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September 9th, 2023 - September 18th, 2023

Alla Prima Portrait: Capturing The Likeness

Taught By Patrick Byrnes from September 9th, 2023 - September 18th, 2023

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Price: $4800

Non participating partner: $1000

Location: Marsala, Sicily

Medium: Oil Paint (but all other mediums welcome)

Language: English

Food & Accomodation: All inclusive

Trip Overview

Join us for this 9-day artist retreat, which includes a 5-day portrait painting masterclass with artist Patrick Byrnes. During this intensive workshop, participants will work with a limited palette of oil colors to create alla prima portrait paintings that capture the beauty, specificity, and character of the live model. With just five pigments, Patrick will demonstrate how to achieve a surprisingly expansive range of colors through careful modulations of hue, value, and chroma, introducing strategies for interpreting the subtle colors we perceive in human skin. Comprised of both faster color studies (ranging from 10 to 40 minutes), as well as a sustained 12-hour long pose, this workshop is geared towards painters at all levels looking to develop confidence in their approach to color, drawing, and paint handling.

Patrick will guide participants with daily demonstrations and in-depth personal critiques throughout each stage of the process — from creating a strong likeness with accurate drawing, to color mixing, modeling form and finishing details.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • Achieving Accurate Proportions
  • Understanding Light and Shadow
  • Exploring Range and Resolution
  • Interpreting Color using the Munsell System
  • Mixing Color and Modeling Form

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 unwind 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, plein-air painting excursions and 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!

Patrick Byrnes photo

Workshop Instructor

Patrick Byrnes

Patrick was born in Busan, South Korea in 1984 and raised in La Grange, Illinois. He earned his undergraduate degree in Art History and English from the University of St Andrews in 2006. From 2010 to 2014 Patrick studied drawing and painting at Grand Central Atelier in New York, NY. In 2017 he relocated to Paris, France, where he now lives and works.

Patrick's immersion in the methodology, philosophy, and traditions of the classical atelier continues to inform his studio practice, while a determination to evince the beauty and vulnerability of his subjects provides the inspiration for his work.

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

All oil paint, medium, and solvents are provided in this workshop. This means everyone is mixing with the same materials Patrick will be using and each participant can swap insights and learn lessons collectively on an equal playfield.

An additional materials list outlining options around painting surfaces and brushes, as well as with insight into what Patrick uses when painting in his studio, will be sent after sign-up.

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

Painting supplies:

We recommend bringing a pochade box, or french easel, or any plein-air painting set-ups that have worked well for you, that you are familiar and comfortable with. Our staff will organise complimentary, and optional, outings after class to lovely spots around the studio and hotel, where you can enjoy painting the Sicilian landscape.

If you have never painted "En Plein air" we will be there to help with Demo's and assistance, a perfect opportunity to 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.