of la Costa Brava. Come and let yourself be carried away by emotions!

The hotel sits on bluffs overlooking the coves of a hidden preserved beach of the Costa Brava.

Besides magnificent views, the hotel grounds boast a shaded terrace and beautifully wooded gardens.

The village's narrowing streets and picturesque fishermen's cottages form an idyllic backdrop to the stunning Mediterranean coast.

Some rooms (if you book early) have a balcony with sea view. Enjoy exceptional views of the white fishing village and the blue sea in a comfortable, intimate and relaxed atmosphere. All rooms have TV, satellite, air conditioning, heating, hairdryer and safety deposit box.

Bedroom with sea view

View from the terrace

Dates 2014

Sept 7-14, 2014:
Teacher: Jeannie Breeding
Painting workshop and retreat: All media welcome

Painting Workshop: You’ll be given daily on-location demos in oil. Artists may work in the medium of their choice! Each workshop participant will be supplied with a 6” x 8” gridded view finder & rendering marker, which we’ll use as we learn to simplify and start with a good composition.

I’ll demonstrate the fundamentals of simple perspective, line, value and color. Artists will learn the secrets of using temperature to create the illusion of depth in their paintings. Workshop participants will each be emailed art supply suggestions and tips on traveling with paints. I will invite participants to a free one day plein air class in Colorado Spring.

Artist Retreat: Advanced artists who don't desire instruction are welcome to sign up as a "Retreat Participant" for $350 less. They won't watch the demos but will paint on same locations and enjoy the camaraderie of other artists. We'll all get together in the evenings to discuss art.

Sept 15-22, 2014:
Teacher: Allis Teegarden
Watercolor & Acrylic Painting Workshop

US$200 off before April 30

Allis Teegarden has been an artist all her life. Her earliest memories include painting and drawing. This year is her 27th year as an ongoing art instructor of private lessons. She teaches drawing principles as well as watercolor and acrylic techniques.

All levels are welcome! We will explore the sights, sounds and colors of Spain! Using all our senses we will hone in on the subjects that grab us most. One on one, step by step I will walk you through "how to" make a successful painting whether it be a rock wall in one of the small villages we will be visiting or a seascape by our hotel or flora from the botanical gardens.

I see this trip being full of excitement with plenty opportunities for painting "souvenirs" to bring back home.

Sept 15-22, 2014:
Teacher: Victoria Brooks
Primarily Oil Painting Workshop

This painting trip to Barcelona and the Coasta Brava has more visual beauty and inspiration than any artist could dream of ! There is something for everyone and all level of painters are welcome.

Victoria teaches primarily in oil but also teaches acrylic and watercolor. She will teach you how to paint water and reflections, capturing white washed buildings against cobalt skies and a turquoise sea. Learn to paint a boat or a whole harbor as Victoria teaches you the methods of simplicity. Because it is a small class she spends a lot of time individually and as a group lecturing and demonstrating the how to's of painting: composition, color, value and edges.

Victoria is also a figure painter, so she will give tips on painting Flamenco dancers as well as old fishermen!"

Victoria will hold a FREE Travel Painting Workshop in her Loomis, CA studio 6 months prior to departure. She will do a painting demo using all her travel painting equipment and give tips on how to pack for painting overseas.

Sept 23-30, 2014 SOLD OUT
Teacher: Sonja Hamilton, swa Watercolor Painting Workshop

"Light! It is all about light! And how to interpret light to its fullest to create the most enchanting of paintings. Imagine the white-washed villages of Costa Brava bursting with glowing color.

How does the light hit the rugged rocks and play into reflections in the water? Find the subtleties of light underneath arches on land and water. With watercolor, there are ways to quickly achieve all this and more. Working on quarter sheets or smaller papers, you have the freedom of mixing color on paper and see what happens. Go home with the best of souvenirs - your paintings! "

For those who live close to Sonja (Auburn, CA), Sonja will give a pre-trip lesson - painting water, rocks and reflections and offer to teach you proper matting and framing for exhibits in her studio afterwards.

