Saturday, October 26, 2019

Come along to Croatia in 2020!

 Watercolor Sketching in Croatia
with Leslie Fehling
 10 days on the Island of Korcula
September 22 - October 1, 2020

For the tour website, click here.
Register for the workshop here.
Korcula town, with mainland Croatia in the distance across the water

Azure blue water, majestic mountains, and charming seaside villages all await you on this sketching trip to Croatia, a country of stunning beauty and rich cultural history. For ten long, relaxing days, we’ll visit pristine natural areas, beautiful sandy beaches, and medieval towns, recording it all on the pages of your own illustrated travel journal.

The color of the water in Croatia is AMAZING!

Croatia is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in Europe, and it’s easy to see why: the people are friendly, the food is fresh and local, the wine is world-class, and the architecture and scenery are spectacular, offering limitless subject matter for artists.

The water is so clear, it almost looks like the boats are floating in the air!

When you travel as an artist, rather than just a tourist, it changes what you see and how you experience a place. You’ll begin to notice details, marvel at light and shadows, and see possibilities for compositions everywhere.

7-1/2" x 7-1/2" sketch of a scene in Orebic by Leslie Fehling

Instead of snapping a photo and quickly moving on, you’ll take the time to soak up your surroundings as you sketch what resonates with you. And when you return home, you’ll open up that sketchbook, and the memories will come flooding in. 

7-1/2" x 7-1/2" sketch by Leslie Fehling

You’ll remember the warm sun on your shoulders, the vivid colors of boats bobbing in the water, the fresh smell of sea air...

Sketchers on the tiny island of Vrnik

the quiet murmurs of your painting companions and a red geranium on a whitewashed windowsill.

From the time we step off the plane, we’ll be in the best of hands with our tour guide, Lynda Milina, whose family has lived in Croatia for generations. All the details will be taken care of for us, leaving us free to focus on painting and relaxing. It’s the best way to travel!

Student sketching in Racisce

We’ll be picked up at the airport in Dubrovnik on September 21 (the day before the tour begins) and taken to our lodging, then we’ll share a welcome dinner, giving us a chance to get acquainted and learn more about what to expect in the coming days.


The next morning, we’ll enjoy a tour of Dubrovnik and learn about the complex history of this stunning city, know as “The Pearl of the Adriatic”.

After the tour, we’ll have lunch then drive along the Dalmation Coast to Orebic, where we’ll board a car ferry to the Island of Korcula. We’ll be staying at the Lovric Pension in Lumbarda where many of the rooms have balconies and sea views (book early for the best selection!)

Lovric Pension in Lumbarda on Korcula island

The hotel is a mere 50 yards from the sea, and it’s just a short walk to the downtown area. The rooms at the family-run Lovric are bright, clean, and comfortable, and there’s even a winery on site!

Balcony at the Lovric

Lumbarda is a small port on the eastern part of the island of Korcula. 

15" x 7-1/2" sketch of Lumbarda by Leslie Fehling

It’s known for its local wine called Grk, so you can expect to see picturesque vineyards, as well as beautiful shorelines, a bustling harbor, hiking trails, cafes, and wineries. (A wine tasting is included in the tour package.) There will be plenty to do during our down time there! We've even included one day during the tour that's completely unscheduled, to give all of us a chance to do whatever our hearts desire. Go for a hike, take an island tour on the boat taxi, sit in a cafe and sip a cappuccino, or paint for hours in a location that's been calling to you. You'll have the luxury of time to do what you please...or do nothing at all!

Boat in Lumbarda harbor

During our nine days on Korcula, we’ll start each morning with breakfast at the Lovric, then head out to explore different parts of the island. This part of Croatia is unique in its beauty, and the opportunities for artistic subject matter are everywhere - in old stone buildings...

A cool wall in Korcula town

15" x 7-1/2" sketch of the frame wall in Korcula by Leslie Fehling

and sturdy city walls, 

in shady streets filled with flowers...

and in quiet coves with aquamarine water.

Mornings will find us visiting scenic areas such as Racisce, Zrnovo, Vrnik, the city of Korcula, Orebic and the Peliesac Peninsula. We’ll draw and paint for a few hours in these beautiful locations then take a break for a picnic lunch.

7-1/2" x 7-1/2" sketch by Leslie Fehling

Afternoons will be spent in a variety of ways: sketching, watching a painting demo on location, going on a walking tour of a village, visiting a monastery, watching a jewelry-making demonstration, and enjoying wine-tasting at a local winery.

