Thursday, January 31, 2013

Display Concept



I thought I'd share with you a display concept I use for my small plein air sketches.  I use small Lucite stands to hold and display them.  The stands are, I think, used more often for decorative plates, but they work really well with small sketches on panel.



I am offering these with my Daily Paintworks sketches that are for sale.  The supply is limited!  But, if you buy a sketch, I'll send you a Lucite stand for free as long as I have them.  Click here to see what plein air sketches I have available. I should also mention that I have one of the paintings up for auction, and the auction ends in a few days. Here's the auction link.

By the way, as many of you know, we leave the Sedona area for the summer to return to Campobello Island.  We would like a housesitter for our home here (Cornville) for that time.  For details, visit this link.  Please note that e-mail communications are best, since we are in and out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

From the Mailbag: How to Practice Painting




A reader writes: What would you recommend as a clear way of practicing painting? There seem to be many avenues to go down all at once - choosing a subject, drawing, value, color, composition, brush strokes, etc. Thousands of decisions to be made. So far I read, read, read, take workshops, classes, paint often and still I feel daunted and commit "errors of enthusiasm" most every time. 

Indeed, learning to become a better painter can be daunting!  Where does one start?  I like to attack the learning process the same way I do a lunch buffet - in an organized manner.  I get my plate first, then my utensils, and I move on to the salad, appetizers and the main course, followed by dessert. Sometimes, I'll try juggling my dinner plate, salad bowl, bread plate and dessert plate all at once, and that always ends up being a mistake.  It's better if I make several trips.

So what would my steps be, if I were just starting off?

Well, my reader has laid out the process quite nicely in his question.  Start with learning how to draw, followed by learning how to compose, followed by a study of color usage and finally, brush work or mark-making.  Break up the steps over time, and spend a significant part of your education working on each step.  Make sure you feel your skills have gotten good enough at each step before moving on.  (Most art instruction books have all the basics, and you can use them as a program of study.)

But where does one go from there?  I think this is what my reader is really asking.

The problem is juggling all those plates.  When trying to create a finished painting, most students juggle too much.  They try to do everything at once, such as thinking of brush work at the same time they're puzzling out how to mix color and also redrawing a tree limb.  This is a method doomed to frustration.  You're much better off by painting in the same orderly manner in which you learned to paint:

  • Get your plates and utensils (make small sketches to work out values and composition)
  • Get your salad (get the drawing right)
  • Get your entree (get the color right)
  • And lastly, get your dessert (add those deft, finishing brush strokes)

You also must be satisfied with your work at the end of each step.  If you're not happy with your drawing, don't move on to color.  Get the drawing right first.  If you're not happy with your color, don't move on to finishing strokes.  Get the color right first.

Finally, I must say this:  Painting is a craft.  A craft, no matter whether it is painting, woodworking or even juggling, requires practice.  The more you do, the more you learn, and the better you get.

I can help you with this process, by the way.  At both my winter Paint Sedona workshops and summer Paint Campobello workshops, I break everything down into these easy steps.  I still have a few spots left in the Paint Sedona plein air painting workshops and am now taking deposits on the Paint Campobello plein air painting workshops.

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Video: Fixing Light & Shadow with Greys


I've uploaded a new, 25-minute oil painting demonstration to my online video course page, Plein Air Essentials.  "Fixing Light & Shadow with Greys" is part of the Plein Air Essentials:  Oil Supplement course.  Those of you who have already subscribed to this course will get it for free; if you're not a subscriber to it, I encourage you to check it out.  The full course is only $15 and you can view all the videos and course material forever!  (Click here to learn more about the course.)

For this video, I help the beginning plein air painter with a big problem:  capturing the pattern of light and shadow before it changes. Usually, the problem is that the painter loses time by trying not only to discern value but also color simultaneously.  In this video, I show you how to make this process much more manageable and fun by breaking it into two parts.  By starting off with greys - a monochromatic painting - you add color later.

Here is a short preview of the new video:


This art instruction video and many others are available at my Plein Air Essentials page at http://www.udemy.com/u/michaelchesleyjohnson/.  (I have two other courses:  Plein Air Essentials - Basics and Plein Air Essentials - Pastel Supplement.)