May 3-10, 2015
Theresa Goesling & Cindy Briggs from
Make Every Day a Painting
Watercolor Painting Workshop

US$2,990 before Nov 30, 2014
+US$350 pp double room with sea view
+ US$350 single room
+ US$750 single room with sea view
After Nov 30: US$3,190 

"Absorb the beauty of the Spanish coast as you learn how to infuse captivating color and luminescent light into your paintings. Capture sunlit window box flowers and weathered walls, colorful villages and city scenes, boats and reflections, people and local subjects in watercolor and water mediums.

Recognized for our mastery of color by Daniel Smith, we teach you how to loosen up and manipulate watercolors for exciting color transitions, motion, the illusion of depth, and magical textures.

You'll learn how to simplify and spontaneously paint what inspires you through our daily demonstrations and individualized attention. We'll help you build confidence as you create a colorful portfolio of memories. We’ll make the most of each day with time to paint and explore, then share creative journeys over dinner.

You'll receive a free digital copy of our book “Make Every Day A Painting” prior to departure".

Here is the supply list from Cindy and Theresa as well as their Travel & Journaling Kit available on Daniel Smith.

May 11-18, 2015
Teacher: Kirah Van Sickle
All medium Painting Workshop

US$2,990 before Nov 30, 2014
+US$350 pp double room with sea view
+ US$350 single room
+ US$750 single room with sea view
After Nov 30: US$3,190 

Come experience Costa Brava with an Impressionist's eye, studying light, form, color and the joys of painting en plein air. This workshop will build on fundamentals familiar to the beginner or intermediate painter ready to transfer those techniques to the outdoors.

With a focus on choosing the subject, basic color theory, color mixing, composition, editing, brush handling and value patterns, your work will become faster, richer, more dynamic and improve your overall confidence as an artist.

Kirah is a dynamic instructor providing individual attention and a road map for painting more free, loose and rooted in fundamentals, what she refers to as the 4 C's: contrast, color, composition and character. For both beginner and experienced painters, Kirah will focus on the versatility of acrylics, with all mediums welcome. Daily demos and handouts are included to enhance plein air concepts. Kirah is a seasoned instructor in all mediums and in both traditional and contemporary mixed media styles. As a certified Golden Artist-Educator, she brings a rich professional history and love for combining art and travel to her classes, as well as an array of techniques and paint handling skills.

May 18-25, 2015
Teachers: Iain Stewart, nws and Michael Reardon
Watercolor Painting Workshop

US$2,990 before Nov 30, 2014
+US$350 pp double room with sea view
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$750 single room with sea view
After Nov 30: US$3,190 

Join Iain Stewart and Michael Reardon for a week of painting in Barcelona and the Costa Brava.

This is a truly unique opportunity to improve your watercolor painting with two award-winning watercolor artists. The daily input from these two artists will take your painting to the next level.

Each day begins with two simultaneous demonstrations, one by Iain and one by Michael. As both painters display their quick and decisive plein air painting styles, you can watch either or both. You are then free to paint, with one-on-one instruction from each artist, or explore the surrounding area. The small class size will ensure plenty of individual attention. The day concludes with an informal review of the day's work over a glass of wine, watching the day slide into evening.

White-washed villages, dramatic seascapes, and the seductive light of the Spanish Mediterranean await you. Plus you have the two artists who are committed to help you build your confidence and ability in watercolor. Indulge your creative spirit with a memorable painting holiday in Spain!

The course is limited to 10 participants per instructor so that each student can receive individual attention by either Iain, Michael or both instructors.

Make sure to sign up early because we expect the trip to fill quickly and besides, we only have a limited number of rooms with sea view!

Sept 16-23, 2015
Teacher: Durinda Cheek
Sketching & Painting Workshop
All medium welcome

US$2,990 before Nov 30, 2014
+US$350 pp double room with sea view
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$750 single room with sea view
After Nov 30: US$3,190 

“Painting is another way of keeping a diary”- Pablo Picasso.

