Sicilian artichoke, food and wine 2015 Drawing Light & Space Tour of Sicily

Drawing Sicily’s Stunning Southeast

In this magical area of Southeastern Sicily, where the sea stretches before you and the Iblean Mountains rise at your back, we will have the opportunity to draw from archeological sites, architecture, landscape, decorative sculpture and statuary. Draw each day with instruction, guidance, and handouts to deepen your understanding of drawing skills, your understanding of Sicily, and your own creative process, all done with an eye towards fun, exploration and discovery.

Drawing Light & Space

Inspired by areas of historic and natural beauty in the Southeastern region, we will draw our way through Sicily's southeastern region. Along our journey, we will consider Brunelleschi’s principles of perspective, da Vinci’s treatise’s on atmospheric perspective, how light creates volume, and how architecture shapes light. Basing ourselves in Ragusa and Ortigia, we will enjoy exploring the area’s cities and towns. Renowned for its fertility, food, and wine, we will sample along the way from wineries, chefs, and markets.

Woven into this 9 day program are excursions to important landmarks, hill towns, gardens, and vineyards; and time to explore and ponder the complex layers of cultures that have left their mark on this unique and exceptional island. We will walk, look, and observe. You will gain an appreciation for Shakespeare’s tribute to Sicily:
“The climate’s delicate; the air most sweet. Fertile the isle, the temple much surpassing the common praise it bears.”

Drawing Light in Sicily imagesDrawing Light in Sicily images


With a seasoned artist instructor and a small group of participants, you will grow artistically—both technically and conceptually—in a cheerfully relaxed, nurturing, yet serious environment.  With ample individual attention, you will encounter firsthand, the poetics of Sicilian spaces. You will leave with wonderful memories, in your hearts and sketchbooks.

To further inspire your drawing, you will receive a select reading list and information. The tour is appropriate for all skill levels, including those with no previous experience. It is limited to 18 participants.

Drawing Light in Sicily imagesDrawing Light in Sicily imagesDrawing Light in Sicily images


Enjoy the following activities and excursions, at a relaxed pace, with time on your own for exploration:

  • Ragusa Ibla, a Baroque masterpiece with stunning vistas 
  • Modica, city of 100 churches in UNESCO’s Val di Noto 
  • Noto, Sicilian Baroque at its best
  • Donnafugata Castle, one of the region’s most spectacular sites 
  • Caltagirone, Sicily’s beautiful ceramics making center 
  • Siracusa and Ortigia, the quintessentially charming, artisanal center of Sicily
  • Wineries to taste the fruits of the fertile land

Drawing Light in Sicily imagesDrawing Light in Sicily images

“Look at light and admire its beauty. Close your eyes, and then look again: what you saw is no longer there; and what you will see later is not yet.” - Leonardo da Vinci

The Instructor

Jessica Houston was an invited artist aboard an Arctic voyage sponsored by Cape Farewell. She has created site-specific works for the NJ MOCA; the Castello di Corigliano, in Puglia, Italy; Governors Island and The Albany Airport, Albany, NY. Select exhibitions & projects include Art in Odd Places (NY, NY), International Polar Year Conference (Oslo, Norway), The Painting Center (NY, NY), Printed Matter (NY, NY), Museum of Contemporary Art (Detroit, MI), and Chiesa di San Lorenzo (Florence, Italy). She has been awarded residencies at NES in Skagaströnd, Iceland; at the CAMAC Centre d’Art, Science and Technology in France; and with Rosenclaire in Italy. She was nominated for a Rema Hort Mann Grant. She teaches at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she has lectured at Columbia University; Concordia University; OCAD University; and The Art Institute of Florence, Italy. She has an MA from Columbia University. Jessica Houston’s site-specific installation work uses color, light, and sound to explore the physical and immaterial nature of perception. She trained classically in drawing, painting and sculpture in Florence, Italy, where she lived for many years.

