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Island Girl Art Studio goes to Florence: November 2024

  Come spend a magical week with me in the birthplace of the Renaissance.
This city is the place I call my true home and where I have lived, loved, studied and created art in my studio & experienced some of the best seasons of my life!

Together we will learn and be inspired by Italian art
 ( past & present), be immersed in the history, culture and beauty of this spectacular city and it's people. 

Our accommodations are in the Santa Croce neighbourhood, surrounded by galleries, artisan & fashion boutiques, restaurants and chic cafes, just a 2 minute walk from the historic centre. We are situated in an ancient tower built in 1286 by one of the most important families in Florence, now owned by another noble family and lovingly restored, preserving it's historic exterior while transforming it's rooms into luxury suites with effortless grace and timeless Tuscan charm.  This is a 5 star boutique experience.

We'll take art classes from some local artists -

 my friends & colleagues. I'll be your instructor and guide. What about urban sketching,  painting in watercolor, Florentine Paper Marbling, figure drawing and Gold gilding ?  Our days will be filled with touring the iconic neighbourhoods of Florence;  each has its own unique feel. We'll visit the two great  food markets in the city and take an Italian cooking class and go to a an estate winery in the Tuscan countryside.

Lets shop, drink great coffee and wine , visit museums and galleries, all while following in the footsteps of some of the great sons and daughters of Florence. 

Somehow time stands still here.....

This is a side of Florence the typical tourist will never experience, we are travellers not tourists. Expect to  be captivated and  amazed and leave with lifelong memories!
Come during the slow season, escape the crowds and the extreme heat and experience  " la dolce vita"
( the sweet life).
Speaking of the sweet life, we'll do things Italian-style, so participants are given 'opt-out' times from the itinerary for relaxation  or to attend one of the many local events on their own.

" This fully guided art vacation in Florence was a dream come true for me! This has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and Penny's tour exceeded all my expectations!
From our accommodation in the historic centre of Florence to the daily adventures that took us all over  the city, to the magnificent museums and galleries, shopping for art supplies, local markets, cafes & dinners, art & cooking classes with local experts - all paired with Penny's extensive knowledge and experience of Florence was invaluable! Penny's knowledge of local culture and art history was priceless.
 Her passion for Italy and her ability to immerse us in a world of art, culture and inspiration was beyond my wildest dreams!"        - Natalie. H.

Note: Each participant is responsible to arrange their own flights &  medical /cancellation insurance
(Recommendations & information is available.)

Fees are for Art classes/instruction, events & group  itinerary with accommodation available for 6 days.
Participants may be able to extend their stay/accommodations beyond the Tour Dates if there is availability.

Dates & fees for November 2024 will be Announced Soon. Limited to 6 Participants.

Additional ground transportation fees may apply.
Fees do NOT include food/alcohol, tips/tax.

Students can bring  their own art supplies or buy them in Italy. 

Contact Penny at IslandGirlArtStudio @ for more information and to be put on a contact list.

 Rates subject to change without notice. Registration & deposit holds your rate.


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One Part Creativity,
Two Parts Magic!

Love letters to Leonardo - Mixed Media, by Penny Maday Ciochetti © 2021

Located in Nanaimo, BC, Island Girl Art Studio offers fine art courses for the curious newbie to the emerging professional artist.

With an emphasis on creativity and freedom of expression, Penny Maday Ciochetti guides students through Drawing, Watercolour, Acrylics and more. 

Register Online or email Penny to join a Waitlist for the course of your choice.


Please take note that class participants must be immunized to attend or be prepared to wear a mask that fully covers their face at all times if they are not. 

While local regulations may have changed, there is still an active and ever-changing global pandemic.

Please respect that other class participants and the instructor(s) have a different comfort level and /or health-risk or live with people who do. For many people this is not a choice but a potentially life- changing situation both health-wise and financially.
Please be Kind
There are no sick days for the self-employed. 

