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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 (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 & Rates 2015

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

Price: US$3,190
+ US$350 pp double room with sea view
+ US$350 single room
+ US$750 single room with sea view
$350 off for non-painters

© 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" - student's comment from her workshop at Frederic Church's camp on Millinocket Lake in Maine.

" Our time together painting in Ireland has influenced how I paint in a rather profound way. I knew it then, after the Retreat, but you never know how it will hold up. I can now confidently say, 3 months later, it has a lasting impact. You are an extraordinary teacher in the ways you are able to divine where each student is in their process, and adapt what you know to share productively and successfully with them. I am a drawing teacher; I know a good teacher when I meet one, and you are one. Thank you!" Susan McChesney, Ashville, NC. Partcipant's in the workshop to Ireland, 2013.

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

Price: US$3,390
+ US$350 pp double room with sea view
+ US$350 single room
+ US$750 single room with sea view
$350 off for non-painters

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

Dates & Rates 2016

May 2-9, 2016
Teacher: David Savellano
Ink and Watercolor Sketching/Painting Workshop
Max 12 participants

US$2,990 before Nov 30, 2015
See what rates include.
+ 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
$400 off for non-painters

"How you see and experience the world matters especially when you can combine art and travel. The combination of travel sketching (ink and watercolor) and painting gives you the best of both worlds; the immediacy of travel sketching and the spontaneity of plein air painting.

I want all the participants to leave the workshop with smiles on their faces knowing they received excellent group and personal instruction, successfully faced their artistic challenges, experienced the culture of Costa Brava and most importantly had fun.

Students will leave the workshop with specific exercises and instructions to improve their art and gain confidence with on-going practice".

About the teacher:

David Savellano is an artist who works primarily en plein air (outdoors), creating sketches and watercolor paintings that capture random moments—on the street, in nature, and wherever else his portable easel takes him.

“I enjoy working outdoors because it’s unpredictable and that lends itself to the kind of spontaneity you just can’t get in a studio,” he says.

Although largely self-taught as a watercolor painter, he credits his 30 years as a practicing architect with having given him the drawing skills and strong sense of perspective that have elevated his artwork.

David’s passion for outdoor painting isn’t limited to his own sketches and paintings, he also teaches it, offering classes distinguished by their intimate size and the generous amount of personal instruction he provides. His expert instruction enables students to improve their artistic skills and broadens their knowledge.

Visit David Savellano's web site

May 9-16, 2016
Teacher: Pat Fiorello
All medium Workshop
Max 12 participants

US$2,990 before Nov 30, 2015
See what rates include.
+ 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
$400 off for non-painters

See the itinerary of this workshop

See the itinerary of this workshop

Join in the fun, with artist and instructor Pat Fiorello, as you learn, grow and see new places through the eyes of an artist during this inspiring 8-day painting workshop in beautiful Spain.

Pat has extensive experience teaching on location in the U.S. and Europe and is author of the book “Bella Italia, Italy Through the Eyes of an Artist.” She creates a positive, supportive environment for students to stretch and grow.

"Are you new to painting plein air? Or if you’ve painted outdoors in the past, have you sometimes found it overwhelming to take in all you see in the landscape and translate it to a strong, cohesive painting that captures the spirit of the location and your experience of it?

In this workshop, you will improve your ability to observe the landscape and captures its essence. We’ll be focusing on how to select landscape elements and compose a beautiful painting based on what inspires you and how to then simplify the landscape and mass values for greatest impact. In addition, observing nature and capturing the joy of color and drama of light and shadow in your paintings will be emphasized.

Whether you are new to painting or experienced, you will be inspired and enriched by taking part in this very special growth experience. The program is open to artists of all skill levels and any medium.

Program includes demonstrations, group instruction on topics including technique, color, value, composition, tips for painting on location, one-on-one guidance while painting and critiques to provide feedback to build your skills.

Immerse yourself in painting, beauty and fun during this weeklong escapade to Spain"!

May 16-23, 2016
Teacher: Sandra Strohschein
Watercolor Painting Workshop
Max 12 participants

US$2,990 before Nov 30, 2015
See what rates include.
+ 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
$400 off for non-painters

See the itinerary of this workshop
See the itinerary of this workshop

Sandra works in a fast loose impressionistic style which is structured by solid art principals. She places a strong emphasis on composition, light, atmosphere and lost and found edges. It is also a goal to fill the paintings with energy, passion and emotion.

""My style is to demonstrate a painting from start to finish, usually in less than an hour. I talk through the entire process explaining my thoughts about composition, capturing light, color, value changes....everything that goes into the painting is clearly articulated while I paint. I am very comfortable addressing questions while I am painting and encourage student interaction during my demos. My method is fairly simple. Differing from many watercolor artists, I often work from dark to light. This is a very direct method of painting which works well for plein air studies. I work from the top of the paper downward preserving white highlights as I go. I use my paper as a palette letting the pigments merge and mingle as I introduce shapes with simple brush strokes. As well, when the situation calls for it, I can paint from light to dark in three simple washes. I am very capable of employing many different methods to get the effect I am looking for.

I have a great ability to critique with compassion and foster artistic growth. My approach is not to change a student's style but to help them develop their own style playing to their individual strengths."

Sandra is a self taught artist from Holland Michigan who has attained remarkable success in a very short period of time. In five years she has completed a master level of achievement, painting over 10,000 hours. She has been featured in Plein Air Artist Magazine, online and also had her name assigned to a brush set by Rosemary Brush Company from the UK. She has taught and studied nationally and internationally. She has been awarded honors in many juried fine art shows and her work can be found in both private and corporate collections around the globe.

June 6-13, 2016
Teacher: Kathy Rennell Forbes
Watercolor Painting Workshop
Max 12 participants

US$2,990 before Nov 30, 2015
See what rates include.
+ 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
$400 off for non-painters

Kathy will inspire you with daily watercolor demos and then provide hands on and individual instructions as you capture the mystique of the Costa Brava in your own watercolor journal.

We will travel light with just a small bag of watercolor supplies and journal to paint your golden memories while also exploring this magical destination.

Kathy encourages your own painting style while sharing her watercolor secrets. You will bring home a personalized journal of your discoveries that you can share with others and inspire you to paint larger versions back home.

There will be ample time to explore the area’s treasures and history while enjoying wine and conversation with Kathy and the group at the end of each day. 

This is a great workshop for beginner and intermediate painters who want to enhance their watercolors skills while traveling.

Kathy Rennell Forbes teaches art classes in the Atlanta area and watercolor workshops in the US, Europe and Cuba.
Kathy is an accomplished artist and instructor. Her representational paintings are in private and corporate collections around the world.

She is a Signature Member and past President of the Georgia Watercolor Society and is also a Member of Excellence in the Atlanta Artists Center.

See the itinerary of this workshop

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/tour leaderthroughout the week

  • Flights to and from Barcelona
  • 6 lunches and 2 dinners
  • Optional activities, personal expenses and tipping

Tel: 1-510-483-5713