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Painting the Portrait in Watercolor

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Ali Cavanaugh Workshop


Dates: 24-30 September 2023


Price: From €1835 - €2550

Includes: 22% VAT, 5 days tuition, 6 nights accommodation, all meals & drinks (including wine), wine tour & tasting, cooking class, transfers, easels

Non-Participating Partner: €650

Location: Antico Borgo La Torre

Medium: Watercolour

Class size: 12-16


Painting Experience: All levels welcome

Languages: English

Italian translation available (email us)

Workshop Description

Join us for an all-inclusive week of watercolor painting in the Tuscan countryside with Ali Cavanaugh. From demonstrations and guided studies with photographic references, this art retreat aims to provide participants with a strong understanding of Ali's watercolor technique, with an emphasis on portrait painting and the human form. Ali will talk about several technniques, such as subject matter, color palette, and composition. She will also discuss methods that she usually uses in order to finish a painting so that it is ready to exhibit. During this workshop, Ali will teach students the basics of Aquabord, a unique archival watercolor surface - Aquabord is a versatile surface which works for realism, as well as abstraction. Although Ali's demonstrations will focus on the portrait, students are welcome to use any subject matter of their choice. Ali will provide individual feedback to students as they create their own piece. All levels of experience are welcome.

During this all-inclusive art retreat, meals will be home-cooked and eaten together in our large dining room or outside when the weather is nice. In the evenings participants will have free use of the grounds to explore, including the swimming pool, woodland, lake and olive groves. There is also a volleyball net, and a games room with table tennis and table football. During the week we will host some evening entertainment which everyone is welcome to join, such as a wine tour, cooking class, and pizza night.

Art Retreat Italy
Tuscan Agriturismo
Art Retreat Bedroom

The Venue


This workshop will take place at Antico Borgo La Torre, a converted farmhouse and winery located in Chianti, 25km from Florence.


Originally a medieval tower, the structure dates back to the middle ages. Now an agriturismo, Antico Borgo La Torre produces it's own wine and olive oil. It is made up of 32 hectars of land, which include olive groves, vineyards, woodland, orchards, walnut trees, and a swimming pool.

See photos and more details about the venue here

Art Workshop Italy

What's included?


22% VAT - 5 days tuition - 6 nights accommodation - Arrival & departure transfers - Breakfasts, lunches, dinners & snacks - Tea, coffee & soft drinks - Alcohol (wine grown & produced at the venue) - Wine tour & tasting - Extra activities - Laundry - Swimming Pool - Wifi - Easels & Drawing Boards



€1835 Shared Twin Bedroom with private bathroom (shared with one other participant of the same gender) 

€2290 Private Bedroom with a double bed and private bathroom

€2550 Private Apartment with a double bedroom, bathroom and private living room/kitchen

The Food


All meals will be made up up of delicious, home-cooked Tuscan cuisine, and will take place in our beautiful dining hall or outside whenever the weather is nice. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options will be available, please let us know in advance if you have any dietary requirements (dietary needs rather than preferences).

Materials list, itinerary & more information


We will send you an information pack with the full materials list and more details about the retreat.

Bring a partner or friend - €650 all-inclusive


If you book a private bedroom or apartment then you are very welcome to bring along a travel companion with you who will not be participating in the workshop. Partners will be very welcome to join all of our meals and activities, and become a part of our group.

We will happily assist in planning activities during the days for your partner, such as bike tours, trips to local towns, and walks around the surrounding countryside. Equally, your partner is very welcome to relax by the pool and enjoy the beautiful countryside. We recommend bringing a car so that you can travel around freely, however, it will also be possible to call a taxi at any time to take you to the local train station.

The €650 fee for non-participating partners includes: 22% VAT - 6 nights accommodation - Arrival & Departure Transfers - Breakfasts, lunches, dinners & snacks - Tea, coffee & soft drinks - Alcohol (wine grown at the venue) - Wine tour & tasting - Laundry - Swimming Pool - Wifi.

Participating Partner - €1380 all-inclusive


Bring a partner or friend who will attend the workshop with you. If you book a private bedroom or apartment you are welcome to bring along a a travel companion who will participate in the workshop with you and share a bedroom with you. €1380 all-inclusive rate for your travel companion!

Booking information


To book a place on this retreat click Book Now below and you'll be taken to a separate page where you can choose your bedroom option, register and pay. To confirm your place on this retreat you will need to pay a €750 deposit or the full workshop fee. You can choose to pay via credit card or bank transfer. If you would like to pay by deposit, choose 'offline payment' when you check out, and from there you can pay the €750 despot via bank transfer. If you require a different payment plan email us for details.

Review our terms & conditions of booking here

Questions? See our FAQ's page here

Watercolor painting workshop
painting workshop italy
Ali Cavanaugh watercolor
Ali Cavanaugh

Ali Cavanaugh


Ali Cavanaugh is an internationally collected fine artist. She studied painting at Kendall College of Art and Design and the New York Studio Residency Program in New York City. Ali's paintings have been the subject of numerous national and international solo and group exhibitions. Her paintings have been featured on book covers, and numerous print publications, including The New York Times Magazine, American Art Collector, and American Artist Watercolor. Ali has also painted portraits for TIME magazine, and The New York Times. She currently lives in St Louis, Missouri with her husband and their four children.

You can see more of Ali's work here:


 Instagram: @_alicavanaugh_

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