Fall in love with Tuscany ... off the beaten path

​​​Paper Paintings Retreat with Elizabeth St. Hilaire 

August 26 - September 1, 2017

Elizabeth St. Hilaire's annual Paper Paintings Retreat in Italy is hosted at an 18th century countryside villa nestled along the border of Tuscany and Umbria. Open to participants of all artistic levels, each day brings new lessons with Elizabeth on using hand painted and found papers to develop imagery and form using light, shadow, and directional ripping - similar to traditional painting techniques. You'll also have fun experimenting with hand painting, staining, stamping and patterning your own papers. Although some painting experience is helpful, it is not imperative.

Not only that ... you'll be in Italy! In addition to exciting, fun-filled side trips, you'll be visiting a local marbled paper artisan who will show you the art of handmade Italian papers. So beautiful to incorporate into your work! Plus you'll enjoy top-notch, private ground transportation in Mercedes vans, delectable meals made by an onsite chef and 360 degree panoramic views of the gorgeous Italian countryside.

This once-in-a-lifetime retreat is the epitome of creativity in an inspirational setting - a place that has inspired artists with its beauty for thousands of years!

Learn Elizabeth's Exclusive Paper Painting Techniques!

Painting Paper 
When Elizabeth St. Hilaire began painting her own papers, her collage work sky-rocketed to an entirely new level. During the retreat, Elizabeth will show you exactly how (and why) she paints her own papers, and how you can achieve stunning results as you create your own paper paintings. You'll be amazed at the staggering number of ways you can paint paper!

Ripping and Tearing
Elizabeth St. Hilaire's paper tearing and directional ripping methods are the hallmark of her exceptional artwork! You'll be learning her exclusive techniques through demonstration, slide presentations and (of course!) lots of hands-on practice and one-on-one instruction. 

Color and Glue
Learn Elizabeth's tried and true methods (and a few coveted secrets!) to developing imagery and form through the use of light, shadow and color tones as you glue your papers. Create depth and add interest to your projects as you discover ways to layer and position papers for dramatic effects.  
Painterly Gelli Prints
Whether or not you've ever used a Gelli Arts Mono Printing Plate, you're in for a treat as Elizabeth demonstrates her unique (and plethora!) of ways to apply patterns and designs to your papers - straight from her brand new book, "Painterly Gelli Plates". From found objects to stencils, you'll have loads of fun as you roll, press and apply!

Photographing Inspiration
You'll be surrounded by Italian inspiration everywhere you go on this retreat, so be sure to keep your camera on hand. Elizabeth captures inspiration as she goes - from medieval buildings to works by Italy's master artists to the beauty and color of nature - through photography. Learn how to capture your own special moments of inspiration by using your camera or smart phone.  

Elizabeth St. Hilaire's artwork hangs in galleries throughout the United States, as well as private collections, and her licensed designs can be found on comforters to pillows to prints - from Target to Kohls to Pier One Imports. In a special bonus session, Elizabeth reveals her secrets to marketing from Facebook to face-to-face. (This session is priceless!)

​Each Day Invites Creativity and Inspiration

DAY 1 (Saturday, August 26) ARRIVAL AT VILLA  
Benvenuti in Italia! Upon arrival at Florence Peretola Airport, sit back and relax as you are transported by private van service to the Italian countryside and your beautiful accommodations along the border of Tuscany and Umbria. After check-in you'll have the opportunity to explore your surroundings and studio space before taking part in your first orientation and presentation with Elizabeth where you'll get a preview of retreat, as well as an introduction to Elizabeth's unique approach to collage. Afterwards it's time for aperitif hour together before enjoying a delicious, regional-style dinner served up by the in-house chef.
Dinner included

DAY 2 (Sunday, August 27) ORVIETO 
This morning after breakfast you'll be heading to gorgeous Orvieto, a medieval hill town layered in 3,000 years of history. First stop is the historic center of town where you'll find one of Italy’s most beautiful cathedrals, followed by a very special visit with a marbled paper artisan (in his 15th century workshop!) for a demonstration and lesson all about paper. Afterwards you'll have some time for shopping (Orvieto is famous for its hand-painted ceramics and fine lace), as well as lunch on your own at one of the town's charming restaurants. Then it's back to the villa for some extensive class time and paper paintings instruction with Elizabeth. In evening you'll enjoy aperitif hour and another fabulous dinner together.
Breakfast and dinner included, Lunch on your own

