Have you ever thought of keeping a place a secret because it’s so special you don’t want the word to get out? That’s how I feel about The Retreat and its surroundings after spending 4 consecutive weeks there this past spring. As an aspiring painter who wanted to learn painting basics and work on my creative side, the experience at The Retreat exceeded my expectations. Under the support and guidance of John, I was able to make significant progress in my drawing and painting skills. Experiencing different mediums and going to different idyllic locations where John took the class to paint and draw made the learning process a complete joy. The region is breathtakingly beautiful, authentic, and off the tourist track. In addition to providing a plethora of information about the region as well as being an exceptional hostess, Jana prepared delicious and varied meals with fresh ingredients, day after day. And yes, it’s true, the views from The Retreat are amazing.
Maria. A, USA, 2012
The most perfect holiday for an artist of any ability. Beyond all expectations.John is a talented artist that can actually teach. Every day is a new experience.His gentle reassurance and outgoing personality made us smile. The small group of eight, allowed us all to get special attention.
Le Retreat is in a remote area of Le Marche…overlooking rolling hills, farmlands and framed by hill top villages. It seems unreal it is so beautiful.
To add to this perfect holiday we were spoiled by Jana and her charm and her culinary expertise. Every meal was delicious.
We took a few excusions to the hill top towns and sketched and painted. Everything was planned out and we just had to enjoy the “best of everything.”
Kathleen R, USA, 2012
As a COMPLETE beginner in the art world I was a little daunted at the thought of spending 10 days painting, when I wasn’t entirely sure which way round to hold a paint brush. However my fears were instantly banished from the moment we arrived at The Retreat. A thoroughly wonderful holiday, in which John catered for all levels. Very encouraging teacher, who built up my confidence with painting. Not only that but it was a very special time for my Mum and I who had come together and I can safely say we will always remember The Retreat experience. Set in beautiful scenery and with wonderful hosts – this truly is divine! I wish that everyone goes there… I’ll even lend you my paintbrush!
Amy, London, 2012
“Magnificent setting, excellent tuition and fun…”
John and Jana have created a haven for aspiring artists seeking the perfect country setting, healthy but mouth-watering food, excellent tuition, and seriously good company. Not to mention the local wine! This truly beautiful part of Italy is possibly one of it’s best kept secrets, as yet relatively undiscovered by tourists. Both John and Jana go the extra mile for their guests. John is passionate about his subject as well as local history, making your day “off” an interesting and fulfilling one. My week on the course was light-hearted, full of laughter and fun, but I did come away with a much deeper insight into colour and perspective with regards to my art. I highly recommend this course.
Susan R., Cape Town, S.A., May 2011
Both John and Jana were amiable hosts and great conversationalists. John taught us about colour mixing and different types of media. He was very encouraging, imparted techniques at appropriate times, and was flexible enough to customize our free day according to feedback by the group. Jana was the efficient minder of all other office matters, and a terrific chef. The best food I had in Italy was served by Jana at The Retreat.
I liked the fact that materials and equipment are all provided on this course, as it makes The Retreat a ideal stopover for a week or more during a long vacation. No extra baggage to carry about except some completed art pieces and a sketchbook. There are countless subjects to draw in the lovely landscape and scenery around the Le Marche region, and the sunsets from The Retreat were breathtaking. I had refreshing morning walks with the dogs, and much fun stalking the beautiful cats. John drove us everywhere for landscape drawing, so no problems if you aren’t a trekker.
Clara T. Singapore, 2012
John and Jana are just wonderful hosts for this art camp.
Not only we were treated with John’s vast art knowledge and instructions but a history lesson as well – love some of the local stories and the trips out and about. Studio is well equipped and super confortable beds…..Le Marche is truly Italy’s hidden gem and there is so much to explore and paint – one week is never enough time – thank you for a wonderful holiday filled with many happy funny times,
Paris. S.A. 2011
Jana have created a stunning retreat in a secluded spot near Force in rural Marche. They offer exceptional hospitality, excellent food and wine, and five star painting tuition for experts and also beginners. The atmostphere is peaceful. The views are out of this world. My wife and I were welcomed as if we were old family friends. I cant think of a better place to escape and paint. We will definately be back. Thankyou John and Jana for such a wonderful weekend!
Nigel and Vivi, October 2011
We went to The Retreat for a special birthday. Everything about the experience exceeded our expectations. The location is absolutely beautiful and so inviting to the artist in you. John’s art instruction is outstanding, the small class sizes allow him to give individualized instruction and you will come out a better artist. As hosts, John and Jana (and Lily and Ivy) make you feel like family. It was truly a special experience that we will never forget.
