Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

When in Rome…

If you want to experience something extraordinary, something that will make you live in the moment and soak up every last detail of its loveliness- I encourage you to spend an afternoon sketching with Kelly Medford of Sketching Rome Tours.

Kelly is an American living in Rome and has lived in Italy since 2005 when she moved to Florence to study art. She started Sketching Rome Tours in 2012 and loves to share her passion for Rome and for sketching and painting in “plein air”- outside on the streets of Rome.

Sketching Rome Tours is one of those experiences that I heard about a few years ago and was immediately drawn to, but then in the hustle of planning ALL THE THINGS for our adventures in Italy– it accidentally got left behind. On my recent trip to Rome, I made sure to remedy that.

I wanted to meet Kelly and experience seeing Rome through an artist’s eyes. I’m so glad I did! She immediately draws you in with her warmth and humor and you can’t help but float through the afternoon listening and learning and sketching your day away…

Sound dreamy? It totally is.

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

The Experience

Kelly leads her tours in various locations around Rome, depending on the weather and the season. The afternoon I spent with her we met at the Pincian Hill,  (Monte Pincio)- a gorgeous spot overlooking Piazza del Popolo with the Basilica of Saint Peter in the distance. It is a lush and green space on the edge of the Villa Borghese Gardens. (Full of secret gardens, fountains, hidden cafés, tree-lined walkways, statues of notable Italians in history + my very favorite museum– all of which make it a great place to spend the entire day.)

We started by meeting up with the other ladies taking the tour and getting acquainted for a few minutes. Kelly presents each “student” with an art kit that she has specially created, consisting of a small zippered bag with a handmade (by Kelly!) sketchbook full of different types of paper, a small travel watercolor set, watercolor brush, pencil, and pen. (This sketch kit is yours to keep after the tour)

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours
The Sketch Kit (via Sketching Rome)

After that, Kelly shared some techniques and led us in a few exercises on paper to get our creative juices flowing. She is warm and encouraging, and just naturally brings out the inner artist in each person- no matter what their experience with art is. She shares simple techniques and ways to capture details from a moment in time, so you can take your sketch kit with you and create lasting memories wherever you are.

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

Part of the charm of spending an afternoon with Kelly is seeing Rome through her eyes, and noticing details that you might not otherwise see. As we walked through the park, each person found a spot they wanted to focus on and sketch- putting together the different techniques Kelly had shown us and that we had practiced.

While we sketched + painted, Kelly checked in with each of us and encouraged us, giving us feedback and cheering us on. I loved it! The whole experience- from meeting the other travelers, to being outside in the park, to putting down my iPhone and hearing the rustling leaves and paying attention to the shadows was beautiful and relaxing.

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

Kelly’s enthusiasm for Rome, for sketching and for life itself is contagious. I can’t think of a better way to spend a few hours in Rome than slowing down and enjoy making art and new friends with Sketching Rome.

I recommend that you do this at the beginning of your trip if at all possible, to be able to use the sketch kit throughout your travels. If you do go, I’d love to hear about it! I am so wishing I had done this years ago before we moved to Italy- it would be amazing to have a sketchbook filled with all our trips!

I have always dreamed of traveling with sketchbook in hand, and now I feel inspired + equipped to continue the things I learned from Kelly & her brilliant Sketching Rome Tours.

– Heather

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

 

Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours
Kelly Medford, Artist & Founder of Sketching Rome Tours (photo courtesy of kellymedford.com)

About Kelly

I’m an American plein air painter who has been living and working in Italy since 2005 where I first came to study drawing at The Florence Academy of Art for 1 year. I have been painting and sketching out on the streets of Italy daily as my way of getting to know the country, its people, history, culture and sights as well as enjoy my love of painting and drawing.

Artists and non-artists alike have been keeping sketchbook journals of their travels through Italy and Europe for centuries and I am honored and excited to continue this long standing tradition. That is why in 2012 I started Sketching Rome Tours as a way to offer this experience to everyone visiting Rome.

You can see my work at kellymedford.com

Kelly leads workshops in other locations during the year (in 2017 she is leading a group in Morocco and in Umbria) She also has an online shop with art for sale and you can also commission a piece of art from her. (Wouldn’t that be an amazing gift for someone?) More info Here.

About Sketching Rome Tours

Sketching Rome Tours from Kat Tan on Vimeo.

 

*Disclosure: I was a guest of Sketching Rome Tours, but as always, I only share things that I highly recommend and would share with my best friend. Thank you for supporting the small businesses that work with Smitten Italy!

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Off the beaten path with Sketching Rome Tours

  • This is spectacular! I love off-the-beaten path and especially something that feels more active than just looking at sights. Although my sketching is much to be desired (lol), I think I’d still push myself to do this (and just practice for a month or 2 before).

    I also love to see when people move places (in this case, Kelly) and start unique, creative business based on their passion (art) and skill (teaching).

    So awesome!

    • I agree, Alicia-Joy- It’s so fascinating to me to meet people doing these things and see them come alive telling you about it! She’s a fantastic teacher- and it’s for ALL levels- believe me, I’m no artist either but loved it.