This specific video is available in my Plein Air Essentials: Oil Supplement course at http://www.udemy.com/plein-air-essentials-oil-supplement/.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Go Plein Air Painting with a Group



I sometimes get asked about painting alone in the field and safety.  I do it all the time and feel safe doing so.  I usually go to well-traveled areas, don't go too far from the car, carry a cell phone and always tell someone where I'm going.  (I was a good Boy Scout.)  There are dangers, of course, that one can't anticipate, but you learn to roll with the punches.

If you're concerned about painting outdoors alone, you should consider joining a group for plein air painting or form one.  If you're allergic to bees and get stung, someone can run to your car for your EpiPen.  If you twist your ankle, someone can help you to your car or stay with you until help arrives.  Or, if you fear loneliness more than the Great Outdoors, you'll have someone to talk to.

Recently, I started a "meetup" group for plein air painting in the Sedona and Verde Valley area.  I thought it might be nice to join some other like-minded people and paint with them once in awhile.  But because I don't want to be the organizer every time, I configured the group so any member can schedule a paintout.  This is great, by the way, for people who may only be visiting from elsewhere for a short time; if they don't see a paintout during their time here, they can schedule one themselves.

Meetup.com has many other nice features - you can print out a roster of attendees, add maps and photos to give members an idea of what the area is like, and it's easy for members to RSVP or to change their RSVP.  It does cost something to start a group, but for now, I've covered the cost.  Later, I may charge a small membership fee.

My group had their first paintout yesterday.  Although we had a small turnout, the group is in its infancy, and I'm sure it'll expand.  If you're in the area, feel free to join the group and signup.  Click here for the link.

I've included some photos of the day plus a couple of paintings I did from our location.  We did have bees, by the way.

West of the Canyon, 9x12, oil/panel

Into the Canyon, 12x9, oil/panel

Friday, January 18, 2013

From the Mailbag: Making the Complex Simple

"Old Windfall" by Neil Welliver

A reader writes:  "When I look out at the world it seems complex.  How do I simplify it in a painting without losing touch with its complexity?"

I often find my eye pulled toward the natural world's wonderful complexity.  There's something infinitely pleasing about, for example, the baroque intricacy of a woodlot.  Tangled brambles, interlocked branches, and the play of little spots of light and shadow form a visual playground.

But as attractive as such a scene is, is it a suitable subject for a painting?  Well, that depends on your goal.  If your goal is to convey the complexity, then yes.  But with what method and materials will you accomplish your task?  In my mind, you will be working with many, many small shapes.  If you flatten the scene to analyze it - that is, if you close one eye to eliminate the third dimension and then squint to simply and consider the scene as a collection of shapes - you'll see an infinitude of tiny polygons.  The precise relationship of each polygon to its neighbor is crucial to creating the sense of overlapping vines and limbs.

This kind of precision means drawing.  So, I would consider a drawing medium such as pencil, charcoal or pastel to be an obvious choice.  But what about paint?  You can use that, too, but it's still going to require careful drawing.

Of course, you will still have to initially simplify the scene.  You'll need to take infinity and break it down to a handful of large, simple shapes.  Again, if you squint, you can simplify the scene and see these big shapes.  With a particularly dense woodlot, you may have mostly dark big shapes and a few tiny light shapes.  (Light has a hard time penetrating a thick stand of trees.)  Start with that, and then open your eyes slowly and begin to break the big shapes down into smaller ones.

All that said, this task is almost impossible to accomplish in a plein air painting.  In a dense woodlot, the passage of the sun seems to have a greater impact than it does in, say, an open field.  Those little spots of light seem to move along the branches much faster that you'd expect.   You are better off doing a quick color sketch to get the color notes, a value sketch to get a handle on values, and then take photos for all the details.  Then, head for the studio where you can work on recreating the complexity at your leisure.

Personally, I find this kind of complexity enchanting, but I don't have the stamina for it.  But some painters excelled at this kind of thing - the Maine painter Neil Welliver comes to mind.  At the top of this post, you can see and example of his work.  It would be a good exercise to look at "Old Windfall" and see, if you were to recreate this scene on your own, how you would start to simplify it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Upcoming Painting Demonstration - Sedona Arts Center

Painting at the 2011 Sedona Plein Air Festival
You can tell how happy I am to be painting outdoors,
but I'm also happy when I'm giving indoor demonstrations!

I'll be giving an indoor oil painting demonstration in the Sedona Arts Center Gallery (upstairs, building on Main Street) on Saturday, January 26th, from 1-3 pm.  If you're in the area, please stop by!  I can also show to you and talk about some of the pieces I have in the current show at SAC.

