Plein Air Adventure in Toledo, Spain 2025

Gretchen Spain 1


Plein Air Adventure in Toledo, Spain with Gretchen Lopez

September 17 – 26, 2025 

  • Experience: All levels are welcome.
  • Medium: Water-soluble Oils, Watercolor, Journaling
  • Registration: Each student must enroll individually. Click the Cancellation Policy tab above for more info.
  • Materials List: Click the Materials List tab above for a list of required and suggested supplies.
  • Location: Toledo, Spain.**

Join Sedona Arts Center for a Plein Air Adventure in Toledo, Spain with Gretchen Lopez! 

Join Gretchen for the adventure of a lifetime and experience the art, food and culture of this medieval fortress city.  Located just 20 minutes south of Madrid by train, Toledo was once the capitol of Spain and home to numerous cultures and religions. It now echoes the art of El Greco and the magic of its culture by night!  Arriving in Madrid it’s onward to our destination to experience medieval history as never before.

Students in this amazing workshop will learn to work with the flexibility of water mixable oils and experience the joy of watercolor journaling.  Students will learn to find their focal point or area of interest, through the simplification of shapes, composition and working from a limited palette.  Gretchen’s students will discover the beauty of light and dark contrast in scenes in and around Toledo and create an impression of what they see. They can then gather information and wonderful sources of references based on their quick oil sketches and memories from their watercolor journals to complete paintings in their home studios!

Arrive in MADRID, SPAIN for Sightseeing with Gretchen

Sightseeing Tour: September 17-19, 2025

  • September 17, 2025: Arrival in Madrid!  Rest or gather at one of the great restaurants in the City Center. Stay at a great hotel – Hotel Catalonia Goya – right in the heart of city center close to the Prado and Theissen Museums. There are other great boutique hotels from which to choose, right in the City Center!
  • September 18, 2025: Meet for lunch and orientation at Museo Thyssen Bornemisza. Join Gretchen for a tour of the Thyssen, a beautiful museum right across from the Prado.  Then take in some Flamenco in the evening at “Tablao Flamenco” 1911 ( The Old Villa Rosa) Advance reservations are a must!
  • September 19, 2025: Relax at one of the cafes in Madrid. Be sure to get tickets early for the Museums.


September 20-26, 2025

September 20, 2025

Meet at the Historic and beautiful Atocha Train station lower level to get the train to Toledo.  Once in Toledo take a taxi to The Hotel Carlos V (our recommended hotel). Dine that night at one of the great restaurants close to the Plaza Zocodover, only a ten minute walk from the Hotel Carlos V.  If you are staying elsewhere, taxis are available.

September 21, 2025

At 9:00am, we will meet at the Plaza Zocodover. It is in the heart of Toledo and is the hub for tours, buses and people watching. Plus, there are some great places to have breakfast! Gretchen will start off with a history of Toledo combined with a short walking tour.  Gather back at the Plaza Zocodover at 1:00pm and get ready to paint!  Gretchen will show you how to get creative and the most simple way to start a painting!

September 22, 2025

Plan on a morning paint out/sketch out, with a demonstration in our watercolor journals.  In the afternoon we’ll visit the Museo Greco!  Tickets should be purchased before the trip!

September 23, 2025

Let’s do breakfast! (Place and time to be determined) A morning paint out will be planned with the locale on one of the winding streets in Toledo complete with demonstration and keys to starting a painting, journaling and recording your thoughts!  After 2:00pm lets do a wine tasting and an early dinner at one of Toledo’s fine café restaurants.

September 24, 2025

Meet at 9:00am on the Plaza to catch a bus to view and paint the elegant Tajo River with Gretchen!

September 25, 2025

Take the morning off to paint or tour!  Meet Gretchen back at the Plaza de Zocodover, for a brief chat at 2:00pm when things open up again!  We will plan to gather for our “farewell dinner”!

September 26, 2025

Check out from your hotel.

