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Costa Rica 2015

Painting the Exceptional Colors of Costa Rica, 2015


February 1 - 7, 2015

February 28 - March 7, 2015    

  • February 1 - 7, 2015 Filled.  Wait List Only
  • February 28 - March 7, 2015Private Intensive and room for 1 more!  Email Jan for more information.

$1275/person double occupancy. Single occupancy available for $100 more. Maximum number of participants = 8.

Class size limited to 8 on a first come basis. The workshop is limited to student-participants only so that each person can immerse completely into the adventure.. If your friend/partner/spouse would like to join you we suggest meeting either before or after the workshop to travel and explore more of Costa Rica! Ask Jan for suggestions.

Your place is reserved with a deposit of $450.00, paid directly to Jan. Email Jan here for directions to deposit through PayPal.

"Painting the Exceptional Colors of Costa Rica"

is a 7-day watercolor workshop with Jan Hart. This workshop will be held in the southern region of Costa Rica near the city named San Isidro de El General. Jan Hart is an acclaimed watercolor teacher and author of the popular book, The Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color, published by Walter Foster in 2008. She is also the author of the ebook, What Do You Mean I Can't Move to Costa Rica? Available through this website. Read More...



Come let Jan introduce you to the colors, sights, sounds and beauty of this little Central American country she calls home - Costa Rica. You'll stay in one of Jan's cabinas or at Papas de Paramo hotel and conference center where each morning will find us painting in the outdoor studio above the river - with 80 degree sunny days, soft tropical breezes and surrounded by brilliant colors!. At the outdoor farmer's market we'll each select colorful fruits and vegetables to paint and eat! Of course one day we'll swim in the 85 degree Pacific and one afternoon we'll explore the incredible array of organic plants at Frank's place hoping to taste the beriba and miracle fruit! And we will likely visit Liliam's beautiful orchid farm and gardens.. Of course we'll also enjoy the local cuisine of fresh food from the nearby agricultural lands surrounding the city. This is a special workshop for those who want to immerse themselves into painting and a non-touristy adventure in real, rural Costa Rica. Papas de Paramo hotel is owned by a Tico (what the Costa Rican people call themselves) family just outside the small village of San Ramon, and 6 minutes from Jan's house. Wifi is available, but not a lot of other amenities in this Developing country and place that time forgot, reminiscent of the slow paced 1950's in the US.... And oh, the soft air, the scents, the delicious food and the colors!

Stepping out of the airport they catch their first glimpse of Costa Rica! From far away places buried in cold, they begin to remove their layers of clothing and adjust their eyes and ears to new colors, sights and sounds that will become very familiar for the next week-long watercolor painting workshop led by artist/author Jan Hart. After a night's rest and morning introductions around breakfast at Melrost Inn, the 8 students plus Jan and driver, Francisco load up and head out for the 2+ hour trek through the cloud forest and over the Cerro del Muerte mountains to Jan's home in San Isidro de El General. And that begins the painting adventure! For the next 6 days and 7 nights, there is much to do, much to see and even more to paint! The students range in abilities from beginner to experienced, which is the best mix, according to Jan who says that students will learn as much from each other – or more – than they will from her! The mood is upbeat and lively and the adventure progresses! The first evening finds everyone enjoying an informal dinner at Jan's place in her open air studio and outdoor kitchen as sunset approaches and the evening lights blink on in the city below.

One morning they head into the feria (outdoor market) located in down town San Isidro to choose colorful fruits and vegetables and flowers for an afternoon still life! The lesson of the day will include color relationships! The San Isidro market is the largest in Costa Rica, offering produce from over 200 merchants surrounding the southern Costa Rica area – and oh, the colors!

From bright reds and oranges in mangos, papayas and pejibaye to deep inky purples and startling crimsons in the eggplants and beets. bright yellow sunflowers combined with pale aqua pineapple stems – the colors are vibrant and exhilarating, and much of the reason Jan selected Costa Rica as her home! Her book, The Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color is appreciated by many and used as a reference book on color in five languages in addition to English.