Sedona Arts Center is located at 15 Art Barn Road, Sedona, Arizona.

Speaking of SAC, I also want to remind everyone about my two-Saturday workshop coming up February 16 & 23, 1-5 pm.  This will be a beginner's workshop - if you don't know the first thing about plein air painting, this is for you!  But I also welcome experienced outdoor painters, too.   I'm good at teaching a mixed-level workshop, so come on down.  You can get more details on the workshop and register at this link.

Finally, please don't forget that I still have space in my Paint Sedona workshops and am taking deposits now for Paint Campobello.  For details on these programs, please visit www.PaintSedona.com and www.PaintCampobello.com.

- Michael Chesley Johnson, www.MichaelChesleyJohnson.com



Monday, January 14, 2013

From the Mailbag: Stand or Sit?

"Monet's Bench" by Gary Lee Price
(I call it "Claude in Chains")
I don't know if Monet sat; this may just be the
sculptor's interpretation.


A reader asks:  "Could  you discuss the merits of standing versus sitting?  I carry a three-legged stool.  I notice from your photos that you and others stand at your easels."

Most painters I know stand while painting.  The idea is two-fold.  First, you can put your whole body into each brush stroke; second, you can more easily take several steps back to view your work in progress.  When we sit, we tend to make smaller and smaller strokes as we hunch over our work, and we lose perspective of what the "big picture" looks like.  This can lead to fussiness in the work.  (It can also lead to fussiness in the artist when the muscles start to cramp.)

I usually stand.
Photo by John H. Burrow.

If you're doing smaller work, sitting is certainly an option.  You may not have to back off from your work as much, and you may be using smaller strokes that don't require anything more than some deft wrist action.

I have to confess, I sit about half the time.  If I am painting all day, I usually stand for the first half of the day and then may opt to sit the second half - it's easier on the back.  I recommend that you do whatever is comfortable so long as you are still doing your best work.  Question:  What do you do?

"Artists Sketching in the White Mountains" by Winslow Homer
Homer painted these three artists sitting.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Magic and Influence

Sycamore Shadows - 9x12, oil
Who was my influence for this painting?

One common question I get from workshop students as well as from other artists is:  Who are your influences?

This is a hard question to answer.  I'm a sponge, drawing from many sources.  My answer usually consists of the names you'd expect and ones to whom many plein air painters look for guidance:  Edgar Payne, John Carlson and Emile Gruppé.  These deceased artists wrote books that comprise the accepted canon of plein air painting wisdom.  Payne has his Composition of Outdoor Painting; Carlson, his Guide to Landscape Painting; and Gruppé, a variety of books including my favorite, Brushwork for the Oil Painter. (Actually, the writer of Gruppé's books was Charles Movalli; Movalli is a fine painter in his own right.)  Another painter, living, is Richard Schmid.  His book Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting, might also be included in the canon.

But are these and the other painters I'll list in a moment truly "influences"?  What is an "influence," exactly?  And am I being immodest in thinking that my work is mature enough to exhibit any such influences?

I always enjoy a piece of representational art if it demonstrates good craftsmanship.  This goes for art all the way from Roman times through the Renaissance and to today's newest generation of artists.   But as much as I like, for example, the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the other Pre-Raphaelites, my paintings are nothing like theirs.  I don't paint figures in a tableau of highly-romanticized, stylized landscapes.  I like many artists, but I may not paint like them.

But beyond well-crafted paintings, there are certain pieces that speak to me personally and on a higher level.  These conjure up not only an emotion but also a strong desire to paint something similar.  This is, in fact, why I wanted to become a painter:  I wanted to create that kind of magic, too.

As an aside, I will offer for your consideration this:  Every piece of artwork I enjoy has an effect on my own work, however subtle.  Everything has a hand in shaping me - even Rossetti.  But artwork that creates magic is large and powerful, and when we speak of influences, this is what I mean.

I would define an influential artist - or better, an influential body of artwork, since an artist's style and subject changes over the course of his lifetime - as having qualities that I borrow and incorporate into my own paintings in some way.

When I paint, is borrowing some of the magic a conscious or an unconscious act?  It is rare that I actually study a piece of art.  It's not my nature to do so.  Instead, I experience the painting and remember the feeling it creates.  If I were a better student, I would make a list of what appeals to me and what tools the artist used to create the magic.  Although my method of non-study sounds inefficient, it works for me.  When I am in the studio painting, I am following instincts that have been honed by looking at work that inspires me.

