Liz Graham-Yooll is a painter and children's book writer and illustrator. She has lived for many years in Tuscany, which has a landscape that she finds stimulating and which has provided her with many subjects and motifs. This is an opportunity to work alongside her, and to learn what she finds so interesting in this countryside. She says:

I find that using my sketchbook every day is a fundamental part of my life as a painter and I use it for developing thoughts and ideas, and for recording anything that might help me finish a painting.

In years past, when traveling, I would struggle along with all of my oil painting equipment; easel, paint box, turpentine, rags, brushes and canvas. It was exhausting! But I also found that I would be so overwhelmed by all the exciting new things before me that I was unable to paint anything decent on the spot.

Now when I travel, I travel light. I take my watercolours, a block of good watercolour paper, my sketchbook, my favourite selection of pencils and brushes, as well as a small digital camera. When I return to the peace and quiet of my studio, I usually find I can get several paintings out of this collected information, so long as I still have good visual memory of the subject.

Liz is offering a choice of two itineraries for walking with a sketchbook:

1. Wild Places and Monte Oliveto

This day combines two of my favourite activities: sketching and walking. The itinerary is a beautiful walk through woodland and cypress trees, past vineyards, olive groves and a medieval village, along a high ridge with gorgeous views, finishing with a bit of a work-out up to the small hilltop town of Chiusure. The walk is gentle and easy following well-marked trails, but the last hill is definitely a bit of a heart-stopper, which gives you the perfect excuse to go straight to the bar for a cold beer! The walk itself can be done in about 90 minutes, leaving plenty of time to stop and sketch during the morning.

9.00 Meeting
Liz will briefly talk you through the pleasures of the sketchbook and what might inspire you on the walk, whether it be flowers, landscape, architecture or skies. There is teaching for those who wish it, but this walking and sketching workshop is principally about an exchange of ideas and encouragement. You can be a complete beginner or a painter who has not found the time to get out into the countryside to enjoy working en plein air.

13.00 Lunch
Arrival at Chiusure, a charming village that overlooks the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore. There are excellent views from this high vantage point. There is time to relax and enjoy a simple Tuscan lunch in the local trattoria. For those wishing to keep out of the midday sun, there are shady alleyways and corners for quick sketches of light and shade.

15.00 Return walk
Since the angle and quality of the light is different in the afternoon, it is interesting to note the changes in the landscape that we were sketching on our outward trip.

17.30 Transfer
Return to Montisi by 18.00.

2. Medioevo

This last year, I’ve discovered a new walk that I’d like to share with others. It’s a gentle rolling downhill walk through woodland, past a 1600’s villa where suddenly the countryside opens up and laid before you are views across beautiful, unstressed agriculture. This landscape still has its old rural layout of small fields, vineyards and old farmhouses, with Monte Amiata in the background.
We walk along a “strada bianca” until we get our first glimpse of the massive tower which dominates the medieval village of Petroio and from here we follow one of the prettiest roads in this area with wonderful views. Arriving in the next village of Castelmuzio, we stop for lunch. We continue our sketching day with a walk to an ancient church and farmyard where there’s a wealth of subject matter to paint and draw; architecture, gardens, olive trees, agricultural tools and a good view of Montisi on the opposite hill.

9.00 Meeting
Liz will briefly talk you through the pleasures of the sketchbook and what might inspire you on the walk, whether it be flowers, landscape, architecture or skies. There is teaching for those who wish it, but this walking and sketching workshop is principally about an exchange of ideas and encouragement. You can be a complete beginner or a painter who has not found the time to get out into the countryside to enjoy working en plein air.

13.00 Lunch
Arrival at Castelmuzio, a medieval village that is just on the edge of the Val d’Orcia with views towards Sant’Anna in Camprena where The English Patient was filmed. There is time to relax and enjoy a simple Tuscan lunch in one or other of the two local trattorie. For those wishing to keep out of the midday sun, there are shady alleyways and corners for quick sketches of light and shade.

15.00 Return walk
After lunch we walk to a Romanesque church (1000 AD) Pieve Santo Stefano, which in origin was a Roman “fundus”. We might be lucky and find the little country museum open near the church where you can see all the articles that were necessary for farming life until recent times. The walk continues downhill (with good views to Montisi) along an old Etruscan path and then with a bit of an up and down again, we arrive back at our house Podere La Fratta for a glass of wine. 17.30 Transfer
Return to Montisi by 18.00.

Costs
The cost for each walk is € 120 per person for up to four people, with a minimum charge of € 200 (for one person only). Group rates (five or more people) may be negotiated. The charge includes transport to the starting point and return, a full day of guiding and teaching, and any extra materials that might be needed on the day. The cost of lunch is not included.

You should bring your own artists materials, but stools are available on the day as well as that missing paintbrush or colour that you find you've forgotten!

CONTACT AND BOOKING
Liz Graham-Yooll
Tel/fax: 0039 0577 845211
Email:
Website: www.paintingintuscany.com
If you would like advice or help, please use the booking form on this web site here or .

Comments from a satisfied customer.

It was so clear on so many occasions that the people of the village and the surrounding area have a warm feeling towards you and feel very comfortable around you. We also appreciate the combined teaching power of you and Liz Cochrane. It made the learning part of our experience deeper. While I will keep my day job, I have a new pursuit to seek to master thanks to you. – K. Sullivan
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