Michael Mele and Linda Mironti, enthusiastic italianophiles, run a company out of New York called il Chiostro which specializes in creative vacations throughout Italy. They will typically offer several, simultaneous, creative workshops in a specific location. They vary the locations throughout the year – as well as the workshops offered. There are usually workshops in painting, photography, cooking, writing, and more.
I have been to several. The painting above was from the first one – at their location in Tuscany. Dievole is an actual Chianti producer, winery and estate outside of Siena. The property is beautiful – as is most of Tuscany, for that matter…
Louise Freshman Brown, an artist and Professor of Art at The University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, taught the painting class and was my initial draw to the trip. Louise is a great teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Although most students were working in acrylic, I worked solely in watercolor.
Vicky went along and took a photography class. There was also a Tuscan cooking class in session and our daily lunches and nightly dinners were the concerted efforts of the cooking students. Linda & Michael did their best to keep everything running smoothly and organized fun things like nightly Opera appreciation classes and morning Italian lessons. Linda has a beautiful singing voice and often provided added entertainment at night. It was a wonderful time.
“Dievole” was done from a vantage point looking out from the property. The painting was a bit large for a plein air watercolor and I eventually finished it in my studio.