When we return to our lodging later in the afternoon, there will be time to relax before the evening meal.
Chilling out on the island of Vrnik

These will be full days, but not frantically busy ones. We won’t be rushing from one place to the next, trying to squeeze in everything in the guidebook. 

Sketching boats in Racisce

This tour offers a slower pace of travel, with plenty of plein air sketching time, making this a trip where you actually will have time to create that travel journal you’ve been dreaming of for years.

7-1/2" x 7-1/2" sketch by Leslie Fehling

All meals are included on this tour. Breakfasts and dinners will be served in the restaurant which is attached to the Lovric, while most of our lunches will be on location when we’re out and about. The food will be fresh, local, and absolutely delicious! (For a few of the lunches, you'll have the option to eat on your own in a restaurant, but a bag lunch will always be provided, if you prefer.)

Evenings are yours to do whatever you like. You might want to take a walk along the beach with a friend…

go for a swim…

Some of the participants swam daily during my 2019 Croatia tour

or have a glass of wine and get to know your fellow artists.

Wine tasting in Lumbarda

7-1/2" x 7-1/2" sketch by Leslie Fehling

One evening during our stay, you'll have the opportunity to see a traditional sword dance performed in Old Town Korcula. (This is an optional activity.)

Sword dance

At the end of the tour, on day 10, we'll head back to the Dubrovnik area, with a stop for lunch on the way in the little village of Ston, famous for its amazing 14th century stone city walls. We’ll have time to explore the town for a while (and maybe squeeze in one last sketch) before driving to the quaint coastal town of Cavtat, where we will enjoy our last dinner together before flying home the next day.

The gorgeous harbor in Cavtat


Now, let’s talk about the art portion of the trip…

2019 participant with her sketch from the village of Zrnovo

My teaching will focus on illustrated watercolor journaling and how to create a colorful, varied, and personal record of your experiences on the trip.

7-1/2" x 7-1/2" sketch of a scene on the island of Vrnik by Leslie Fehling

You'll learn how to design dynamic pages with unique layouts, borders, and hand-lettering styles, and I’ll offer daily demonstrations of techniques for painting the subject matter you’ll encounter each day, everything from a village street scene to an easy technique for painting sparkling water.

7-1/2" x 7-1/2" sketch of a street on Dubrovnik by Leslie Fehling

Each day I’ll suggest new ideas for filling the pages of your travel journal…one day you’ll give a theme page a try, while the next you might pre-paint a page with a layer of color then draw a sketch over it. And have you ever heard of a flow sketch? It’s a great way to condense an entire day onto one sketchbook page. We’ll try all these ideas and more during our time together.

8" x 6" sketch by Leslie Fehling

Each painter will receive a spiral-bound handbook containing all of the information covered in the workshop. It’s filled with great ideas for designing beautiful journal pages, and it includes a section of helpful step-by-step painting instructions showing you how to paint the textures, colors, and beauty of Croatia.

The handout ensures that you can relax during the workshop, knowing that even if you can’t absorb everything during the week, you’ll have complete information that you can refer to later on and use to paint subjects closer to home, too.
With my enthusiastic support, encouragement, and assistance, even if you're a beginning watercolorist, you'll surprise yourself with what you can do! 

Sketchers from my 2019 trip to Korcula

Note: We won't have a painting studio on this tour, so most of our sketching will be on location outdoors. My classes and demos will primarily be onsite, but I will also offer a few teaching sessions in my apartment. You can spend extra time in your accommodations working on finishing up sketches you began on location, and I am always available for consultation. In the event of bad weather, we have the option of using a covered patio at the Lovric Pension for our classroom.

To read about how I handle the art portion of the tour during a typical day, click here.

This fun sketch was done prior to my 2019 trip to learn a little bit about the country

We're going to have an amazing time together as we immerse ourselves in all that Korcula has to offer. Painting, touring, shopping, eating, relaxing --- we'll have time for it all with this perfectly organized 10-day small-group tour. 

A morning walk by the Adriatic is a great way to start your day on this tour

So, if you'd like to improve your painting skills, learn more about keeping a travel sketchbook, and have more fun than you can imagine exploring the unspoiled island of Korcula, I hope you'll join me for this “Watercolor Sketching in Croatia” workshop. 


Register today to reserve your place:
A $300 deposit is all that’s required. Register here. 

