Category: Programme - Tags: - 2016.09.01

VII° Urban Sketchers Workshop

01. September 2016 - 05. September 2016

Nature / Sculpture: VII Urban Sketchers Workshop 2016
Nature / Sculpture: VII Urban Sketchers Workshop 2016

Please find the Italian version here:

instructors Simo Capecchi, Caroline Peyron
guest artist Majid Modir

Once again our next Volterra workshop will focus on landscape highlighting the relationship between art and nature. Classic Tuscan panoramas that have inspired artists over the centuries and modern artists whose designs are strongly connected with the environment: Mauro Staccioli’s open air sculptures dotted around Volterra; the XIX° centuries frescoed Villa Le Guadalupe; Niki de Saint Phalle’s life-time project in Capalbio: a private sculptural/architectura garden.

And once again the goal of these four days is to improve our observational understanding. With Simo and Caroline we shall explore how to go about transforming and framing our interaction with the environment. Participants will experience two different approaches to drawing and painting plein-air: a graphic reportage manner based on annotated sketches (Simo Capecchi) and use of different media (ink, Viarco’s earth colors or collage) for more pictorial and instinctive experiments (Caroline Peyron).

The workshop opens with a watercolor demo in the Villa’s garden by the talented artist Majid Modir. The following three days will be lead by Caroline Peyron and Simo Capecchi in two small groups.

Staccioli’s sculptures created a dialogue with the entire region and are now landmarks of Volterra, where people would stop to shoot photos and take „creative“ selfies. Circles, triangles and other shapes invite us to move around them, looking for the best view that combines sculpture with landscape or wondering how the artist is asking us to see that view.
The way people move around them and the way the changing shadows of those huge sculptures can be an inspiration for different page compositions and sequences of drawings. The way landscape is cut geometrically or framed by Staccioli’s sculptures suggest us to play with what is inside (the landscape) and what is outside (the sculpture/frame).

Besides being the beating heart for a family of dramaturges, curators and artists that have held open house since the Eighties for „scientists, creative and visionary people“, Villa Le Guadalupe – our workshop location – has great views over the landscape which are captured in its frescoes: standing invitation to join in the fascinating business of linking inside and outside.

Niki de Saint Phalle’s garden is a feast of sinuous shapes with mixed materials of multiple colors. Her sculptures do not frame or set against nature but on the contrary they seem to grow spontaneously, like flowers and trees and we can experience them from the inside.

An open sketchcrawl in the playful Giardino dei Tarocchi will be a perfect way to close our workshop.

Be inspired by previous Volterra’s workshops 2010-2015 photos:


Sponsors many thanks to Viarco for providing ArtGraf taylor-shape in earth colors; to Hahnemühle for watercolor blocks and to Moleskine for sketchbooks!

banner design: thanks to Franco Lancio.

Val di Cecina (c) Antonio Maria Storch
Val di Cecina (c) Antonio Maria Storch


workshop / instructors

Watercolor demo by Majid Modir

1. Review of art supplies: choice of paper, watercolors, brushes, and other equipments
2. Basic watercolor techniques and different methods by showing examples
3. Tips and Tricks

Participants will follow Majid with brief exercises and than watch him while painting a view in the Villa’s garden and explaining step by step. (2 hours approx.)

Majid Modir: Villa Le Guadalupe
Majid Modir: Villa Le Guadalupe

Majid Modir is an artist, photographer, graphic designer and creative director. Born in 1961 in Iran, he moved to Sweden in 1986 and recently to Volterra (Italy). He has a MFA in Graphic Design & Illustration at Konstfack (University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm). As a creative director he runs his own design studio and teaches motion graphic at The College of Design (Beckmans) in Stockholm. He is a member of The Swedish Artists Association (SKF). Watercolor is his passion. He exhibited his works in several solo and group shows in Scandinavian countries during last 30 years and has received some prices and awards.


Reportage with Simo Capecchi

A flyer with introduction on reportage drawing with examples from various authors will be given to participants suggesting different formats to follow.
Drawing beside Staccioli’s sculptures participants will pay attention on how these art works relate with environment but most of all on how people interact with them.

Simo Capecchi: Villa Le Guadalupe - studio
Simo Capecchi: Villa Le Guadalupe – studio

Villa Le Guadalupe’s frescoes have a special connection with the outside view and suggest to work on relation between inside and outside exploring different ways to represent it. Describe the Villa, our hosting family and their dailies activities it’s has been an inspiring theme in every edition of this workshop.

Simo Capecchi trained as an architect at the Universities of Venice and Naples (Italy) and currently works as an illustrator. Her drawings appears on magazines and edited collections and have been displayed in many international collective exhibits. Since 2006, she curated exhibitions and events on travel sketchbooks and holds sketching workshops both in Italy than abroad. She is a correspondent for Urban Sketchers from Naples.

