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May 6th, 2023 - May 15th, 2023

Dynamic Figure Drawing & Painting

Taught By Dan Thompson from May 6th, 2023 - May 15th, 2023

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Price: $4800

Non participating partner: $1000

Location: Marsala, Sicily

Medium: Oil paint, Pencil & charcoal

Language: English

Food & Accomodation: All inclusive

Trip Overview

Join us for this 9-day artist retreat, which includes a 5-day figure painting masterclass with renowned artist Dan Thompson. During this intensive workshop, you will work exclusively from the live model and focus on developing your skills in capturing the human figure through painting & drawing.

Dan will guide you through a variety of techniques, including how to utilize Sicily's beautiful light and shadow to create a more penetrating sense of depth; techniques of mark making to create your own feel for textures; and how to use layers of coloring to forge mood and atmosphere in a piece. By the end of the workshop, you will have a finished work of art that you can be proud of, and the knowledge to continue to improve your figure painting skills.

Some topics that will be covered are:

  • Setting up and working effectively with a live model
  • Understanding the nature of structure and anatomy within the human figure
  • Techniques for developing a beautiful sense of layering
  • Using light and shadow to create a personalized feel for form in your work
  • A heightened understanding of color theory through light effects, for mood and atmosphere
  • Compositional strategies for a dynamic painting

This workshop is open to all skill levels, whether you're a beginner or an experienced painter. Dan will provide individualized instruction and critiques to help you improve your skills.

At the end of each day you will return to a gorgeous boutique hotel nestled among the olive groves, with astonishing views of sunsets over the ocean. Sit back and relax with a glass of wine by the pool as the chef prepares delicious meals for the group, ensuring you have all you need to relax and recharge after a full day of painting.

Also included in this retreat, will be a number of exciting cultural excursions to must-see sites, fun group activities where you will have the opportunity to get to know your classmates and instructor in a laid back, enjoyable atmosphere and make new art friends for life!

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced painter, you'll have the chance to develop your skills in a supportive and welcoming environment.

We can't wait to see you!

Dan Thompson photo

Workshop Instructor

Dan Thompson

Dan Thompson is renowned for his figurative work in oil, graphite and red chalk as well his focus on instruction and research. Winning multiple grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation as well as the Ethel Lorraine Bernstein Memorial Award for Excellence in Painting from the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

In 2001, Thompson won Best of Show in the American Society of Portrait Artist’s International Portrait Competition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

In 2006 Dan Thompson co-founded the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York. In 2008, he co-founded the Janus Collaborative School of Art in New York. Dan Thompson has instructed at Parsons the New School for Design, the National Academy School and is on the faculty of the Art Students League of New York.

Thompson has served as Dean of Fine Arts of Studio Incamminati School for Contemporary Realist Art, and is Faculty Chair of the Certificate of Fine Arts department of the New York Academy of Art. He has taught in the MFA program of the New York Academy of Art for 22 years.

In 2007, Thompson was selected an ARC Living Master Artist.

He has been exhibited in public and private collections throughout the world, including the Eleanor Ettinger Gallery, John Pence Gallery, Arcadia Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The John Noble Museum, The Pasadena Museum of California Art, the National Arts Club, the United States Capitol and Beijing’s World Art Museum.

For more information, visit:

Accomodations and Meals

We will be staying at the Baglio Custera, a boutique resort hotel in the heart of Marsala’s countryside. Known for its gardens and luxurious swimming pool, this ultramodern resort stands on the Rakalia hill, the site of an ancient shrine to Hercules, surrounded by olive and orange groves. Baglio Custera is a brand new hotel built on ancient lines, those of the "baglio," or farmhouse.

Sicily boasts an extraordinary cuisine influenced by the unique flavors of the Mediterranean region. Its mainstays are garden-fresh vegetables, ancient grains and seafood. All meals, accommodation and transport are Included in your package, including a celebratory welcome dinner and a farewell Sicilian feast.

Car rental is not necessary but suggested if you'd like to explore on your own.

What to Pack

A complete materials list that outlines what Dan uses when painting in his studio and what to bring for the workshop will be sent after sign-up.

But here are some things to consider bringing to make the most of your trip:

Painting supplies:

We recommend bringing your favourite set plein-air painting set-ups that have worked well for you, that you are familiar and comfortable with.

Outside workshop hours our staff will organise optional trips to paint outdoors en plein-air. A perfect way to unwind, take in the local beauty or learn something new.

Sicily Artist Retreats stocks a number of plein-air painting kits for rent if you do not wish to travel with or simply don’t have your own.

To help avoid problems with TSA inspectors.

Here is a helpful guide with advice and a set of labels that you may print and attach to your art supplies when bringing them on an airplane in your luggage.

Sicily Artists Retreats will provide all solvents, these can not be brought with you on the plane, checked or carry-on.

Painting surfaces:

Sicily Artist Retreats stocks a variety of canvas, paper and boards available for purchase on site.

Advice and recommendations on painting surfaces as well as how to safely bring finished paintings home will be sent out to participants in the full materials list sent out before workshop start.


Pack comfortable, lightweight clothing that is suitable for warm weather. You should also bring a hat with a good brim and sunscreen for outdoor painting sessions.

Choose comfortable shoes good for walking, as not all place we will go have paved roads.

And a small, light, day backpack and reusable water bottle.

Evenings can be a little cooler so be sure to bring a light jacket.

The hotel has a lovely pool, so bringing swimwear is recommended!

With these items in your suitcase, you'll be well-prepared for an enjoyable and productive painting workshop in Sicily!

Travel Advisory

There are no travel advisories at this time but please be sure to check the Italian Ministry of Health for current updates.