Studio One – Big Sur is the online home of Erin Lee Gafill and Tom Birmingham. Together we produce original artwork and provide inspirational instruction in person and online.
See Italy as an Artist – September – October, 2019
Session One – September 22 – October 4 – Awaken the Artist Within
5 nights Venice | 7 nights Spannocchia
Session Two – October 4 – 16 – The Art of Now
7 nights Spannocchia | 4 nights Orvieto
Find Out More!
Take your time. Get to know Venice. Don’t stand in line at the Duomo. Instead, join us to discover the hidden treasures tucked in less visited corners of this beautiful city.
Each day will include a visit to a unique Venetian neighborhood, sketch and watercolor instruction, and free time to explore the city. Breakfast and one restaurant meal is included daily, leaving you free for one meal on your own.
Venice is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but it is easy to become overwhelmed by the crowds, the hustle, and the bustle. We do everything we can to minimize the stress and show you a side of Venice that few get to see.
There is nowhere in the world we’ve found like Spannocchia. This agro-turismo retreat center is located 10 miles from Siena. The main building is a 15th century villa attached to a 12th century tower. The property has miles of walking on roads and trails. We’ll have our own studio for daily arts instruction. Spannocchia will offer three meals a day, family style all prepared in the simple Tuscan style with locally sourced ingredients.
Our days at Spannocchia will start with a morning walk and include free writing time, sketch and watercolor instruction, A Taste of Tuscany; local food and wine pairing, yoga and photography.
During our week we’ll take two day trips, one to visit several local wineries, and one to a local spa, where we’ll enjoy a hot soak.
Session One includes seven days at Spannocchia. Session Two includes eight.
This Medieval Hill Town is, in our opinion, simply sublime.
Cobblestone streets leading through arches, ancient buildings catching the setting sun, atmospheric vistas of the Umbrian valleys far below, and the extraordinary Duomo some say rivals Siena’s.
In Orvieto we ate the best meal we’ve ever eaten in Italy, and that’s saying something. We found views that proclaimed “siamo qui!” from the rooftops, with turreted towers silhouetted against gauzy drop-dead gorgeous views, medieval architecture, Renaissance sculpture, artisanal shops carrying on Italy’s legacy of fine hand work, and artwork of the past and the present to inspire.
Orvieto is an artist’s paradise, inspiring and yet tranquil, a respite from the hustle bustle of nearby Rome and Florence. Here you feel time drop away, sinking into the deep pleasure of Italian culture, art, tradition, food and wine. Stop in any bar or cafe for a cappuccino or aperitif and savor the moment, taking time to observe the slower pace of life here, sketching the local scene in a place that welcomes its visiting artists with open arms.
Erin Lee Gafill & Tom Birmingham are artists living and working in Big Sur, California. Together they create original work and produce classes, workshop, educational travel and online lessons to inspire a life in the arts.
I arrived in Concord early in the afternoon. The weather was pleasant, no snow, no rain. How did we find things before google and craigslist, I really can’t remember. That day I was looking for a place to stay for a few days and a place to work to make a few bucks. I had …
The Awaken the Artsist Within Tour starts in Venice on September 29 and ends in Florence on October 12th. If you are only joining us for the week at Spannocchia, participants will meet us in Florence on October 4th, but still depart on October 12th. Here are the things I think about when making my …
When March arrives, most of the country begins to sprout and blossom. This is not so true in the North Country. By mid-March, the hills are still covered in several feet of snow, and there might still be a few blizzards before spring. During my years in New Hampshire, I found that at that point, …
Erin Lee Gafill and Tom Birmingham live and work in Big Sur, California. Contact us if you would like to visit.