John and journal

Awakening the Creative Spirit Within


The Art of Seeing

The Understanding and Application of Seeing Through the Eyes of an Artist

in a splendid villa in Tuscany with

John Dispenza


June 2nd – June 9th, 2018



Overview /   Accommodations-Cost   /   Excursions   /   About Us   /   Getting There   /   Register


There are only 4 spots available…one room with a queen bed and one room with two twin beds


Register Now



Envision yourself in an enchanting 13th Century villa, Le Torri, in the Tuscan countryside surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. Cradled among fantastic views, this splendid dwelling embodies the essence of the Tuscan spirit.

The interior of this classic villa is luxurious and you will feel spoiled by the beauty and lavishness all around you…exactly what you deserve!

Come spend a week in this magical setting with an intimate group of like-minded committed seekers. This is a wonderful  opportunity to spend quality time with John Dispenza as he shares his love and wisdom of drawing and painting.

In addition, you will visit and experience splendid cities, towns and villages including: Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, and the Chianti region . As you spend time in these fabulous places, you will also get to sketch and draw scenes from the beauty and splendor that surrounds you.


Some Insights from John…

Sketchbooks or drawing journals are wonderful things. They allow that elusive glimpse into the creative psyche and gives the slightest glimpse into the thought process of an artist. Typically, they are smaller and more intimate and are intended to be held in your hand unlike a large painting or drawing pad and they travel well.

Leonardo DaVinci was an incredible artist, inventor, and creator and was among many artists who kept sketchbooks. It is no small reason that he filled over 13,000 pages of journals with drawings, ideas and annotations.

Historically, artists have often self-edited their artwork by censoring their output. Instead, a sketchbook can include a diverse range of styles, subject matter, and even artistic skills, and that’s a good thing. Anyone who has perused a collection of portfolios or taken a drawing class, intuitively understands that being “loose” is high praise. When an artist gains the confidence to draw with freedom, sketches gain vibrancy, vitality and pop off of the page. For some, the state of mind that allows lines to be drawn with creative flow seems like the exclusive provenance of artists with this thing called “talent,” or perhaps a lucky few who’ve practiced for lifetimes. Fortunately, sketch book drawings prove otherwise. While some of the artists have produced work that could be described as “fine art,” and many others seem childlike or crude, virtually all of them draw like no one is looking; and perhaps that’s precisely the essence to which a sketchbook or journal should aspire. The picture-perfect paintings are impressive, but the real inspiration comes from the lighter stuff: the light-hearted drawings and sketches using multiple media.

There should be no filter when recording in a sketchbook. They are about generating ideas, refining ideas, and increasing one’s creativity and artistic skill. It is for experimentation, idea creation, collaboration, and part of its beauty is to allow the artist to put anything down without hesitation. Without worry of it not being perfect, and that is a glorious burden lifted from the artist’s psyche.

While the saying is an old one, it is also true, that the artists’ occasional visible mistakes make their artwork their own. Showcasing your unrestricted creations, especially for the artists who were willing to open the pages of their books, is tantamount to opening up your soul for all to see. No matter what your style, I can guarantee you’ll share one thing with all of the professionals and amateurs alike here: for the rest of your life, your sketchbook or journal will be one of the most important things. After all, it is your heart and soul on that pages.

This drawing sketchbook workshop is set up so the participant can have the space and freedom to experiment and allow the inner knowing artist to come forth. We will travel throughout the countryside to capture the essence and beauty of this magical region using multi media from watercolor, ink, graphite, colored pencils and more. Each page will be a recorded slice of time spent in Tuscany.


Some concepts we’ll be exploring are:
– The art of seeing form in space and how to integrate that into your art

– Understanding line quality in drawing and designing a page

– Exploring journal drawing

-Exploring the characteristics of multi-media drawing and painting techniques to create  quick and powerful imagery

You will also have an opportunity to:

  • understand how to use paint and mix paint/materials as fundamentals 
  • draw from nature on site both black and white material and color paint
  • gain a deeper understanding and exploration of different pencil line qualities and modeling forms
  • explore the science and physics of light and color and it’s applications to materials
  • draw/paint from a live model 
  • journal/sketch book from on site locations
  • experience open critique sessions of work created

This workshop is open to beginners and artists at all levels of experience. A light-hearted attitude is a must!  To be prepared for this workshop, please go to the bottom of this page to see the suggested supplies to bring with you.

In the same manner as personal evolution, an artist must continue to evolve and change. My passion when creating is to record the true essence of the experience, whether it be with oil paints, watercolor or drawing; to not be so concerned about technique, but to allow the materials to work freely through the artist and not control the artist. My goal is to share in creating and painting without boundaries – breaking free from the fear of making mistakes and to experiment by exploring and taking risks – ultimately having a sense of confidence and trust in the process ”  John D.

In addition to the offerings from John, you will get to experience the Tuscan Region, enjoy delicious cuisine, learn about the fascinating history, view and capture breathtaking landscapes, connect with a splendid culture and explore intriguing villages in the region.  You will immerse yourself in this fascinating land while visiting, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, and the Chianti region.

Join us on this Incredible Journey of Art and Exploration…We are creating an intimate opportunity for a maximum of 15 participants, if you are interested in joining us we recommend you register as soon as possible.

Suggested Supply List for Sketchbook Journaling:

The material list is pretty simple… which is great for travel!

  • a small collection of lead pencils
  • conte` sepia and black
  • dried brick watercolors in a tin tray and maybe some black ink
  • some brushes in a variety of sizes
  • fountain pen with cartridge replacements
  • black, blue and sepia colored pencils (can be watercolor pencils)
  • a pencil sharpener
  • a soft pencil/pen/brush holder
  • most important are the journals with paper that can take a variety of mediums (like a mole skin journal)
  • An -14” x 17” (or something close to that size which is bigger than your journal)  multi-purpose pad

I will see you in Tuscany!! Ciao for now, John

Register Now