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October 7th, 2023 - October 16th, 2023

Color Alchemy: Figure & Form

Taught By Steven Assael from October 7th, 2023 - October 16th, 2023

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Price: $5200

Non participating partner: $1000

Location: Marsala, Sicily

Medium: Oil Paint (but all other mediums welcome)

Language: English

Food & Accomodation: All inclusive

Trip Overview

Over the course of one week, working exclusively from the live model, we will dive deep into the secrets of emotive figure painting. Each we day will start with a series of short exercises to convey key concepts about painting, followed by a sustained long pose in the afternoon. \ \ Topics discussed will include:

  • The development of form through observation and interpretation of plane shifts projecting and receding from view.
  • An emphasis on color and value relationships in a related atmosphere.
  • Techniques for dealing with the flux of changes that occur as a model poses, learning to hold and interpret what you see with a selective eye.
  • Aspects of anatomy, proportion and movement will be discussed along with the development of an Alla Prima technique, which involves both scumbling and glazing.

The course will involve lectures, demo's and critiques on a daily basis. Steven will discuss materials and craft, as well as issues of light and shadow, form, reflective properties of flesh and other aspects of drawing. There will also be discussion of bringing a drawing to completion and selectively finding an expression in the moment.

While Steven’s emphasis will be on oil painting, students are welcome using all media, including pencil or other drawing media.

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 soon!

Steven Assael photo

Workshop Instructor

Steven Assael

Born in New York City in 1957, Steven Assael holds a BFA from Pratt Institute. He has taught at Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts and has been a Senior Critic at the New York Academy of Art since 1997.

He is the recipient of an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, the Charles Roman Award and an ED Foundation Grant. His work has been exhibited throughout the US, including solo exhibitions at the Naples Museum of Art, the Frye Art Museum (Seattle) and the University of Tennessee, and group shows at the Flint Institute of Art (Michigan), the Kemper Museum (Kansas City), the Yale University Art Gallery, the Queens Museum of Art, and the New York State Museum at Albany.

His work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hunter Museum of Art (Chattanooga), the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art & Design (Kansas City), and the Columbus Museum of Art. In 2000 Lindenhill Books published Steven Assael: Selected Drawings.

He is represented by the Forum Gallery in New York.

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 Steven uses when painting will be sent upon 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 advance.


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.