If you register online and come to a class/workshop but refuse to wear a mask or provide proof of your immunization your registration is void.

Course deposit refunds due to non-compliance with this registration policy will incur a $25 non-refundable cancellation fee as I am charged by the bank, credit card, Paypal and the website system to reverse these funds.
No exceptions.
By registering for a class on this site, you are agreeing with these conditions. The full notice can be read by clicking on the Orange tab at the top of the Courses page.
Thank you for being a considerate, responsible and thoughtful member of our community and caring for the health and wellness of others.



  • What's New at
    Island Girl Art Studio?

* Classes

* Weekend workshops

* Art Shows / Events

*  My Art Books, Art cards, Art at Home Kits
These Special offerings will be shown here soon!

Please go to the Courses Tab for full  information on all classes and to Register.

What people are saying
about Island Girl Art Studio


“I took the Introduction to Drawing Class from Island Girl Art Studio in the Fall of 2019. I looked forward to it every week and thoroughly enjoyed every class. We laughed our way through learning and left a little later than planned each week because we didn’t want to leave. Although I didn’t know it at the time, what I learned in those weeks helped to sustain a creative practice throughout the next year’s lockdowns and beyond.

I am forever grateful for that! “


– M.K.

“I love my weekly painting classes with Penny! We not only learn about colour, texture, and various painting techniques, but we experiment and play with paint! We laugh and have a good time while creating a painting of our choice. I feel totally relaxed after a painting class - it helps me disconnect and recharge, almost like a painting meditation."


– Jen. K

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to know how to draw to take a Painting class?

No, you do not have to know how to draw to take the Acrylics or the Watercolor classes I offer
as I teach you how to use a reference image or photo and how to enlarge it using a grid. This
technique has been around for centuries and used by all the great Masters!
If you know how to draw already, that's a bonus as you can use your sketches to complete
paintings or develop ideas/compositions - but not knowing how to draw won't hold you back
when you are just learning to paint!


Do I have to bring any art supplies or materials to class?

All materials and supplies are included in my classes. If you have supplies/materials - or brushes for example, that you love and use at home, feel free to bring them along, but it's not necessary. For example, in the Acrylics class - an assortment of canvases are provided for students to use (up to a maximum size of

16 X 20 ''). If you wish to paint on a canvas that's larger than 16 X 20'', then just bring this to class with you.

All the paints, brushes, mediums and materials for painting are available for student use in the studio. I also glaze your finished paintings free of charge. In the watercolour class, all materials are also included and in the Drawing class, students are provided with a drawing kit.

Should I register for a Beginner's class if I have painted before but don't feel very
accomplished or have been away from painting for a while?


If you have painted in watercolour or acrylics before, but feel like you need more instruction or
can't complete a painting you are satisfied with -from start to finish, then I recommend taking
the Beginners to get going again!

What do we paint in the Acrylics class, does everyone do the same thing?

From the very first class, I want students to paint what they are interested in or what they
love. Of course, this does depend on your experience and comfort level, but almost any subject
can be tackled. We don't paint portraits, figures, and abstracts in the beginners class, but after
you have taken that you are better prepared to move on to more advanced projects.

What is different about your watercolour classes?

I teach transparent, modern watercolour with lots of room to make mistakes, break the rules and
fix mistakes. This approach makes students confident and unafraid! I have been fortunate to have studied and learned from some of the best teachers in North America and Europe and all have one thing in common they are fearless! I paint in watercolour almost every day and although I work in a long list of other mediums (photography, printmaking, acrylics, encaustic, Italian limestone fresco to name a few) - watercolour is a very old love. Students learn how to jump right in and to build on their technique, colour, composition, skills and creativity as they go along. So many people are very intimidated by watercolour, but really it's a lot of fun and very relaxing! The range of this medium is absolutely endless and can produce beautiful artwork right from the start, even if you've never painted with it before.

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