Malta Vacation Workshop with Koosje Koene

November 4-8, 2023

Discover Malta during an exciting vacation workshop taught by super talented Koosje Koene! Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast with a history dating back to 4000BC!  It is about 50 miles from southern Italy. The islands of the archipelago lie on the Malta plateau, a shallow shelf formed from the high points of a land bridge between Sicily and North Africa that became isolated as sea levels rose after the last ice age. 

The average daytime high temperature in Malta in November is a high of 22C (72F) and a night-time low is 17C (62F)--perfect weather for our art vacation! Learn new skills during this 5-day workshop taught by Amsterdam urban sketcher, Koosje Koene. 

Meet Your Instructor, Koosje Koene

Koosje began teaching online in 2013. Since then, she has taught tens of thousands of people all over the world how to create a daily drawing habit and live a more creative life. She is the creator of Draw Tip Tuesday, a weekly YouTube series of over 300 drawing videos, and the co-founder of Sketchbook Skool, a global art-making community. Koosje has written and illustrated Life is better when you draw (it), published in 2022. Koosje (whose name is pronounced KOSH-aKOO-neh) always has a sketchbook in hand. Learn more at

Your arrival date is your decision but we suggest you arrive on Thursday November 2 so that you have time to settle in and possibly to adjust to a new time zone or the vagaries of travel which, as we know, could include a missed or delayed flight. Better to be relaxed at the start of your vacation workshop.

Friday Nov 3, 2023--Warm Up Sketch + Welcome Reception

Welcome to Malta! Workshop participants who arrive early are invited to meet in the hotel lobby at 2:00 for a warm up sketch (optional). Koosje will not be teaching at this time. This is your chance to warm up.

Afterwards, all workshop participants and companions are invited to a wine and cheese welcome reception at 6pm in the hotel. 

Day 1--Workshop #1 + a Harbour Cruise

Saturday November 4, 2023

Today we will start our week by learning more about Malta from its ancient history to the present during a narrated 1.5 hour boat cruise of Valletta's two natural harbours. We will pass by Fort Manoel, Ta' Xbiex, Marsamxett Harbour, Valletta Waterfront, Grand Harbour, Vittoriosa Waterfront - Birgu Waterfront, and Kalkara.

After lunch we will enjoy Workshop #1 Loosening up Our Lines in one of the many cool, leafy gardens in Valletta. 

Day 2--Workshop #2 + Marsaxlokk Fishing Village

Sunday November 5, 2023

Today we will explore the south end of Malta on an open air hop on hop off bus. We will stop at the Marsaxlokk Fishing Village for lunch and Workshop #2 Drawing Snippets.


Marsaxlokk is a fishing village known for its colourful fishing boats called Luzzo. The paint colour on luzzo boats indicates where the boat belongs and all are painted with the eye of Osiris on both sides of the bow, a Phoenician tradition believed to protect the boat and its crew from evil spirits and bring good luck.


After our workshop we will continue on our tour of the south end of the island on the return loop on the hop on hop off bus.


Day 3--Workshop #3 + The Archeology Museum

Monday November 6, 2023

There's so much to sketch in Valletta! The pedestrian-only streets, the ornate closed wooden balconies called "gallarija", the churches, the boats and the views! We're going to have a lot of fun exploring Valletta as we make our way to the location of Workshop #3 Color First then Line.

After our morning workshop we will have lunch then visit the Archeology Museum of Malta to learn more about the history of this place and the many people groups who lived here. Malta has known a succession of rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and British who left behind a treasure of beautiful churches and fortresses, megalithic temples and archelogical ruins for us to sketch!     




Day 4--Workshop #4  + Rabat and Mdina

Tuesday November 7, 2023

After breakfast we will set off on our big exploration of the north end of Malta on an open-air hop on hop off bus. We will stop at Mdina, the ancient capital of Malta and at Rabat stopping along the way for Workshop #4 Knitting Our Lines .

Day 5--Workshop #5 + the Knights Hospitilier Museum

Wednesday November 8, 2023 

This morning we will walk to the location of Workshop #5 Framing the Day in the historic centre of town. 

After lunch we will visit the Knights Hospitilier Museum then relax in the afternoon before our Farewell Dinner. 

What a great week we have had learning about Malta--its history, people, culture and geography! 

We have sketched, sketched, sketched and we have basked in the sunshine, tasted the food, stared out to sea, walked along the ramparts and taken in all the colour and culture Malta has to offer--what a great week!







Thursday November 9, 2023

It's time to say goodbye but you will never forget the friends you made or the skills you learned during this great week! Or extend your stay for a long relaxing holiday!  

Please note that the exact locations of the sketching workshops and the order of events in this itinerary are subject to change.

Recommended Workshop Supply List

Click HERE to view Koosje's Workshop Supply List.


Click HERE for answers to frequently asked questions.

