Private 5-Day Intensive with Jan at Casa de Corazon

A Pura Vida Color and Painting Adventure with Jan in her outdoor studio for 5 full days/6 nights




Jan’s Watercolor Painting Intensives have continued from 2009 as the best ways to experience Pura Vida adventure with Jan in her studio and Costa Rican neighborhood – and learn, one on one. Jan is ready to help make this happen for you! Two or three people are preferred for the best mix of painting, learning and camaraderie.

Discounted prices for two or three who schedule to come together.


 2018 Schedule  

Now accepting reservations and inquiries.  Email Jan for more information.

  • January Session 1.  January 7 – 12, 2018     Two spots available
  • February Session 2.  February 4 – 9, 2018          Available
  • Late February Session.  Feb 25 – March 2, 2018    Available
  • March Session.  March 25 – 30, 2018    Available

Schedule a Painting Intensive to your preferences

We can schedule a Painting Intensive according to your time preferences if you can bring one or two others. Best months are Jan – August    Email Jan



View from our studio

the Intensive

$1500/ person for 5 full days and 6 nights at Jan’s place, Casa de Corazon  

Discounted pricing for two or three who schedule to come together.

Includes all of the following…

  • All painting instruction with Jan – with plenty of one on one time. Often people like the opportunity to paint the same subject as Jan to see and understand the process and decision making. We paint generally about 5 hours/day. Jan may rest a bit in the afternoon but then  reconnect for critiquing, etc.
  • Breakfast and light lunch every day. Jan is a ‘light’ cook and Anita, Jan’s ‘Tica daughter’ will also help out. (Alcohol is not included but easily available at a nearby market).  You just need to be prepared to pay for one meal each day. And if you would like to cook – just offer!   All meals are non-vegetarian typical Tico food. If you have special diet requirements, Jan will make sure you can shop for what you need at a nearby grocery store and there is plenty of room in the refrigerator!
  • All your local San Isidro transportation. We’ll ask you to help with gas costs if we decide to travel more than an hour away – i.e. beach, etc.
  • Single occupant (or double if you wish) accommodation in one of Jan’s comfortable cabinas, each with a private bathroom, queen sized bed and the best view ever!  or in Casa Tranquila, with two twin beds and full kitchen and bath facilities.
  • Full access to the outdoor studio with kitchen, bathroom, studio tables, chaise lounges, wifi access and a ‘million dollar’ view.
  • Full access to the featured, one of a kind outdoor shower beneath the trees and next to the aviary (where Sage will be ready to talk with you)
  • Full access to Jan’s organic vegetable garden.
    in studio

    Welcome dog welcoming into the studio

This package does not include your airfare to and from Costa Rica or your accommodations and travel expenses outside of San Isidro de El General.  I can provide trusted and inexpensive recommendations for you. The full $1500/person must be paid in advance at the time of registration to Jan Hart through PayPal or direct deposit unless other arrangements are made with Jan.

A Scenario….

Saturday – fly to Costa Rica. You’ll be picked up at the airport by Barnaby and taken to the Melrost B&B which you will already have made arrangements for (with Jan’s help). Your discounted rate includes your breakfast on Sunday morning.

cerro-del-muerte-viewSunday – to Casa de Corazon above San Isidro de El General over the Cerro del Muerte. After your breakfast you will make your way to Jan’s place. Depending upon your sense of adventure and frugality, you could take the 3 hour bus trip over the “Mountain of Death” or take a private taxi ride with Francisco to the top of the mountain where Jan will meet you. Or you may opt to fly over it all – Your choice.  Your options:

  • Option #1. Bus. About $50.00. Barnaby or Marco can take you from Melrost to the Musoc bus station in San Jose where you’ll get your ticket and board a modern bus. Cost: $30 taxi, $8 – $10 for Musoc ticket plus tip. The Musoc bus trip takes about 3 hours and will bring you into San Isidro, where Jan will meet you and bring you to Casa de Corazon.  Wonderful trip over the mountains and cloud forests at 10,000 feet elevation.  If we plan ahead, you can get the front seats so you can see it all!
  • Option #2. Private taxi with Francisco to the top of the mountain to meet Jan. About $150.  Francisco, one of our favorite taxi drivers will pick you up at Melrost and drive you to meet Jan at Chespiritos at the top of the mountain. Included is a stop at the Quetzal Mirador to see the hummingbirds and maybe a quetzal! (Quetzal tour is extra and amazing!) At the top there is time for a great Costa Rican meal at Chespiritos (one of my favorite places!) and then drive the hour on down the mountain to Jan’s place, Casa de Corazon. Francisco is a great driver and speaks perfect English. And he has at least 50 stories to share!  You will enjoy him immensely!  He can also bring you all the way to my house for an extra $50.
  • Option #3Airplane. Fly on Sunday morning from San Jose to San Isidro de El General on Sansa Airline’s new 35 minute flight.  $106.00  This is a new option and so far no one has done it though Sansa is a wonderful option.

