Bellissima Art Retreats 2017

Happy New Year everyone! Well, I guess that phrase is a couple weeks old now. Seeing as we are two weeks into 2017. 

I've been getting back into the swing of things, after taking a nice long break from commissions and thinking about work. Which typically means now that blogging is the on the burner farthest back, in a whole other damn house. I'll try to be better this year! I can't make any promises, but I'll try. 

I know quite a few of you already know about the newest business venture but I wanted to do a little post about what's coming this year! 

Last summer, Christi from Gypsy Studios, and I set out to host our first art retreat in Florence, Italy! It was amazing and so exciting that something we had chatted about over coffee less than a year prior actually came to fruition! 

And so Bellissima Art Retreats was born! We're officially a business (paperwork filed and all, woot!) and we've got big plans for this year. We are plotting some Southern California weekend art retreats but our biggest goal this year is share Italy and creating art in Tuscany with more people. 

So this summer, we're going even bigger! We will be holding 2 one week long retreats back in my favorite Tuscan town...Castiglion Fiorentino! We will be staying in an updated farmhouse tucked back in the Val di Chio just outside of town. The farmhouse is owned by the Buccelletti family, who I've been friends with since I first traveled to CFno years ago. 

Fun story: my friend Michele Bucculletti met his wife, Renee, when she was studying at the study abroad center. I was working there at the time and got to watch the magic of that town bring another couple together and then I got to make their wedding album a few years later!

Renee has been helping us coordinate and get all the amazing activities for the summer lined up! We will be having cooking classes, walking tours of the towns, day trips to Assisi and Cortona (the same Cortona from Under the Tuscan Sun), transportation to and from everything and so much more. Our villa is surrounded by stunning views of olive groves and vineyards that we get to paint every day. Did I mention it also has a pool? Yeah...to say we're excited about this coming June is an understatement. 

We've already had some amazing folks reserve their spots for next summer, and I'd love it if some of you guys could come along! Bring your mom along for a mother daughter trip! Or just your sisters, sorority or genetic! Grab a couple of your favorite besties for a summer of reminiscing about that time you studied abroad together. Surprise your girlfriend with an excuse for her to invest in that "one day I'll paint in Italy" dream. Or simply just do it as a gift to yourself because...why the hell not? 

If you want to get some more information, drop us an email at info@bellissimaartretreats.com or follow along with all of our Italy flashbacks on Instagram @bellissimaartretreats. We really hope you can join us! 


favorite fellow card makers

Way back on this blog, I used to do a weekly segment called "Friday Feature" where I would highlight one of my favorite makers, artists and even musicians. I loved being able to reach out to some of my favorite makers and spread the word about some amazing folks. 

The feature died off a while back, around the time I started having less time to devote to blogging. But with the rise of Instagram, I've been so easily connected to SO many artists and makers! It's no surprise that I tend to follow similarly minded artists that are into plants, illustrations and card making. 

And so I wanted to bring back a little "Mini Feature" (not on a Friday, oops) about some of my favorite card makers. There are SO MANY amazing ladies out there making cards. Seriously, just scroll through my list of Instagram accounts I'm following, they're kinda amazing. 

Here are four ladies that I particularly admire. All four are incredibly talented, amazingly generous and genuinely wonderful women. Two are gals that I actually included on Friday Features years ago and two are new favorites I've been connected to through Instagram! I hope you enjoy their work as much as I do, and hopefully feel inclined to support their work as well! 

Katharine Watson:

Katharine has some of my absolute favorite card designs out there! I've been in love with printmaking since college so I have a soft spot of anyone that uses block printing in their work. Her designs are stunning and I love seeing her line grow and change every year. Prints, cards, textiles, calendars...everything is gorgeous and has so much time and work invested in it. She even delved into combining her block carvings and ceramics this year!

Shop Katharine Watson@katharine_watson

Erin McManness / Paper Raven Co.:

I could go on and on about Erin's work. She's just incredible. I think I stumbled onto her blog when I was in Italy years ago and I've just loved watching her work evolve and her business grow. Her illustrations and letter work continue to one of my favorites out there. Plus, how cute is this little notepad?! Everything she makes is incredible! And she's such a lovely person too! 

Shop Paper Raven Co.@paperraven.co

Laura Uy / Art and Soul Creative Co.:

I've followed Laura on Instagram for a while now, and her account is always so cheerful and fun! On top of adorable pun cards, Laura now has a new line of designs made from paper collages. I bought the Fiddle Leaf Fig for myself and Laura was so sweet to include a print of her Fiddle Leaf Fig watercolor too! I love everything she posts, especially her coloring book designs too! 

Shop Art + Soul Creative Co.@artandsoulcreativeco

Juliet Meeks Design:

Juliet is one of my newest favorite card makers and Instagramers. I absolutely LOVE her floral patterns with the black backgrounds! I think it's so unique to see that combination (especially since I'm such an addict to white backgrounds). Another thing I love is how she incorporates her watercolor patterns and designs into textiles and wrapping paper, they're stunning! She's also such a sweet heart with an inspiring Instagram as well. 

Shop Juliet Meeks Design@julietmeeksdesign