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Lee Baughman and Susie Cowan
of Art Adventures
Yellow Tree and Fox
by Susan Cowan

A street artist in Florence

Painting en plein air
at your Tuscan "home"
The Cinque Terre Jour Ferie
by Susan Cowan

Touring with Susan and Lee
may suggest new perspectives

Flowers at Selva
waiting for the artist's interpretation

Italian Watercolor Art Adventure
in the Tuscan Hills
with Susan Cowan and Lee Baughman

Dates: August 16 - 30, 2014

Susan Cowan and Lee Baughman have been leading groups of artists and art enthusiasts on excursions since 1995 when they formed Art Adventures to combine their love of teaching with their passion for travel. Both gifted artists teach water media classes at Clark College in Vancouver, WA. They welcome both beginning and accomplished artists to their workshops with the only caveat that all must be adventurous souls . . . adventurous to explore new venues their travels provide and adventurous to explore new levels of creativity in their work. Susie and Lee work in concert to provide each participant maximum exposure to perfecting technique, expanding their creativity and developing a style that uniquely conveys their artistic message. Demonstrations, individual guidance and feedback and group review are all part of the workshop process.

Share Susie and Lee's enthusiasm for creative plein air painting

Painting in the outdoors is Susie and Lee's favorite place to pursue their art. You can see it in the joy and fantasy of their work, and they'll help you learn the tricks and techniques you'll need for stepping out of the studio. They'll help you define your subject whether it's an expansive Tuscan landscape or a tiny vignette in the corner of the garden. They'll introduce you to the world of underpainting, Tombow pens, Pigma microns and collage while guiding and encouraging you on your watercolor painting journey. Susie and Lee are highly regarded as teachers and just plain fun as tour guides!

Besides all the painting opportunities this adventure provides, you will enjoy exquisite Tuscan meals, a cooking course, visits to formal gardens, excursions to markets, the jewel town of Lucca, the incomparable history and art of Florence, a Puccini concert and more. After a beautiful day of painting, 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 choose a book to read from our library.

Most days will include a review session with Susie and Lee and your companion artists. The workshop ends with an informal show 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 farmhouse and the estate, and away days, on excursions to hilltowns, gardens, the architectural wonder of Lucca and special trips to the stunning Cinque Terre coastal region and the beautiful hilltown Volterra plus a three-day excursion to Florence, home of the Italian Renaissance.

“At Home”

Your home for 11 days, the farmhouse Selva, is situated among olive groves, vineyards and forests, with buildings that go back hundreds of years in various phases of renewal. The rose garden, wildflowers, lemon trees in terra cotta pots, bits of mortar crumbling away in a nook, majestic cypress trees . . . all offer more inspiration. On your walks, you’ll meet Edo the shepherd and his sheep, perhaps startle a wild pheasant or watch the doves playing in the valley.


We’ve chosen for your excursions stunning landscapes, iconic settings, quiet corners and places where you can discover your own muse. A few highlights:

  • A guided tour of 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. And what could be more appropriate in Puccini's hometown than a Puccini concert held in a thousand year old church containing excavations of Roman ruins!

  • Enchanting Volterra with its Roman ruins and imposing fortress, colorful markets, medieval piazzas and expansive views of vineyards and olive groves.

  • The Cinque Terre, where five small villages perch over the cliffs of the Mediterranean, with almost vertical vineyards, olive groves, orchards and vegetable gardens. Pastel-colored homes cling to the rocky cliffs above harbors dotted with colorful fishing boats.

  • Three days in Florence including a visit to either the Uffizi, home to some of the world's best-loved art treasures and/or the Academia to see Michelangelo's David. During our stay in Florence you'll have ample time to wander the cobblestone streets seeking out a favorite venue: the Ponte Vecchio that spans the Arno River. . . the bustling Piazza della Signoria where a replica of Michelangelo's David now stands where the original was introduced to his city . . . the Duomo, Brunelleschi's architectural marvel. You can visit some of the city's less traveled museums and monuments, shop the elegant stores or the popular street markets or just relax with a gelatto and watch one of the world's most beloved cities pass by. Our trip to nearby Fiesole gives you almost a full day to paint at a Tuscan villa with outstanding gardens plus we'll enjoy a picnic lunch at the villa.

    Other Activities

    Dining "at home" in the Tuscan style means you'll be enjoying regional specialties made by our own Italian chef using fresh, local ingredients. You'll learn how to replicate some of those dishes in a cooking class with our chef. After our concert in Lucca, we'll dine in our favorite neighborhood restaurant that boasts an impressive selection of Tuscan wines. Our pizza maker will guide you through the process of designing your own pizza and cooking it in the wood-fired bread oven. You’ll tour the estate winery and taste both its wine and olive oil. The antique wine press dates back to 1759 and was only recently replaced with modern equipment.

    The Week's Itinerary

    For a day-by-day schedule of your week with Susan and Lee, see our sample itinerary.

    More about Art Adventure

    To learn more about Lee Baughman and Susan Cowan and their workshop travels, visit them at To discuss artistic direction for this program, you can contact Lee and Susan at

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