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Sandra Kaplan (left)
working with a student

City Park Pavilion
by Sandra Kaplan

Nesso's ancient bridge
and waterfall backdrop

The pool at Villa Fiori
by Sandra Kaplan

Al fresco dining
in Bellagio

Villa Reale Gates
by Sandra Kaplan

Za Za
by Sandra Kaplan

Inspired by the Italian Lakes,
A Painting Workshop with Sandra Kaplan
Dates: May 30 - June 9, 2018

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 makes one-to-one teaching the focus of her workshops, helping students build confidence in their individual styles of expression. While painting along with participants, Sandra invites students to question her technique or artistic intentions.

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

Inspiration of the Lakes

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 gala dinner.

Your days will be a mixture of at home, painting around the villa and its grounds, and away days, on excursions to lakeside towns, gardens, a nature reserve and a special trip to a local winery for tasting, lunch and wandering the grounds to paint.

“At Home”

Il Columbee, your home for ten days, is a beautifully restored country home conveniently located to the Lake Como area. Il Columbee is set on five acres of park-like grounds with winding paths, terraces, statuary and magnificent views, including the Alps in the distance. Multiple paths in the area beckon for an afternoon stroll to explore the countryside.


For venues away from Il Columbee, we’ve chosen day trips that will introduce you to the lake region with visits to some of the most beautiful towns on Lake Como and in the area. A few highlights:

  • The town of Como with a lakeside promenade that's filled with flowers. Majestic villas along the lake, formal gardens and shady parks are all potential painting and sketching subjects. Shopping, fine restaurants, a visit to the Museo dell Seta (Silk Museum) round out your introduction to Como.

  • Ferry excursions on Lake Como to the towns of Bellagio and Nesso. Bellagio sits between the two arms of the lake and is often referred to as the "Pearl of The Lake." Beautifully restored villas, narrow winding streets of cobblestone and views from the water's edge make excellent subject matter for your art. Save some time for Bellagio's first class shopping as well. Nesso is another charming town of red-tile roofed buildings that march right down to the water's edge. A powerful waterfall drops directly into the lake, framed by an ancient bridge.

  • Montevecchia Regional Park covers more than 5,000 acres with natural reserves set aside to protect the dense forests and wildlife. It's a view of how nearly all of the surrounding countryside once looked.

  • The charming town of Montevecchia within the park with its hillside setting and well preserved architecture. The car-free town center makes wandering the old streets especially pleasurable and evocative of another time.

  • A winery tour and tasting and lunch. Afterward you're invited to sketch and paint around the winery and its vineyards for the afternoon.

    Other Activities

    Meals at Il Colombee's in-house restaurant make use of fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. You are always welcome to pitch in and help our chef, and one afternoon's activity includes a cooking class preparing some of the specialties unique to the area. We'll also be dining at one of the nearby restaurants. It's well known to locals but generally off the tourist track. Our last evening together includes an opportunity for everyone to show their work inspired by the workshop and a gala dinner prepared by the villa chef.

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

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