Here are the recommended hotels that you can reserve starting in 2024:

Madrid:  Hotel Catalonia Goya

Toledo: Hotel Carlos V

Questions about the workshop or supplies? Email Gretchen at

**NOTE:  The fee does not include travel, lodging or meals. Students are responsible for their own expenses.


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Gretchen Lopez

Gretchen Lopez

Gretchen’s work is inspired, not only by her love of painting, but from her ethnic heritage, teaching and the world around her.  After majoring in advertising and design, she went on to study fashion illustration at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, then finished out her studies at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.  As a tenth generation Native of California, Gretchen is a descendant of the first Spanish settlers and the California Rancheros.  Combined with her native roots, her work is inspired by this rich Ethnic heritage.  Vibrant color and spontaneity, are expressed in the gentle beauty of the Native and Hispanic people she paints.  Combining the traditional with the contemporary, she is able to paint with freedom and passion.  Gretchen lives in Northern Arizona, where she continues to pursue her love of painting and teaching.  She has taught at the Sedona Arts Center for over 18 years, and teaches workshops abroad in Spain and Mexico.  Gretchen was nominated for the Viola Award for Excellence in Art Education, and has won numerous awards in the Sedona Plein Air Festival.  Her works are in private collections both nationally and internationally, as well in exhibits at the Historic Phippen Museum of Western Art.  Gretchen’s work is represented by The Sedona Arts Center Gallery, Adelante Gallery, and The Turquoise Tortoise Rogoway Gallery in Tubac Arizona.

She is also a member of the Impressionist Society of America.

Recommended list of Supplies for Gretchen’s Plein Air Workshop for  water mixable oils and watercolor-

When it comes to Plein Air painting kits and set-ups, the sky is the limit, here are some set-ups I can recommend.  The main things to consider when selecting- overall weight, easy to set up, keeping it all consolidated:

Portable Easel

  1. The Sienna Paint Box- comes in two sizes, with room to house your paint.  With the glass palette it can be a bit heavy, but you can replace the it with a wood palette.  Attaches to a tripod, and is a beautifully finished pochade box.
  2. New Wave “The Anywhere” pochade paint box, is fashioned after a laptop computer and is very lightweight and easy to set up and attaches to a tripod.  Comes in 3 sizes, from
  3. French Easel-this is a cumbersome classic, really best left in the studio, as it is tough to get set up and weighs quite a bit.
  4. The Day-Tripper from The Prolific painter.  Many of our favorite plein air artists use this one.  Designed by Joshua Been, this is a lightweight that folds flat and fits into a backpack,
  5. The Strada easel is very compact, yet a bit heavy.  Makes a good travel easel.

I recommend practice setting up your plein air kit or easel before the workshop, then you can get a rhythm going and not be frustrated when you’re ready to paint.

Paint-Water mixable oils:

37ml. tubes-Students, it is really nice to keep things portable and consolidated when you go out on location, purchase small tubes! 

Colors: Titanium white- 2 tubes or large 150ml, 1 tube each- burnt umber, burnt sienna, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, Ultramarine blue, Viridian, cadmium yellow light, Cadmium yellow medium and a large tube of titanium white.

Painting mediums: For water mixable oils- Water Mixable Oil Painting Medium from Duo Aqua or Artisan- Windsor Newton.

Brushes: synthetic hog bristle- #2 #4 #8 flats, a # 10 flat, cheap 2inch paint brush for backgrounds and toning.  For Bold Brush Painting, be sure to have an 1-1/2 inch house painting brush that has an angled edge, you can even find them at the Dollar Stores, or any Hardware Store!  Definitely have brushes #8 and # 10 flats on hand for this kind of painting!

Soft Synthetic brushes- ½ inch Colada wash, 1inch Colada wash from Creative Mark at Jerry’s Artarama.  These brushes are very inexpensive.

Metal Palette knife- 2 inch blade for mixing paint.  A smaller 1 inch blade for painting. You can also try tools like putty knives, or spatulas to move and sculpt the paint!!!