About the Tour Leader

Karen La Rosa owns and operates La RosaWorks, LLC, a boutique company that specializes in tourism to Sicily. Through very personal attention and deep knowledge of the island, she enables her clients to feel the magic of Sicily, creating memories from fun, interesting, and experiential travel.

Accommodation and Transportation

The tour will spend four nights in a four-star hotel in Ragusa Ibla. It boasts a beautiful terrace for outdoor eating and relaxing and is quietly situated among stunningly cultivated plants and flowers. The tour will also spend four nights in a four-star hotel in Siracusa, which has a comfortable rooftop with views of the sea. Both hotels are centrally located, allowing easy access for individual exploration.

Drawing Light in Sicily imagesDrawing Light in Sicily images



Day 1 - Thursday, Oct. 8
  • Arrival into Catania’s Fontanarossa Airport and transfer to our hotel, a historic property
  • Welcome drinks and introductions in the Iblean Gardens Dinner in the hotel restaurant
Day 2 - Friday, Oct. 9
  • Morning visit to the splendid Donnafugata Castle, nestled between the typical stone walls of Ragusa
  • We will discuss and draw architectural space based on the lessons of Giotto
  • Depart for a winery tour followed by lunch in the winery's renown restaurant
  • Dinner on your own
Day 3 - Saturday, Oct. 10
  • Morning exploration of Baroque Ragusa Ibla with its narrow streets full of steps, leading to beautiful panoramas
  • Sketching will be architectural in nature, dealing with line quality and space, reflecting this layered city
  • Enjoy some of Sicily’s best gelato in the iconic Piazza Duomo
  • Dinner in the hotel restaurant
Day 4 - Sunday, Oct. 11
  • Discuss the principles of scientific perspective against the backdrop, unique colors, and historical designs of beautiful Caltagirone, Sicily’s main center for ceramics production.
  • Visit workshops and enjoy time for exploration and shopping
  • Lunch on your own
  • Dinner on your own
Day 5 - Monday, Oct. 12
  • Spend the day in Modica, city of 100 churches and low-fired chocolate
  • With da Vinci’s ideas about the perspective of disappearance, we will draw from the vistas and evocative ancient landscape
  • Lunch on your own
  • Continue on to Ortigia
  • Dinner in the hotel’s rooftop restaurant
Day 6 - Tuesday, Oct. 13
  • Together we will explore the magical island of Ortigia, its ruins, architecture and market.
  • Using the ancient stones, we will make frottage drawings, focusing on texture
  • Light lunch in Ortigia's lively, colorful market
  • Dinner on your own
Day 7 - Wednesday, Oct. 14
  • Private tour of the Siracusa’s Archeological Park and its world class Archeological Museum
  • Using ink, we will focus on composition and the effects of light in the picture plane.
  • Lunch and dinner on your own
Day 8 - Thursday, Oct. 15
  • Morning tour of a winery and its beautiful vineyards and farm, followed by a tasting of what they produce
  • Continue on to Noto, the quintessential Baroque town in the Val di Noto
  • We will visit a renown sweet shop for coffee and utterly delectable treats
  • Sitting on the expansive Cathedral steps, we will incorporate figures into our drawings with instruction and demonstration
  • Farewell dinner at a very special restaurant in Ortigia
Day 9 - Friday, Oct. 16
  • Morning airport transfer for mid-day flights

Cost & Booking

Please contact for payment details.

Not included in the tour: Airfare, travel insurance (strongly recommended), personal expenses, meals not specified, yoga mats for your personal use.

Arrival time into Catania’s Fontanarossa airport will be designated to begin the tour. Those arriving at other times can arrange to meet either at the airport at the specified time or at the hotel.  La RosaWorks can help with add on travel before or after the tour.

To reserve a spot, please contact Karen La Rosa at: You will receive instructions to make the $600 deposit by check, wire transfer or via PayPal. Please fill out the reservation form:

Your deposit will be completely refunded if arrangements cannot be confirmed or the tour is cancelled for unforeseen circumstances. Your deposit is refundable up until final payment is due, prior to which you will receive an invoice.

