Painting Holiday in Tuscany
October 16 - 23, 2021

Oils with Tom Hughes

Taught in English

Our one week painting holiday in Tuscany takes place at an elegant villa, over 400 years old, painstakingly restored by an Italian-German team of artists who have created a wonderful international culture and study center.  Complete with a gorgeous swimming pool, Villa Palagione is nestled into the picturesque hills of Tuscany, only 6 kilometers from the art city of Volterra. Within a half hour drive of the villa are several gorgeous fortified hill towns for which Tuscany is famous.  We will pick you up at the airport in Pisa, or if you have your own car, parking is available at the villa.


The workshop is designed for all levels of painters, from pure beginners to the most experienced plein air artists.  Instructor Tom Hughes' workshops include demonstrations by the artist, individual instruction and critique, universal encouragement, and lots of laughs.  


Some of the time will be spent walking through Tuscan hills and Volterra's cobblestone streets.  Participants should be comfortable with carrying their gear on uneven surfaces.  You always have the option of course of remaining at the villa to paint on site.

In this workshop, participants will be instructed/coached at each person's individual skill and experience level, from outright beginner to experienced outdoor painter.  The fundamentals (proportion, values, color) will be explained and demonstrated as much and as individually as students desire, with finer points like aerial perspective, color harmony, use of mediums, thin vs. thick paint, washes, scumbles, ways to hold the brush, etc., addressed at any time.


This workshop is meant to be an intensive hands-on learning experience for those who desire it: it's a chance to build or reinforce skills and try new things without the pressure of having to make "finished" paintings that you have to sign.  Have you always wanted to make painterly pictures with big fat brushstrokes but couldn't quite bring yourself to carry it through?  Would you like to be able to draw a bit better, make things look their proper sizes, but can't always figure out why things don't look quite right?  Maybe practice mixing colors from a limited palette?  We can do any of these things -- the instructor is there to give you ideas, technical advice, moral support, demonstrations -- whatever insight he has accrued from 22 years of full-time painting.

Typical Schedule 

Subject to change depending on weather, desires of group, or other unforseen circumstances.


Pick up at Pisa airport and arrival at Villa Palagione near Volterra


Saturday night 

Welcome Vino e Formaggio party on the villa's terrace 



9:00 - 9:45 am breakfast 

10:00 am painting demo at villa

10:30 - 1:00 pm plein air painting

1:00 - 2:30 pm picnic lunch

2:30 - 5:30 pm plein air painting

5:30 - 7:30 pm Siesta

7:30 pm Dinner at villa


Monday - Friday

9:00 - 9:45 am breakfast 

Painting at Villa, in Volterra and at other nearby locations. Optional museum and historical site visits.

10:00 - 1:00 pm plein air painting

1:00 - 2:30 pm picnic lunch

2:30 - 5:30 pm plein air painting

5:30 - 7:30 pm Siesta

7:30 pm Dinner at villa

Friday night gourmet Farewell Dinner



9:00 - 9:45 am breakfast 

10 - 11 am Check out of accommodation and good-byes!


Painting Instructor Tom Hughes

Tom Hughes has been a professional artist for 25 years.  He paints figures, portraits and landscapes in various media: oil, acrylic, watercolor and alkyd.  He has had solo exhibitions at galleries in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, the New England states, and France.  In 2017, Hughes was invited to become a member of the Plein Air Painters of America.  His work has been featured in Plein Air magazine, American Artist Watercolor magazine and Fine Art Connoisseur. Grand prize winner in the 2019 Annual Plein Air Convention competition, Tom is one of the artists whose work is featured in a book about watercolor painting skills, Watercolor Painting by Tom Hoffmann, published in 2012 by Watson-Guptill.

Plein Air Painting Workshop Director

Holiday Director Kate Kilbourne

Since 2000, Kate Kilbourne has lived part of the year in San Francisco, California, and part of the year in Troo, France... until 2017 when her partner Robert bought a flat in Cadiz.  Now Kate spends the early spring and late fall in Spain.  She is fluent in French and is learning Spanish as fast as she can!

villa palagionegione impressioni (34).jp
villa palagionegione impressioni (10).jp

Historic renovated lodging at

The recorded history of Villa Palagione starts 400 years ago, in 1598, at the height of the Florentine dynasty of the Medici family. A plaque names the original owner as Girolamo Minucci. He was a knight and cupbearer of various Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Over the centuries the Minucci family represented the interests of the Medici in this region. The area's vast mineral resources were the source of great wealth and power, but also the cause of numerous power struggles. Since the times of Girolamo the appearance of the estate has changed several times over the centuries, bowing to the tastes of past generations and the dictates of fashion trends. The villa has numerous large rooms and halls. The "Lords and Ladies" lived on the central floor, or "Bel-Etage", where today you can still find the most beautiful murals and frescoes.

Villa Palagione

Today Villa Palagione has evolved into an internationally renowned centre of culture and study, a place of encounters, learning, enjoyment and creativity. We offer accommodation for up to 65 guests, seminar and conference rooms, as well as beautiful gardens and a pool for recreation and relaxation. Our in-house Tuscan cuisine varies according to the seasons and includes a breakfast buffet, and a midday or evening meal (a set meal with several courses) featuring regional specialties. 

Included in Holiday
  • 6 days of instruction

  • 7 nights lodging at the Villa Palagione

  • Van pick up at Pisa airport

  • Welcome Vino e Formaggio party

  • Daily breakfast at villa

  • Daily picnic or trattoria lunch

  • Nightly home-cooked  dinners at villa

  • Local museums and historical site visits

  • Farewell 3 course gourmet dinner -- wine not included

Not Included
  • Air fare

  • Travel insurance

  • Medical insurance

  • Train fare

  • Painting Materials (we will provide paint thinner)


The cost for the 7 night holiday, inclusive of everything listed under "Included in Holiday", varies according to whether you prefer a single room or are planning to share a double.  

Accommodation is in the historic Villa Palagione.


Double Room: 2750 euros 

Per person


Single Room: 3100 euros 

Per person

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Sign up by June 30

to receive a 20% discount!

20% Discount for non-painting participants