Fast & Loose


Plein air drawing and painting with Debbie Mackinnon and Mike Staniford

11th – 18th October 2024


  • Do you need more confidence to make spontaneous drawings and paintings?
  • Does fear of failure hold you back?
  • Do you feel it’s time to move away from purely factual representation to a personal expression of landscape?
  • Would you like your work to feel more free and less ‘tight’?
  • Do you despair of simplifying a scene?


What’s included in this dynamic workshop:


  • Highly experimental drawing and painting outside in the glorious Italian landscape
  • Generous studio space inside
  • Demonstrations, warm-up exercises, new ways of seeing
  • Looking at different ways to apply paint on location and in the studio in Le Marche.  We will be using acrylic paint and gouache
  • Discussion and exercises on limited palette, mixed media and materials for exciting results
  • Small group interaction with renowned artist educators Debbie Mackinnon and Mike Staniford
  • Shared learnings through supportive critique.  Opportunity to discuss and look at works of well known landscape artists




Some drawing and painting experience preferred (not really suitable for complete beginners) but we will offer individual attention at all ability levels.


Materials list to be provided on booking.


Included in the price is:


  • All tuition fees
  • 7 nights accommodation in air-conditioned, en-suite rooms in a luxurious palazzo with commanding views across the rolling hills of the Le Marche countryside to the coast – see our rooms here
  • All meals including breakfast, buffet lunch and a choice of up to 4 courses from our daily changing gourmet evening menu
  • A ‘pizza-giro’ evening at a local trattoria within a few minutes walk of the hotel
  • Delicious local wine with lunch and evening meal
  • Private group transfers to and from either Ancona airport or Pedaso (station or bus stop)
  • 5 days painting tuition including demonstrations and one-to-one advice and guidance
  • 3 days’ excursions to specially selected stunning locations
  • Private transfers to and from  painting locations
  • Guided orientation walking tour of the medieval hill-top town of Montelparo on day of arrival 
  • 1 free day (lunch not included) with the option to take an excursion to the beautiful town of Ascoli Piceno, a Renaissance town full of history as well as fabulous boutique shops, charming cafes and one of Italy’s most beautiful piazzas
  • Unlimited use of air-conditioned studio
  • Easels, boards and portable stools and chairs


Prices start from €2499 per person based on two people sharing a room.  To find out more about the different room types, pricing, how to get here and more useful information fill out the form below.


Bring a Partner or Friend


If you’d like to bring along a non-participating partner they too can experience our hospitality enjoying all the meals and excursions.  If you’re wondering what else there is for them to do then find out just some of the options here.


Debbie & Mike


Debbie Mackinnon and Mike Staniford are both contemporary landscape artists based in Sydney, Australia. Debbie trained as an illustrator in London and worked in publishing for many years as an art director.  Mike had a long career in graphic design as the Creative director of a large branding company.


Moving to Australia 28 years ago, the light and colours in the landscape inspired them both to embrace painting again and now they share a studio and exhibit regularly.


Debbie taught drawing and illustration at Billy Blue Design College for 15 years and has taught numerous art workshops in Australia and overseas.


Mike mentored others in the design industry for many years and has taught many workshops with Debbie where they bounce creative ideas off one another. They love to travel and paint wherever they go.


Find out more about Debbie & Mike below:

Please fill in your name and email address below for further details

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