USK Workshop – Let’s Get Closer

Plein-Air Watercolor Workshop in Tuscany with Majid Modir and a guest artist.

Join a creative adventure in the historical town of Volterra located in the heart of Tuscany and bring a lot of pleasant memories and some vibrant paintings back home!

You will improve your live sketching & plein-air painting methods and in particular watercolor techniques. The focus will be on capturing the perfect Motives & Compositions, finding the Focal Point in the chosen scenes and zooming in it step by step (Getting Closer).

September 11-18 /2022
In association with URBAN SKETCHERS
Arranged by IL PUNTO Watercolor School 

We will explore various locations every day: The old Etruscan town as well as surrounding hills with cypress trees, nearby picturesque villages and pine woods at the seaside.

There will be a lot of demos, instructions, exercises and reviews, both individual and in the group, so you will feel confident to find your own way and express your feelings.

In the meantime, we will experience spending time and sketch with likeminded participants, meeting interesting local artists, taste the Tuscan food & wine and have a touch of Italian lifestyle, simply having a joyful and rewarding adventure!

A whole week within 5-days’ workshop arranged by The Watercolor School IL PUNTO, in collaboration with USK, Volterra-Detroit Foundation, and hosted by Villa Mascagni and lead by the Swedish visual artist, urban sketcher and watercolor instructor Majid Modir, and accompanied by a guest teacher for a day:

September edition with Kristina Bength from Sweden

This workshop is ALL-INCLUSIVE, and you will get your art supplies as well, the only thing you need to do is to buy your flight!

Start with putting the dates in your calendar 😉
And watch a glimpse of a previous workshop (Volterra 2019) HERE!

Volterra view from the city wall
Villa Mascagni 5 minutes’walk from the center.
Apply for one of the editions May or September, the choice is yours!


Primary aims

We are surrounded by 360-degrees views in reality and we see lots of wide-angle sketches and paintings which looks ok, but we actually don’t know where to look and focus our eyes on.

It’s a common habit to report everything we see and transfer lots of information in a single sketch. And it’s just fine if we choose the ”Reportage Method” and are aware of Focal Point and Overall Values. Otherwise, we risk presenting a bland general and average image.

Another method is to try to reduce by getting closer to the point of interest, drastically pruning and choosing tight compositions. Simply practicing zoom function with our built-in cameras, namely the ”Targeting Eyes”.

” It is how the artist draws attention to the particular content of the painting and is often the most important element of the painting.”

Learning goals

Keeping pure transparency and making a good balance between wet-in-wet and dry brush -by varying the amount of adding water and the waiting time between each wash.


Capturing the soul and beauty of a certain place -by finding a unique angle and selecting the point of interest and putting it in a good composition.

Discovering the most interesting spot in the chosen view and focusing on it -by studying its structures, dynamic lines and transforming these on the paper as a sketch.

Finding the Contrasts as the basis and going on with colors -by making different level of contrasts in the focused area and its surroundings.

Thinking “out of the box” and working “selectively” with a “tailor made” image -by minimizing the details and removing unnecessary elements.

And finally taking a step closer in order to understand and sketch/paint an object -by gradually studies.

Language: English

Number of participants
Minimum 6 participants, maximum 12

All levels are welcome (preferably with basic experience of watercolor painting).


Each participant will be provided with a high quality complete watercolor kit asa practical and unique “Plein-Air package” from IL PUNTO, including:

  • Palette, made of birch plywood with smart solutions (for both right & left hands), to set up everything you need and hold with one hand. Dimensions 245mmx330mm
  • Paint box, 12 selected colors (Schmincke) from tube to capsules in a metal box (including 2 small side-palettes)
  • Papers, 20 loose leaves (Arches) cold-pressed 100% cotton 300 gsm in 2 different roughness, A5 size (21×15 cm), in a metallic box (which also protects the finished paintings)
  • Brush set, 5 brushes (Da Vinci 8740 College), 2 round and 2 flat in sizes 4 & 12 with long handles (30 cm) and 1 wide-flat (FIT 30), all in a bamboo-mat case.
  • Sketchbook, small & practical notebook (Moleskine), in A6 size (15×10.5 cm) for thumbnail sketches, 32 perforated pages in 70gsm
  • Drawing pen & pencils, 1 pen (Signo Uni-ball) 0.38 black-ink, and 2 pencils (Staedtler) in HB & B6
  • Water cup + Clamp, enamel cup with associated clamp for attaching to the palette
  • Backpack, super light, compact and waterproof bag to collect & carry all materials & accessories.

There will be some extended supplies available for purchase at the spot: Tripod-Stand + Wooden Paint-Box, Portable Chairr and Viewfinder.


Plein Air Package from Il Punto, included in workshop fee. 