Canvas panels – 2 each of 8×10, 8×8, 9×12, 11×14, please use canvas panels or paper, stretched canvas is hard to carry.  If you prefer to work in one size for the entire workshop, that is fine!  Don’t feel that you have to complete 2 paintings each day, but it is a good idea to have enough sizes to choose from.  When I paint in traditional oil, I prefer Centurion oil gessoed panels.  But for water mixable oils, the “Universally Primed Panels from Centurion are great.  For Bold Brush  Try Fredrix canvas pads, these are great for exercises, 12×16 or 16×20- be sure to have masking tape so you can secure your canvas sheet to a sturdy board!

-To carry your wet canvas panels, I recommend Panel Paks, they are light weight and allow you to carry two wet panels face to face, for more info go to For canvas paper, mount each sheet to a piece of thin foam core board with masking tape.   When traveling even if it is close to home, though, Panel Paks are the way to go!

  • A container for water plus a smaller container for your painting medium.
  • Small sketch journal, soft lead pencils, kneaded erasers, View Catcher
  • Paper towels, a bag for trash. 


List of watercolor supplies-

Tube colors- Yellows- Indian yellow or Cadmium yellow medium, Aureolin yellow or lemon yellow, Perinone orange or Mayan Orange- both from Daniel Smith.

Reds- Cadmium red light, Alizarin Crimson, Wild Fuchsia or Opera pink

Earth Tones- Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber

Blues- French Ultramarine, Cobalt blue, and add pthalo blue instead of cerulean….

Sap Green

Neutral tint- Daniel Smith

Pat’s Coastal blue (Cheap Joe’s) or an opaque white (Daniel Smith)

A travel watercolor palette with pan colors will do just fine!

Light weight easel from Jerry’s Artarama for watercolor, this easel is black metal and folds down. It holds a watercolor block too and is a reasonable price. This is a great setup.  You can also choose to only work in your watercolor journal!  Watercolor journals will be provided!

Paper- 140lb cold press 8×10 watercolor block from Arches or Fluid.  If you are painting on separate sheets of paper, be sure to have a board to adhere it to!

Brushes- 1-inch oval wash, 1-1/2 regular wash, ¾ wash, #8 quill mop, #6 script or rigger

  • portable watercolor palette to squeeze pigment into
  • small container for water
  • paper towels or rags.
  • view finder
  • drawing materials such as a kneaded eraser and mechanical pencil.

 Other Necessities:

Hat, water bottle, sunscreen, allergy medications, plein air umbrella, a small camp stool, cell/i phone and a back pack or trolly to put it all in.  Please keep it portable, and practice setting up!

 Questions?  Contact Gretchen at

Cancellation Policy

Registration and Cancellation Policies


  • Each student must enroll individually.
  • Tuition must be paid in full upon registration.
  • Students may register online or by calling the Sedona Arts Center’s Administrative Offices at 928-282-3809, ext 1.
  • Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express are accepted or student may pay with cash or check by registering in person during office hours which are Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.

In-Person and Online Classes Cancellation

  • Payment in full is due upon registration, or a payment plan can be put in place by the student upon check-out through Sezzle.
  • There is a $125 Cancellation Fee for any cancellations made before August 3, 2025. Remaining balance will be refunded.
  • There are no refunds after August 3, 2025.
  • If Sedona Arts Center cancels the workshop for any reason, all payments made will be refunded in full.

Note: We strongly urge students to purchase refundable airline tickets or travel insurance in case of workshop cancellation due to insufficient enrollment or other unforeseen changes. Sedona Arts Center is not responsible for non-refundable ticket purchases or lodging fees.

Important Message

The Sedona Arts Center is not responsible for providing make-up sessions or issuing refunds, credits, or transfers for courses missed as a result of illness, emergencies, or other events beyond our control. There are absolutely no refunds after the June 1, 2024 cut-off date for any reason, unless the Sedona Arts Center has to cancel the workshop, then all fees paid will be refunded in full.