Plein air art workshops and retreats in Tuscany, Lake Como and Provence

Plein air art workshops and retreats in Tuscany, Lake Como and Provence

$250 Discount Off Provence Workshop with Gay Faulkenberry

A significant discount is being offered on the Provence workshop with artist/instructor Gay Faulkenberry.  Through December 15, those who register for this workshop will receive a $250 discount off the Artist Fee, bringing that fee down to $2850 for the week.  The workshop is scheduled for June 13-20, 2015.  Gay is a very talented artist and a wonderful instructor.  Don't delay and miss this opportunity!


"Luberon Village"

Gay Faulkenberry



“My love of color inspires me to take on one of the greatest of challenges: painting from life. I am driven to capture the nuances of  reds in a poppy field, the values in a stand of golden aspens, or the reflected hues in a shadow. Each of these encounters demands that I see the world with a fresh eye, which is what I hope to convey to viewers.”

Gay  has been a force on the American art scene for more than two decades. Known for her impressionistic approach to color and light, she is renowned for plein-air paintings of urban and rural landscapes and for studio paintings of intimate still lifes, florals, and interiors.


 Signature Member and past president of the Plein Air Painters of America,  Master Signature Member of  American Women Artists.

"French Landscape"

Gay Faulkenberry

The workshop will be based in the Cotes du Rhone in northern Provence. This area is lush and green, full of vineyards and lavender fields, with the back drop of the Vaucluse mountains. Lovely hilltop villages abound in the area, including Grignan, Suze-la-Rouse, Grillon, Valaurie, Seguret...too many to name! It is a beautifully authentic area of Provence with a low "tourist population"...a great place to paint and just to"be".


Accommodations for seven nights will be in a beautifully restored 18th century former silk mill in the countryside near Grignan. The old mill has been completely and lovingly restored into a magnificent estate. No convenience has been forgotten! The country estate includes the main house and several terraced gites (apartments) which are externally connected to the main house. It is surrounded by 4 acres of beautiful land. The estate includes a large and refreshing pool and even an old mill paddle wheel. Our host, Francoise, is warm, friendly, and speaks perfect English. All artists will enjoy single occupancy bedrooms. Breakfast will be served daily and included in the fee are three group dinners.

Painting on the Property

Gay Faulkenberry will be teaching and mentoring with a focus on the basic fundamentals of creating a successful painting. The class will concentrate on how the light effects the subject and how to achieve that illusion through developing a better understanding of composition, values, color, and their proper relationships. By close observation and comparisons, the student will leave with a stronger knowledge of painting in plein air. Gay will teach for three full days and mentor for two days. We will visit different painting locations each day. There will also be one free day to relax by the pool, visit a local market, explore the area...or to just keep painting on your own. Please note that the workshop is strictly limited to 8 participating artists. This will allow lots of one-on-one time between artist and instructor.

View of Pool at Accommodation


Nearby View


For full information, please see website at .

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Open Air Italy 2015 Artist Workshop & Retreats


The 2015 workshop and retreat schedule has been finalized!  Please see the listings below.  For full workshop or retreat information please the website at




Gay Faulkenberry

Provence's Cotes du Rhone

Plein Air Landscape-Oil & Acrylic

All Levels

June 13-20, 2015


Open to 8 participant


Kenn Backhaus


Switzerland's Lauterbrunnen Valley

Plein Air Landscape-Oil & Acrylic

All Levels

August 19-26, 2015


Open to 8 participants


Mary Garrish


Shores of Lake Como, Italy

Plein Air Landscape-Oil, Acrylic & Pastel

All Levels

September 3-10, 2015


Open to 8 participants

Women Painters Retreat


Tuscany's Val D'Orcia

Uninstructed - All Mediums

All Levels

September 12-19, 2015


Open to 8 participants



For contact, please email or call.


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2014 Schedule of Plein Air Art Workshops and Retreats from Open Air Italy

Plein Air at It's Best

Dear Artists,


I am very excited about the 2014 schedule for Open Air Italy plein air workshops and retreats!  I have two wonderful instructors who will be teaching in Italy.  Kenn Backhaus will instruct on the shores of Lake Como in early June and Mary Garrish will teach in Tuscany in early October. 


All of the workshop and retreat locations are very familiar to Open Air Italy and are great places to spend a week painting.  During the weeks the groups will visit different painting locations in the area.  But of prime importance to me is that in each chosen location there is something beautiful to paint right out the front door of where we will be staying.  AND THERE CERTAINLY IS THAT!


All of the accommodations are single occupancy with private bath for artists.  Instructed workshops are limited to only 8 participating artists. 


Please see below a little more information for each week.  For full information click on the link in the website.  For questions please contact me through the website contact link.


View of Lake Como

Kenn Backhaus

Lake Como, Italy

Plein Air Landscape

Oil & Acrylic

June 5-12, 2014








Tuscan Chapel

Mary Garrish


Tuscany, Italy


Plein Air Landscape

Oil, Acrylic, & Pastel

October 4-11, 2014

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Why Do A Workshop with Open Air Italy?

        There are many workshops being offered overseas these days.  So, I wanted to try to list a few things that I feel sets Open Air Italy's workshops apart.  I also want to mention that in no way am I negating other workshop teachers or providers.  This BLOG is only to list the assets of our workshops in an easy way so that you can see and consider them while contemplating an overseas workshop.

1.  Locations and accommodations are hand-picked.

Locations for workshops are carefully chosen.  It is important for each location to provide a wealth of venues for painting, while still being a bit off the beaten path.  There are places for painting on your own even a step or two from the rooms of the accommodations...whenever inspiration strikes.   All accommodations have been personally visited and have been found to be charming and comfortable.  The provided environment is relaxed, stress-free and stimulating. 

2.  All artists are given their own personal space.

All accommodations are offered on a Single Occupancy basis to participants in order to provide the artist with their privacy.

3.  Instructors are carefully chosen.

All instructors are well known and highly respected artists with a gift for sharing their expertise.

4.  Cost is crucial.

Every effort is made to keep the cost of workshops at an affordable price.  I want as many artists as possible to have the opportunity to enjoy painting in these great overseas locations.

5.  Small class size is imperative.

All instructed workshops have a maximum of 8 students.  This creates a personal atmosphere in the learning process and allows for lots of one-on-one time for each participant with the instructor.  It also enhances the atmosphere between participants allowing for a feeling of camaraderie and the development of lasting friendships.

6.  Organization is essential.

Much time and consideration is given to the planning and execution of each workshop.  Once you arrive, all you have to do is enjoy and paint.  And, I am always there to make sure that things run smoothly and to solve whatever problems may arise.  I am also available to give guidance in the travel planning process for the workshop...ask me anytime.

7.  A great time is paramount!

So, you can take a workshop at home.  Why travel overseas if the workshop will not be more than just a learning experience?  That said, it is paramount that every one has a great time and also enjoys a cultural as well as an artistic experience.  All the elements that go into the planning of these workshops helps create an experience that every artist can enjoy and remember for a lifetime.  For comments from past participants, see the Comments section of the website.
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Open Air Italy

Mary Garrish
"Plein Air on the Shores of Lake Como"
Oil, Acrylic, Pastel
September 3-10, 2015

Mary Garrish
Oil, Acrylic, & Pastel
June 18-25, 2016

Past Participant Comments

Past Workshop Photos

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Open Air Italy

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