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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.


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

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 have a balcony with sea view (very few available so book early) . 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 2017

May 1-8:
Teacher: Annie Strack
US $3,190 (double occupancy standard room)
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$700 superior room with sea view (single or double)

Discount of $400 for non-painters
See what rates include.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to learn to master the techniques of watercolor painting on the breathtaking coast line of Spain's Costa Brava with Annie Strack, an America's Master Maritime Artist!

Annie guides students through the painting process with helpful step-by-step demonstrations and individual attention. This workshop is open to painters of all levels. All artists, whether they are new to watercolors or experienced painters, will learn new skills from watching Annie as she explains her techniques for creating spectacular paintings.

Multiple watercolor techniques are covered in the workshop, including glazing, washes, dry brush, masking, lifting, & more. Students will gain an understanding of the properties of different paints, learn how to successfully mix colors, and how to use values and color temperatures to enhance their compositions. Students will watch and learn as each painting step and technique is explained and demonstrated with a clarity that makes the lessons easy to absorb and replicate. Students will benefit from personal and group critiques, and receive individual attention from the instructor.

Annie Strack is a Signature Member of the International Society of Maritime Painters and several other artist societies, an Official Authorized Artist for the USCG, Painting instructor at Artists Network University, and Contributing Editor at Professional Artist magazine. She is a highly esteemed workshop instructor, and she is a much sought-after juror for art exhibits. Her artwork has received hundreds of awards and hangs in over 1,000 collections worldwide including USCG, U.S. Navy, U.S. Pentagon, U.S. Senate, Veterans Administration, and many more.

See the itinerary of this workshop

May 8-15:
Teacher: Susan Blackwood
Watercolor and Oil Painting Workshop

US $3,190 (double occupancy standard room)
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$700 superior room with sea view (single or double)

Discount of $400 for non-painters
See what rates include.

Susan Blackwood has a love of painting and teaching others to paint and draw. Oils and watercolors are her preferred mediums for paintings. She has been painting plein air for years…since she was in her teens.

Painting on location captures all of the senses and each painting done plein air becomes a memory that will never be forgotten. Traveling and painting becomes a wonderful way to make memories and capture the experiences. “ I would love to show you how to create successful paintings that you will enjoy years after you go home. Painting in Spain will be full of wonderful opportunities to take your paintings (watercolors or oils) to a new level. I have lots of easy methods to show you how to paint villages, buildings, boats and water. I can’t wait to share them with you”.

Susan has been teaching classes and workshops nationally and internationally since 1975. Her teaching is based on solid knowledge and enthusiasm. Her greatest joy is to help artists reach new levels in their paintings.

Her work has been seen in many National art Magazines, won many awards and accepted into many Museum Shows, National and International.

See the itinerary of this workshop

May 8-15:
Teacher: Howard Friedland
Oil Painting Workshop

US $3,190 (double occupancy standard room)
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$700 superior room with sea view (single or double)

Discount of $400 for non-painters
See what rates include.

Painting the light of the Costa Brava with Howard Friedland OPA/AIS

In this workshop we will focus on capturing the unique and spectacular light and subjects of the Costa Brava.

No matter how long one has been painting, there is always something new to learn! Every morning, I will demonstrate and lecture for about an hour and explain the day’s lesson, it will then be your turn to explore the many exciting subjects and compositions to be painted.

Students will have individual attention at their own easel and a positive critique to give you some food for thought at the end of the day of painting.

This will be a fun and memorable painting holiday for all! I really look forward to meeting and painting with all of you!

Howard won two major awards at the American Impressionist Society National Exhibition in Kirkland, Whashington in Oct 2016. His painting "Favorite Spot' won Second Place and received the Artists Choice Award.

See the itinerary of this workshop

May 15-22: Only Wait List
May 22-29: 2 spots left

Teacher: Brenda Swenson
Watercolor Sketching Workshop

US $3,190 (double occupancy standard room)
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$700 superior room with sea view (single or double)

Discount of $400 for non-painters
See what rates include.

"Join me for a week of sketching with watercolor. We'll enjoy the free-flowing and colorful nature of watercolor at its best while sketching and having fun!

I’ll help you develop observation skills, color awareness, simple design principles and learn about light and shadows. We’ll investigate various techniques, sketching tools, and approaches to watercolor. Enjoy time with fellow artists, instruction and friendly critiques".

Space is very limited (max 10 participants/workshop).

Brenda Swenson is the artist author of two books, Keeping a Watercolor Sketchbook (Award of Excellence Finalist) and Steps to Success in Watercolor. Her paintings and sketches have been featured in numerous books (Splash 11, 12 & 14, Artistic Touch 4, Creative Freedom, Incite 2), and magazines (Watercolor Artist, Watercolor Magazine, Watercolor Highlights, Plein Air Magazine).

