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Vacation Art Workshops - Learn a New Skill - Relaxing
Art Retreat
Creative Environment - Painting - Printmaking

Creative holidays are popular for many people interested in the arts.  For some it is about finding the space and time to be creative while for others it is about looking for inspiration from the local surroundings.  And for some it's about learning a new skill in a relaxed social environment. Either way,  Barga is a great location for this with both stunning countryside and beautiful townscapes. And Quattro Archi provides studio space and gallery/performance space within Barga.

Residential art workshops and retreats are offered typically for about a week. The format is to work on a range of personal pieces under the guidance of a professional artist/tutor. Typically the main part of the instructed course is in the morning, followed by lunch and then an opportunity to explore or work individually in the afternoon. Tutors may have a review at the end of the day where students can ask for feedback and discuss experiences together. Depending on the course, there may be a common theme for the week or day or students can follow their own plans but with the benefit of the tutor’s guidance.

Our first courses which were fully subscribed ran in September 2022 followed by a busy 2023 schedule.  The retreat schedule for 2024 is below.  If you would like to book, please get in touch.


What to expect..... About our workshops and retreats

Please email to book.

Two ladies preparing ink
Course Schedule
Barga in Lino 1    26 May-1 June 2024

A lino printing workshop introducing the reductive lino printing process.  Starting with a guided tour of Barga identifying and selecting a suitable subject, through sketching, photos,  copying and transferring the image to lino, and then progressively cutting away, inking and printing each of the desired colours.  This course is a great balance between creativity and process so those who feel they lack confidence in  drawing skills can rest on the printing process to get good results.  We’ve run this course three times and the work has always been fantastic. We start with welcome drinks on the first evening and head to the studio after breakfast on Monday.  By Friday afternoon everyone has printed as much as they can and we conclude with an exhibition of the work on Friday evening followed by a meal out, departing after breakfast the next morning. The course is lead by Jane Richardson.

Lino print of Barga cathedral
Botanical Art Retreat (Fully Booked)

Jo Horswill from Melbourne Australia, the tutor for this retreat, specialises in using plants to provide image, structure texture and colour to the printing process.  Further details of this course are on her website.

Botanical printmaking
Samson Art Field Trip. 14 – 20 June 2024

This is Samson Art’s third field trip to Quattro Archi. Supported by two tutors, attendees get a high level of support and coaching to take their chosen artwork to the next level inspired by the beauty of Barga and the facilities at Quattro Archi.  Places are available to those who attend Samson Art courses both online and in person.  For further details are available from

Charcoal drawing of Barga
Intergenerational Printmaking.  28 July – 3 August 2024

A grand title but a simple idea…..spending a few days making prints together with your mum or dad or perhaps son or daughter….even grandparents!  Suitable for beginners and those with some experience, this is an opportunity to produce both individual but also collaborative pieces with your course buddy.  Share the choice of image, share the colours, share the process and the fun. Starting with getting your image onto the lino, then cutting it out and printing it, then finally showing it in our mini exhibition. Jane Richardson is the tutor for this course.  The minimum age for this course is 14 and older people should be comfortable with the hilly cobbled streets of Barga.

Mother and daughter in art exhibition
Barga in Lino 2.  25 – 31 August 2024

We have had such fun with Barga in Lino 1 that people wanted to come back for a follow up course.  This workshop picks up the experience from BIL 1 and adds new opportunities to enhance your image such as chine colle, collage, experimenting with different papers, repeat patterns and using different presses..   The course follows the same timetable as BIL 1, starting on Sunday evening and concluding with an exhibition on Friday evening.  Jane Richardson is the tutor for this course.

Lino print
Exploring Techniques Painting Workshop.  1 – 7  September 2024

Starting with our unique guide to the best  places to sketch outside (usually shade, a seat and some interesting subjects), you will be encouraged to look and gather sketchbook ideas to bring back with you.  In the studio you will experiment with various painting techniques before moving on to create your final painting using mixed media.  This is a facilitated/ tutored self exploration workshop which initially provides some challenge and ideas for those keen to try different approaches and techniques, which is then followed by opportunities and support to develop new elements and styles in your finished pieces.

Jane Richardson is the tutor for this course.

Sketch book
Printmaking in Tuscany.  8 – 14 September 2024

Lucy Gell who leads this course is a well known printmaker.  Her images of animals will be familiar to many.  During the course Lucy will be covering techniques including drypoint etching, monoprint printmaking, cyanotype printmaking and linocut printmaking giving you the opportunity to produce a large number of prints as you learn to improve your knowledge and confidence in these exciting mediums. All creative abilities are welcome and Lucy is there to give you a relaxed and gentle, yet productive week of printmaking. The week will include 5 sessions of printmaking and an opportunity to exhibit your work in an intimate professional gallery environment at the end of the week if you choose.

Lucy Gell
Art Retreat   15 – 25 September 2024

An opportunity to revisit Italy, to a location as yet unexplored - to find the local culture, eat Italian food and drink local wine and of course to sketch and paint.
With new locations creativity can thrive or stall, away from the comfort of familiar surroundings, with changes in local colour, shapes and sounds, the mind is stimulated in different ways. Change of routine, location, walking backwards instead of forwards are all good for creativity.
For many, the preparation for working in a new situation is two fold. To think carefully about the range of materials to take, (without being too much compromised by travel) and allow
one to imagine different possibilities, a stream of conscious trail of starting points - but equal to this, is to go with a completely open mind, to be prepared to not be prepared.
Our painting experience like many others, is a balance of Chaos and Control. We often work directly from subject, responding to the scape before us allowing eye to hand free rein. The
element of change or a chaotic experience, encourages the spontaneity that this allows. But without any structure or detail or resolve, it can be a mess of meaningless marks. Finding the
medium and method to allow both in different places - such as Quattro Archi - is a thrill.
Working at Quattro Archi we will walk and observe and sketch and allow thoughts time to meld. To form visual conundrums and the possible painterly ways of solving them.
And with companions, it will be even more - to be able to share our experience, solutions and sustenance. 

Susie Hunt leads this workshop.

View over the town from Quattro Archi
Feedback from previous workshops
  • Jane is a very helpful and patient teacher!  Feel very lucky to have come to this special place

  • An amazing place

  • Loved my room -spacious, great view

  • Beautiful location -loved Barga

  • Pace of the course was good -I would do it all again

  • The exhibition was fun

  • Excellent value

  • We really enjoyed our week. Excellent course, good company, great food

Course Schedule

General Retreat Information and Contact

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