I am John. Carla and I run a B&B overlooking the southwestern shore of the Garda lake, on the outskirts of San Felice - 4km (2.5 miles) from the town of Salò. The B&B is also home to my studio which we have dubbed "The Pallet & Chisels" because although I specialised in oil painting a long time ago, I still very much enjoy sculpting stone.
I started painting in 1982, during a year-long stay in Germany. Before that I had done a fair amount of jewellery design, sketches and drawings, and a little wood-carving. In 1985 I went .back to Germany, to deepen my knowledge of restoration techniques, and ended up staying there for a number of years. I exhibited regularly, and had a modestly successful studio. In the mid 90’s I moved to Antwerp to complete a commission. There I met my wife-to-be. We moved to the Netherlands, where I was confronted with a somewhat more difficult market, and a new language.
By 2001 I had a busy studio life again, in a studio that we had called “The Roundabout”, teaching painting and drawing at beginners and intermediate levels. I spent most of my time painting commissioned work, so that exhibitions took a “back-seat” – which I found to be a relief. Here I hosted many a late night “sitting” with a glass of wine and a few good friends, discussing just about everything under the sun.
In 2004 I was offered the chance to fulfil a lifelong ambition, and teach modern languages at a secondary school. Now some people find that a strange ambition – particularly teachers! I suppose it was an idea I had picked up as a youth, and just never put down. I had studied French and German for just this reason, but teacher training had thoroughly put me off. I took the opportunity with both hands. So I became a teacher. It meant closing the studio, and returning to teacher training. It wasn’t a very successful experiment, and after four years I threw in the towel. I didn’t actually like anything about being a classroom teacher.
Between 2008 and 2011 I continued doing e-learning projects and DTP work which I had started as a teacher. Eventually of course it was time to re-open my studio. Since then I have been looking for … something more. In Italy I have found it. In San Felice del Benaco, on the southwest shore of the Garda Lake, Carla and I have opened a bed and breakfast offering painting and drawing courses, workshops, and some of the most beautiful landscapes I know. Also, being in an area of Italy renowned for its culinary and winegrowing prowess, good food and wine are almost guaranteed.
What courses/lessons/ etc. will we offer? Primarily we will offer painting courses & workshops at beginner's and intermediate levels.
Situated quite high up on the side of the lake with a marvellous view across it to the hills, landscape painting is almost a must. We will certainly start out sketching what we see, perhaps a study or two to give the subject our own “take” and then paint the landscape in watercolour or oils.
There are more details about our program on the "Courses" page.