With Tom Benjamin

03.09.22 – 10.09.22

Maximum group size: 9

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.

See Tom Benjamin’s bio in the ‘Team’ section below.


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

Villa Lugara Fee (EUR): €850 to €1075 depending on room chosen (€795 to share a twin room). 

The fee includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation at the beautifully restored Villa Lugara.

  • Full board with food from chef Louise Davis; Mediterranean cuisine with local organic produce, local wine and all your refreshments. Two lunches out are not included in the price

  • A personal studio space in the Stable Studios.

  • Large, shared, additional painting studio.

  • Full use of Villa Lugara and the swimming pool.

  • One transfer opportunity, by car, from Bologna Airport on arrival and departure. See travel information below.

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

Make your own way to Bologna airport from where you will be collected by car. One group collection and drop off time will be arranged by email.

If you would like to fly via another airport, or travel by train and meet us at Bologna airport, you can find more details on our how to get here page.

You may want to allow time for a longer visit which could include the nearby cities of Modena, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Parma, Ferrara, Piacenza and Mantova. Read more about the area at villalugara.com/about-emilia-romagna.

The Team

Tom Benjamin

Your tutor Tom Benjamin has been painting for over thirty years. He paints outside in front of his subjects. He is an experienced senior tutor at West Dean College, as well as teaching at the Verrocchio Arts Centre and Arts in Provence for many years. He exhibits widely and is a member of the NEAC ( New English Art Club).

Fiona Geilinger

Running the villa and supporting the course is host, artist, Fiona Geilinger. 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 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.

How to Book

First get in touch with the tutor Tom Benjamin to check your suitability for the course at tombenjamin@hotmail.co.uk. Tom will also explain the arrangements for paying the tuition fee.

We will then send you a link to book your room at Villa Lugara via our booking portal. The course is booked on a first come first serve basis and you can reserve your place with a 20% deposit. The remaining 80% must be received by 3rd July 2022 to retain your place.

If you have any queries about your stay at Villa Lugara contact us here.