Prospectus: ‘Painting Venetian Light’, 2017

Painting Venetian light in watercolour with Cecil Rice

Morning gold, The Grand Canal, Venice by Cecil Rice
Morning gold, The Grand Canal, Venice
by Cecil Rice

Testimonials & images of this recent course can be seen here >>>

Prospectus for Workshop in June 2017

cecil-riceCecil Rice is a British artist living and working in the UK. He has been painting in watercolours and oils for over thirty years and represented by UK art galleries since 1985. Cecil exhibits regularly in the UK at galleries in London and the South of England but also further afield. Exhibitions have included solo shows in Cork Street, London, Red Dot Gallery, Wandsworth and Holt and many group and mixed exhibitions, too numerous to list.

His subjects include the city of Venice, Mediterranean light and landscape, the sea and shoreline of his home town, Brighton, London, Italian cities such as Florence and Rome, Tuscan landscape, Egypt, Morocco and Amsterdam.

Cecil’s focus as an artist is on portraying light and atmosphere through subtle use of colour whilst underpinning his paintings with well-planned composition, mainly achieved through drawing. He often draws and paints out of doors, on location, because this discipline supports and informs his studio-based work and helps him to capture the life of his subjects. He develops his subjects further in the studio, taking certain liberties with the flow and intensity of colour and honing his compositions.
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Course overview

Morning gold, The Grand Canal, Venice by Cecil Rice
Morning gold, The Grand Canal, Venice
by Cecil Rice

Venice is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring places for an artist to paint. The sheer spectacle of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, floating like a dream on the blue Adriatic attracts hundreds of atists each year to paint. There are simply so many paintings waiting to be done! Whether found in the intimate mystery of forgotten backwaters with their little bridges and silent moorings, or the Romaesque domes of San Marco, or in the mesmerising sunlight sparkling across the open lagoon, Venice provides inexhaustible inspiration.

In this watercolour workshop I will share many of my own discoveries about how to paint the light, architecture and water here. I have developed my own style and approach to painting Venice over the decades and along this route have learned much from artists such as Turner and Monet. We will explore subjects by sketching on a small scale in colour and then by painting larger, more developed watercolour paintings.

Sunlight over The Salute, Venice by Cecil Rice
Sunlight over The Salute, Venice
by Cecil Rice

Working, particularly sketching out of doors, is a great way to prepare for this workshop and is certainly encouraged either before or after the workshop. During the five-day workshop we will have a beautiful space at our disposal on the Giudecca, allowing us to spread out and also develop various techniques that are impractical en plein air. It may not be common knowledge but even Turner did most of his actual colouring indoors!

Workshop timetable

Language: English

Timetable Tuesday 6th, June
Meet at 9.30 for brief welcome meeting followed by morning walkabout accompanied by Cecil Rice dedicated to sketching as a ‘warming up activity’ in preparation for the workshop session later in the day.
Lunch approx.13.00 – 14.00 hrs to be taken at the studio (included)
Afternoon tutored session (with short refreshments break)
Evening free for personal pursuits.

Timetable Wednesday 7th, June
Morning tutored session 10.00 – 12.30 hrs (with short refreshments break)
Lunch 12.30 – 13.30 hrs to be taken at the studio (included)
Afternoon tutored session 13.30 – 16.30 hrs (with short refreshments break)
Evening free for personal pursuits.

Timetable Thursday 8th, June
Morning approx. 10.00 – 12.00 hrs included entrance to Peggy Guggenheim museum and gallery
Lunch 12.30 – 13.30 hrs typical Venetian snack lunch with cicchetti and Prosecco (included)
Afternoon free for personal pursuits. Studio available 13.30 – 16.30 hrs for quiet time for those who prefer to sketch or paint.
Evening free for personal pursuits.

Timetable Friday 9th, June
Painting/sketching outing to Burano approx. 10.00 – 12.30 hrs accompanied by Cecil Rice. Don’t forget to take your public transport ticket with you!
Lunch 12.30 – 13.30 hrs (included)
The afternoon will be conducted at the discretion of Cecil according to what work has been achieved during the morning. This decision might involve extension of time in Burano, or a return to the studio for the development of material collected during the morning session.
Evening free for personal pursuits.