DAY 3 (Monday, August 28) AT VILLA
After breakfast this morning, get ready for an fun-filled, inspiring day! You'll be heading to the onsite studio with Elizabeth to learn a plethora of methods for painting paper, from stamps to rollers to stencils - and so much more. You'll also learn Elizabeth's expert techniques for developing imagery and form. After a chef-prepared picnic-style lunch you'll continue painting papers, while preparing to begin your special Italy-inspired paper painting project. In late afternoon it's time for a break - and perhaps a dip in the pool - before walking to a nearby winery for a private tour of the beautiful vineyard, followed by a special wine tastings with a local sommelier. Back at the villa another delicious dinner will be prepared by the talented chef. 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 4 (Tuesday, August 29) MONTEPULCIANO
This morning after breakfast you'll travel by our private Mercedes Benz van service to the hill town of Monteopulciano where you'll enjoy a private demonstration with an amazing copper artisan, followed by a visit with a local mosaic expert for an up-close look at this ancient art form used by the Etruscans and perfected by the Romans. Talk about artistic inspiration! Afterwards you can explore on your own, shop (so many beautiful leather hand bags!) or make a stop in an enoteca for a taste of town's famous wine - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Lunch is on your own, and in afternoon you'll head back to the villa to join Elizabeth in the studio to work on your project while you learn new collage techniques using the papers you have painted yourself or discovered on your outing. This evening you'll enjoy a regional-style dinner after our fun aperitivo hour together.
Breakfast and dinner included, Lunch on your own

DAY 5 (Wednesday, August 30) AT VILLA 
This morning, after breakfast, you'll be heading to the onsite studio for instruction and one-on-one assistance from Elizabeth with your project. Then it's time for a break and a fun-filled pasta-making lesson with delightful Antonetta who will be teaching how Italians really make pasta, as well as how to pair a pasta with the right sauce (an Italian art form!). Lunch will include (you guessed it) the pasta you've made - and a few other goodies. In afternoon you'll head back to the onsite studio with Elizabeth to continue working on your project. After aperitivo hour together, the chef will be serving up a dinner of seasonal specialties. 
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 6 (Thursday, August 31) FABRO & SCARZUOLA
This morning, after breakfast, it's off to the nearby convent, Scarzuola, (founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1218) for a guided tour of the ancient convent and adjacent theatrical sculpture garden - an evocative, artistic marvel - created between 1958 and 1978 by an renowned architect from Milan. Afterwards you'll enjoy a special, regional lunch at our friends' charming restaurant in a nearby medieval village. In afternoon it's back to the studio with Elizabeth to finish up your project and take part in a celebratory aperitivo hour together! Naturally, the chef will be serving up a beautiful farewell dinner.     
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

DAY 7 (Friday, September 1) DEPARTURE  
Alas, it’s time to say arrivederci ... as least for now. Our drivers will be transporting you this morning to Florence Peretola Airport OR to your hotel in Florence (see Florence option below!).

Ready to head to the birthplace of the Great Renaissance? Our unaccompanied Florence Extension is optional/on-your/own for Paper Paintings participants and includes 2 nights, September 1 - 2 (check-out September 3), at our favorite boutique hotel (at historic Piazza della Republica) one dinner at our friends' authentic Florentine restaurant, and an optional guided tour of the Ufizzi Gallery. You may select this option when you register for the retreat. 

PLEASE NOTE: Sometimes small changes must be made to the itinerary due to inclement weather, changes in venue or other circumstances beyond our control. Rest assured that any itinerary alterations will be minor.

Paper Paintings Retreat in Italy with Elizabeth St. Hilaire
​Includes ...

