Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thoughtful Gift: New Workshop Program!

Painting made just a few minutes from my home and studio in
New Mexico's High Desert.  We'll paint this as part of the program!

The gift-giving holidays are right around the corner.  So here's a gift idea for that special someone -- who might just be you!

If you're a painter with some plein air experience and feel that you've hit a plateau in your work, then this is for you.  And only for you -- you'll have exclusive access to me in this one-on-one, private study program.  The program is meant to help painters like you to hone their craft, learn more about responding to the landscape and develop a personal vision.



You'll do all that in some of the Southwest's most beautiful country.  Near the Zuni Pueblo and El Morro National Monument and on the shoulders of the Zuni Mountains, our home and studio occupy a point in the universe where the air is clear; the sky, blue; and the sun, intense unlike anywhere else. There's lots to explore and paint, from lava fields to sandstone bluffs, from ponderosa-clad hills to blue lakes.

So give yourself the opportunity to come out to the high desert of New Mexico and spend a week with us.  You'll get six nights' lodging, three simple but nourishing meals a day, plus the opportunity to work side-by-side with me.

By the way, you don't have to be a professional or advanced painter.  So long as you are serious about your craft, and are familiar with your medium and have some outdoor painting experience, you'll do well.  You can find more about this exciting program under "Private Painting Intensive Study" at www.PaintTheSouthwest.com.

If you'd prefer an all-level workshop in the company of other students, don't despair.  I have scheduled just such a workshop for March 27-30, 2018, in Sedona, Arizona.  You can find full details about this workshop also at www.PaintTheSouthwest.com.

Here are a few more pictures of New Mexico's High Desert:

Another painting made close to the studio.









One final painting!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Workshop Report: Sedona and Tucson

River Study, 9x12 pastel (studio) by Michael Chesley Johnson
Bobcat!  A visitor at the Tucson workshop. (Photo by Trina)

It's been a busy fall so far—and with no end in sight!  Following the Doug Dawson workshop in Sedona and a weekend trip to Chiricahua National Monument, last week I drove all the way back to Sedona to teach my own workshop, and then I went south to teach another for the Tucson Pastel Society.  Now I have a few days to catch up on paperwork (and the blog) before flying off to visit family back east for Thanksgiving.  December, thankfully, looks to be a little slower.

The Sedona workshop was so successful that I've scheduled another for next spring, March 27-30, 2018.  Like my previous workshops there, this one will run Tuesday through Friday with plenty of painting opportunities.  Late March is always a pleasant time to visit Sedona.  The trees will be just putting out their spring foliage, and the chill of winter will be replaced by a sunny warmth.  If you haven't taken one of my Sedona plein air painting workshops before, here's your opportunity.  And if you have already done so, I encourage you to join me again, since I have new thoughts and techniques to share with you.  Sometimes students think, “Well, I've already taken a workshop with that particular artist,” not understanding that all of us—even we teachers—constantly learn new things and always have something new to give.  You can find details on the program at www.PaintTheSouthwest.com.

Red Rock Study, 6x8 oil (plein air) by Michael Chesley Johnson

Verde River Study, 9x12 oil (plein air) by Michael Chesley Johnson






The Tucson workshop was a one-day affair sponsored by the Tucson Pastel Society.  It was a free workshop for members—a nice perk that the society offers twice a year.  I counted at least 20 attendees, which sounds like a lot, but because the workshop took place indoors, I had plenty of time to go from easel to easel.  The second day, we had an optional outdoor painting session, which was held among the palms and cattails at a nearby wetlands.  Mallards, coots, egrets and even a bobcat joined us for the morning.  I had a great time with this group, and several students told me how much they enjoyed the program, which concerned limited palettes and “making your best guess” with regards to color choices.

Shadowed Rock Study, 9x12 pastel (studio) by Michael Chesley Johnson
For this piece I used only 14 sticks of pastel, as seen below.

That's my 14-stick limited pastel palette in the little box


Tucson Light 9x12 pastel (plein air) by Michael Chesley Johnson



I've included with the post some of the demonstration paintings plus a few snapshots.  If you're interested in any of these studies or paintings, please let me know.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Road Trip: Chiricahua National Monument

Hoodoos, columns, pinnacles and more

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel with Trina on a Sedona Camera Club outing to Chiricahua National Monument.   We both needed a break between setting up our winter home studio and teaching workshops, so this was the perfect adventure.  I went as "key grip" to help with camera equipment, but I packed along my new Travel Painter Art Box as well.

Sunset

Waning moon over the rocks

We arrived Friday afternoon in Willcox, Arizona, and then hurried off to the park to shoot the sunset, followed by a little astrophotography.  Saturday morning, we met at 4:45 am -- no hotel breakfast for us! -- and went off to shoot the sunrise.  Next we worked the cramps out of our legs by taking a long hike, followed by daytime photography and then a second sunset shoot to round out the day.  Sunday, we had to forego the sunrise shoot to head back to New Mexico to pack for a workshop I'm teaching in Sedona this week and then one for the Tucson Pastel Society next weekend.  Whew!

The Travel Painter Art Box in action

I was happy to see how well the new paint box worked, and how handy it was to carry on the trails.  I only had time for a couple of quick sketches, but it was worth it.  The first sketch I made in a wash in the noontime shade of alligator junipers; the second, toward sunset up on Masai Point.  These sketches will become reference material for a future studio painting.


Six Years After the Fire 6x8 oil sketch

Hoodoo 6x8 oil sketch
(Palette for both of these was yellow ochre,
transparent earth red and Prussian blue, all Gamblin paints)

By the way, this was our second trip to Chiricahua.  Our first trip was about 15 years ago, and I remember being very impressed with the green lushness of the park.  But in 2011, a major fire swept through, charring much of the landscape.  Now, six years later, the grasses have returned, but so many of the hills and canyon sides are filled with broken, charred stumps.  This explains the title of my first sketch.  The amazingly strange rocks, of course, are untouched and just as weird as ever.