Afternoon and evening to get groceries, visit an ATM machine, relax, get settled in and plan our 5 days.

  Guests-on-the-infinity-deck   two-intensive-participants-275   biriba-and-mangosteen

Our time together!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – we’ll plan them according to your interests and wishes knowing that The watercolor painter mostly just wants to paint. Every day. And the subject can be anything – from tropical landscapes to sloths to flowers! With two or three painters, we’ll find plenty to paint and enjoy!  I’ll offer what I know best – color, color relationships, design, watercolor process, techniques (glazing, tucking, dancing stroke, lifting, etc), light and shadow, subjects (animals, landscapes, still lifes, water, florals, and I’ll try anything!)  This can be an intense learning situation for us all!

There are some other things to do ‘in our spare time’….

colorful fruits at the market

colorful fruits at the market

  • Photography. There is so much to photograph – at Jan’s place and several other places we can go.
  • Fresh food shopping at the Thursday feria (open air market) – with an amazing array of fruits, vegetables, fish, etc. (with Jan)  You may decide you want to cook dinner- with fresh tuna or ?  and there is a fully equipped kitchen in the outdoor studio and/or in Casa Tranquila (Frank’s house)
  • Visiting the beach safely and wonderfully. We’ll go to a special place and also plan to paint en plein aire there.

    Fresh tuna tartare – with avocado! Oh, this is just my favorite!

    We may decide to stop at La Parcela on our way home – for fresh tuna tartare and/or ceviche…..

  • Relaxing on the infinity deck on a chaise lounge with a book and binoculars to look for birds, iguanas and sloths. (Jan can provide organic fruit smoothies for you to sip – with or without ginger and turmeric!)  And – there is always the availability of the hammock!

And the list and options and ideas go on and on….

Saturday – A.M. back to San Jose on the 9:30 a.m. Musoc bus –  and beyond or home….

After a leisurely breakfast it is time to pack up and get the Musoc bus back to San Jose. We make sure there is a taxi there to meet you and get you back to Melrost. You may have already planned that you want to spend some time in the northern areas at Monte Verde or Arenal volcano and pre-arranged for Francisco to take you there. Or – you may be flying home…with Costa Rica and Pura Vida on your mind and in your heart.

Read about one of Francisco’s private tours



Email me here and we’ll get started! Or if you wish, please fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you. Thank you!


Carla Kessler, 2017  Writer

To put it simply, both my husband and myself would go back for another workshop in a heartbeat. He was there for watercolor and I was there for writing. We both not only got instruction that inspired and challenged us, but Jan is very tuned-in to your needs. As a writer, I was worried I might have to work on a packaged series of journaling exercises, which is not what I needed at this time but is often what you get at writing workshops. Instead, Jan was very sensitive to my particular place in the continuum of my writing development and listened with open heart and mind to my needs.

The result was, every morning she had ideas and challenges specific to the book I am writing, ready for me to take on. I spent each day working on these, and checked in with Jan during the afternoon as needed.  A very important piece of what made this such a productive week for me was the ambience. For one, Jan is a warm, open, and intuitive teacher. As such, all three of us attending were motivated to put our heart and soul into our work each day. In addition, we worked in a spacious outdoor studio area, in beautiful weather and perfect temperature, under the cover of the sun, with an amazing view. Wonderful meals were served and we had great conversations and good laughs. In the evenings, Jan showed us around town, giving us a taste of the tico (Costa Rican) nature and local foods.

Honestly, it was just magical, and I miss it already!

Rick Kessler, 2017  Watercolor artist

I recently attended an artist’s intensive workshop hosted by Jan Hart in Costa Rica.  It extended over the period of a week at her home in the high hills above the town of San Isidro.  This was no ordinary week!  It was a unique time spent among people that not only love art, but lively conversations about a host of subjects both serious and otherwise, wonderful food, and the stunning natural beauty of Costa Rica.  This setting feels even more like home with Jan’s two dogs, Frida and Seurat, and Sage, a talking parrot that will keep you in stitches.

