Sketching and Drawing: A Daily Practice

During this week-long retreat we will work closely together to help guests establish and/or develop their creative journal and sketchbook practice. We will begin with getting to know one another, learning about our backgrounds in the arts, and sharing our goals. Then we will move onto basic drawing exercises that are useful for artists at any level. Contour line drawings, blind contour, practicing ellipses and straight lines are some of the exercises we will practice. We will then discuss the endless ways one can capture their dreams, memories, the mundane everyday, and the extraordinary moments on paper. Using a range of materials provided by Caran D’Ache, Blackwing and Sakura of America. At the end of each day we will share and talk about all we are proud of and what we wish to work on. This workshop retreat is a chance to build on a practice that can transform your days, along with delicious food and the most glorious backdrop, I am so excited for this unique experience!

Samantha Dion Baker is an artist and graphic designer known for her detailed illustrations and journal work, published in BuzzFeed, Instagram and Instagram for Business. She graduated from Cooper Union in New York City and spent more than twenty years as a graphic designer working with many iconic institutions including The Whitney Museum of Art, St. Regis Hotels Resorts, and The Shaker Museum. Her illustration clients include The High Line Hotel, Atelier Cologne, Kikkerland Design, Blackwing, and Penguin Random House. Her self-published daily sketch journals are on permanent collection at The Morgan Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Originally from Philadelphia, Baker lives in Brooklyn Heights with her husband and two boys.

May 4 – 9, 2020


Single Room: €2,850

Double Room: €5,150

Costs include accommodation at Case Vecchie or one of the nearby cottages and indicated lessons, meals, wine and excursions. Workshops mix together the best of many worlds. You will have access to special guests and activities that are outside of the typical Case Vecchie schedule. However, you can always plan on delicious meals with seasonal ingredients. Lunch and dinner are served with wines from the Tasca d’Almerita estate, and breakfast is a bounty of homemade cakes, jams and coffee, and tea. Typical meals and cooking lessons include three or four courses.

Example Program:


Monday, May 4

3:00 to 5:00 pm: Check in

7:00 pm:  Aperitivo, welcome chat and a traditional Sicilian dinner at Case Vecchie.


Tuesday, May 5

9:00 am: Bountiful breakfast with homemade jams, cakes, coffee, tea and seasonal fruit.

10:30 am: Traditional Sicilian cooking lesson followed by lunch.

4:00 pm: Walking in the fields, followed basic drawing exercises for all levels, and a discussion on sketch journaling and keeping an art-making practice.

7:30 pm: Aperitivo followed by dinner around the table.


Wednesday, May 6

7:45 am: Visit a local shepherd and cheesemaker, Filippo Privitera, to see ricotta making. Picnic breakfast included. Return to Case Vecchie for a Sicilian cheese tasting followed by lunch.

3:00 pm: Enjoy the garden of Case Vecchie,  drawing our days together freely with not much instruction, but encouragement and as much guidance as each guest would like, and then meet to discuss thoughts and share our journal pages.

5:30 pm: Cooking lesson with fresh, seasonal ingredients before dinner.


Thursday, May 7

9:00 am: Bountiful breakfast with homemade jams, cakes, coffee, tea and seasonal fruit followed by a walk in the garden in search of seasonal ingredients.

10:30 am – 2:00 pm: Cooking lesson and lunch

3:00 – 5:00 pm: Lots of time to draw, paint and experiment in new ways on our pages. We will discuss taking risks, trying new processes and materials, and working around mistakes. On this day we will also experiment with collage.

5:00 pm: Visit the Tasca d’Almerita winery for a tour and wine tasting.

7:30 pm: Sicilian aperitivo and dinner at Case Vecchie.


Friday, May 8

8:30 am: Bountiful breakfast with homemade jams, cakes, coffee, tea and seasonal fruit.

9:30 am: Departure for the beautiful hillside village of Polizzi Generosa with a chance to draw our days in the scenic piazza and visit a renowned pottery producer of the area.

1:00 pm: Workers lunch of typical meats and cheeses at nearby salumeria.

3:30 pm: Back to Case Vecchie to relax and share more pages together.

7:30 pm: Farewell dinner at Case Vecchie.


Saturday, May 9

9:00 am: Bountiful breakfast with homemade jams, cakes, coffee, tea, and seasonal fruit.

10:00 am: Checkout.

*Airfare and transportation to and from Case Vecchie are not included in the price. Please request transportation arrangements at the time of booking if you would like us to book a car to and from the estate.


**Please note, due to the seasonal rhythm of life and agriculture in Sicily, planned activities and schedules may change at short notice. If this is the case, an equally engaging activity will be arranged.


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