Another morning they head to the beach, just 30 minutes over the Talamanca ridge to Dominical! Just south they have lunch at Ballena Beach Club and enjoy the empty, pristine beach and 85 degree water. After swimming they paint en plein aire (outside) from the landscape of palms, flowers and vines. Before returning home they enjoy a leisurely dinner at La Parcela restaurant with views of the ocean on both sides of the restaurant. Viva ceviche and Tuna tartar!

Daily Itinerary For The Week

Day One: Sunday. Over the Cerro del Muerte Mountains to San Isidro!


After a restful night, the sun will be coming up at 5:30 a.m - and we'll be up for our first Costa Rican breakfast at Melrost on the upstairs deck by 8! We'll be set to go by 9, with our driver, Francisco, taking us into the cloud forests of the 'Mountain of Death' so named for early foot travelers that died while crossing the 10,000 + ft. elevations. We'll stop to eat on top of the mountain at one of Jan's favorite places and you can try Costa Rican food to your heart's content! (included in your fee). By mid afternoon we'll be at Papas de Paramo where you can check in to your room and relax a bit. Evening will find us up at Jan's place with Anita, Jan's Tica daughter likely in the kitchen for a welcoming light dinner and drinks (included in your fee).

Day Two: Monday. Colors, Colors, Colors!


We'll meet for breakfast around 8 and enjoy the hospitality of our host, Estevan and the rest of the wonderful staff at Papas. In the studio down by the pool, our day will focus on colors! We'll look around and find some Costa Rican nature to paint, with Jan providing a slide show and a demo.

Today will be relaxed, painting and enjoying our surroundings. Lunch in the restaurant at Papas.

We'll plan to eat at Papas after our first day of painting.

Day Three: Tuesday. Color, Light, Shade, Shadows and Reflected Light!


We'll begin our morning with a positive critique of anything we painted yesterday - and get the valuable feedback needed to continue. Subject for today will include a continuation with COLOR as well as Light, Shade, Shadow & Reflected Light. We may do a walk about in the gardens to look further discuss color as well as light and shadow. After Jan's demo, we'll be painting in the studio until lunchtime. After lunch we maytake a drive out to Rivas to Finca La Puebla - or to Liliam's Orchid garden. We'll take along our cameras, sketch books and will likely find some colorful tanagers or a mot mot to sketch/paint/photograph. On our way home we'll stop at Bazooka's for dinner and enjoy great seafood, pasta, salads and Costa Rican favorites.

Here is the beautiful blue-green tanager hiding among the leaves. With his color he is still hard to miss!

Day Four: Wednesday. Painting in the gardens plein aire or in the studio!


Morning in the Studio with an early morning critique from yesterday's work! Jan will likely do a Demo on whatever the group asks for. We'll paint in the studio and enjoy lunch in one of the poolside cabanas. We may decide to stay at Papas and paint and enjoy the pool. Some may want to walk up the road to the Bamboo Factory.   Dinner wherever you would like to go. Taxis available. Or you can choose to stay and eat at Papas to try something you haven't eaten before.

Day Five: Thursday. The Colorful Fruits and Vegetables of Costa Rica!


In the Studio with an early morning critique from yesterday's work! After breakfast we'll be off to the Feria (fresh fruit and vegetable market) in downtown San Isidro where we'll shop for some fruits and/or vegetables and/or flowers to paint! There are lots of other things to photograph and see! The colors and shapes are unbelievable! Afternoon - We'll be painting still lifes of fruit and flowers in the studio - the colors of growing things! Dinner wherever you'd like to go or stay in at Papas and paint!.

The market in San Isidro de El General is Costa Rica's largest open air market - open every week, year around.

Day Six: Friday. Beach Day!


Morning in the Studio with an early morning critique from yesterday's work! Jan will demonstrate ways to deal with GREEN and we may do a 'Green Exercise' At about 11 we'll meet our van and head to the beach where we'll eat lunch at Villa Lenora's(not included in your fee), truly outstanding - and at the beach! Also at the beach we can practice some plein aire painting on site and play in the 85 degree water! Dinner at La Parcela (not included in your fee) with our sarongs wrapped around our bathing suits and a flower behind each ear. Prices vary from around $8 - $20. Excellent food specializing in seafood right from the adjacent Pacific fishing boats. We can watch the sun set on the Pacific with Pelicans roosting nearby. Home by around 8 p.m.

