Ellen Howard-Spain

Oil Painting and/or Gouache Workshop in Spain with Ellen Howard: May 5-12, 2024

Workshop Description

 Come join me for an amazing week of plein air painting in Costa Brava, Spain! Costa Brava is a scenic stretch of Catalan coastline that runs from the north of Barcelona to the French border. We will have gorgeous views to paint of secluded rocky coves, cute medieval villages, stunning rugged landscapes, and incredible turquoise waters. It is also a place to enjoy delicious food and vibrant culture.

Y9u can choose to work with Oil &/or Gouache in this workshop. I will be doing daily demos and assisting you with your paintings. I enjoy teaching and will be there with you to help strengthen your painting skills and artistic voice.  We will focus on design, color mixing, and capturing the mood of the day by understanding atmospheric perspective. This workshop is open to beginner and intermediate students.

I love painting with oil and gouache for its versatility, offering a wide range of colors and textures, allowing you to create various effects. In both Oil & Gouache, you will enjoy experimenting with layering the paint to create areas of transparency and opaqueness in your paintings. The beauty of working in both mediums is that you can use your gouache paintings as a stand-alone medium or as a springboard for ideas for larger works and it is a great medium for travel journaling.  The difference between the mediums is that Gouache is a water-based paint with quick drying time and an opaque matte finish, while Oils paint is oil-based, slow drying, and provides a glossy finish with versatile application techniques. Working in both mediums will allow you to expand your creativity and artistic vision.

Ellen Howard's Biography

Ellen is an award-winning Northern California artist recognized for her tranquil and peaceful landscape paintings. She loves to be out in nature plein air painting. Some of her favorite subjects are seascapes, marshlands, vineyards, and incredible skies at sunset.

Ellen is a sought-after instructor who teaches weekly painting classes and plein-air workshops. She is known for her thorough explanation of concepts and techniques, and her ability to create a fun and relaxed learning environment. 

Ellen’s work has been featured in Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air Magazine, Plein Air Today, American Art Collector, and Punch Magazine. Her work has been regularly accepted in National Exhibitions and she has had 2 Solo exhibitions. Ellen is very active in the art community serving as Vice President of Programming for the California Art Club, a faculty member for the Plein Air Convention, curating independent exhibitions, judging painting competitions, and writing a monthly newsletter and blog. 

Find out more about Ellen Howard on her site at www.ellenhowardart.com

Samples of Ellen Howard's Art

Click on any picture to enlarge.

Day 1: Arrival at the Costa Brava

spain-day4-castle1We will pick you up at a specific hotel downtown Barcelona and drive you to our hotel located in one of the most exclusive beaches on the Costa Brava. Upon your arrival at our hotel by the sea, take time to settle in or start enjoying the wonderful white-washed and preserved fisherman village on the beach.

Enjoy the beach in front of the hotel, walk along the pristine seashore, take in the sun from the terrace or have a drink in the Mediterranean breeze.
Before dinner, we will take an easy walk along the shore that offers breathtaking vistas along the way.

In the evening, you will enjoy a welcome reception followed by a delicious dinner.

Days 2-3: Painting One of the Most Beautiful Villages on the Costa Brava

spain-day2bspain-day3aThis “little fishing village” is a hidden gem among all other villages along the Northern Costa Brava. This village is made up of endless rocks, cliffs and extremely beautiful beaches.

The parish church lies in the center of the village and is surrounded by numerous small, windy alleys, which lead down to the beach and give this village its picturesque charm.

spain-day2 spain-day3b
Day 4: Flowers, Coves and Sea Views at the Botanical Garden

spain-day4-gardenTen minutes up the road, lies The Jardi Botanic de Cap Roig. It is considered one of the most important botanical gardens in the Mediterranean.

The most characteristic plant species in the Mediterranean region mix with trees and plants from other continents are a must see and a must paint…

High above the bay, the garden offers stunning views towards the ocean.

In 1927, a Russian Colonel and his English wife began building a castle and a magnificent park. The garden runs down in terraces from the castle to the sea. These ornamental and extremely beautiful gardens contain over 1000 species of plants and flowers from all over the world.

Day 5: Pals, a Unique Preserved Medieval Village

As you walk through the narrow village streets, next to the city walls, towers and churches, you will feel as though you have walked into a new time altogether.

