A place of painterly delight


Italy boasts landscapes of green, gold, and cerulean, delectable food and drink, and rich art history. Kim Hoerster was first drawn to Italy because of her studies in art and painting, and the beauty and vibrancy of the country’s landscape and people continue to pull her back.

Kim pursued art in college until her love of dance took center stage. For years during college and after, a business—Acrotex Gymnastic schools—became her main focus. About eight years ago, Kim added a watercolor class to her busy schedule. Reconnecting with her love of art, she decided to finish the art degree, and after many semesters at Austin Community College, she found a splendid opportunity—the chance to study art history in Florence, Italy, through an ACC Study Abroad Program.

She spent four magnificent summer weeks there in 2011, soaking up each day’s experiences. “I was immersed in the daily activity of the town,” she says, “and I fell in love with Florence.” In a city famous for its artistic and architectural heritage, Kim spent her days viewing museums and monuments, statues and paintings, talking with local people and fellow students, and painting in the evenings. The time flew by.

In 2012, with her husband planning to go on a church mission trip, she looked for a watercolor workshop offered for the same dates. But where would she go? Italia, certamente! She chose The Watermill in Posara in northwest Tuscany. There, the restored seventeenth-century watermill and outbuildings meet secluded gardens and sun-drenched patios, and Posara’s ancient structures and narrow alleyways suggest paintings just waiting to happen. And paint Kim did, learning from an excellent watercolorist while enjoying the camaraderie of the other students.

Kim also spent four days at Casa Fontana, in historic Barga, which sits atop a hillside, overlooking magnificent views of medieval architecture and chestnut forests.

The question is not whether Kim will return to Italy, but when.

Until then, she loves sharing her art expertise with her students. She’s taught watercolor for the past five years, and her next class begins in January. Kim says, “I feel like art is a learned skill and anyone can do it—just like someone learns to bake a cake.”

Of her own painting, she says, “I don’t consider myself a prideful painter; I’ve got too much to learn.”

And what better place to learn than Italy? Alla prossima—until next time!

For more information on Kim and her classes, go to www.kimhoerster.com.

For more information on The Watermill, go to www.watermill.net.

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