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July 6, 2022 - July 16, 2022


Eyes for light, nose for smell, ears for sound, touch for texture – be young again with all senses ready to enjoy and capture the beauty around you. Surrounded by history and Umbria’s beautiful living practices, Benno Philippson will lead a workshop to explore how three crucial elements – Perspective, Value, and Color – are used to create and enhance foundational sketches.

He will emphasize good drawing technique, how to negotiate a blank piece of paper, page composition, the drama and emphasis of what the sketch is about, and how to position the darkest dark and the lightest light to bring focus to the work. Learn how to use angular form and triangulation to help emphasize entry into the picture plane and reinforce the strength of the message.  Learn how the horizon and its location – especially in urban sketches where the perspective vanishing point may vary –  bring different parts together to form a homogeneous direction to the final composition.

Students will return home with a sketchbook full of sketches, captured “plein air” impressions of Umbrian villages and towns. This will be the emphasis of the workshop, with at least some time spent in the field every day. Studio time will be an opportunity to look at the use of color, washes, value, and composition in relation to color.

Benno’s goal is to take each student to the next level and, in the process, teach the skills that bring confidence in one’s work.

“I hope to help create an open, friendly atmosphere which emphasizes that questions are the way to learn, and that in order for each student to grow in their own artistic manner, they must be asked.”

About Benno

Graduating from the University of Illinois as an architect with an emphasis in design, Benno Philippson realized that he had taken so many art courses that he was only two credit hours short of an Art Major! He was introduced to all sorts of media, but the one he liked best was watercolor. His pencil sketches and ink washes made his medium very fluid after doing value studies in pencil, marker, pen, and ink.

Benno writes: “Teaching is sharing what I have learned with students of all ages. For a number of years, I taught introduction to architecture to students in grades 2 through 5 in the Architecture in the Schools Program sponsored by the Portland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. We included history, drawing, structure, and city planning.

Every two years since 2008 I have taught a two-week summer course at La Romita School of Art in Umbria, Italy. We spend most of our time sketching in towns large and tiny, plus studio time at the school.

Travel memories in small sketchbooks are transformed into value studies to make paintings. This is a joy for me to do. Abstractions of various subjects also give me great pleasure. Watercolor is a medium where one is always learning. There is about it a fluid creativity. Making something beautiful with color allows me to recreate what I see. Just the process of understanding what happens when water is added to color in all its many variations gives me a whole range of tools for extemporaneous fun on paper.”

About Gail (assistant)

Gail Durham has been coming to La Romita since 2008 when her husband, Benno, started teaching at La Romita.

Gail describes herself as a craftsperson with an array of directions: painting and drawing, printmaking, bronze casting, letterpress, bookbinding, basket making, weaving, and glass bead-making to name a few. With a master’s degree in French, her professional background was as a French and Spanish teacher and a college counselor.

Gail will be assisting Benno in 2022. She is extremely familiar with both La Romita and with the sites that the group will visit. She can help you find a great view in a new town, help you to see your own work in a new way, and make sure you get answers to all your questions as you work.




July 6, 2022
July 16, 2022
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La Romita School of Art
Terni, Italy


Benno Philippson


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As La Romita School caters to multiple levels of instruction and various forms of the arts, prices will vary by session, season, instructor, and offerings.

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