Jody Joseph

Finding Your Space in the Italian Landscape and Townscape

June 16th – 30th, 2014

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Like all my courses, this one will focus on developing the tools to become the painter YOU want to be.  The great thing is, we get to do this in Italy, in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, living and working in one of the loveliest small towns in central Italy, Civita Castellana, a town where Corot and other early plein air painters ACTUALLY painted!  This is THE perfect place to work on “loosening up,” creating light and space with colour, and to explore other “Modernist” innovations (many of which really can be traced to work Corot did in this very spot!)

Working in Italy is transformative for painters and other artists.  I know since I’ve been doing it myself, and bringing students to this area of Italy for over 20 years. I’ve seen the progress students make working in the honeyed light of central Italy, in places that, for centuries, have inspired masterpieces.  Add to that the chance to actually SEE some of these (and other) masterpieces on trips in the region; living in a town which is itself filled with architectural wonders; an opportunity to interact with painting colleagues from around the world as well as with friendly townspeople–and you have an ideal situation for learning and growth.

In this course we will work primarily from observation in the landscape (which includes the “townscape” of Civita) and in the studio.   We’ll look at and learn from the work of Corot, of course, as well as from other great masters of all periods from Giotto to Cezanne to Morandi and then apply the lessons to our own painting.

Special emphasis will be placed on understanding “space” in painting:  What is it and how is it created?  Are all tools used in all paintings?  Is perspective always necessary (or desirable?)  How did the conception and depiction of space change in the Modernist period? How does overlap work and why is it important?  What does it mean to “flatten” or compress space in painting?  Is this good or bad?  How does colour figure into all this?  A deepened understanding of space will help you create paintings from observation with a powerful underlying abstract construction.

Things NOT to worry about if you are interested:

“I’m not experienced enough.”  My classes typically have painters with a variety of backgrounds, from exhibiting artist to serious novice. The program is NOT for you if you are imagining a vacation Italy with a little painting on the side.  You have to want to work intensely for 2 weeks.  (On the other hand, you WILL have ample opportunity to enjoy the many pleasures of life in Italy, culinary and otherwise!)  Experienced painters, or those who have worked with me in Italy before, can also chose to work independently and meet with me privately to discuss their work.

“I don’t work in oil.”  Participants may work in mediums other than oil including acrylic, watercolour, pastel, drawing and collage.  My teaching focuses on the tools to make powerful images, applicable to many kinds of work.  Having said that, I do work primarily in oil myself, as do many of my students.  If you WANT to try oil, even if it’s not your main medium, I encourage you to do so in Italy.  Italy is the birthplace of oil painting; many of the oil pigments are made from the very earth you’ll be standing on!

“I don’t (often) work in the landscape; I don’t (often) work outside;” “I don’t work from observation.” Try it! You’ll love it. This is your chance.


Our course will meet Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday:

4-hour morning sessions each day, with the afternoons free for additional independent work in the landscape or studio. I will also be available during the afternoons for one-on-one meetings by appointment.

Thursdays are free for group bus excursions to Rome, Perugia and Assisi. Also included in the program are evening slide talks by faculty.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any further questions or concerns:

Click here to download materials list

Click here to apply