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Sandra Kaplan (left)
working with a student

by Sandra Kaplan

Statuary and fountains
at a favorite Lucca painting venue

by Sandra Kaplan

Devil's Bridge, Tuscany
by Sandra Kaplan

La Mouissone,Grasse
by Sandra Kaplan

Italian Pomegranates
by Sandra Kaplan

Tuscan Inspiration
A Painting Workshop with Sandra Kaplan

Dates: May 27 - June 6, 2015

Sandra Kaplan has spent her entire life as a painter, working in watercolor, acrylic, oil and most recently, mixed-media collage. Sandra's work is found in corporate and private collections throughout the U.S. as well as in Stockholm, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Hong Kong and Japan. An established artist, Sandra's paintings - described by one critic as "conceptual realism" - have been recognized in many publications including The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, American Artist, Southwest Art, Artist Magazine and Art in America.

Among the awards Sandra has received are a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, a Co-Visions Grant from the Colorado Council of the Arts and a fellowship to YADDO, a prestigious artist's colony in Saratoga, NY. She graduated with honors from the Pratt Institute in New York City, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

A colorado resident, Sandra is an experienced teacher, having instructed students at all levels of accomplishment, from beginners to experienced artists who want to sharpen their skills, make major shifts in direction or advance to even higher levels. Participants in past workshops have ranged from those with formal training to a fireman who never before had picked up a brush.

As a teacher with a keen understanding of the demands of various media, Sandra focuses her workshops on helping students to build confidence in their own styles of expression as well as to identify and emphasize strengths.

Sandra teaches classes at the Art Students League of Denver and has served as a mentor to artists, offering career advice and critiques. To see more on Sandra's work, visit her website at For questions about workshop content and direction, contact Sandra at

Tuscan Inspiration

Sandra's teaching style will provide you with ample one-on-one time to discuss your artistic objectives and to chart a path during the program to fulfill those objectives. Most days will also include time to review your work with Sandra and your companion artists. 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 farmhouse Selva and the Tenuta di Forci estate, and away days, on excursions to hilltowns, gardens, the architectural wonder of Lucca and a special trip to the coast to one of our favorite seaside villages.

“At Home”

Your home for ten days, the farmhouse Selva, is surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and forests, with buildings that go back hundreds of years, some in various phases of refurbishing. The wildflowers, lemon trees in terra cotta pots, our rose garden, bits of mortar crumbling away in a nook, majestic cypress trees . . . all offer inspiration for your artistic interpretation. As you wander the Tenuta di Forci estate, you may see the local shepherd grazing his flock, perhaps startle a wild pheasant or watch the doves playing in the valley.


For venues away from Selva, we’ve chosen expansive landscapes, unique architecture, formal gardens, hillside towns, quiet corners and places where you can seek out the perfect vantage point for creating your own interpretation of "Tuscan inspiration."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! We'll return to Lucca another day for an evening stroll, passeggiata, with the locals and a Puccini concert held in a thousand year old church containing excavations of Roman ruins. Dinner is at one of our favorite Lucca restaurants.

  • The hilltop town of Volterra is rich in Etruscan history and boasts one of the best collections of Etruscan artificats in Italy. From above the walls, you'll have uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside. Just outside the walls you'll see the ruins of a Roman theater. Save some time for shopping. You'll want to take home a piece or two of the locally carved alabaster.

  • Italians are masters at preserving their heritage, and you'll see how that applies to an old barn restructured into a charming private home. The owner is an accomplished potter, and you'll be creating your own souvenir plate to be fired in her kiln. Take a moment to enjoy her garden precisely perched on a terrace, and don't forget to bring your sketchbook!

  • The seaside is just a short ride away and where we'll head to introduce you to the charming village of Lerici. Situated on the Gulf of Poets, your painting choices for the day include seascapes, an imposing fortress and colorful fishing boats. Your lunch choice includes marvelous seafood!

    Other Activities

    Meals at Selva are served in the "Tuscan style," which means fresh, local and seasonal. You are always welcome to pitch in and help our chef, and one afternoon's activity includes a cooking class preparing some of the Tuscan specialties unique to the area. We'll also be dining at one of our favorite restaurants in Lucca. It's well known by locals but generally off the tourist track. One evening our local baker fires up Selva's wood oven, and everyone joins in making their own pizza. You’ll also have an opportunity to 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 local honey is luscious with a flavor unique to where the hives are located on the estate.

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

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