The stone archways, cobblestone streets and wrought balconies adorned with flowers create a welcoming feel in this Romanesque village.

spain-day5-pals2 spain-day5-pals
Day 6: The Surrealistic World of Salvador Dali

For those interested we will go to see the largest surrealistic object in the world created by Dalí, the Dalí Theatre-Museu in the town of Figueres, his birthplace.

We will step inside the surreal world of Salvador Dalí and find a museum like none other. Dalí wanted visitors to see his massive collection as a ‘whole’ work and therefore refused to have his works placed in chronological or subject order.

Inside is a world of fantasy mixed with architecture, paintings and sculptures. It’s a complete surrealistic experience.

Day 7: Painting in the Village

For the last day, we will stay in the village by-the-sea. They are endless vignettes to paint:

cliffs and rocks, boats on the beach, white-washed houses or a magnificent fortress on the beach right in front of the hotel. We will finish our workshop by a “Show and Tell” or ‘Critique” while sipping some sangria before going to the restaurant for our farewell dinner.

Day 8: Departure

It is time to say Hasta Luego!!

After our last breakfast, we will drive you back to Barcelona (either the airport or downtown). We will get to Barcelona around noon so make sure your flight is not before 3pm.

Come and let yourself be carried away by emotions!

For the hotel on the Costa Brava, we have chosen a completely renovated hotel with a breathtaking sea view, overlooking the coves of a hidden and preserved beach.

Enjoy exceptional views of the white-washed fishing village and the blue sea in a comfortable, intimate and relaxed atmosphere.

The village’s narrowing streets and picturesque fishermen’s cottages form an idyllic backdrop to the stunning Mediterranean coast.

You can choose either a standard room (no sea view) with balcony or a superior room with sea view and balcony (see pictures).

Rooms have either two single beds or one double bed. All rooms have an en-suite bathroom, TV, satellite, air conditioning, heating, hairdryer and safety deposit box..

Pricing Details:

The Trip is limited to 13 Participants

Sign up before 11/30 and save $200!

Before Nov 30th: $3,590 for a shared room with ensuite bathroom

After Nov 30th: $3,790 for a shared room with ensuite bathroom

+ $550 for single standard room

+ $900 for a room with breathtaking sea view (The $900 is for the room so if you are sharing a room, the supplement is $450 per person)

Non Painters are welcome to join. Price is the same because you will be taking a painter’s spot.



– Pick-up at 1:30pm at a specific hotel downtown Barcelona to go to the Costa Brava
– Drop-off either at the pick-up hotel in Barcelona around 11am or at the the airport around noon
– A welcome reception
– All nights  at the hotel on the Costa Brava
– All breakfasts
– 3 lunches
– 4 dinners (including drinks and wine)
– All art classes
– Entrance fees to all sites on the tour
– Transportation every day in a comfortable van
– The use of folding chairs
– A personal chauffeur/tour leader throughout the week

Not Included:


– Flights to and from Barcelona
– 3 lunches and 3 dinners
– Painting supplies (we provide folding chairs)
– Tour leader(s) tipping

Cancelation Policy:

If you cancel the trip:Cancellation Fee per Person
More than 120 days before departureThe $600 deposit is forfeited
(however $300 can be transferred to another trip with a departure date within 1 year of cancelation date)
61-120 days before departure50% of total cost forfeited
31-60 days before departure75% of total cost forfeited
0-30 days before departure100% of total cost forfeited
If French Escapade cancels You get a full refund

To reserve your spot, please complete the form below (one per person) and pay US$ 600 deposit.  After receiving your form, we will send you the information for the payment. Note that the deposit is not refundable but $300 is transferrable within one year of cancelation. See our cancelation policy below.

You will be able to pay:

1- Via ZELLE, free instant pay, offered by many major US banks

2- By bank transfer

3- By credit card

Reservation Form

This workshop is sold out . Please email us at contact@frenchescapade.com to be placed on the wait list. We often get cancellations.

French Escapade LLC | 2389 Blackpool Place | San Leandro, CA 94577 | 510-483-5713 | contact@frenchescapade.com
California Seller of Travel Licence-CST #: 2091909-40
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