The Fine Print

  1. Passports
    Travelers must have valid passports that will not expire within the 6 months following the tour.
  2. Luggage
    All luggage must be identified with tags and a personal identifier such as a ribbon or other unique marking.
  3. Cancellations
    Due to tour cancellation charges imposed by the vendors, the following charges apply to tour participants:
    • Over 60 days: $200 Administration cost
    • 59-40 days: 25% of the total tour cost
    • 39 to 21 days: 50% of the total tour cost
    • 20 days or less: 100% of the tour cost
    No refund is permitted once the tour has begun. Travel insurance is recommended to take care of any unforeseen circumstances.
  4. Forced Cancellation
    In the event that the tour does not reach a minimum number of 12 participants, it may be necessary to cancel the tour or surcharge.
  5. Amendments
    This program may be varied slightly to accommodate local festivals, performances and other seasonal events as information becomes available, and include additional activities deemed worthwhile and exciting at the discretion of the tour leader. Unexpected factors, such as inclement weather or sudden closings, may also result in changes. While changes may occur, the range and number of activities will remain the same.

For further information, please contact:
Karen La Rosa at or call 917.225.8415


Space is limited.
Please reserve your spot as soon as possible.

At A Glance

Tour Dates

Oct. 8 - Oct. 16, 2015

What Is Included

  • 4 nights accommodation in Ragusa Ibla, 4 nights accommodation in Siracusa, double occupancy
  • All breakfasts
  • Welcome drinks
  • 6 unique meals with wine
  • 2 wine and olive oil tastings
  • 8 days art instruction with exceptional instructor, Jessica Houston
  • Guided excursions to the Archeological Park and Museum in Siracusa
  • Visits to Ragusa, Modica, Ortigia, Siracusa, Caltagirone, Noto
  • Private transportation including airport transfers at a designated time
  • Admission fees
  • Select reading list, information, and drawing related handouts
  • Fun and learning

Tour Cost

Total cost per person is $2695.


Please reserve your place on the Drawing Light Tour of Sicily soon. Because of the nature of this tour we are limiting participation to only 18 people.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Jessica Houston teaches drawing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has lectured at Columbia University; Concordia University; OCAD University; and The Art Institute of Florence, Italy.

Tour Testimonials

“I will never forget that day. I was exhausted yet determined to enjoy every minute. You made my wonderful experience start the minute I got off the plane.”
- Melody A

“For me, the week in Sicily was magical on so many levels.”
- Maria M.

“It was such a memorable time. I feel changed and encouraged by the beauty of the place and the people. Karen is one of the most thoughtful, gracious people I know — and her tours reflect her impeccable taste in food, wine, and culture.”
- Dana L.

“Thank you for creating a truly memorable week for us all!”
- Andrea B.

More reviews & testimonials

Supply List

  • Ruler
  • Glue stick
  • Masking tape
  • Correction fluid (e.g. “White Out”)
  • Range of pencils (2H, 4H, HB, 3B, 6B at least)
  • Pencil sharpener (with container to hold the pencil shavings)
  • White, brown and black cont é crayons
  • Charcoal pencil
  • Small box of vine charcoal (4 sticks or more)
  • Cotton cloth (small piece of old t shirt) or chamois rag
  • Kneaded eraser/hard eraser
  • Sketchbook of your own choice (11 x 14 — or similar size recommended)
  • Small watercolor brushes (size #2, #6)
  • Small jar of black ink
  • Small plastic palette with 4-6 wells
  • Small, portable drawing stool

Please email with any questions about materials.

Modica, Sicily


Baroque Sicilian Balcony

Baroque Balcony

The Baroque Duomo in Ragusa Ibla

The Baroque Duomo in Ragusa Ibla

Hidden light and color in Ortigia, Sicily

Hidden light and color in Ortigia

Harvest Time on Sicily

Harvest Time

Please reserve your place on the Drawing Light Tour of Sicily soon. Because of the nature of this tour we are limiting participation to only 18 people.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us!

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