Blog: – Volterra’s sketchbooks


Ink and collage with Caroline Peyron

Painting landscape with Chinese ink participants will focus on contrasts: lights and shadows, with a highlight on the importance of white spaces.
We’ll pay attention to relationship between natural and abstract shapes and to the inside / outside of the frame, on the path of a book by art historian Victor Stoichita, „L’instauration du Tableau“.
Collage will be just the right technique to pay a tribute to Niki de Saint Phalle’s amazing garden.
Please bring 4/5 newspapers, glue (Vinavil kind) and a cheap brush for the glue.

Caroline Peyron: Impressions from
Caroline Peyron: Impressions from

Caroline Peyron is a french artist and a teacher living in Naples. Personal exhibitions of her works has been held in many cultural institutions in Naples, Rome and Paris. Last one has been „Cielo“ at Museo e Certosa di San Martino in Naples, October 2015. She has been an art teacher for over twenty years now holding workshops and courses with children, adolescents and adults for private schools and public institutions like Museo Capodimonte and Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.

Meet the instructor on Urban Sketchers workshop blog. Vimeo:



Thursday, September 1 / Villa Le Guadalupe
17.00 – 20.00 Check in and Watercolor demo by Majid Modir
20.00 *supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Friday, September 2 / hills nearby Volterra
10.00 – 18.00 Mauro Staccioli sculptures open air 1
Piancorboli / fattoria Fognano (1 hour break, pic-nic on your own)
20.00 *supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Saturday, September 3 / hills nearby Volterra
10.00 – 18.00 : Mauro Staccioli sculptures open air 2
Poggio San Martino / villa Palagione / Mazzolla (1 hour break, pic-nic on your own)
20.00 *supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Sunday, September 4 / Villa Le Guadalupe
10.00 – 13.30 Villa le Guadalupe’s frescoes: the outside inside
13.30 *dinner in Villa Le Guadalupe’s garden
15.00 – 18.30 Villa le Guadalupe, the house in its landscape
20.00 *supper in Villa Le Guadalupe

Monday, September 5 / Open Sketchcrawl in Giardino dei Tarocchi
10.00 Transfer to Capalbio, Garavicchio (2 hours by car).
14.30 Niki de Saint Phalle, Giardino dei Tarocchi sculptures garden (closure at 19.30).
Everyone invited. Transport and ticket entrance on your own (we’ll organized together).

Volterra Art Map
Volterra Art Map


Hosting institution Le Guadalupe Spazio per le Arti is an association dedicated to arts by germans dramaturgs Wolfgang Storch and Klaudia Ruschkowski.They host workshops in arts, theatre, design and music, with an international program. Le Guadalupe is a XIX° century villa, with a view on the southern hills of Volterra, a beautiful garden around and interiors covered with frescos. Since 2010 this yearly workshop is based inside the villa and organized in collaboration with Klaudia Ruschkowski. Enjoying her delicious meals and their warm hospitality it has become the core of our workshop.


Registration fee

The workshop costs 330 euros that include tuition (220 euro x 3 hours demo, 21 hours lessons followed by an open sketchcrawl day) and meals (110 euros including 5 meals in Villa Le Guadalupe). Not included: eventual transfer to Capalbio and Giardino dei Tarocchi entrance ticket (group discount).
10% of income supports Urban Sketchers educational program.

To apply:simo.capecchi(at)



Minimum 10 / max 18. Each level of drawing experience is welcome.


English, French, Italian


How to reach Villa Le Guadalupe and Volterra

Check our workshop Map to reach the villa if you came by car – 10′ from Volterra city center. No problem to reach us with public transportation: we’ll help with bus timetables and pick you up from bus station. Transport will be organized from Volterra to Villa le Guadalupe and back and from Volterra to Capalbio/Garavicchio (Giardino dei Tarocchi).

You can reach Volterra from these airports/train stations:
Florence (2 hours): bus to Volterra via Colle val d’Elsa
Pisa (2 hours): bus to Volterra via Pontedera
Rome (4.30 hours) : train to Cecina + bus connection to Saline di Volterra.



Check out suggested hotels in our workshop map.
More on workshop locations / find them in our MAP



Mauro Staccioli, land art project (Luoghi di Esperienza, around Volterra, 2009). Scattered around Volterra, a tribute to the artist’s birthplace, this group of sculptures suggest us a treasure haunt from one hill to the next one. Artist’s Bio / Sculptures description


Villa Le Guadalupe: Impressions

Villa Le Guadalupe architecture and frescoes (unknown artists, Volterra, 1850-54 ca.). A XIX° century villa where the Tangassi brothers, famous alabaster artisans from Volterra who made their fortune in Mexico (that’s why they dedicated the villa and the chapel to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico). When retired they renovated and transformed a countryside house and hired two painters to frescoed the entire first floor. Villa Le Guadalupe website.


Niki de Saint Phalle: Giardino dei Tarocchi

Niki de Saint Phalle, Giardino dei Tarocchi (Garavicchio, Capalbio 1979-1998), sculpture garden.
For over twenty years the artist worked at this project living periodically inside it, with the collaboration of Jean Tinguely.
Garden website / Artist bio / garden intro video 5′