Lead by Steve McKenzie, a nationally known abstract painter, this month-long immersive experience will be one unlike any other. Apprentice beside Steve as he teaches you techniques to intuitively paint abstraction, discover your inner creative voice and transfer that energy to the canvas. 

Boost your creativity and create some art with Steve McKenzie, our Artist in Residence for July 2019. Steve will be at The Fortress for the month of July working on a body of work inspired by the Italian region of Lunigiana. Inspired by his last two trips, he will do a deep dive into the culture, art, lifestyle and food of this charming northern Tuscan valley. His response to our sense of place will be reflected in his art. He will create a body of work specifically related to the inspirations of the region. Steve has dreamed of working in Italy for many years, following in the steps of one of his big influences, artist Cy Twombly, who called Italy home for much of his working career.

Work alongside Steve, paint brush in hand, and further your art making or assist him as he paints just to boost your creativity. Your stay will include trips with Steve to seek out inspiration and materials, artmaking whether painting plein air, in the studio or making paints and materials to use in the creation. If you have a specific desire to learn a technique of Steve’s or work with a specific material, Steve will do his best to accommodate your needs.

Of course, your stay will include all breakfasts, some lunches and dinners, aperitivo with Annette (your hostess and author of Cocktail Italiano), lessons and excursions with Steve, and all art supplies. Much like the great salons of Paris, evenings will be filled with conversations about art and the creative life. The wonderful part of this opportunity is that you can stay for as long as you want and tie it to your summer trip to Italy.

Steve, an artist for over 25 years, has shown his art in Santa Fe, New York, Atlanta and Indianapolis. His work is in collections throughout North America and Europe. He has taught many classes and workshops including a workshop at The Fortress September 2018. He not only teaches techniques, but also shares his philosophy and techniques to jump start your creativity and how to follow your intuitions to create work.

Your stay can be as flexible as you wish.  Reserve your spot for as long as you would like. There will be a show of Steve’s body of work created this month during the last weekend of July 2019.  Hope you can join us for that celebration!


$500 per person per day.

Your stay at La Fortezza will include:

  • Accommodations

  • All Breakfasts

  • Some Lunches

  • Some Dinners

  • Aperitivo (Italian Cocktail hour) with me, author of Cocktail Italiano

  • Excursions with Steve

  • Lessons with Steve

  • All Art Supplies

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza as well as to and from town for meals. We strongly recommend that you plan to hire a car service or rent a car. There are no taxis.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits: www.allaboardbenefits.com/policy_individual.htm