For more information about the workshops content contact Koosje at

For more informa.tion about this vacation package contact Brenda Murray 


Tour Includes

  • A welcome reception
  • All art classes
  • Admission to attractions listed above
  • Excursions to the north end and south ends of the island by Hop on Hop off bus
  • Farewell dinner

Tour Excludes

  • Flights to/from
  • Hotel
  • airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Meals (except those listed above)
  • Painting supplies
  • Porterage/luggage handling
  • Travel insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Items not explicitly specified in the inclusion list

    Early Bird Prices in USD

    Book now before June 7, 2023 and save $200!

    $1799.   $1599. USD Workshop Participant

    $699. USD NonSketcher Companion (such as partner or travelling buddy)

    NonSketcher Companion tickets include the same attractions and meals as the Workshop Participants with the exception of the art classes.

    To reserve your spot in this workshop a $500 nonrefundable deposit is required for Workshop Participants and a $300 nonrefundable deposit is required for nonSketcher Companions. Deposits are due 150 days prior to the start of the workshop on June 7, 2023. The balance is due 120 days prior to the start of the workshop on July 7, 2023.

    To make a deposit, please scroll to the bottom and click BOOK NOW.


    Bring a Friend and Get a Discount

    Here's how it works. You and your sketching buddy register for the workshop with your deposits. Then send us an email and tell us you are registering with a sketching buddy. You will each be sent a discount code for $50 that you can apply when you pay the balance of your tickets.

    The small print: This discount code cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount code and it can only be applied to 2 Workshop participant tickets if the workshop sells out with 15 participants.


    Hotel accommodation is not included in this package. The official hotel of this tour is the spectacular Grand Hotel Excelsior, Great Siege Road, Floriana, FRN1810, Malta. Rooms are being held there for us with free cancellation up to 7 days prior to arrival.


    Room Rates

    Deluxe rooms (including breakfast) are being held at the following group rate until October 1, 2023.

    Double room for sole occupancy € 130.00

    Double room for double occupancy € 150.00

    Add 20€/night to room rate for a sea view. Free cancellation up to 7 days prior to arrival. Full charges apply for cancellation less than 7 days before arrival. Porterage out € 1.75 per room (if you need a porter to take your bags to lobby on departure).

    How to Make a Hotel Reservation

    Before you make a hotel reservation, click the red BOOK NOW button below to ensure you have a spot in this workshop.

    After you have secured your spot in this workshop, then you can click HERE to book your room online. A special Studio 56 group rate has been arranged at that link.

    Note: if you want to share a room with another participant, let Brenda know and we will try to find a room mate for you. 

    Transportation from the airport to the hotel

    For participants staying in the hotel, you can contact the hotel and pre-book your taxi transfer from the Malta International Airport to the Grand Hotel Excelsior and the hotel driver will  greet you upon your arrival in Malta. The charge for a one way taxi transfer for a maximum of 3 persons is approximately 20 Euro.

    If you are not staying in this hotel, you can get a taxi from the airport.

    Pedestrian Friendly?

    "Pedestrian-friendly" is not the same as "Pedestrian-only". Valletta is a point of land on the west coast of Malta. It has one road for cars that circles the city. The rest of the "roads" are pedestrian-only with a lot of stairs going from the highest point in the city down to the ring road. Taxis are available to transport you from the airport to the hotel or to nearby cities but they will not be able to transport you within Valletta. You must be fully mobile and able to walk for 30 minutes and manage stairs to participate in this workshop. This town is really not pedestrian friendly if you are relying on a walker or have mobility issues. If you are not able to walk 30 minutes and manage stairs, we recommend you consider a different Studio 56 workshop that is less physically demanding such as Pat Southern Peace's Niagara-on-the-Lake Vacation Workshop.

    Travel + Medical Insurance

    Travel insurance is also highly recommended as it covers you in the event you must cancel your trip and it covers emergency medical services which may be significantly more expensive than expected when travelling in a foreign country. Please check with your insurance provider. Click HERE for a list of US insurance providers. Some credit card companies may also offer travel insurance if you paid for your trip with that card.

    Covid-19 Vaccinations

    The instructor and tour manager are fully vaccinated against covid-19.  This tour will be following all locally recommended protocols. Please check HERE to read more about Maltese entry requirements and check back closer to the date as entry requirements may change.

    Your Tour Manager

    Participants will be accompanied by Studio 56 owner, Brenda Murray. Brenda is a Canadian artist and arts advocate, the founder of Urban Sketchers Waterloo Region and a former Urban Sketchers Board member. A seasoned traveler, Brenda has traveled to Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea (lived there for 4 years), Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, UK, and the USA (35 states). Brenda will be on hand to assist the instructor and to ensure that everything runs smoothly. She has completed the St. John's Ambulance Emergency First Aid - CPR C - AED training. Learn more about Brenda HERE. 

    For More Information

    Email or call Brenda Murray at 519-572-1757.

    How to Register for this Workshop

    The first step to register for this exciting vacation workshop is to click the BOOK NOW button below to make your deposit.