To come up with a list of influences, I must first categorize my work.  I've painted in many styles over the years with many subjects.  (I like to tell the story of a client who came to my studio gallery once.  He took a few moments to gaze at the walls and finally asked, "How many artists do you represent?"  Just me, I said, but I paint with ten different personalities.)  I'll forget the distant past, though, and focus on my work of the last few years.

The following definition is long-winded, but accurate:  I paint representational (realistic) landscapes with a degree of abstraction, emphasizing tone (value) over color.  I use mostly realistic color but tend toward expressive color.  Finally, I emphasize distinctive mark-making.

So who else are my forefathers in this line of shamans?

I've studied under some good painters, and they, of course, have left their mark on me.  These include Albert Handell, Doug Dawson, Bob Rohm and my mentor, the late Ann Templeton.  I think about their methods and remember key bits of their wisdom every time I hold a paint brush or stick of pastel in my hand.   By the way, I chose these teachers because their paintings create magic for me.

Now, you may look at the artists I've mentioned and say, "His work looks nothing like theirs!"  Well, I don't take the magic wholesale, but in bits and pieces.  I may, for example, use Ann Templeton's approach of abstracting the landscape but not, perhaps, her use of color.  Or I may use Albert Handell's vision of tree shapes, but not, perhaps, his way of working from the center of interest out.  I am a witches' brew of this and that.

With that thought in mind, here are more from my list of influential artists, and I leave it up to history to determine what I have borrowed and what I have not.  If it's any help, I have written next to each artist's name what appeals to me about their work.


There are many other deceased painters whose work I enjoy and think about.  I'm not sure if I have borrowed anything from them yet.  Here's a short list:


and the list goes on.

There are also many other painters still living today whose work casts a spell over me, and many of them are friends.  Some of them are Tim Gaydos, William Wray, Ray Roberts, Lois Griffel, Kate Starling, Curt Walters, Wayne Thiebaud, Jeremy Lipking, Casey Baugh, Matt Smith, Skip Whitcomb - and again, the list goes on.  (And my apologies to all the many excellent artists I know personally but whom I didn't mention here!)

Is it immodest of me to list influences before I am dead?  Perhaps, but I have had the question asked of me, so clearly someone thinks it's important to know.  But even so, it is good to think about one's influences.  I think that this essay has been a useful exercise for  me, and perhaps it will lead me to deeper study of the work I like and to an improvement in my own.

At the top of this post is a recent painting - I'd be curious to hear who you think my influences might have been for it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Encounter: Casey Baugh

Casey Baugh at Work


I had an opportunity this weekend to visit Scottsdale, Arizona, to enjoy a three-hour portrait demonstration by Casey Baugh.  The demonstration, which was sponsored by Scottsdale Artists' School and hosted by Legacy Gallery, took place on a Sunday evening.  Although some 60 people attended, a video camera and big projection screen allowed spectators in the back rows to see clearly; I, however, had the catbird seat in the second row with a clear shot of Baugh's palette and canvas.

Baugh started by noting that he doesn't "draw" the portrait first but rather just blocks in shapes, keeping in mind that drawing will be adjusted toward the end.  During the evening, he gave the audience a number of practical tips.  Here are some notes that I took:
Painting is like following a recipe.  You can't stop a third of the way through to taste it, because you haven't added everything yet and it'll taste terrible.  You have to trust the recipe and know that it will be great.

Casey's Setup
I'll do two or three preliminary alla prima sketches before doing the final piece.  These are rough drafts.  How do you sustain interest this way?  That's why I work fast.  If I spend more than a few days, I'll go crazy.
Do those three drafts - and they may be mediocre - and then throw them away.  No one cares about them.  People just want to see the final, perfect painting.
Take as long as you need to make a painting.  No one cares if you spent three hours on a painting or six months.  Don't rush through the painting.
I work starting with value, then color, followed by edges and, finally, drawing.  I don't worry about drawing until the end.  Breaking down the process into simple steps makes things easier.  I can always adjust my drawing later.
I start with the easiest shapes first.  These are the ones I can see first.  (He started with the shape of the hair and then the eyes.)