Timetable Saturday 10th, June
Morning tutored session 10.00 – 12.30 hrs (with short refreshments break)
Lunch 12.30 – 13.30 hrs to be taken at the studio (included)
Afternoon tutored session 13.30 – 16.30 hrs (with short refreshments break)
Farewell pizza party at local restaurant (included)

NB.The timetable is to be considered as an indication only of the workshop programme. It may be necessary to change our plans according to the weather in order to fit in the proposed external excursions for painting ‘en plein air’. Any changes deemed necessary will not make any difference to the hours of tutoring included.

Course fee:

Full course €430.00 (approx.£365)
5% discount for all those who have attended previous workshops in any category with Creative Retreats in Italy.

The course will be conducted in English and will run with a minimum of 10 participants, maximum 15. DO NOT book flights or accommodation until you have confirmation that the minimum number of attendees has been reached.

The following ARE included in the fee:
Half-day tutored local sketching tour conducted by Cecil Rice.
Half-day tutored sketching tour in Burano conducted by Cecil Rice.
Four days’ tuition with Cecil Rice (including ‘en plein air’ sessions)
Entrance ticket to Peggy Guggenheim museum
Typical stand-up Venetian snacks and Prosecco lunch following Guggenheim visit
Use of studio workshop location
Refreshments for morning & afternoon breaks during studio sessions
Light lunches on all 5 days (eg. ‘al fresco’ cold cuts, salads and cheeses, wine etc. or a typical pasta dish and salad)
Farewell pizza meal on last day
Lunches will be consumed in the company of the course group
Use of some materials such as masking tape, water receptacles, working board for studio sessions.
Welcome pack with course details and local map and list of suggested materials.

The following are NOT included in the fee:

Your essential painting and sketching kit. There is a list of kit recommendations here on the web site if you are unsure as to what to bring along with you. There are a few shops selling artists’ materials in town, though there is no guarantee that they will stock the brands or qualities in the recommended kit list.

Your accommodation. You are responsible for finding and booking your own accommodation. There are a good number of hotels and self-catering apartments in the location area. You may wish to book for a longer period, perhaps bringing friends or members of your family along too. This choice is yours entirely. Take a look at for instance to check out availability. More accommodation and travel details available on ‘Getting there, Staying there, Moving around there’

Your flights/travel to and from Venice. There are several companies which fly to Venice Marco Polo airport. The airport at Treviso is also within reasonable travelling distance as an alternative. Companies that come to the area include British Airways, Ryanair and Easyjet. You might like to check out availability with Travel Zoo – a UK based travel portal which regularly lists special offers in the area. The venue location is very close to direct public transport links to the rail station, bus terminal and parking areas.

Travel within the city of Venice
. Depending on how long you decide to stay, you might like to get yourself a travel card for a few days. These cards give you unlimited travel on all the local public transport.

Meals and refreshments which are not included in the course fee as listed above.

Personal and travel insurance.

Visit for travel and accommodation tips: ‘Getting there, Staying there, Moving around there’


The course will be held on the world-famous island of Giudecca – home to some of the most luxurious hotels in Venice, including the Hilton and the Hotel Cipriani. A spot which has become an important area for the arts in recent years, where numerous artists have set up a home or studio to enjoy its Bohemian atmosphere.

Giudecca is an extremely convenient location thanks to the direct public transport lines which connect it to the train terminal, the coach terminal and to Tronchetto, an island dedicated to vast parking areas for those who visit the city by car. Just 300 yards across the Giudecca Canal is the Zattere, a very popular leisure area – and a couple of hundred yards further on is the Grand Canal crossed by the Academy Bridge. A short 10 minute boat ride or 20 minute walk and you will be at St.Mark’s Square, surrounded by all the tourist attractions for which the city is famous.

Payment & registration:

Please register your interest in the course by completing the § dedicated form online at the very earliest opportunity. Your registration date will be the deciding factor for your eligibility to participate should the number of requests exceed the number of places available on the course.

*Deposit of €180.00 (Euros) to be paid via Paypal at the time of registration.
Balance to be paid in cash upon arrival in Venice or by effecting a second payment using the appropriate option in the dropdown list below.*

Please select a payment option from the dropdown list

Paypal accepts many of the major credit cards for payment through their secure payment gateway. It is therefore not necessary to have a Paypal account.

* Your deposit will be refunded in full if an insufficient number of participants registers for the course. DO NOT make transport or accommodation arrangements until you receive confirmation that the workshop numbers are sufficient.


Creative Retreats in Italy reserves the right to choose the venue according to the number of attendees.This decision would be made in the best interests of the participants in order to offer a more suitable environment for the chosen activity should the original venue fall short of our requirements.