  • 6 nights accommodations in a historic 18th century Umbrian villa *(no single supplement fee! all single, private rooms with private, ensuite bathrooms!)
  • Daily paper paintings instruction with Elizabeth St. Hilaire including: 
  • Introductory presentation on Elizabeth's renowned collage process
  • How to create a high quality drawing and under-painting
  • Demonstration of a multitude of paper painting techniques, including stamping, rolling, pressing, imprinting, overlapping and much, much more 
  • Step-by-step instruction on paper painting for variety and interest
  • Group and one-to-one instruction on various ripping and tearing techniques to create a "painterly" effect (a must-know for Elizabeth's collage process!)
  • How to choose and glue papers to achieve the right shading and tonality 
  • A plethora of demonstrations by Elizabeth on various paper painting processes and techniques
  • Daily one-to-one instruction to help you achieve the very best results with your project!
  • Access to art studio space outside of instruction times
  • Fluid acrylic paints and acrylic collage adhesive
  • Canvas panels
  • Paint brushes
  • Group transportation by private Mercedes Benz van service to/from Florence Peretola Airport on arrival and departure dates**
  • Private Mercedes Benz van service for all side trips listed in the itinerary
  • All generous breakfasts with made-to-order Italian coffees
  • 3 lunches served with local wines   
  • All regionally inspired dinners by our fabulous, in-house Tuscan chef, served with local wines 
  • Accommodations for special dietary requirements, including gluten free, dairy free, Paleo and Vegan
  • Paper history and hands-on lesson with Renaissance paper artisan
  • Demonstration with copper artisan
  • Visit with mosaic artisan
  • Private winery tour and tasting with a local sommelier
  • Italian crostata-making lesson with Signora Antonetta
  • Time on your own for shopping or meandering on side trips
  • Evening aperitivo hour for chatting, sharing and mingling
  • Daily accompaniment with retreat facilitator and host, Pamela Haack
  • Free wifi (available in common areas)

* Countryside accommodations are a historic, 18th century villa that has been lovingly restored and modernized with beautiful sleeping rooms (each uniquely decorated) private bathrooms, in-house restaurant (where you'll enjoy delectable meals) and various terraces and sitting areas - both inside and out - that offer breath-taking, panoramic views across Umbria and Tuscany. 

** Not Included: PAPER! (Elizabeth prefers that you bring your own personal papers), airfare, plus any meals, alcoholic drinks, buses, trains or boat transportation outside of that which is specifically listed in the trip package


Paper Paintings Retreat in Italy wtih Elizabeth St. Hilaire

Trip Price: $2,995
Per person, based on single occupancy room with private, ensuite bathroom
A deposit of $500 will be charged to your credit card today - $100 of which is nonrefundable. 
View cancellation policy

Optional 2 Night Florence Trip Extension with or without Uffizi Gallery Tour! 
You may select this option when you register. 

Interested in getting on the wait list for Elizabeth's next Italy retreat?!  Contact us for details!

"What a fabulous time! Elizabeth's class was...there are no words. I learned so much, new techniques and new ways of seeing my art. Elizabeth gave every one as much one-on-one time with her as needed and she was open to any and all questions. I took this trip to Italy alone with one goal in mind, to take my art to the next level. I left with friendships, confidence in my art and a love for Italy. The food was amazing and the side trips were beautiful! My heart and soul are replenished, recharged and I have Elizabeth and Pamela to thank for that. Thank you both for helping me to realize I am on my right path in this journey."
June ~ Jacksonville, FL

"This was the most wonderful trip! Every detail was exquisite! Our villa was stunning, the cuisine was amazing, the excursions and day trips were perfectly planned and the art classes with Elizabeth inspired our creativity tremendously. The entire trip was the vacation of a lifetime! I can't wait to go to Italy again!
Kathryn ~ Simi Valley, CA

​"Words cannot describe this experience. It's hard to pick out what I enjoyed most, because each element of the trip just flowed seamlessly into the next. The whole trip was an uplifting and inspirational experience that I will carry with me forever. Elizabeth and Pamela... I can't thank you enough. Experiencing Italy and incorporating creativity in such a delicious way ... I couldn't ask for anything more and I can't wait to make some paper (as we now know, you can never have enough paper!). I just hope I can get the opportunity to experience it again with you ladies. All I can say is.... THE BEST TIME EVER!!! 
Yolanda ~ Willow Grove, PA

​Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend the Paper Paintings Retreat with Elizabeth St. Hilaire?
All levels of art enthusiasts are welcome on this retreat! From the experienced artist to the novice, Elizabeth combines group lessons with her skilled one-on-one instruction to take participants to the next level with both their collage art and creativity!   

