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August 16, 2024 - August 26, 2024


Taste the richness of Umbria while opening to the spirit of creative self-expression.

Envision a travel and journaling experience where poetry and art merge with ample opportunities for hands-on exploration and experimentation.

Imagine La Romita as your home base, on the site of our monastery, and your studio in a church built in the 1500s complete with frescoes and lofty ceilings.

Then put yourself on a comfortable bus with your newfound travel companions, off to explore ancient hilltop walled towns where you’ll be noticing and responding to sights, sounds, & tastes unique to Italy. Ideas sparking your imagination will find their way into your journal in pigments, marks, and words.

Melissa and Emily will engage you in dynamic exercises to break through creative blocks and unlock your natural instincts. Melissa specializes in spontaneous approaches to art journaling using splashes of colors to open the process. Integrating work from the poetry prompts and writing exercises led by Emily, you’ll create an inner and outer travelogue of discovery. Together, they offer a supportive and nurturing environment for our group.

With a workshop designed to give you freedom and flexibilty, you’ll discover new ways to see and respond that leads to self-expressive works of greater depth. We’ll break down the barriers between art and poetry through methods designed to energize both new and seasoned creatives. Whether you’re an aspiring poet, an artist seeking new dimensions in your work, or simply passionate about the arts, this La Romita workshop welcomes you!


I remember Italy for the water
falling from the mouths
of stone lions, the liquid
birdsong of sparrows, arias
floating from open doors
of the Cathedral, so beautiful
you wanted to collapse…

Dorianne Laux

About Melissa

“I was born a maker. Artistic expression began for me with scissors and crayons and paste and paints. None of those creations remain, but the spark ignited then burns on. I create because I must, for peace of mind, for my sanity really. And as I must, I’ve found ways to make art a big part of my life.

For the last twenty years, I’m drawn to figure and portrait sketching and painting, particularly the female form. And especially the divine female form, the madonna, with halos and hands and flaming hearts, and yes even crowns. I find myself creating madonnas of vivid colors and unbalanced facial features and body parts; so few things in life are perfect, and yet they can be perfectly beautiful.

These days I fill journals with images of everyday wonders, and transcendent figures with extraordinary vision and strength. I’m teaching art journaling with the same passion that I approach my art- with wild abandon and sacred reverence for all things creative. I believe we are all born to create, that we are all part of this ongoing creation story. I love teaching techniques that explore spontaneous approaches to the page. The joy in creative expression happens when we leave behind preconceived notions of what our art should be like, and let the element of surprise and magic guide us.”



About Emily

Emily Ransdell’s debut collection, One Finch Singing, was awarded the 2022 Lewis Award and was published in 2023 by Concrete Wolf Press. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University. Emily divides her time between Camas Washington and Manzanita Oregon, where she teaches poetry workshops through the Hoffman Center for the Arts.

Emily welcomes poets at all experience levels into her classes. She believes the elements of craft and self-discovery through poetry apply to all poets: published authors and beginners alike. 



August 16, 2024
August 26, 2024
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La Romita School of Art
Terni, Italy


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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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