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Painting Workshops | Italy and France | Art Courses | Tuscany Provence | 2022
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Denise Tipka in front of her works during the last crit.

Another participant from Minnesota. Denise Tipka was the “sponge” of this Fall Studio Italia painting workshop. She listened, tried everything; she was open-minded and she let go… and her paintings took flight. Upon my return to North America, I wrote to her, “the secret is to paint every day, even if it is five minutes a day”. She is a promising artist, and we are looking to seeing her again, but in Provence in 2024. (Walk the Arts)

I will never think of art the same way again!

by Denise Typka

Already a month since my return from a fun-filled art-learning experience in Tuscany, Italy!  The workshop went far beyond what I even imagined, or hoped it would be. The roughly eight hours per day for most days of art instruction gave me a new perspective on my art:  where I was and where I wanted to be, the past and the future. But, together as a group, we were living in the present.

From the very beginning, Yves, our instructor, carefully watch over my canvas, from the sketch to the painting process. All the time he told me what I was doing right, and what I could do differently. His nudging pushed me out of my comfort zone into a new way of both “seeing” the gorgeous Tuscan landscape and “applying” the paint to my canvas. 

During our daily plein-air painting sessions, he inspired me to break out of my overworked, detailed painting style and to momentarily abandon my paintbrush. Who knew using a palette knife could not only be a fun tool for painting but also would allow me to create my unique painting style! The same picture painted with a brush, then repainted using only a knife was a giant learning leap for me.

Yves’s art history and theory lessons sprinkled during the workshop reinforced the painting instruction and gave context to our group discussions. Learning which artist developed which technique and during which time frame certainly gave me a new perspective of art appreciation. This helped me tremendously during our Uffizi visit in Florence; I finally understood the famous paintings at which I was looking. Now, I can differentiate a Trecento painting from a Seicento (Baroque) work of art.

And let’s talk about the food! Monica’s gracious hosting with her extraordinary four-course meals (with all the wine) were so delicious that, upon my return to Minnesota, I immediately bought two copies of her cookbook. Her wide array of dishes gave me the opportunity of new culinary experiences. I can truly say I enjoyed everything she prepared! Moreover, she made the house we were staying in feel like home and we were all glad to return to it. At the end of every day, we were all wondering what Monica was going to serve for dinner; what an exciting anticipation!

Walk the Arts (Yves and Monica), because you created such a welcoming atmosphere, we students were very relaxed with each other and became friends.  We shared many conversations ¾some related to art and some not.  We laughed a lot together and more importantly, we learned about each other’s art and gained mutual admiration. Even the spouses who were not art students were considered part of the group and gave their honest and valuated opinions at the end of the session during our “Crit”.

Thank you so much for a truly life-changing experience for me.  I will never think of art in the same way again!



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Who are we?

We all make art! It is part of culture. It is deeply rooted in human nature as a way of communicating with others. We all need to tell our stories because it is stories that link us all. We are all one, one creative mind! Though, all unique and equipped with unique ways of expressing ourselves. We live in constant search of that unique liberating voice. At Walk the Arts we aim to facilitate our art makers to explore new territories. Our painting classes and art history trips on three continents are meant to be rounded art experiences among small groups of like-minded adults. We offer an environment that fosters creativity. As we always say, art as religion is just a matter of faith. This blog is about living fully the experience of art, about finding our single artistic path, about the joy of art-making. We believe that making art accessible to all will lead to a betterment of our society.


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Twitter Updates

Gray a Philosophical “Color”


“Over the past 40 years, I’ve seen students in the process of transitioning from saturated colors to grayed ones, a sign of serious questioning about painting. As a beginner, we shy away from mixing colors, and the more we progress in our creative practice, the more daring we become. That’s life! When we’re children, we only see saturated colors, and as we get older, gray takes over. Adults realize that gray is everywhere. “The color of truth is gray” wrote the French author André Gide.”

We can face Artificial Intelligence


How many times were we tempted to fall into the trap of mainly teaching painting techniques now all available on the Net? Just type “How to paint an Italian Landscape” and … two million plus videos jump onto your computer screen.

A First History of NFTs


“I think the reason […] I’ve chosen the career that I have is because artists are always the seers or the truth tellers. They show us the way forward”. Nora Burnett Abrams, The Story of NFTs, Artists, Technology, and Democracy. P. 53

The World of NFTs!


I had to know if NFT art is and will be a fad or not. In Canada’s national capital (Ottawa) art world, I kept hearing that it is not going to last, it’s all smoke and mirrors, ya-ya-ya, etc. So, I entered the Palazzo Strozzi with an open mind. I saw the works, I read everything on the walls, and I came out of the exhibition thinking “It is here to stay.” From that moment, on la Via de’ Tomabuoni, I felt compelled as an art historian and art educator to embrace this new reality. Didn’t we do it for Pop Art and Conceptual Art in the late ’50s and ‘60s?

“Perseverance” is the key to all successful artists


Perseverance is the key to all successful artists.

I always ask my painting students to memorize … “Until then, we will not rest or falter. Hand in hand with others thirsting for a better life, no matter how long it takes, regardless of support or persecution, we will joyfully respond to a savage need for liberation”.

Studio Italia, a painting vacation with…


If our art workshops focused mostly on painting techniques, then why traveling to Italy and spending money when you could stay at home and learn everything you need through the Internet for free?

Art and Neurosciences


When a subject becomes familiar, the brain activity shuts down like when viewing a lovely chickadee painting…

Can we talk about the neuroscience of art? This is the question that French neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux addresses in his beautiful book The Beauty in the Brain or La Beauté dans le Cerveau (Odile Jacob, 2016). Prof. Changeux describes how the human brain behaves when making or contemplating a work of art. To make a long story short, he argues that the neural bases of aesthetic pleasure are the product of the link between cognitive and emotional brain functions, in other words, the harmony between reason and emotion. Moreover, he gives some tips on how artists can maximize the impact of their works on their audience.

Evolving in art is just a matter of faith; only believe!


We refrain from teaching painting techniques easily found on the Net. We prefer taking the necessary time (36 hours) to fully involve the participant in reflecting on her or his art — including all levels, all media […]
Rest assured that having attended one of our online classes, you will be more confident in taming the landscape in your own way while on a plein-air painting workshop.

Let Go! The Artist’s Way of Cooking

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Ten years ago, here in Tuscany, we decided to write a recipe book but with so many good cookbooks in the market, we needed to propose a new idea. We had to find a modus operandi close to who we are and what we do as visual artists. The answer was in front of us and painting gave it to us: art and color!

Travelling with meaning : a painting workshop in Italy


More and more travellers from the developed world are looking for meaningful travels. We are aiming for journeys that allow us to learn something new, to deepen our culture, to enhance our lives. Purpose, inspiration and self-discovery are now vital elements in our traveling choices. Probably, this is why our quality painting workshops offered since 1997, have become more and more popular.

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