What if you could spend a week in an inspiring Tuscan location alongside resident artists,

staying in perfectly appointed rooms and design-led shared spaces with vintage and custom furniture, eating locally grown foods and learning how to paint realistic flowers? This article in collaboration with Villa Lena proposes just such an opportunity this May, 2023.

Villa Lena is hosting a Flower-painting retreat with Tanvi Panthere, May 5-10, 2023

Villa Lena is a boutique agriturismo in the lesser-known area of Tuscany's Pisa province, whose art foundation offers artist residencies.

Villa Lena is nestled in a lesser-explored part of Tuscany, in the wild countryside near Pisa, and I’d define it as a design-hotel with an art foundation and artists in residence program.

This Spring, Florence-based classically-trained Tanvi Panthere is one of their residents and she will be leading a once-in-a-lifetime workshop. If you dream of improving your painting skills, or simply starting painting as a way to increase your creativity and open your mind, this may be the perfect opportunity.

Tanvi Panthere is a Principal Instructor at the Florence Academy of Art

A few questions for workshop teacher Tanvi Panthere

Tanvi, where are you from and how did you end up in Florence?

I’m from Mumbai, India, and I studied art to a bachelors degree there. When I became interested in the realist movement, I came to Florence to study at the prestigious Florence Academy of Art, and have remained on as Principal Instructor. In Italy I have the privilege of being represented by Saatchi, and I’ve got commissions and works in homes and galleries around the world.

Do you feel connected in any way to the female artists of the past for whom flower painting was one of the only options? In what way is this topic and technique a valid approach in the modern world?

When I first began to paint flowers I did not consider that it was a more female oriented subject matter. However, looking at the past I can see how this is true, after all only male artists were allowed in the academies, to study from the nude models. For me, flowers are a great source of inspiration, as they help you to study the amazing variety of design, texture, color and pattern in nature. Their fragile aspect almost adds to their allure: since their lives are short I find there is an urgency of capturing them in paint, attempting to make them immortal.

What is the most important piece of advice you give your students who want to paint flowers?

To study them, fall in love with them, meditate on their nuances, get lost in their world.

Is it possible to learn how to paint recognizable flowers if you do not have previous painting experience?

Absolutely! I will be beginning the workshop with a demo, and hence painters with all levels of experience are welcome. I will be alongside the students as they create their watercolors…

Irises by Tanvi Panthere

About the Flower painting retreat in Tuscany in May 2023

Villa Lena is hosting the Flower Painting Retreat with Tanvi Panthere from May 5 to 10, 2023.

If you can’t make it to this specific retreat, take a look on their website or write to them to find out if there will be future creative retreats with the right date or topic for you. Here’s a quick summary of what this retreat will be made up of – you can also see the official list described on the Villa Lena workshop page:

Five nights accommodation at the design agriturismo of Villa Lena

Full board: farm-to-table meals with seasonal specials

Four masterclasses on painting with Tanvi Panthere

Visits to the property’s cut flower garden full of heritage flowers from which you will compose your own bouquets to paint in watercolour

Wine tasting, olive oil tasting and pasta cooking class and tea and pastry sessions

Daily yoga classes and access to the pool and sprawling property of the agriturismo

Book the workshop!

About Villa Lena

The estate is located in the province of Pisa, secluded amongst 500 hectares of woodland, vineyards, olive groves and organic vegetable gardens. A 19th-century villa sits at the heart of the property, originally built for an Italian aristocratic family. It now houses the Villa Lena Foundation and artist-in-residence program.

I had the opportunity to visit Villa Lena in the Fall and it’s a really unique place, an interesting combination of hotel with all the services you want, art gallery, workshop space, restaurant and laid back atmosphere. I particularly love the fact that you can participate in workshops that fill your days, as well as visit the artists at work in their studios. When I was there, I did a collage workshop with one of the resident artists and I was really impressed with the result, which is actually on display in my home now!

If you’re a lover of design, you’ll enjoy all the details in the large lobby with numerous areas for activities like reading or playing billiards. There’s art left by residents over the year, as well as interesting prints for sale to support the Villa Lena Foundation. Food is also an important theme at Villa Lena, and I found the farm-to-table restaurant’s menu to be on-point, seasonal and ever-so-fresh.

Book with a special gift using the code VLarttrav

Villa Lena has asked me to propose this workshop as they know that readers of ArtTrav love both art and Tuscany.

Book the workshop!

If you book the workshop or any stay at Villa Lena using my code by clicking the link above, I’ll receive a small commission that helps support this website, and you’ll get special welcome gifts from Villa Lena including:

  • Complimentary gift set of Villa Lena sparking rosé and their extra virgin olive oil
  • Private tour of the Villa Lena Art Foundation
  • Free Early check-in and Late check-out upon availability

To be ensured these gifts, book ANY stay or workshop at Villa Lena in 2023 and enter the code VLarttrav in the booking engine.

If you have any trouble with your booking, feel free to write to them (email host@villa-lena.it) and please specify that you heard about them from me!

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