Phase 1

I work in three stages.  First, I just want to get something going on the canvas.  Second, I adjust - and this is the hardest part.  The third stage is having fun by applying finishing strokes.  In that third stage, I try to make everything look like it was done in just two strokes.
Don't be afraid to go for the full value right off the bat.
I save the mouth for last.  It's the hardest part.
If I have a choice, I'd rather paint under a cool light than warm light.  Whether you paint cool or warm, both look good under a cool light.  (Baugh did the demo under a 5000°K full-spectrum lamp.)

Phase 2

Just because you're painting with a small brush, it doesn't mean the painting has to look like it was done with a small brush.  With multiple strokes, you can make it look like it was done with one stroke with a big brush.  (A lot of the work around the eyes, nose and mouth were done with a very small brush.)
Painting is like making a movie.  Hundreds of hours of footage are edited down to just two hours.  The movie is edited to make it look like it was shot effortlessly.  This is the way painting should be.

Phase 3

Trust your instinct.  Trust yourself with art as you would with music.  With music, you know whether you like it or not.   The same should go for art.  If it looks right to you, then go with it.   Don't listen to the opinions of others.  And you can make your instinct better over time by looking at lots of art.
Everything in the visual world can be described with seven things:  Content (what the painting is about), composition, drawing, value, edges, color and texture.  
I always place my signature before I am finished.  The signature is, after all, part of the composition.  Also, we have a hard time seeing when a painting is finished.  So, if you sign it - sometimes that's all the painting needs.  It helps us see the painting as being finished.

Final Phase
(During the course of the demo, Baugh played some background music from his smartphone through a wireless speaker.  Sometimes he stopped to fiddle with his smartphone to get just the right Pandora playlist going.)  Half of painting is just finding the right music!

I've posted here some steps of the demonstration.  I apologize if any of the pictures seem somewhat fuzzy; it's the result of a cell phone camera, which actually takes pretty good photos, being used in a a low light situation with many spectators crowding in to take photos!

Casey's Palette
All in all, it was an awesome demonstration.  Baugh is a good teacher.  I'm unable to take his workshop this week at Scottsdale Artists' School, but I'd like to plan on one in the future.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Special Workshop Week: Exploring the Verde Valley

Hippy Bus in Winter, 9x12, oil

Throughout the winter, I am offering some special plein air painting workshops as part of my Paint Sedona program.  This past week, it was "Exploring the Verde Valley."  The idea was to move out of Sedona - even though everyone loves the beautiful red rocks - to explore some of the Verde Valley's other treasures.  We still painted in Sedona, but we also painted along Spring Creek and up in Jerome, and we also took some reference photos in places like Tuzigoot National Monument and along the Verde River.

Winter Trees, 12x9, oil

We had cold starts to the morning each day.  At our house, the temperature was routinely hitting 15° F (more or less), every day.  But because of the incredibly clear air, temperatures rebounded quickly into the high 40s.  That may not sound warm to some, but in the sunshine and with no wind, it was quite pleasant.  We all agreed it was pretty perfect for outdoor painting.  Plus, in some of the shady spots, there were still some scraps of snow hanging on from the previous week's storm.  A little bit of snow can be just the thing to liven up a painting.

Probably the richest painting spot was the Gold King Mine Ghost Town just up the Perkinsville road from Jerome.  Imagine over six acres of antique cars, ambulances, fire engines and buses, plus a variety of work trucks from the mining days!  It's really a "little boy's playground."  Don Robertson, the owner - he hit is 70th birthday the day we were there - gave us a tour of the grounds and showed us his pride and joy, a souped-up, 1928 Studebaker "Indy" car.  I personally took over a hundred photos as I strolled the grounds.  For painting, I finally settled on a modified travel bus.  I don't know what aficionados of antique vehicles call it, but I'm calling it a hippy bus.

You can check my schedule at www.PaintSedona.com to see when the other special workshops are scheduled.  One I should mention especially is my "pastel-only" workshop March 12-15.  There are only two spots left in that, so hurry!

Below are a few photos for the week, including an early stage of my "Hippy Bus in Winter" sketch.

Hippy Bus in Winter - mid-stage
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe
Painting along Spring Creek
Painting in Jerome
John H. Burrow at work
Why I love Jerome (and see the pics below!)


Don Robertson's 1928 Studebaker


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Newsletter

New Year's Eve Snow Along Spring Creek!


