With Tom Benjamin

Dates for 2022 to be confirmed

Maximum group size: 7

A week of landscape painting in oils. Set on a hillside in the Emilia-Romagna with views across the Secchia river valley and framed by the Apennine mountains. Enjoy delicious cuisine and your own personal studio space in the former stables.

Working directly from the landscape is a very alive and exciting way of painting in oils. If you have painted outside before this will be a chance to improve and progress your skills if you are new to it this is a great way to get going. There will also be time to develop ideas in the studio for those who wish to.

This course gives you the opportunity to work directly in oils from the stunning scenery around Villa Lugara and learn some techniques specifically tailored for working en plein air from a very experienced artist and tutor. It is suitable for all levels of experience.

Your tutor Tom Benjamin has been painting for over thirty years. He is an experienced tutor teaching for West Dean College, Verrocchio Arts Centre and Arts in Provence for many years.

A painting of the nearby village of Valestra by Tom Benjamin


Tuition fee (GBP): £400 to be paid directly to Tom Benjamin.

Villa Lugara Fee (EUR): €996 – €1115 depending on room chosen (€825 to share a twin room). This is to be transferred by bank transfer or paypal to Villa Lugara in euros.

The fee includes:

  • Full board with local organic produce, including local wine and all your refreshments. Two lunches out are not included in the price

  • A personal studio space in the Stable Studios

  • Full use of Villa Lugara and the swimming pool

  • Minibus transfer from Bologna Airport on arrival and departure*

*Minibus transfer from Bologna Airport on arrival and departure for recommended flight only.

Course Description

The course will focus on painting in oils in front of the subject. We will combine working on one-off paintings made in a range of locations within a short drive of the studio with work made within walking distance of our base where there is a wealth of great subject matter. This will give you the chance to work on one or more paintings over a number of sessions.

Although there will be some sessions in villages the location of the studios and our painting locations will mostly be in the countryside. The landscape is varied with spectacular open views rivers and woods.

The studio space in a converted stable will provide each of you with your own separate bay. The course is suitable for all levels and there will be lots of one to one tuition as you are painting.

Travel Information

Fly to Bologna from where you will be collected by minibus. Group collection and drop off times will be arranged by email.

You can find more details on how to get here. For the more adventurous, you may want to allow time for a longer visit which could include the nearby cities of Modena, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Parma and Ferrara, Piacenza and Mantova, read more about the area here.

The Team

Tom Benjamin

Your tutor Tom Benjamin has been painting for over thirty years. He is an experienced tutor teaching for West Dean College, Verrocchio Arts Centre and Arts in Provence for many years.

Fiona Geilinger

 Running the villa and supporting the course is host Fiona Geilinger, an artist, short film maker, dancer and garden designer. She studied art by pupillage, with painter Nick Bodimeade and has an MA in Art and Design by Independent Project, University of Brighton. Find out more about Fiona’s work at  http://fionageilinger.co.uk.

Steve Geilinger

Helping out with driving and other odd jobs during the course will be Steve (Spike) Geilinger. He is a freelance director, working mainly for the BBC, making documentaries about fine art, architecture, history and food. Most recently he has been making the series ‘Britain’s Lost Masterpieces’ with Bendor Grosvenor for BBC Four.

Louise Davis

Louise Davis has been a chef for over 30 years, and will be preparing delicious meals for us. Her Mediterranean cooking style is based on local produce and the freshest fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden.


Reserve your place now by filling out the form below, or email us for more information. We will send you full course information, registration forms and payment details.

All the rooms are different and they are allocated on a first come first served basis. For the accommodation, once offered a room, you have three days in which to transfer the 20% non-returnable deposit (deposit would be refunded only if course cannot run).

The remaining payment of the Villa Lugara fee must be received by 5th April 2021.