Brenda has achieved signature status in WW, NWWS, and SDWS. An active participant in the arts community she has served on the board of directors for the National Watercolor Society and Watercolor West.

See the itinerary of this workshop

June 5-12:
Teacher: Gary Tucker
Watercolor Painting Workshop

Gary has been living as a watercolor artist in Boston and the Cape Ann region for more than 20 years. When in Boston, Gary teaches to about 65 students a week, watercolor and drawing, giving demonstrations in watercolor to many of the museums and arts organizations in the area.
“Watercolor differs from other media in that there is a performance aspect to it. The fine pieces come out in one sitting and very often like a classic performance, something happens, a fusion of mind and subject, an improvisation that cannot be duplicated”.

US $3,190 (double occupancy standard room)
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$700 superior room with sea view (single or double)

Discount of $400 for non-painters
See what rates include.

There is only one thing that can be better than walking out the door towards a new destination with your paintbox in hand and that is to be joined in this adventure by friends.

I am sure our adventure in the Costa Brava will be a wonderful experience and will give us memories for a lifetime.

Painting our of doors is different than working in the studio - -and nothing is as rewarding as working on location. The rewards are in the experience of the moment, the light, the air, the sounds,  everything. This experience comes flooding back when you see your painting - even years later. It is what draws us outside again and again.

When teaching out of doors I like to demonstrate each morning, and with each lesson I try to impart something useful that builds upon the previous days work. The subjects that I demonstrate are:
Drawing: Placing the motif with a good idea of proportion and perspective
Design: Composition, Line, Tonal Values, around a center of interest
Watercolor Technique: Once or drawing and design are set we can completely concentrate on the painting process working with watercolor wet into wet, dry into wet, and using dry technique  Brushwork  Color strategies and more.
Critique: In the evening, after a day of painting, we gather together for a critique. It is a great learning moment to see your work through the eyes of others.

A few words about our destination -  It is the Costa Brava !!! - Subject matter in every direction!!

Read what Gary’s students have to say by going to Gary's website

Dates & Rates 2018

April 30-May 7, 2018
Teacher: Cherry Sweig
Travel Journal Workshop

Price: $200 off before Nov 30 so price is $2,990.
After: $3,190 (double occupancy room)
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$700 sup room with sea view (single or double)
- $400 discount for non painters
See what rates include.

See the itinerary of this workshop

Special Effects Memoires

"Travel as an artist with me along Spain’s Costa Brava to Figures and Barcelona. Capture the land of the Catalan culture and Salvador Dali’s impressions of our world into a magnificent hand-created memoir. You will connect with the land, the history and the people, to return home with your own tribute to the dramatic coastlines and alluring imagery. This region is a journaling artist’s paradise".

"Painting abroad requires a savvy style of ‘En Plein Air’ and I will share my common sense approach using innovative art kits to create stunning results for any level of artistry. While painting here in 2008, I was challenged to invent an essential feather-light way to navigate and illustrate the sites, senses and moods that unfolded each day. It evolved into a priceless backpack of special effects and indigenous inspired techniques that I would love to share with you.

My pre-trip instructions and photos will help you arrive ready to capture the experiences with a keen knowledge of design basics, drawing and unique planning page compositions. Developed as a ‘journal key’ this will also include ideas for cohesive graphics, page edges and calligraphy. To take it all a step further, the pre-trip layout guide will help you designate a title page, map, glossary and itinerary. Using watercolors as a primary medium, the fun begins with introducing multi-media, iridescent highlighting, aquarelle pencil, found collage/tracing, nature printing, pop-up 3-D sculpture, origami and more. Your pages will come alive and move in vibrant style, interactive surprises and tactile details as you learn to embrace the imagery into a cherished work of art.

A few months ahead, you will receive: a ‘Travel as an Artist’ Packing List and Journal Planning Guide, my favorite blank watercolor journal, a selection of perfected travel art supplies, an art supply list (+sources) and my ’300 Pearls of Wisdom’.

In addition, I would like to get to know each of you before the trip through an artist’s statement questionnaire".

April 30-May 7, 2018
Teacher: Gail Sibley
Pastel Workshop

Price: $200 off before Nov 30 so price is $2,990.
After: $3,190 (double occupancy room)
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$700 sup room with sea view (single or double)
- $400 discount for non painters
See what rates include.

See the itinerary of this workshop

""In this crazy, busy world, sometimes what’s needed is a time and place to slow down and refresh your creative soul and this painting retreat on the Costa Brava fits the bill. With everything taken care of by Jackie, all you need to do is relax and paint!