New Year's Day
Sedona, Arizona

I know it's a cliche, but it bears saying: It's hard to believe another year has gone. The older I get, the faster the years roll by. Time accelerates as we age. Years pass like months; months, like days; days, like minutes. Every day is precious, and we should live with that fact in mind. I try to remember this when I go out in the field to paint. Going out isn't just about recording the scene in paint or pastel; it's also about savoring the moment to its fullest.

After an unseasonably warm fall, winter returned this week with snow squalls and cooler temperatures. But you know, in Sedona, the snow doesn't last more than a day, and when the sun comes out, it always feels like a spring day. I'm looking forward to getting out this winter with students and friends.
By the way, at the end of this letter I'll tell you about a special workshop I'm hosting in August with a master painter. Read on!

Studio Store Open Again
Starting today, I am reopening my online studio store. I'll be selling unframed oils and pastels that are of gallery quality. These paintings are some of my personal favorites that simply haven't made it to the gallery. I have a big variety - not just Sedona's red rocks, but also streams and creeks, mountains and meadows. You'll be able to buy the paintings directly from the store via Paypal. (You don't have to pay via Paypal but may use a credit card; I'll also gladly take checks!) If you're interested, please visit the Pumphouse Studio Gallery blog at this link and follow it, or see the link in the right sidebar of this blog.

Looking for Less-Expensive Work?
I am also selling less-expensive work in the form of demonstration paintings and sketches in my new Daily Paintworks store. I'll be adding to this constantly, so if you don't see something you like right away, check back. As with the Pumphouse Studio store, you can pay via Paypal. You can visit the my Daily Paintworks store here, or see the link in the right sidebar of this blog.

Announcing "Plein Air Painters of Sedona and the Verde Valley"
I've formed what's called a "meetup group" for plein air painters in and around Sedona. If you're in the area and want to paint with some like-minded people, consider joining the group Plein Air Painters of Sedona and the Verde Valley. (Just click on the link to go to it.) There's no fee, and anyone can set up a paintout. Our first paintout is at Fay Canyon in Sedona on Saturday, January 19th at 1 pm. I hope to see you there!

Paint Sedona Continues
My Paint Sedona plein air workshops continue now until mid-April. This season, I have a number of different types of workshops including ones for beginners, ones for more advanced students, and some special topic workshops. Sedona is a beautiful place this time of year, and in the unlikely event we do have any snow, it just makes the red rocks even prettier! The workshop is four half-days, which leaves you plenty of time to explore the area or to paint on your own. It's perfect for painters coming with friends or family! For details, please visit my Paint Sedona plein air workshop site.

Artist's Network University Online Beginning Plein Air Course
I enjoyed teaching this course so much last summer for ANU than I'm teaching it again starting January 8th. This is a four-week online course with assignments. Basically, you read the material and watch the videos, and then you go out and do one assignment a week. I give you a detailed, personal critique of the work each week. The students last summer seemed to really enjoy the course and to get a lot out of it. If you're interested, please visit the Artist's Network University course page.  It starts January 8.

Registration for Paint Campobello Is On!
I'm already getting signups for my Paint Campobello plein air workshops. Similar to Paint Sedona, Paint Campobello workshops are four half-days with time left to explore or paint, and it's been very popular with painters who bring along family or friends. Campobello Island has some of the very best maritime scenery. Workshops run from July into September. (I also have a Grand Manan Island workshop scheduled again this year as well as one in St Andrews.) For details, please visit my Paint Campobello plein air workshop site. Also, don't forget that Friar's Bay Studio Gallery will be opening in July, but we're also happy to have visitors before then.

Albert Handell Workshop
I'm excited to announce that I'll be hosting a studio/plein air painting workshop with master painter Albert Handell next summer. If you're not familiar with Mr Handell, he has been teaching for many years and is a much-sought-after instructor. In 1987, the Pastel Society of America inducted him into its Hall of Fame, and in 2000, the Pastel Society of the West Coast honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Pastel. He has won Master signature status from Oil Painters of America, Pastel Society of American and the American Impressionist Society. You don't want to miss this rare opportunity to work with Mr Handell in Downeast Maine! The workshop, which will be based in Lubec, Maine, will cost $675 and run from August 26-30. For full details, please visit www.AlbertHandellWorkshop.com.

Of course, I have many workshops listed on the workshop page of my web site.

So that's all for now! Have a great start to your New Year! - Michael