Thursday, September 6, 2012

Painting Workshops


What to expect:

Plein air workshops run about 5 hours. We'll meet at the location*. You can leave your gear in your car, because I will first do a demo, running about 1 hour. Then you'll scout a location in the area, get your gear, and set up your easel. We'll paint for about an hour, and I'll periodically check in on everyone and answer questions/give advice. We'll take a break and gather to assess progress and critique what we've done so far (and probably eat!). We'll paint for another 45 minutes to an hour, then break again to review our work. With the remaining 30 minutes or so you can make last finishing touches on your painting, and we'll finish up with a brief question/answer session.

*All locations will have restrooms and a parking lot reasonably close to the scenic areas.

What you'll need:

• An easel. There are many varieties of easel at different price ranges.  Jerry's Artarama has a great selection.
Be aware that there isn't much seating available in plein air locations; you will either stand at your easel or you'll need to bring a chair. Just make sure you can carry whatever you bring.
These cost about $20.
Not a good long-term solution,
but it will work in a pinch.
A French easel, designed for plein air.
Very portable and lightweight;
priced between $80 and $400.
My easel / paintbox.
Ask for details if interested.

• A paintbox or palette, it it's not built in to your easel. You can also use the disposable palette pads.

• Paint. These are the paints I use. You don't have to use exactly what I have, but make sure you've got the primary colors plus white. Note that I paint in oils. You can use acrylics if you prefer, because the principles of painting are the same, but I can't offer much guidance for paint-specific issues with acrylic.

• Brushes and palette knives. My favorite brush is Silver Bristlon flat, in sizes #2, #4, and #6. You might also want a liner brush for fine work.

• Medium such as mineral spirits, if you use it. I use Liquin, a fast-drying medium. Make sure they are in plastic or metal containers; most parks don't allow glass.

• Either turpentine or vegetable oil for cleaning your brushes. No glass containers.

• A roll of paper towels (or paint rags).

Pony clip
• A trash bag.

• Two small canvases or panels. I usually paint on a 6"x8" board for plein air. I don't recommend going bigger than 9"x12". I tone them ahead of time with an acrylic wash of yellow ochre or cadmium orange.

• Canvas/panel holders for transporting your wet painting home. This is what I use. You can also just put a box in the backseat or trunk of your car.

• Several small clips—clothespins and/or pony clips.

• A hat, sunscreen, bug spray, and drinking water. Make sure you stay hydrated!

• Snacks/lunch. 
Painter's umbrella


A chair, if you wish to sit.

A painter's umbrella.

Roll of masking tape.

A bungee cord for hanging the paper towels.

A work table, such as a TV tray. I put all my stuff on the ground, on an old towel.


This year, I've been teaching BYOB+ painting workshops. They are so fun! Some of the participants have had a little painting experience, but most have never painted before — the classes are great both for complete beginners and those who want to refresh their skills. Here's an excerpt from the FAQ:

Some of the participants brought their own artist berets.
What is the "+" in BYOB+ ?

It's the value-added experience you'll have in this workshop! Like all BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage) painting classes, I'll help you step-by-step through creating this painting, and we'll have a lot of fun! Unlike the others, you'll learn real painting techniques and principles — composition, color theory, brushstrokes, and more.

I've never painted before - can I actually paint something like this ?

Absolutely. Ths workshop is more ambitious than the typical BYOB class, so we'll spend more time painting than drinking, but I'll explain and demonstrate each step, from sketching the scene on the canvas to using the paintbrushes. We'll all paint the same scene, but you'll be able to apply your own artistic expression, so your finished painting is one-of-a-kind.

What should I bring ?

Bring the beverage of your choice, I provide glasses and ice. You're welcome to bring snacks as well. Everything else you need is supplied — paint, brushes, canvas, etc.

What should I wear ?

Wear something comfortable you don't mind getting paint on. We'll be using acrylic paints, and they do not wash out of fabrics.

Let me know if you are in the Raleigh area and might be interested in attending. I announce them in my weekly newsletter, so if you subscribe to that you'll get the scoop.

I never realize how short I am until I see
a photo with other people.

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