We got started early every day, and dove into painting, critiquing and informative discussions where Jan brought her considerable knowledge of the watercolor medium to bare. Topics like pigment characteristics, color identification, design considerations were all included, along with painting demos.  We were assigned paintings of specific subjects to practice techniques such as painting white objects and the inherent challenges with direct light, cast shadows, and reflected light. Our painting activities were periodically interrupted with a fabulous meal consisting of Tico foods like Gallo Pinto, beet salad, fried roots of all sorts, colorful fruits and Costa Rican coffee.  In the evenings, we would often enjoy a restaurant and then relax on Jan’s deck, looking at the twinkling lights of San Isidro below while discussing the events of the day.

Jan is a wonderful artist and teacher, and a fabulous hostess.  My week at her Costa Rican home has left me with a basket full of wonderful memories, great ideas about my own art, and new friends.  If you get the chance to enroll in one of her intensives, I am sure that it will do the same for you.

Sally Foulke, 2016

Sally and Joy in studio, 2016There was so much valuable information I gained from the five day intensive. You reinforced the importance of the value sketch, selecting the palette and the importance of naming the painting for me. Since returning home I have been working with each of the color positions on your color wheel and have discovered a number of wonderful colors.  The deep  greens I have been able to produce  with the ultramarine turquoise is so exciting, especially applicable for plein aire painting in a tropical area. Your thoughtful critique was so encouraging.  I have been painting everyday since I got back home.!  Most valuable was moving the painting from the adolescent stage into the finishing and the various techniques that could be used.

 Your accommodations are comfortable and  charming.  That million dollar view can not be beat! Thank you for making me feel very much at home.

Sally Foulke, Boquete, Panama

Joy Pitt, March 2016 

March critique, glow

‘We have achieved glow!’

I had the great pleasure of attending Jan’s ‘Intensive” painting class this last February. Jan along with her two dogs and parrot provided a very warm welcome to her home and outdoor studio/workshop area. The location totally supports an artist’s creativity – being up above the city of San Isidro – the quiet, the view of the surrounding hills, the city below (especially at night when the twinkling lights of the city come on), the vegetation, the sound of the birds …I even saw a Chestnut Mandibled Toucan right there on Jan’s property!

Now on to the wonderful benefits taking the “Intensive”:

5 days/small group = more time….

  • allows Jan to be more detailed in her excellent and very thorough instruction
  • allows Jan more demonstration time
  • affords more time to watch and learn from Jan’s personal process while she paints her own paintings
  • because you are staying on the property and painting there each day – your creative flow is uninterrupted and is allowed to flow and flourish
  • provides the opportunity to implement and really “get” what you’ve been learning which then allows Jan to better see and understand your individual process to guide you in your painting
  • allows for more critique time
  • more fun!

When family and friends ask me about my experience taking the Intensive Class – I let them know Jan is on the top of my list of instructors – some information I have heard before but I better understood after Jan’s very thorough explanation and demonstration as well as learning new techniques such as “dancing stroke” which allows the background in a painting to do just that – dance.

Joy Pitt painting

Not really painting with my mouth – but my hands are full!

To be able to stay on the property, in Jan’s incredible setting is an opportunity not to be missed. I stayed in the Casa Tranquila and that was wonderful – to be able to walk out each morning and just a few steps away to the outdoor set up for breakfast and class – who could ask for more? Outings that we took for a meal, the farmers market and to the beach offer a glimpse into life in Costa Rica.

Thank you Jan for sharing your home and your talent – you really put your Heart in to all that you provide those who come to enjoy the Intensive Classes.

PS: I took advantage of hiring both Marco and Francisco for parts of my trip and they are both very nice individuals and it was a great pleasure to have met them both and highly recommend their assistance.



Steve and Vandana, 2014

Jan Hart was my first painting teacher. That was 20 years ago in Seattle. My wife Vandana and I had followed her adventures first in New Mexico and then in Cost Rica, bJan-and-Steveut we had not seen her in more than a decade. Clearly it was time for another visit—to catch up with Jan, to meet Frank, and to experience Costa Rica.

Our week with Jan and Frank exceeded even our high expectations. Our days were filled with long conversations, lots of laughs, a variety of exotic adventures, tropical birds, two friendly dogs, and a succession of wonderful meals prepared by jefe de cocina Frank!

It is wonderful to have friends in a foreign land. Not only do they take you to places you might not otherwise discover (like the bamboo factory and the San Ysidro marketplace), but they help you see the country that exists beyond the tour guides and websites. The ticos, as the Costa Ricans call themselves, are open and friendly to gringos, not merely in the restaurants or resorts but on the streets and in casual meetings.