Kevin S.,Colorado, USA, April 2011
Last month, April 2011, I spent 9 wonderful days in the breathtaking mountains of Force (le marche), Italy at The Retreat. – a landscape artist’s heaven! I took the course in life drawing and can honestly say, after many art courses, I walked away from there with the best instruction that I’ve ever had. John is a fantastic teacher and, with a small group, he had alot of time to spend with each of us. The meals were fantastic – all ingredients fresh from the farmer’s market. Jana is an excellent chef.
If you’re looking for a totally pampered artist’s experience – this is it!
Diana M., New Jersey, USA, April 2011
Visited The Retreat during the week Sept 4 to 11, 2010 to take part in the Water Colour Painting for Beginners Class and enjoyed it immensely. Our hosts, John and Jana, treated their guests like royalty. They remained cognizant of our every need throughout the entire week. John is a very conscientious and caring art instructor and gave individualized instruction as needed. He took us out on several historical outings and gave us a good introduction to life and living in the Le Marche area of Italy. Our outings always started or ended with a painting session of a new and inspiring landscape view. The meals at The Retreat were very satisfying, varied and sumptuous. We enjoyed good wine, good laughs and great art classes. Thank you John and Jana. !!
Beverly S., White Rock, Canada, 2010
The week I spent at the retreat back in september 2010 gave me such a surge to explore my art and medium further. I was overwhelmed by the energy that John puts into his art and has helped me to further study watercolours extensively. the excursions and extra info that was given was invaluable. I will treasure the time I had there and will endeavour to return asap. The hospitality and crumptuous food was a delight, made friends with some great people as well. I loved the countryside an unspoilt part of Italy.
E. Brooks, Australia, 2010
I spent a fantastic week from 2nd to 9th October, 2010 at “The Retreat” in Le Marche, Italy. It was the perfect place to paint and relax. I enjoyed spending the time with 3 other like-minded artists from different parts of the world. John was a patient creative teacher who assisted us to achieve exactly what we individually wanted. Jana was an excellent chef and made fabulous food for every meal. We sat overlooking the magnificent panorama sipping wine for lunch under an autumn sun eating great food prepared by Jana. And at night we would have dinner in the studio or go out to a nearby restaurant. I look forward to returning next year.
J.Sienna, Australian Artist living in Rome, 2010
Spent the week of August 7-14 at the Retreat. Mornings were spent using the incredible landscape as inspiration for both drawing and painting. While the afternoons offered many escapes to the surrounding towns and villages allowing for a glimpse into life and history within the rich Le Marche region of Italy. John, Jana and Thomas offered us great hospitality, making us feel completely at home upon arrival and throughout our stay. Not to mention, the food was amazing…..from the perspective of an art teacher, I would recommend the Retreat, especially for beginner/intermediate artists looking for a place to get away for inspiration, and looking for support in their venture to gain more insight into art technique-John is a good teacher and a good artist.
Christy, Calgary, Canada 2010
Both John and Jana have created a very lovely and peaceful environment for learning. You’re totally cared for and nothing is too much trouble. Tuition from John is just great and I believe I learnt a huge amount in 4 days of life drawing and came home very ‘va va voomed’!
Would thoroughly recommend this for a complete beginner or a passionate amateur or a true professional – the tuition works at all levels. It’s inspired me to carry on at my amateur level. Will look forward to a return visit at some time in the future.
J. Watson, London, 2010
Spent a week landscape painting with John and 3 others. The instructions was great and the class was light hearted and good fun. Although we all came away with art that surprised us all. John and Jana are great hosts and the accomodation/setting could not be better. Loved the food and relaxing atmosphere. Returning in September for a life drawing class and I can’t wait. Highly recommended.
M. Wild, Bath, 2010
The Retreat is an ideal place if you want to have a painting holiday in Italy.The views are absolutely amazing and inspire you to paint at all times.The hosts, John and Jana, are very friendly and helpful, on top of that Jana is the best cook in the world. You will certainly be spoilt by them. Wonderful trips to different locations to paint.And at night time ,after a delicious dinner the magic starts with millions of fireflies glowing in the dark.
C.Carey, London, 2010
John and Jana,
Thank you so much for a wonderful week in the beautiful region of Le marche. I enjoyed my stay with you immensely and it has definitely inspired me to explore my creative cravings and hopefully, with practice, discover a medium that I can become competent in. John, it was amazing to be in the company of such accomplished artists without feeling intimidated. Your encouragement and tutorage was fantastic and you relaxed, yet informative approach created the perfect balance in the perfect surroundings. Jana, you are a fabulous chef/host/mum! I was so grateful to you for catering for my current condition… I would have no hesitation in highly recommending your courses and tremendous hospitality. Thank you for a great week that I shall never forget.
With best wishes,
Natalie B. 2009