How large is the group?
With a maximum number of 14 participants, the Paper Paintings Retreat is an ideal size for both companionship and independence.

Is airfare included?
Airfare is not included, although all ground transportation, by private Mercedes Benz van service, is provided throughout the trip.
Where will we meet up on the first day of the retreat?
You will rendezvous together with the rest of the group at Florence Peretola Airport at predetermined time for our group transportation to the retreat venue. 

What documents do I need to travel to Italy?
A valid passport is required to travel to Italy from the United States or Canada. If you do not have a passport, we recommend that you apply for one as soon as possible. If your passport expires within 6 months of the tour start date, be sure to renew at your nearest passport office.

Should I get travel insurance?
Yes, we highly recommend that you obtain travel insurance. If you must cancel your participation in an Off the Beaten Strada tour, retreat or workshop for any reason whatsoever - including health reasons for yourself or a family member at home - cancellation fees  will apply. Travel Insurance - specifically trip cancellation insurance - can cover some or all of these expenses.

If you miss a specified group pick-up and transfer due to a delayed, cancelled or missed flight or for any reason whatsoever, you are responsible for arranging and paying for your own transportation to the tour venue. Travel insurance - specifically trip cancellation or trip interruption insurance - can cover some of all of these expenses.

Note: Terms and coverages vary depending on the specific insurance carrier. Carefully check the specified terms and coverages before purchasing your policy. We recommend contacting your local travel agent for quotes.

How should we dress during the retreat?
We recommend packing comfortable, casual clothing that includes breathable fabrics and items you can layer - plus versatile shoes that are comfortable for walking.

What level of difficulty is the walking during side trips?
When walking in medieval hill towns you can expect hard cobblestones, uneven pavement and steep hills (there's a reason they're called hill towns!). We recommend caution for those with serious walking difficulties, breathing issues or any health-related condition that would severely limit retreat participation.

What items will be offered at breakfast?
Breakfasts include both Italian and North American selections, such as freshly baked cornetti and marmalade-topped crostate, as well as eggs, cold cuts, cheeses, tomatoes, yogurts, breads and fresh fruit. Gluten free items are also available, along with a wonderful selection of Italian coffees, from espresso to cappuccino to macchiato. 

What are our accommodations?
Accommodations are a historic 18th century farmhouse on the border of Tuscany and Umbria.

More About Elizabeth St. Hilaire

Elizabeth's love of collage started with a scrap box of mementos from her childhood. She decided to incorporate these memorable papers, notes and snippets of her family’s past into something both memorable and beautiful. Thus was born a representational collage “painting.” This piece, Looking in on Jane (a portrait of her mother), won Best of Show at Orlando Visual Artists League in 2005, and for a second time at the Women’s Caucus for Arts’ Matriarchs and Madonnas exhibit in 2007. The success of this piece plunged Elizabeth head-first into her love affair with collage. Her inspiring work has earned her a Signature Member status with the National Collage Society, a solo exhibit at the Maitland Museum of Art and can be viewed in numerous galleries across the US. You'll also find Elizabeth's paper paintings reproduced on everything from prints to comforters in stores such at Kohls and Pier One.

Her technique has evolved as a result of experimentation with hand-painted, hand-made, and a wide variety of textured and patterned papers, focusing on intense and vibrant colors combined with a sensibility of design. "My collages invite the viewer to look, and having looked, to linger," says Elizabeth. "Layering and weaving, pushing and pulling the colors, patterns, and values makes collage liken to music. I go back and forth, alternating and overlapping until the rhythm creates something I love."

BJ Gallanger, in her article for the HUFFINGTON POST, wrote this about Elizabeth: 
"Once in a great while, an artist comes along whose work is so distinctive, so unusual, so imaginative, and so colorful that it stands out from the crowd, much like a peacock stands out in a colony of penguins. Elizabeth St. Hilaire is such an artist." 

Learn more about Elizabeth St. Hilaire by visiting her website, 
Paper Paintings.

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