As a teacher, my goal is to see the lightbulbs come on when students realize that painting isn’t as mysterious as it seems. Of course, it’s still challenging—which is part of the fun—but the visual language is something that I believe we all can learn.
In my workshops, I try to teach shortcuts that allow students to make leaps in their understanding of this visual language and how to avoid many of the common pitfalls of painting, such as inaccurate perspective, mixing colors poorly, and getting restrained by the details of a scene.
There’s a charm to painting familiar aspects of our lives and subjects become much easier to paint when we learn to simplify them into large shapes of value and color. With the big shapes planned and an accurate drawing established, it’s easier to loosen up and enjoy fluid washes, expressive brushwork, and bold color.
Each morning and afternoon, we will begin with a quick demonstration to illustrate the day’s lesson, leaving a large majority of the time for students to work. If time allows, I will lead a late-afternoon critique, which are often very helpful and encouraging for students. Early in the week, we will focus on simplifying scenes into large shapes and value tones. These large value shapes help students understand the sequence and order of how a successful painting is created. I believe this system provides personal growth for students and—in the end—more satisfying results.
Many helpful drawing and painting tips will be covered as they present themselves during the week. Students will be amazed at how fast they can grow when they stop trying to paint “things” and instead focus their energy on communicating in the visual language of painting.
Although this is a studio painting class, there will be opportunities in the evenings to experiment with plein air techniques, if desired. The MISA campus is an extraordinary location to paint outside, which I plan to take advantage of, and I encourage my students to observe and join in if they are interested.
Key Concepts to be covered in this workshop:
Learn to Simplify Complex Subjects
Elements of Painting: value, line, shape, color, direction, size, texture
Utilize Large Shapes for Effective Designs
Order / Sequence of a Painting
More Accurate Drawing