My week painting in Tuscany

In April, I had the privilege of attending a 5 day painting course, The Arniano Painting School  which is tucked away on a hillside in Tuscany.  The School is run by Amber Guiness who delights your every culinary sense with her delicious meals and William Roper Curzon an expressive figurative and landscape artist who instructs the painters.  Amber’s parents, Jasper and Camilla Guiness lovingly restored the 18th century farmhouse where the school takes place  in 1989.  It’s located about 30 minutes from Sienna.  In Amber’s new book,  A House Party in Tuscany - Book - Thames & Hudson USA she tells the story of how this former nunnery which consisted of walls and a roof at the time of purchase, became her family's beloved home where she grew up until she was 13.  Amber and William came up with the idea to marry their talents and start the school in 2014.  Soon after, Amber met Matthew Bell who is now her husband and the most fabulous host who makes you feel immediately at home.  Each day would start with a lesson from William in color theory or perspective and then we would set up a spot overlooking the verdant countryside and paint until around noon when Matthew would bring out glasses of crisp white Vermentino wine on a tray to offer to the painters.   At 1:30 the lunch bell would ring and we would gather around a beautifully laid yet un-fussy table set by Amber with objects collected over the past couple decades by her mother who is an interior designer and the cook who inspired Amber’s passion for cooking and hosting.  After a long and lazy lunch we set out to paint for the rest of the afternoon before cleaning up to get ready for cocktail hour before an incredible dinner around the huge oval farm table in the kitchen.   Meals around the table here were some of the most delicious I’ve experienced, consisting of Baked Ricotta with Olive oil, tomato and Basil, Malfatti and Pasta ‘Alla Savannah’ with spicy Italian Sausage.  William is a brilliant story teller and will have you in fits of laughter sharing stories from his childhood and his very large family! I hope to return to Arniano again one day but in the meantime I will cherish the memories I made while there and cook my way through my copy of Amber’s gorgeous book, while wearing my Arniano apron which are on sale at Curio.