To see a sample itinerary for this course, please click here

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Nancy Thompson in one of
her favorite painting venues, Tuscany

Nancy's sketchbook
illustrating ancient doors

An ancient door
to illustrate in your sketchbook

Portovenere on the Gulf of Poets

Artichokes grown by
our local farmer

Tasting wine in caves
under the streets of Lucca

Painting a souvenir plate
at Katinka's house

The Devil's Bridge

For the Artist in You,
A Tuscan Experience with Artist Nancy Ellen Thompson
in Support of the Art League of Ocean City, MD

Dates: May 16 - 26, 2018

Nancy Thompson's passion for painting includes sharing her techniques with students of all levels and helping them enjoy the freedom to develop and enhance their own expression toward art. Nancy teaches workshops in sketching, watercolor and acrylics throughout the U.S. and abroad. Her work is displayed in public and private collections worldwide, and she has been featured on Maryland Public Television and in Southern Living Magazine. Nancy's work is shown through Bishop's Stock Gallery in Snow Hill, MD; City Art Gallery in Columbia, SC; and at, her website.

Artists of all levels enjoy Nancy's workshops and the opportunity to develop or expand their own personal style. Painters and non-painters enjoy the activities, experiences, culture and ambience of this special corner of Tuscany.

The Art League of Ocean City is a community-oriented organization dedicated to the promotion of the visual arts and to the support of artists and those who appreciate art. The Art League designs art education classes, workshops for artists of all levels, exhibits and community art events and provides scholarships for students of all ages.

As part of its mission to offer valuable benefits to its members, the Art League is working with Nancy Thompson, an accomplished painter and teacher from the neighboring town of Snow Hill, to offer a painting journey to the quintessential Resaissance region of Tuscany. Participation includes a contribution to support the mission of the Art League.

The Inspiration of Sketching and Painting in Tuscany

Nancy's workshop combines the best of Tuscany in this opportunity to sketch and paint with a professional . . . inspiring painting and photo opportunities, beautiful expansive views, winding streets in medieval towns, incredible food and wine, a cooking class and maybe even a bit of shopping. This workshop is for all levels of expertise. There will be time each day to sketch, paint and photograph the beauty of Tuscany. Each day Nancy will demonstrate watercolor and sketching techniques and will be available for individual guidance. Her goal is to give each student the tools to develop their own style in small watercolors and sketches.

In addition to the incomparable painting opportunities, you will enjoy a cooking class, the jewel town of Lucca and a wine tasting in caves under the city, a Puccini concert and more. After a beautiful day of sketching, we think you should be rewarded with an opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine while relaxing in a lawn chair contemplating the majesty of a cypress tree or a refreshing dip in our pool with fabulous views of the surrounding countryside.

On most days you'll have an opportunity to share your work with fellow students and Nancy to discuss what worked and what didn't and to seek suggestions. The week ends with an informal "show and share" of sketches and paintings created during your time together, just before enjoying the final night’s pizza from the wood-fired oven.

Your days will be a mixture of at home, painting around the villa and its grounds, and away days, with excursions to visit local artists, the architectural wonder of Lucca and special trips to the stunning coastal region and the fortress town of Castelnuovo.

“At Home”

The farmhouse, Villa Fiori (House of Flowers), your home for ten days, is our venue high in the hills above Lucca. Villa Fiori is a lovingly restored farmhouse with all the character of its original brick walls and an expansive and open layout that ambles over four levels. The grounds are lush with gardens and outdoor seating areas for enjoying the views of mountains and valleys. Olive groves and forested hillsides beckon for an afternoon stroll to explore the countryside.


We’ve chosen for your excursions stunning landscapes, quiet corners and places where you can discover your own muse as well as cultural experiences that are so much a part of the Tuscan soul. A few highlights:

  • Visits to the romantic city of Lucca, a medieval center surrounded by intact Renaissance walls, filled with Romanesque churches and small alleys and home to the very best cappuccino in the world! We'll join the locals in their evening passeggiatta (stroll) where you'll find excellent shopping opportunities for linens, laces, leather, ceramics and the famous regional olive oil. You’ll end the day with a Puccini concert held in a thousand year old church containing excavations of Roman ruins.

  • The beautiful town of Portovenere on the Ligurian coast with its pastel-colored homes lining the water below the imposing Castello Doria where you'll have a panoramic view of the coastline and the tiny islands dotting the harbor. Stroll the cobblestone walk to the Church of San Pietro, built on the site of a former Roman temple. There's also an active fishing trade here so be sure to stop at one of the excellent seafood restaurants for lunch.

  • A visit to the local farm that supplies Villa Fiori with its fresh vegetables. Tour the farm and meet the farmers. Learn about their sustainable efforts to continue growing quality produce on land that's been farmed for thousands of years. Lunch at the farm features seasonal produce.

  • Two wine tastings: One in 2000-year old caves under the city of Lucca. The second is at a neighborhood biodynamic winery. You'll meet the winemaker and learn from him how local grapes make these wines a true expression of terrior.

  • The picturesque Devil's Bridge was built in 1101 by the Countess Matilda so she could more easily reach the health-giving waters of the mountain villages. The medieval fortress town of Castelnuovo has an imposing castle flanked by turrets and is approached via arched stone bridges.

  • A visit to the charming private home of Katinka, a local artist whose studio is in a refurshished old barn with a delightful terrace garden. You'll have an opportunity to create your own souvenir plate to be fired in her kiln. A short walk along the hillside takes you to the studio of a sculptor who works in olive wood. Or capture the surrounding hillside views in your sketchbook.

    Other Activities

    To truly experience Tuscany, you need to experience the foods and wines that are so central to the Tuscan culture. A cooking class with our own Abbondanza Toscana chef will introduce you to some of the specialties of Tuscan cuisine. You’ll also enjoy dinner at a Lucca restaurant with an excellent wine list and where the clientele is mostly locals. The Slow Food movement is an effort to sustainably preserve traditional and regional cuisines. You'll meet one of the stars of the movement and have lunch in his restaurant. Our pizza maker will guide you through the process of designing your own pizza and cooking it in Villa Fiori's wood-fired oven.

    The Workshop Itinerary

    For a day-by-day schedule of this workshop, see our sample itinerary.

    Nancy’s Web Site

    Learn more about Nancy Thompson, her work and travels and her creative philosophy at

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