Painting “en plein air” means being fully present to the experience of painting on location. As you observe and paint, every sight, sound, smell, and experience in the environment becomes part of your painting. That’s part of the joy that comes with working from life rather than a photo. But with this adventure of painting en plein air can come a feeling of overwhelm. In this workshop, we’ll go through the process of creating on location step-by-step, from choosing what you’re going to paint, to simplifying the scene, to drawing up a thumbnail (a getting-to-know-you tool and one which will stand you in good stead in this process), to blocking in the big shapes, and then to moving towards more detail. We’ll go over the importance of understanding values and how this knowledge can liberate your colour choices and interpretation of a scene. All aspects of what goes into creating a successful painting will be covered including perspective (linear and aerial), composition, colour harmonies and dissonance, temperature, dominance, and edges.

And we’ll be doing it all in pastels! With this versatile medium, we can make quick, energetic sketches or more fully realized paintings. So as to make it easy to transport our painting materials, we’ll work with a limited palette and see how we can make the most with it.

I’ll demonstrate daily plus I’ll give lots of one-on-one direction on site. We’ll also gather as a group at the end of the day to discuss and critique the day’s paintings over a glass of wine. Each day will offer us a new and different location and they’ll be many subjects to choose from, whether a broad seascape, a corner of a village, or a close-up of a flower - something for all preferences.

My teaching style is to pass on all I know while at the same time encouraging the complete emergence of your own voice. It’s all easy-going with plenty of room for laughter and fun!

The workshop is suitable for all levels but some experience with drawing and pastels would be helpful. To all participants, if you haven’t already purchased it, I’ll offer a copy of my online course, 'Pastel Painting En Plein Air.'

Can’t wait to meet you in the warm embrace of Spain!”

Sept 14-21, 2018
Teacher: Kristi Grussendorf
Watercolor Painting Workshop

Price: $200 off before Nov 30 so price is $2,990.
After: $3,190 (double occupancy room)
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$700 sup room with sea view (single or double)
- $400 discount for non painters
See what rates include.

See the itinerary of this workshop

"When you paint a place, you really get to know it. Plein Air is not just a record of what you see but how that place makes you feel".

Join Kristi in a magical place and learn how to tell your story with the magical medium of watercolor. We will cover basic techniques which will give you the language needed to communicate visually. Design & composition is one of Kristi’s strong suits and she will demonstrate on site with lots of individual help as needed.

Painting with watercolor has taught Kristi to be flexible and she will adjust lessons based on the experience of the group and what’s needed.

"We will strive for a relationship with the medium, learn to trust what the paint does on its own and recognize those “happy accidents” when they occur! As a “workshop junkie”, my toolbox is full and I’m sure I have just what you need to help you grow as an artist and express what you want to say through your art. Some of the challenges/questions we may address:
- How do I decide what to paint when everything is so beautiful/interesting?
- Where do I start? How do I decide which techniques to use?
- What colors do I chose to communicate how I’m feeling?
- How do I keep the paint fresh?
- How do I loosen up and enjoy the painting process?
- How do I tie the painting together with value? With color? With shape? With line?
- What are my personal expressive strokes? What makes my paintings unique?
- How do I break down the painting process into manageable steps?

Be brave & confident…no more wimpy watercolors! Be open to destroying a few perfectly nice watercolors with Kristi and just enjoy the collaboration with paint, paper, brush and water"!

Sept 17-24, 2018
Teacher: Georgia Mansur
Watercolor Painting Workshop

Price: $200 off before Nov 30 so price is $2,990.
After: $3,190 (double occupancy room)
+ US$350 single standard room
+ US$700 sup room with sea view (single or double)
- $400 discount for non painters
See what rates include.

See the itinerary of this workshop

"I am very passionate about sharing my creativity and art with others and helping them gain access to that part of themselves, whether they are a beginning artist or a seasoned professional. My students have given me the nickname "The Art Whisperer" so I hope that you will find something to inspire, move you to engage more each day with art and the creative process in my workshop".

"Painting on location is the best opportunity to learn and Mother Nature is the best teacher but we need good guidance and support to learn the optimum rate. It can be overwhelming with so many senses being stimulated but I will give you the tools you need to simplify what you see and break it up to manageable shapes and values.

We will build on those strong foundations and learn about colour mixing, colour harmony, colour temperature and mood to help express yourself fully and paint what you really feel.

We will have a fabulous time together painting our adventures and experiencing the culture and sights like locals. There are so many wonderful adventures we have planned for you. Don't miss this amazing opportunity to develop your creative side further in the most captivating locations".

I invite you to ask questions and be a part of this creative journey-we are all creative-and I will share with you everything I have in my power to do so-in the words of Vincent Van Gogh, "I am seeking, I am striving. I am in it with all my heart".

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
  • 5 lunches and 2 dinners
  • Optional activities, personal expenses and tipping

Tel: 1-510-483-5713