2020 Oil Painting Workshop Details

We are delighted to have Paul McDonald Smith OAM leading this year’s oil painting workshops. Paul is a highly experienced and accomplished artist. Among his numerous memberships and roles, Paul is a long time member and past president of the prestigious Twenty Melbourne Painters Society. For eleven years Paul served as Chairman of the Bale Scholarship. He is a Fellow, past president and Honorary Life Member of the Victorian Artists Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts London. Paul has judged innumerable art prizes around Australia, frequently lectures and provides demonstrations, is an author and curator and an awarded artist himself. Influenced by the work of Sir William Dargie, Paul began painting in his early teens.

Paul will teach and lead oil painting workshops covering plein air in and around the gorgeous local village and surrounding area. And you’ll have opportunity to paint interiors, still life and portraits. There is, by design, flexibility in the workshops to best take advantage of the light and conditions.

About the Retreat

This is a boutique and intimate experience with a maximum up to 10 guests that allows optimal individual attention and teaching.

We have exclusive use of the private Villa San Rocco, set in a mountain village high above Bagni di Lucca. There you can participate in workshops in a relaxed and inspiring environment.

Who is this retreat for?

For anyone interested in representational oil painting. You have an excellent opportunity to hone existing skills or develop new skills under the guidance of a highly skilled artist.

Suitable for solo travellers or those travelling with a partner or friend.
Non-practicing guests are also very welcome and can join the group in some activities if they choose. There is plenty for non-practicing guests to do.


Eight Masterclasses with Paul McDonald Smith covering plein air oil painting workshops, interiors, still life and portraits.

Accommodation at the private and exclusive 17th century Villa San Rocco for the duration of the retreat. This Baroque era villa has been lovingly restored to retain authenticity while still providing modern conveniences.

Each bedroom has its own bathroom or en suite. All bedrooms are doubles and there are two twin rooms. Free and secure WiFi is available to guests. All linens are provided. There are laundry facilities available.


* Daily Italian style breakfast buffet
* Prepared lunches each day at the villa, except day/s off or day away at a
   different location
* Nightly dinners at the villa and local restaurants

Any special dietary requirements can readily be catered for. A fabulous local cook prepares meals using beautiful regional produce.

Off site plein air locations where Paul McDonald Smith will advise and support you in the representational approach to oil painting.

Transfers from and to Lucca train station on arrival and departure days.
Transport to other locations by car, minibus or train.

Itinerary Outline

* On arrival, settle in to your home for the next 12 days.  Get to know your
   fellow artists and the retreat team over welcome drinks and dinner.
* Each day will start with an Italian style buffet breakfast in the dining room.
* A three hour workshop in the morning
* Lunch at the villa – usually outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather at that 
   time of year
* Free afternoons. You can continue painting, relax at the villa, go
   for a walk and explore the gorgeous landscape and village, walk down the
   road and have a vino at the cafe, read, snooze…
* Dinner at the villa or at a local restaurant accompanied by stories galore;
   some true, some embellished!
* On the two days off, breakfast and dinner are provided however lunch is up
   to you as most people tend to go out for the day

Your Retreat Team

Paul McDonald Smith – Teaching artist
Jonny – Villa owner and host
Franca – Fabulous cook
Sana – Retreat organiser

Retreat details at a glance

Dates:  18 September to 29 September 2020
Duration:  12 days / 11 nights inclusive of arrival and departure days
Location:  Tuscany, Italy
Cost:  AUD$6,350

 Join Us!

Image: Paul McDonald Smith, “Souvenir of Italy – Sovicille“, oil on linen,
46 x 61cm.