  • 7 days of accommodation including 5 workshop days.
  • 6 hours session (including 2 demos) per day with a lunch break.
  • Morning: 3 hours (10-13) / Afternoon: 3 hours (14-17)

Daily Workshop Schedule / Learnings & Exercises

  • Day 1: Arrival, Registration and Installation at the Villa Mascagni, Welcoming Dinner
  • Day 2: In-Door Studies at the Studio Volterra-Detroit Foundation
    • INTRODUCTION: Presentation and looking at some helpful examples in order to analyzing how a good work should be planed
    • BASICS IN WATERCOLOR TECHNIQUE: Studying the materials and devices for best plein-air watercolor painting (paints, brushes, papers, easels etc.), followed by a demo
    • GROUP EXERCISE: Basics in watercolor & color palette
  • Day 3: Windows and Housetops / Sunset from the city wall (Volterra town sketch walk)
    • VIEW-FINDING INSTRUCTIONS: Training our eyes to capture the best subjects & angels, from a different point of view or perspective -than the regular or expected.
  • Day 4: Panoramic Hills / Gardens and Green Palette (Trip to the picturesque village of “Mazzolla”)
    • COMPOSITION & CROPPING INSTRUCTIONS: Doing some exercises to achieve the best motives by drawing some fast thumbnails on sketch book, and also framing the chosen subjects by a viewfinder. Continuing with the selected sketches as paintings on watercolor paper.
  • Day 5: Constructions & Details (Trip to the historical abby of “Badia”)
    • VALUE-FINDING METHODS: Instructions in order to achieve the best Contrasts (the light and the darkness), Color selection, and some other terms such as sharpness & blur, dry brush & wet-in-wet.
  • Day 6: Figures in Movement (Trip to the seaside and the picturesque village of “Bolgheri” & its  wine district)
    • GETTING CLOSER: Using all previous learnings and exercises of the week in order to select a part of a wide view and achieve the optimal close-up.
  • Day 7: Day off with optional activities (Museum visit, Saturday Market …) and Own Exhibition with public show of our works in Volterra-Detroit Foundation*With reservation for changes regarding the weather condition!

Workshop Fee:

1950 € * (payable through PayPal or Bank Transfer)


  • 7 days of accommodation (apartments in Villa Mascagni)**
  • Transfers between Volterra and Pisa Airport (arrival & departure), and daily trips
  • 2 exclusive dinners (first and last suppers) + 5 picnic lunches (incl. fruit, coffee and cookies)
  • 30 hours tuition (5 days of lecture, demos, instructions and critiques -four days by Majid Modir and one day by the guest teacher)
  • Complete watercolor supplies of quality brands
  • Final show

* 1250 € for a non-participating partner (including the first 3 points)

** In each apartment there is a bedroom and a living room, both with their own twin-bed, all to share for 2 persons.

Limited single rooms with twin-bed are available with extra cost of 350€.

Apply by sending mail to:

About the instructors

Majid Modir

Visual artist, photographer and graphic designer, born 1961 in Iran, moved to Sweden 1986 and 2016 to Italy. He graduated in Graphic Design & Illustration (MFA) at The Swedish University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (Konstfack).

As creative director he runs his own Design Studio and also teaches motion graphic at The College of Art & Design (Nyckelviksskolan) in Stockholm. He is a member of Nordic Watercolor Association, Swedish Artist’s Association, Swedish Center of Photography and a jury member of the European Broadcast Design Award (BDA & Promax).

Multiply awarded, he has been showing his works and watercolors in a number of separate and group exhibitions in Scandinavian countries during last 30 years as well as in Italy during the last 5 years.

Artist website:
Selected watercolors:

Watercolors by Majid

Kristina Bength (Sweden)

”Kristina Bength’s projects are most often taking their point of departure in the implications of photography on society, both today and throughout the history of the medium. In recent years Kristina Bength has painted from literature rather than photography. She has investigated memories of rooms from literature.

Kristina Bength lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. She is educated at Gerlesborgsskolan in Bohuslän, at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, and at Valand School of Fine Art in Gothenburg (BFA).

Kristina Bength have had solo shows at Galleri Flach in Stockholm, LM D galerie in Paris, Ahlbergshallen in Östersund, Ebelingmuseet in Eskilstuna, Kiruna Stadshus and Trollhättan Konsthall. She has participated in group shows at Uppsala Art Museum, Gävle Konstcentrum, and hangmen Projects in Stockholm, and participated in art fairs such as Volta 5 in Basel, Volta 13 in New York and Le Salon du Dessin Contemporain in Paris.

She has received one- and two-year working grants and Project grant from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, the County Council of Dalarna Culture Grant, Kiruna Artist Grant, Byggnads Culture Grant, Axel Theofron Sandberg’s Watercolour Grant from The Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts and Marianne & Sigvard Bernadotte’s Art Fund Grant.

Kristina Bength has had workshops in drawing and painting since 2006 fore example at The Nordic Watercolour Museum in Tjörn and Nordic Art School in Kokkola in Finland, and she has been teaching at Nyckelviksskolan in Stockholm since 2013.”

Artist Website

Watercolors by Kristina

Recent Posts

Check Out the Brand New USk Shop

May 8, 2024

Guess what? Our Urban Sketchers Shop just leveled up with some seriously...

Read More

Open Call for Emerging Storytellers!

May 3, 2024

  Are you aged between 18 and 25? And are you passionate...

Read More

International Urban Sketchers Week 2024!

March 1, 2024

We are excited to share with you that we have registered a...

Read More

Drawing Attention March 2024

March 1, 2024

  Drawing Attention, the official zine of the Urban Sketchers organization, communicates...

Read More