Jan’s Casa de Corazon sits high on a hillside with a panoramic view of the valley below and the surrounding mountains. At this elevation the temperatures both day and night were near perfect, hovering, it seemed, in the upper 70s or low 80s during our entire stay.

Jan’s cabinas, which are perched even higher on the hillside than her home and veranda, are like tree houses, filled with light and the sound of birds. Each morning is breathtaking, and only the fragrance of Frank’s home-grown and roasted coffee persuaded me to leave our aerie for the veranda below. Savoring a cup as we chatted with Frank and Jan is perhaps my fondest memory of our visit.

Thank you, Jan and Frank, for your hospitality, friendship, and guidance. You made us feel at home in an unfamiliar land.

Steve and Vandana, January 2014



Carolyn, 2013

Jan & Carolyn painting studio“Either a person who is new to international travel or an experienced traveler should feel very comfortable with the authentic experience that Jan Hart has created in Costa Rica. From the time that I left the airport in San Jose and met my English speaking driver Barnaby and throughout the week that I was in this Spanish speaking Central American country Jan made sure that the whole trip went smoothly. Her experiences living in Costa Rica for the last couple of years are evident in the decisiveness with which she is able to plan out the most interesting places to visit.

With her ability to give painting guidance in a constructive and gentle way Jan works easily with beginning as well as more advanced students. During the week I was able to improve the way I paint backgrounds, and better understand how to make the center of interest advance and the background recede. We painted both from photographs and on location near the beach along the Pacific Ocean. I had taken a class from Jan last fall in Espanola, but for me watercolor painting seems to be a skill that takes repeated exposure to ideas thus allowing deeper understanding over time. Some of the ideas that I was introduced to in Espanola weren’t solidly understood. This five day intensive workshop gave me the time with Jan that I needed to paint, receive supportive instruction, and if I chose, to repaint pictures which incorporated the suggestions that she made. I think that I made great advances in my painting skills.

I finally understood how to make the center of interest advance and the background recede. We painted both from photographs and on location near the beach along the Pacific. Thank you, Jan!”


Carolyn, 2013

Jane, 2013

Two painters in the studio

Two painters in the studio

I recently returned from a week long Intensive with Jan and Frank. It was a wonderful experience for me. First of all, Jan & Frank are warm, gracious people who seem to be very happy with what they are doing. The first morning we were there, Jan asked what my goals were for the week. I had learned about Jan through her book on color and was particularly interested in improving my “color sense” and use of color in my paintings. She is a wonderful teacher and through discussions, demonstrations and critiques, I really felt as through for the first time I was developing an understanding of how to achieve the effects I desired. That alone was worth the whole week as far as I was concerned, but there was so much more…

We were also fortunate to be able to spend some time sightseeing around Costa Rica with Jan’s friend Francisco Torres as our tour guide. What a treat! Francisco is a very knowledgeable and charming and knew just where to take us to see the things that interested us the most. Our trip to find the “elusive Quetzal” was especially memorable – we saw four of them!

Jane, 2013

relaxing on the Infinity Deck...

relaxing on the Infinity Deck…

Mary Lu, 2015

Every moment I spent in Costa Rica with Jan was an eye opening experience.  She has created a unique and lovely indoor/outdoor home in a magical place.  I found it peaceful and calming.

I also had fun sharing laughter, interesting conversation, great food and some “WOW”  experiences with my two fellow painters.

As an artist and teacher Jan is kind and encouraging, insightful and skilled in relaying ideas.  I loved her enthusiasm and her patience….

This was an unforgettable experience.  I came looking for inspiration and found it!

         Mary Lu Larsen, 2015

Some photos of past Intensives!

Casa Tranquila as viewed from the open studio

Casa Tranquila as viewed from the open studio

Jan-with-Mary-and-Kate-2013   Jan-and-Q-painting        




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  1. Hi Jan!

    This newsletter is wonderful and easy to understand! If you, or whoever, put it together my compliments. It can’t be improved.

    Coming to one of your classes at your Casa de Corazon is on my bucket list!

    Thank you for being such a wonderful inspiration.

    • Thank you Connie Gilmore! I just saw your reply now and apologize for now responding earlier. The newsletter is all from me so I thank you for the compliments! It takes me days to do it so I imagine I’m the only one that would have the patience! 🙂

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PO Box 595-8000
San Jose, Perez Zeledon, San Isidro 11901,
Costa Rica, Central America