Day Seven: Saturday. Return to San Jose


We'll have our last critique and breakfast just before we pick up the van and head back to San Jose along the coast route, arriving around noon. He'll be sure to stop so you can see the giant crocodiles below the bridge on the river Tarcoles. Those who are leaving the next day can stay at Melrost or another hotel. Jan will help with bookings but you must reserve with Katia at Melrost.

Fly home or stay on for more adventuring in northern Costa Rica. Jan can suggest some guided trips to butterfly farms, waterfalls, volcanos, etc. where you can see and experience more of Costa Rica. Or better yet, contact our driver, Francisco who can take you on a customized tour for a few days after the workshop. Read about one person's trip with Francisco here.

Please complete the secure form below, if you would like to be on the interest list for 2015 or for more information.

Your fee of $1275 includes:


  • All instruction & daily demos by Jan. Lots of time for painting and laughing and learning! And - you'll get a feel for Jan's home and rural Costa Rica!. If we decide we'd like to go off somewhere else and paint for a day - we'll just do it!
  • Double occupancy accommodations at Papa de Pâramo hotel in San Ramon - next to the San Ramon river. (Single occupancy cabinas available at Papa de Paramo and at Jan's place at additional fee of $100).
  • All breakfasts and lunches (except one lunch) at Papas de Pâramo restaurant plus lunch meal on the way and light dinner at Jan's home upon arrival. Participants can plan to visit local restaurants for dinner or dine in the wonderful restaurant at Papas. No drinks included except coffee, tea and water but plenty available. You'll love Costa Rican food! And you might want to try a few batidos - fresh fruit juice blended with ice or milk!
  • A workshop booklet that includes your color wheel, lots of information and exercises.
  • Daily morning critiques/discussions and demos - as well as plenty of painting time!.
  • Transportation from Melrost B&B in Alajuela (near the San Jose airport) to San Isidro de El General on Sunday. The van will leave from Melrost and we'll travel through the cloud forests of the Cerro Muerte mountains to San Isidro, arriving at Papa de Pâramo in the late afternoon. Jan will provide any transportation needed once we're settled. You will be transported back to the airport area at the end of the workshop. Jan can help you arrange accommodations and/or further travel possibilities if needed.
  • Some afternoon sightseeing and painting/photography adventures including possible visit to an orchid farm, an organic coffee farm, the beach, the local feria marketplace for fresh vegetables, fruits, fish, etcPlus you are welcome to explore the area on foot - to the bamboo factory, to the village of San Ramon, etc. You will definitely not run out of things to see/do/photograph.


Some Testimonials...

"This was my third workshop with Jan. I keep coming back, not only for her valuable insights regarding color (particularly about shade and shadow!) and composition, but also because she creates a very safe, sharing environment that encourages each of us to learn from each other as well as from her. Jan aims not so much to teach us her style of painting but rather to help us recognize our own painting "traits" and to help us develop our own style of expression, successfully -- and we all get to see how some of these choices play out! All in all, I find it a very rich and exciting learning environment, led by a very gracious, supportive and insightful teacher and host. Thank you, Jan!"

Jenifer Rees, Seattle, 2014


"Jan's workshop dances with as much light and energy as her paintings. In a beautiful tropical setting, she thoughtfully teaches us about
using and mixing colors, light and shadows and composition. With fascinating demonstrations, Jan encourages each student to take another step forward, to try something new and to enjoy the process. As a relative beginner, I saw and heard way more lessons than I ever will remember, but what will last is the confidence that with time and practice I will be proud of my pictures and able to paint in a way that pleases me. Jan's thorough workshop preparation, her ability to clearly convey the information and her desire to help you reach your own goals, makes this a successful week. Add to this the beauty and warmth of Costa Rica, the friendly Ticos and the wholesome and delicious food and you'll end up with a fabulous experience."


E. Christensen, Maine, 2014





"Your watercolor workshop was terrific! Your expertise as a watercolorist, your in depth knowledge of color and your ability to work with students of all levels made this a truly unique experience. You responded so well to each workshop member, whether a "brand new painter", a professional artist or as in my case, a retired college art professor. Your workshop was well organized, specific in daily content, and allowed for as much "one on one" as a student might want or need and yet you were so encouraging to those who wanted to work more independently. Bravo, for making this such a memorable workshop!"

