Sketching the Nature of Italy in Watercolor

with Jean Mackay - May 2-9, 2022

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Italian countryside in Umbria, where nature and culture come together as your muse!

Join WAC and artist Jean Mackay for a week of watercolor journaling and painting techniques, nature walks, cultural excursions, and delicious food—a perfect trio for capturing the nature of Italy. Your home for the week is the 10th century Castello di Petroia, set on a hilltop, surrounded by woods, meadows, and wildlife.

Watercolor, combined with pencil or ink, is the perfect choice for recording your experiences. Jean will lead you through daily painting exercises and offer prompts to help you focus and record a variety of sights and scenes. The group will work together in a supportive environment and people at all levels of experience are welcome. Jean will work with you to help you learn new techniques that expand your skills and leave you feeling inspired.

Luxury Accomodations at Castello di Petroia


The venue for this week-long art immersion is the 10th Century Castello di Petroia, an authentic medieval fortress perched on a hilltop between the towns of Perugia and Gubbio, with inspiring views of the surrounding landscape. The castle is surrounded by a 600 acre antique farm where you will find a quiet swimming pool in the midst of a beautiful olive grove, walking and horse riding trails, meadows, woods and different species of wild life.

The castle’s 16 bedrooms, each with ensuite bathroom, feature original wooden beams, stone arches, antique furniture and painted ceilings. The luxurious accommodations have been restored with an eye to modern amenities, while the authentic medieval structure has been preserved. Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino (b.1422) is one of the most influential figures of the Italian Renaissance to be born in the castle.

There is wi-fi throughout.

The Restaurant

Innovative chef Walter Passeri is in charge of the kitchen at Castello di Petroia. Passeri worked in some of the world’s most prestigious hotels, from the Savoy in London to the Palace Hotel in Sant Moritz, before opening his own restaurants. One of these won him a Michelin star. Passeri enjoys offering traditional Umbrian dishes, often with a twist. His philosophy is based on enhancing and serning genuine Umbrian products. The dining room, located in a thirteenth century building, is warm and refined, with historic furnishings, soft light and candles.

Buffet breakfasts are served continental style in the historic Guidubaldo Hall, an elegant book-lined, wood-beamed room and include homemade yogurts, breads and pastries and jams, fresh fruit and local meats and cheeses.

Castello de Petroia, Gubbio

Jean Mackay
About Jean Mackay

Jean Mackay is an artist, educator, and naturalist. She has been keeping an artist journal for more than nearly 20 years a way to study and share the beauty and diversity of nature, as well as to record the art of everyday living. Working in all kinds of settings, from tide pools to farm fields to her own backyard, Jean’s journals reflect a keen eye for detail and profound sense of wonder. Jean teaches at the Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine and at the Art School of Columbia County in New York. Her blog, Drawn In, shares the ordinary, yet extraordinary things that she encounters close to home and farther afield.


Day 1 (Monday, May 2) 

  • Pickup at meeting spot in Rome at 1:30 
  • Arrive Castello di Petroia, Gubbio 
  • Tour of Historic Hotel 
  • Orientation & Welcome Dinner 

Day 2 (Tuesday, May 3) 

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch at Hotel 
  • Full day of art instruction with Jean
  • Dinner at Hotel 

Day 3 (Wednesday, May 4)

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch at Hotel 
  • Full day of art instruction with Jean
  • Dinner at Hotel 

Day 4 (Thursday, May 5) 

  • Breakfast
  • Local wine tasting lunch at Hotel 
  • Full day of art instruction with Jean
  • Dinner at Hotel 

Day 5 (Friday, May 6) 

  • Breakfast
  • Visit town of Gubbio 
  • Dinner at Hotel

Day 6 (Saturday, May 7)

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch at Hotel 
  • Full day of painting instruction with Jean
  • Dinner at Hotel 
  • Outdoor astronomy and stargazing lecture

Day 7 (Sunday, May 8)

  • Breakfast 
  • Full day of painting instruction with Jean
  • Lunch at hotel 
  • Farewell aperitivo/ Exhibit of work 
  • Farewell Dinner 

Day 8 (Monday, May 9)

  • Breakfast
  • Depart for Rome – 10:30 AM
(Planned itinerary is subject to substitutions or minor alterations. There will be additional engaging activities and excursions planned while workshops are going on for non-student participants,)

Sketching the Nature of Italy in Watercolor with Jean Mackay

May 2-9, 2022 at Castello di Petroia, Umbria, Italy

Total cost is based per room and number of occupants:

Solo workshop participant: $3,950.
Two workshop participants sharing a room: $6,900.
Workshop participant with travel companion: $6,400.

• Maximum 2 occupants per room, double occupancy not required.

What’s Included:  

  • 8 days, 7 nights accommodation, private room with ensuite bathroom at Castello di Petroia
  • Ground transport from Rome to venue and return
  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches, all dinners with wine
  • 5 full days of painting instruction with Jean Mackay
  • Additional activities include: Welcome aperitivo, excursions to Gubbio and Perugia, wine tasting, outdoor astronomy and stargazing lecture, horseback riding excursion, cooking lesson, closing reception.
  • If you would like to spend more time in Italy, we would love to assist you with translation and planning that helps you extend your stay.

Not Included:

  • Airfare
  • Personal sightseeing
  • Gratuities
  • Additional cocktails or specialty drinks outside of mealtime.
A deposit of $750 will reserve your room and space(s) in the workshop. You may cancel your reservation for a full refund of the deposit within 24 hours. After 24 hours, the deposit is non-refundable. Full balance and signed contract is due by January 1, 2022.

Out of stock

Please notify me if a space becomes available or another section of this class is added

$750 deposit per person

Please read the contract for complete terms and conditions.

We take care of all the details

Martha has over 10 years of experience organizing art tours. Part of our our team, Anne and Amy, live in Italy year round, are married to Italians and are fluent in Italian. We’ve built long term relationships with the owners and staff of our favorite venues.

If you have any questions, please use the form below, phone 206-715-6663 or email to contact us.

Italy Travel Workshops

Join us for an incredible, in-person art experience in Italy in 2022!

Winslow Art Center recognizes that air travel contributes to the emission of climate changing carbon into the atmosphere and has committed to doing its share to offset those costs to the environment.  Based on the research conducted by noted tour operator Rick Steves, it costs approximately $30 of investment in environmental initiatives in the developing world to mitigate the carbon emissions created by one round-trip flight between the US and Europe. Winslow Art Center will donate $30 per trip participant to the Rainforest Alliance, or other similar organization committed to climate conservation.