Creating one-of-a-kind art journals in the Tuscan hills.

Photo of Certaldo Alto by Bernd Thaller

Photo of Certaldo Alto by Bernd Thaller

Join me for an art journal workshop in a Tuscan Villa!
Oct. 5-12, 2019

Few places evoke the romance of art and travel quite like the Tuscan hills outside of Florence. Who hasn’t longed to revel in an Italian villa, swooning over the distant views of hills and cypress lined roads, savoring delicious gourmet foods and wines from local vendors - all while creating artful journals (and more) that reflect the luscious and memorable experiences unique to each of us.

Travelogues are more than just scrapbooks of postcards and receipts - they tell a story of longing and adventure, wonder and priceless memories. The travelogue is the evidence of the journey, and when we learn to see with fresh eyes, our journals become unique timeless treasures that express an authentic experience of a special time. Using water based paints, collage, photography/photo transfer and various mark making tools, each journal will be a unique expression of the artist/maker.

Our time together will be a combination of joyful art making and exciting travel to nearby Italian villages, including Siena, San Gimignano and Certaldo Alto. The travelogue is not limited to the pages of a book, so you are welcome to expand beyond the page to also create work you will hang on the wall.

No experience necessary and all levels are welcome!

amy clay - journal provence trees 1000.jpg


We will be based at Villa Fattoria Bacìo, a nineteenth century villa located 7 km from Certaldo, in the heart of Chianti in Tuscany. The 140 hectare farm is owned by the Cascino family and is mainly cultivated with organic vineyards and olive trees. On the grounds is a large garden, swimming pool and a small chapel for private meditations. We will be treated daily to Tuscan gourmet specialties and organic wines produced on the estate.

Villa Fattoria Bacio

Villa Fattoria Bacio

View of the surrounding landscape - vineyards, cypress trees, rolling Tuscan hills.

View of the surrounding landscape - vineyards, cypress trees, rolling Tuscan hills.


We will take a few excursions to visit some of the nearby villages such as Certaldo Alto, a quaint and charming town with beautifully preserved Medieval architecture and a relaxed car-free atmosphere. It also boasts unbeatable 360 degree views of Tuscany from the top of Casa Boccaccio tower.

Another of the highlights will be a visit to Siena - the historic centre of this picturesque town has been declared a World Heritage Site. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year. The distinctive striped architecture of the magnificent Duomo will most likely be a main feature in our photogenic journey.

Our final day trip will take us to San Gimignano, an exquisite Italian hill town southwest of Florence. Encircled by 13th-century walls, this historic town centers on Piazza della Cisterna, a triangular square lined with medieval houses. It is famous for its skyline of medieval towers, including the stone Torre Grossa. And we will start our day collecting inspiration at the lively street market in the village center.

San Gimignano by Bernd Thaller

San Gimignano by Bernd Thaller

amy clay - journal portugal borba 1000.jpg
amy clay - journal portugal arches 1000.jpg


We will be visual storytellers, not just collectors of photos and postcards. We will bring our authentic experience to our creative practice and into our journals. We will have plenty of time to do creative play - experimenting with different techniques to create one of a kind memories of our Tuscan journey.

I will demonstrate lots of techniques to get you engaged with your journals:
- bring a pre-made journal or learn to create your own with simple bookbinding techniques
- defining your story and how you see the world around you.
- painting with acrylic or watercolor paints
- simple sketching techniques
- using photos - with collage or photo transfer
- working with color - choosing palettes, adding color to enhance your pages
- collaging - using ephemera, collected papers etc to add to your story
- adding words - writing your story - choosing the right words to communicate the experience

amy clay - journal provence trees 2 1000.jpg
amy clay - journal portugal leaf 1000.jpg
amy clay - journal portugal stamps 1 1000.jpg

My approach to teaching is all about helping others access their own authentic voice, through a combination of technique, meditation, humor and play. Join us!

We also accept partners and non-participating friends depending on space availability.


"Amy’s classes are a wonderful mix of inspiration, guidance, and support to find our own way. Starting with meditative moments to find our inner quiet, we begin painting with a sense of freedom and abandon which Amy calls “following the subtle beckoning.” We continue in this wild dance, experimenting and playing, listening and refining, until we come to a sense of completion.  Amy opened the doors to my own Creativity in a vital and important way for which I am deeply and eternally grateful."  Lynne Foote, Boulder, CO

"Amy is an inspiration as an artist and an expert instructor. She is one of those rare individuals who has it all: discipline, talent, compassion and experience. Amy is a wealth of knowledge and she will share it all with you without reservation. If you want your art to improve and your confidence to soar do yourself a favor and work with Amy. You will be amazed at the results!" Laura Rose, Boulder, CO

"Amy’s class jump started my ability to actualize my passion for painting. Her vision, insights and ability to transmit that knowledge to me has allowed me to see my own visions on canvas. Looking back through time when I was in grade school and then out in the world learning, I realize I have not had a mentor - someone whom I respect through their work, teaching, and the way they live their life to be called as such. I can now say I have my mentor and it’s you! So thank you - I wanted to experience this in my lifetime.” Kari Garen, Boulder, CO