J. Eng, Massachusetts 2013



 "Whew! Just finished my 4th Costa Rica watercolor workshop with Jan Hart. Yes, I'm addicted, but in a good way. I re learn what I forgot, and learn more every year. This year we had a fantastic group of artists, and I learned from them as well. A week seems like a long workshop up front, but it flies by so fast! We went to Frank's organic farm, to the farmer's market (not to be missed) and to the beach. And we painted and painted, but there is always more I want to paint, and it's such a joy to paint where I can call out for help from Jan whenever I want to. Jan is still the best teacher in watercolor I've had. I'm getting pretty spoiled. Loved it. Will do it again."

Susan Evans, Washington, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013



 "After having just spent a week in Costa Rica with Jan Hart, I can honestly say that it was a fabulous, inspiring vacation! After morning breakfast we met for our watercolor lesson which included demonstrations by Jan, personal feedback, critiques and plenty of painting time. Jan is an excellent teacher! I learned so much about color and design! The afternoons were spent with trips to the San Isidro farmer's market, Liliam's orchid farm, Frank's coffee finca, and the beach. While visiting we were able to get a feel for typical Costa Rican cultural and the very friendly people that live in this beautiful country. Several of us brought our sketchbooks along on these trips so we could document our experiences. Sign up, you won't regret it!"

Missy Walsh-Smith, Washington, 2012



 "The workshop was fabulous - just the right mix of painting and excursions. We needed every minute of painting time. The critiques were so helpful, it was a big part of the workshop and helped me actually finish some paintings!"

Susan Evans, Washington, 2010, 2011, 2012



 "A wonderful experience - a good mix of adventures, learning, social time - all centered on seeing color and painting in watercolor. Jan's critiques and demos are - in my experience - unparalleled. Critiques are supportive and, at the same time, to the point. It is a testment to Jan's ability to both inspire and also to teach technical fine points - that artists who teach and exhibit attend her workshops faithfully. The setting was perfect, with good facilities, great food and the friendliest staff ever. On a scale of 1 to 10: 11!"

Marietta Millet, New York 2010, 2011, 2012



 "I went away from your workshop finally able to call myself an "artist". Before your workshop I felt very inadequate as an artist. You changed that feeling with your encouragement and supportive critiques. I am so excited to finally use COLOR in my paintings. Before your workshop I seemed to use drab color schemes (Wyeth) because I felt comfortable with drab colors. Now I see how exciting Costa Rica (rain forest) colors can be. Thank you! I'm so glad I went to Costa Rica and finally stepped our of my "Comfort Zone."

Bonnie Smith, Minnesota, 2010



Tax & Cancellation Policy for all Jan Hart events:

Appropriate state taxes will be added where required. There are no taxes required for Costa Rica. Spaces are reserved on a first deposit received basis. Your deposit is 1/3 of the total charge for the workshop. Once your place has been reserved, there will be a non-refundable cancellation charge of $150 prior to 75 days before the event. The cancellation fee for less than 75 days before the event will be charged according to expenses incurred. The final 2/3 of the total is due 30 - 45 days before the event. No refund less than 30 days before the event unless a replacement participant can be found. We reserve the right to cancel any event, in which case we will make a full refund. Any refund due will be paid within 30 days after the event. Thank you.

The best way to find out more about a particular workshop is to email me and ask. I check my emails regularly and will get right back to you - usually within a couple days.

To register for a workshop, check the deposit amount required with the workshop description and then email Jan to tell her you would like to register. She will let you know how to submit your payment.

Finca La Puebla Sold!


Jan's Published Works

Jan offers an award-nominated book for watercolor painters, entitled The Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color and an ebook account of the first year of her Costa Rica life entitled, What Do You Mean I Can't Move To Costa Rica?  She is currently at work on a book about the societal, mystical and personal events behind her move to Costa Rica. Email Jan if you want to know more.

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Finca la Puebla
Organic Farm

Finca La Puebla was one of Frank Thompson's passions before he died in early 2014. The farm is his legacy.......

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Click in to read Jan's thoughts and impressions about life and living through her blog.

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