Palladian Odyssey Tour 2019: Veneto Tour 2

June 17, 2019 | Leave your thoughts

The second Palladian Odyssey Veneto Tour finished a few days ago but I’m still buzzing as a result. Rather than feeling totally exhausted at the end, I’m actually quite energised mentally as a result of a very special tour.

This group was extremely interested in the history of the region and the significance and brilliance of Palladio. We had lots of amazing discussions over lunch and dinner.  Chris, one of our ‘Plus-ones’ carried James Ackerman’s book “Palladio” everywhere and we had chats about proportions and musical intervals. I spent more time reading Palladio’s Four Books and as a result have come up with some new killer tips for sketching classical architecture!

At the end of the tour a good number of the group admitted that they had fallen in love with Palladio and that this has changed the way they see buildings.

I’m more and more amazed by how innovative and clever he was, and how much he has impacted the built environment we take for granted.

But Palladio is only one part of the fabulous week.

We also had a lot of fun developing our sketching skills and this group was interested in being accurate as a whole. But on the other hand many of them bought (from me) a Rosemary Dagger brush (Series 772, 1/2 inch) and are now hooked one looser watercolour work!

After all the cool and wet weather during May, summer suddenly hit so this week we had normal Italian June weather. So it was nice to finally put away my warm clothing.

It was such a lovely group and once again I just loved seeing everyone’s development during the week. Thanks for being such a great bunch to teach – missing you all.

Okay, let’s get going with the summary. Enjoy!


A quick sketch of Palladio’s Basilica during my usual meeting with Mike to refine the programme for the week.

I took Mike to Giancarlo, an amazing local printmaker (more about him here) and we discussed some options for an add-on printmaking workshop as part of next year’s Veneto tour.

Start of Tour 2 – sitting in the garden sketching wooden chickens and doing some warmup exercises of edges, volumes and shapes.

Pizza for dinner – and my fifth direct watercolour sketch.

I also sketched my dessert this time (which I shared with Chris and Tina) thanks to a few iphone torches.



We started the day with a lovely breakfast in the gorgeous kitchen of our farm-stay Ca De Memi – I love this place a lot!

A visit to Ca Marcello and another great tour by Count Jacopo. Here is my crazy quick sketch done during the few minutes we were outside.

Amazing work from the first architecture workshop.

Lovely lunch in the garden!

Wonderful garden tour by the Count – he always says slightly different things so its interesting every time for me.

I did some watercolour sketching during the tour and finally have my own version of the gorgeous dovecote. This afternoon in the grounds of Ca Marcello is definitely a highlight of the tour!

I did a demo of a field full of long grass and then as soon as I was finished it was cut down. Roaming the garden trying to find all the sketchers (tough job I know!)

Late afternoon special visit to the grounds of Villa Cornaro.

I did two sketches – this is my second one.


Back at Villa Barbaro – thankful that we could sit outside this week.

While everyone was busy doing their measured drawing of the villa, I managed a paint-only sketch of the Tempietto. This sketch only took a few minutes!

While Monica started her guided tour of the villa, I did this loose sketch of one of the dovecotes. Paint first and lines with my Sailor fude pen.

I didn’t go inside while Monica gave her tour, so I was able to do another sketch.

And then it was time for lunch. I had promised Giulio, our fun host, that I would try and sketch his amazing platters of cheese and ham. It was a bit crazy, but I did manage it this week.

A lovely afternoon in Asolo with the group choosing their own subject matter.

This was my quick demo which started the session.

Stunning view from dinner…

And this was my attempt at sketching the view – the conversation was too interesting for me to finish it.


Villa Emo – the perfect villa – here is my quick sketch during Monica’s tour.

We then had a fun workshop on perspective – I did a staged demo so that everyone was able to work along with me.

After another lovely lunch at a riverside restaurant in Bassano del Grappa we all sketched the view.

Here is part of my demo.

The final sketch.

The impressive collection of sketches done by the group.


Back in Vicenza, I sketched once again during Monica’s tour and once again we referred to Palladio’s Four Books as we were looking at his buildings.

Due to a festival in the main piazza we sketched a different building from last week. This is an unfinished palazzo.

What a great setting for a workshop, hey?

And another impressive collection of sketches.

In the afternoon I run one-on-one sessions with everyone in the group. I really really love this part of the programme as it’s a chance to review everyone’s body of work from the week as a whole  and suggest some ideas of what to work on for each person.

Before dinner we then had a group show and tell in the new renovated hotel lobby. It was great for everyone to share all their sketches. Very special!

And then we had our final dinner in the piazza overlooking the Basilica – gorgeous evening.

Another amazing tour – thanks so much to everyone who was part of it. You all did such amazing work and it was fun to share my ideas about sketching, my dagger brush tips and my love of Palladio with you.

And finally a huge huge thank you to Mike Botton for his incredible work as tour director. It’s such a pleasure to work with him on these special sketching tours. Thanks Mike! Without you these trips would never happen.

We will be announcing the 2020 Palladian Odyssey Tours soon. If you are interested in joining us next year please signup for our newsletter here.


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