Palladian Odyssey 2019: Second Umbrian Tour

May 24, 2019 | Leave your thoughts

It’s hard to believe that after all our planning that the 2019 Palladian Odyssey Tours in Umbria are finished. The second tour was as incredible as the first one, despite extremely challenging weather conditions (more about that shortly!)

My biggest thought a few days after the second tour finished is that the most important part of the PO Tours is the people that are brought together during the week long workshop. Mike Botton and I spend a lot of time putting together the tour – thinking about locations, accommodation, transportation, schedules, activities, sketching lessons and of course food. But the real magic comes from the group that we get to hang out with for the week. We have always had incredible groups and have formed many strong friendships as a result. 19 out of the 24 participants for these two Umbrian Tours were repeat participants so it was like a reunion of friends, with a few new people added to the PO family! No adequate words to describe how much I love these people and what an honour it is to become part of their creative journey!

Here is a summary of Umbria Tour 2. It’s another long article and it’s surprising how different it was at times from the week before!


Welcome lunch – warmup drawing and then a fun session mixing watercolour.

First night dinner at the amazing L’Antica Osteria – I sketched it this week!


Assisi on the coldest May day since 1957! It was freezing!

This is my quick demo trying to shelter from the bitter wind!

Valentina – our lovely guide for the week.

Although we were freezing I decided to do a quick demo.

Surprisingly I felt warm while I was doing this sketch.

Then it started to rain…

and I turned around and every one in the group was sketching. Wow! so impressed – such a hardy lot.


The next day it was still freezing (8-12C with strong wind) so I tried to find a new location which was slightly warmer for the measuring exercise. Do they look cold?

After a warm coffee or hot chocolate in Aries Cafe, we sat in the piazza (my outdoor classroom) to do some value studies.

Everyone did a great job – especially as the sun disappeared as soon as I finished my demo!

The Montone card players!

Landscape session: Sheltering from the wind sitting against a wall.

Most people were still smiling and having fun despite the extreme conditions.

BTW I did not expect everyone to have a go but they were all so keen and dedicated!

Great work everyone!

After the landscape workshop, I warmed up inside the cafe (eating gelato!) and then headed outside to do a sketch ‘just for me’ of the Post Office.It was cold and I was happy to have a new pair of gloves. Between the two groups we cleared out Carla’s supply of gloves! Carla is one of the lovely Montone locals who became our friend!

Walking up the hill (a big part of every day!) to go to dinner. Look at those sketchbooks on the table!


Gubbio… sun! And it was actually warm. Wow! Jane from Ireland was in short sleeves and sandals.

Teaching a workshop on one-point perspective and placing people in space.

My lovely assistants – Mike (near), Jane (middle) and Phoebe (at the doorway). Something special happened during this sketching session but I will share it separately.

After lunch we had another great tour!

I skipped going inside the palazzo so I could do a 20 minute loose sketch of the building.

Another fascinating tour of the paper museum in Fabriano!

A busy morning doing a demo of starting with the darks and then some texture exploration.

Lunch in the sun! It actually got too hot.

A special thankyou to Andy from England but now lives in Montone (left) who helped with lunch both weeks (Mike was out of town on the Montone days with the Plus Ones). He who made the best salads! The cafe only serves pizzas and sandwiches, so it was a big deal to offer salads to us. I love this photo as it records what was happening as soon as our lunch was over – ‘Super Andy’ and the cafe owners sat down to eat salad.

Here is my sketch of lunch.

Roofscapes  session!

Great results!

Then at 4pm Mike drove us to the hill opposite the town to sketch. I gave a little guidance at the beginning but it was a free sketching session.

Such a fun group – we were always laughing!

More amazing results!

Here is mine!

Early dinner and the sweetest chef in Montone – at Erba Luna.

After dinner we had a special event after dinner organised by Mike – a private concert by the local Aries Wind Quintet. (Note: We had this week 1 as wel, but I wanted to keep it as a surprise for tour 2.)

One of my sketches (I sketched through the whole concert!)

So much fun to sketch them and it was a great performance!


Final morning – working on sketchbook composition (cold and wet again so we were inside)


Lunch and tour of Blasi winery.

After lunch I had one-on-one sessions with everyone in Aries Cafe. At one point I looked up and there was Debbie from LA! She and husband were in the area and decided to pop into Montone. She sketched me doing one of my reviews – thanks Debbie.

My sketch of the final dinner!


WOW! what a week! (and what an epic blog article, hey?)


The group departed on Sunday, and after my usual day of rest and worship, I left Montone on Monday morning. This was some of the sketches I did during my final 2 hours in town.

Final view of the valley! Farewell Montone… I hope to return next year.

A huge thanks to everyone who came on the Umbrian tours this year – both were amazingly special weeks which I will remember always.

If you are interesting in joining us next year… We will be announcing dates for 2020 Palladian Odyssey Tours soon. Please join the mailing list for first notification.


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