An Italian Journey in Watercolor

with Sarah Hansen - May 16-23, 2022

Discover techniques for creating expressive, loose watercolors!

Join WAC and watercolorist Sarah Hansen for this week-long art journey in Umbria, Italy. Experience the best that Italy has to offer while discovering  techniques for creating successful impressionist-style watercolors. We will stay at the historic Castlello di Petroia, a carefully restored 10th century medieval fortress located in Umbria near the medieval towns of Gubbio and Perugia. 

The focus of this eight-day workshop will be painting expressive, loose watercolors. Your subjects will be endless, from architectural elements and flowers, interior and exterior still-life set-ups, panoramic landscapes and more.   Discover principles for successful watercolor painting: master brushwork techniques, water-to-paint ratio, pigment characteristics, value importance, landscape shape abstraction and edge control. Each painting day will include instructor lectures and demonstrations, group painting sessions and lots of individual instruction. This will be a combination of plein air and studio painting. No previous experience necessary.


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 600 acres of historic farmland and pine forest 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 serving 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

About Sarah Hansen

Award-winning Northwest Watercolor Society Signature member, artist, and instructor, Sarah B. Hansen has been painting for over 30 years. A self-taught painter, Sarahbegan by painting traditional transparent watercolor on paper, primarily portraits. By recently converting into a landscape artist, Sarahhas found in the combination of her love of nature and gestural paint application, an open door into limitless possibilities of expression. Born and raised in Southwestern Colorado, Sarah moved to Oregon in 1987, working as a commercial and residential designer in Portland. Now, Sarah can be found creating acrylic and watercolor landscapes from her studio in Bend, Oregon. Her collectors range regionally and worldwide, both in residential homes and hospitality facilities, such as Kaiser Permanente, Sunriver Resort, and Cascade Medical Imaging. She teaches workshops both regionally and abroad. Member American Women Artists, NWWS, Pacific Rim Institute of Marine Artists.


Day 1 (Monday, May 16) 

  • 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 17) 

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch at Hotel 
  • Full day painting instruction with Sarah
  • Dinner at Hotel 

Day 3 (Wednesday, May 18)

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch at Hotel 
  • Full day painting instruction with Sarah
  • Dinner at Hotel 

Day 4 (Thursday, May 19) 

  • Breakfast
  • Local wine tasting lunch at Hotel 
  • Full day painting instruction with Sarah
  • Dinner at Hotel 

Day 5 (Friday, May 20) 

  • Breakfast
  • Visit town of Gubbio 
  • Dinner at Hotel

Day 6 (Saturday, May 21)

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

Day 7 (Sunday, May 22)

  • Breakfast 
  • Morning in studio with Sarah 
  • Lunch at Hotel
  • Farewell aperitif and exhibit of work 
  • Farewell Dinner 

Day 8 (Monday, May 23)

  • 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,)

An Italian Journey in Watercolor with Sarah Hansen

May 16-23, 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 sharing a room: $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 Sarah Hansen
  • 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 per person will reserve your room and space(s) in a 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 15, 2022.

$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.