Cost for the 10-day all-inclusive program:
Tour Cost: $3100 + single supplement fee (most people will pay this if you are not traveling with a spouse/partner)
Non-painting partners: $2900
Single Supplement Fee: $200 Full payment due: July 8, 2019
Deposit to reserve your spot: $300 (non-refundable unless tour is cancelled by Slikamilina)
*Painters have priority, but non-artist partners (shared accommodations only)
are welcome to come and enjoy the island at their own pace.
This workshop is being arranged through Slikamilina Painting Tours, who will handle all booking arrangements. (Please read the GeneralConditions.)

Lynda Milina, tour operator. Email

Tour price includes:
• Transfer from airport to Cavtat on arrival
• Accommodation the night before the tour starts
• Dinner the night before the tour starts
• Transportation to/from Dubrovnik
• Transportation to/from daily excursions
• All meals, gratuities associated with restaurant meals, accommodations and instruction

Not included:
• Travel to Dubrovnik, Croatia, from home country
• Transfer to Dubrovnik airport on your departure date.
• Any airport arrival/departure tax
• Travel and/or medical insurance
• Painting materials and equipment
• Gratuities for service
• Any other cost incurred outside the workshop itinerary

More information:
Read an overview of my 2019 Croatia workshop here

Read about Leslie here.
Read about the tour operator, Lynda Milina, here.
Why choose to travel abroad with Slikamilina? Here.
Register here.
Email Leslie or Lynda Milina, tour director

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sketches from Croatia - Part 4 - The Island of Korcula

Most of our time during my Croatia workshop was spent on the island of Korcula, which lies just off the mainland, about a two hour drive from Dubrovnik. Our home base was the small town of Lumbarda, and it was nice to be able to settle in for eight days without having to change locations. The first morning, we took a walk through town to a spot where we had a beautiful view of the bay.

14" x 7", ink & watercolor on 140 lb. Kilimanjaro watercolor paper

I often gravitate toward painting the big picture when I'm on a trip (there's just so much I want to remember!) and this time was no exception. I decided to sketch the whole panorama spread out before me, complete with a beach, sailboat masts, and the peninsula of land where my apartment in the Lovric guest house sat on top of the hill.

The people I drew were teeny tiny, so it was nearly impossible to be accurate or include any detail, but at least they add some life to the sketch and help to tell the story of my first day on the island. I love the sparkling water and bright colors in this sketch. They hardly begin to describe the actual color of that water, though - it was amazing!!!

The next day we took an excursion to Korcula town where I taught a lesson in front of St. Mark's cathedral, encouraging my students to incorporate motifs from the stonework on the church and other nearby buildings into their sketches. I chose to draw the Marco Polo Tower, which is part of a house rumored to be the birthplace of the famous explorer. The borders on the page were inspired by stone columns and medallions on St. Mark's, combining two interesting Korcula sites into one sketch.

7" x 7", ink and watercolor on 140 lb. Kilimanjaro watercolor paper

We returned to Korcula again later in the week and I found myself with some free time in the afternooon, so, rather than shop or sit with friends at a sidewalk cafe, I wandered back to one of my favorite spots....

and settled in to sketch. There was a comfy cushioned chair just waiting for me in the perfect spot, where I had a view of this quirky wall of frames filled with random objects. I felt happy and carefree as I sketched, dashing lines onto the page quickly, intentionally making things casual and crooked, not worrying about perfection, just having FUN!

14" x 7", ink and watercolor on 140 lb. Kilimanjaro watercolor paper

As I sketched, I wondered about the person who created this wall. What was their motivation for expending so much time and effort on it, purely for the enjoyment of people passing by? I wish I could thank them for the pleasure it gave me that day.

The painting was almost finished by the time I packed up my kit an hour and a half later and headed off to meet the group for our ride back to Lumbarda. All it needed was some additional spattering on the stone wall behind the frames.

With all these sketches, I felt free to change elements of the scene to suit me, rather than painting exactly what was in front of me. When I was a beginning sketcher, I always tried to faithfully copy exactly what I saw in front of me. It took years of sketching for me to realize that, as the artist, I could move things around, change or exaggerate colors, eliminate objects from a scene, or add whatever I felt the sketch needed to make it successful. Now, I try to retain the essence of a place while putting my own spin on it. Without the spin, I might as well just print out the photograph I took that day. A sketch can bring out the best in a place and speak volumes about the artist who created it.

For more information about my Croatia workshops, check out the following links:
     Click here to read about my 2019 Croatia workshop.
     Click here for information about my 2020 Croatia workshop tour.
     Click here to register for Croatia 2020.

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