"Bring home your memories of a trip of a lifetime with sketches and paintings you create on the spot. Bring the medium you are most comfortable working with and we will capture our moments in the light of Spain! Plus I will give you a multi-media Visual Journal that you can use for sketching, scrapbooking, or journaling. So, even if you are just beginning in art or think you would like to try it, you can sketch along with us. Photographers are also welcome! You will enjoy our discussions of creating compositions and viewpoints.

I will demonstrate a different concept each day to add techniques and tools to the skills you already have such as perspective drawing in architecture, creating distance, and mixing those Mediterranean colors. You can choose to draw and paint from the many dazzling scenes. I will assist you individually with your work as much or as little as you like. We’ll talk about how to avoid and correct mistakes in your works. We’ll gather each evening to discuss the day and plan our goals for the next.

By the end of the week, you will have reference materials, skills, and memories from your time in Spain to continue to enjoy painting from your trip at home for years to come. Supply list and a suggested packing list available with registration. See you in Spain!"

Sept 23-30, 2015
Teacher: Evelyn Dunphy
Watercolor Painting Workshop
Max 12 participants

US$2,990 before Nov 30, 2014
+US$350 pp double room with sea view
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$750 single room with sea view
After Nov 30: US$3,190 

© Renee Gage

Each day will include demonstrations of elements of landscape painting with lots of personal instruction. "Develop your ability to look at the complexity of the scene in front of you, and focus your vision so that you can design a good painting that speaks of the essence of the scene, rather than merely reporting the things in it". Every painting should have a concept, and your composition, colors and techniques must work towards bringing your concept to life.

The goal of Evelyn’s workshops is to share her painting knowledge and experience with each student in the way that will best help them to further their own personal development.

In this workshop you will learn how to judge the ratio of pigment and water in order to get the desired color and value the first time, combine pigments for glowing, transparent mixtures, use your brush most effectively, and begin to "name the thing you are attempting to do. Naming it makes it possible to do it."

Evelyn is a sought-after teacher with waiting lists for her studio classes and workshops. "Evelyn is the most informative, creative, sharing workshop leader one could ever find" - a student comment from her workshop at Frederic Church's camp on Millinocket Lake in Maine.

Sept 23-30, 2015
Teacher: Jennifer McChristian
Oil Painting Workshop
Max 10 participants

US$3,190 before Nov 30, 2014
+US$350 pp double room with sea view
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$750 single room with sea view
After Nov 30: US$3,390 

Join award-winning painter Jennifer McChristian for an inspiring eight day painting trip in Spain. What better way to learn this traditional art form than to step back in time with us to paint the ancient Spanish architecture in an invigorating mediterranean setting, just as they did a hundred years ago.

Jennifer will teach you to interpret this magical environment in terms of paint, using light and color to create form. Color relationships, composition, simplifying and the benefits of painting outdoors will be discussed, as well as how to design and build a painting that carries an emotional impact. We will focus on values, shapes, edges and color as well as paint handling and materials. The instructor will offer a brief demonstration each day and advice on a one-on-one basis in the field. Additionally, there will be class discussions and critique of work so that participants will learn from individual instruction as well as each other.

Jennifer McChristian is an award-winning artist who was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. In 1986, she moved to California, where she was an animation artist for Disney and Nickelodeon, among other studios. She has studied under Robert Blue, Karl Dempwolf and Steve Huston, and leads painting and drawing workshops internationally.

Recommended reading:
  • Payne, Composition of Outdoor Painting
  • Carlson, Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting
  • Goerschner & Lehrman, Oil Painting - The Workshop Experience

Rates include:

  • Pick up and drop off at a specific time in a hotel downtown Barcelona
  • A welcome reception
  • All nights (6 nights at the hotel on the Costa Brava and 1 night at the hotel in Barcelona)
  • All breakfasts
  • 1 lunch and 5 dinners (incl. drinks and wine)
  • A Flamenco show
  • All art classes
  • Entrance fees to all sites on the tour
  • Transportation every day in a comfortable van
  • A personal chauffeur/guide throughout the week

  • Flights to and from Barcelona
  • 6 Lunches
  • 2 dinners.
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses and tipping

Tel: 1-510-483-5713