Saturday, November 8, 2014

Albert Handell Mentoring Workshop - Wrap-Up

Sunset Over Sedona

I just finished up an intensely wonderful painting workshop with master painter Albert Handell.  Normally when in a workshop, I faithfully blog each day so you can have an idea of what the day is like.  This week, however, it was all I could do to keep up with Albert.

Painting at Airport Mesa

Here's how each day generally went.  I'd roll out of bed at 4 a.m. to take care of necessities like e-mail, showering, breakfast and packing up.  By 8:30, I was at the studio or on-location for a demonstration or individual painting.  At noon, I'd have a short break before heading to the next location where Albert would give help at the easel.  Around sundown, we'd have another break, and then it was off to the studio by 6:30 for critiques.  I wouldn't get home again until about 8:30, at which time I'd immediately drop into bed for a few hours' sleep.  It was twelve intense hours - but those hours were filled with many good things.

This was Albert's mentoring (or paint-along) workshop for more advanced painters.  Prerequisites include having taken a workshop previously with either Albert or a similar instructor.  Albert knew exactly what we needed this week.  Because we were more experienced, Albert drove us a little harder than he would most.

Scoping Out Locations

On Saturday, as program coordinator, I met with Albert and his wife, Jeanine, to scope out possible painting locations.  We went as far as Page Springs and Cornville and found many that met with Albert's approval.  Of course, we couldn't use them all, but they are good to know about for future workshops.  Afterward, we had a nice lunch at Harry's Hideway, which also met with Albert's approval.

Dinner at REDS
Sunday evening, all the participants met at Sky Ranch Lodge, atop Airport Mesa, for orientation.  The sun was setting, and plenty of clouds created some truly grand effects on the mountains.   In fact, it was hard to round up all the painters, because they were all off snapping photos. Afterward, we made a "dry run" to the studio location so everyone could get to know where it was, followed by dinner at REDS.

Albert Demonstrates at Airport Mesa

Monday morning, we met at the scenic overlook on Airport Mesa.  Albert demonstrated how to paint the Sedona landscape in dry pastel by painting a view of shadows on the Coffee Pot formation.  We painted in the same spot until lunchtime, where we went to Reds again.  Afterward, we headed over to the Cultural Park to paint the view there, followed by separate dinners and critiques at the studio.  By the way, in addition to critiques, some time each evening was given to career-building topics:  how to deal with galleries, what are the best advertising venues, record-keeping for artists, and other useful advice from someone who has been a professional artist for nearly 60 years.

Albert Works Magic on my Painting

Tuesday, we met in the studio for a demonstration.  Albert showed his technique for painting dry pastel over a watercolor underpainting and how to paint trees.  Later that afternoon, we painted at the Jordan Historical Park in town, where we had some beautiful light on Mitten Ridge.  Critiques followed again after sundown.

Evening Critiques and Career-Building

Wednesday, we met in the studio again.  This time, Albert demonstrated in oil and showed us his technique for painting water pouring over rocks.   Later that day, we painted the gorgeous and very old cottonwood trees along a quiet bend of Oak Creek.

Albert's Oil Palette

Thursday was another studio start.  Albert worked in pastel again with a watercolor underpainting and demonstrated rocks.  (Always a helpful demonstration in Red Rock Country!)   In the afternoon, we painted along Spring Creek at a spot where there are some quiet waterfalls.  Critiques and career-building followed again.

Painting Spring Creek

For Friday, we had permission to paint the Tlaquepaque Arts & Craft Village in town.  This is a beautiful faux Mexican village with adobe walls, red tile roofs and sycamore trees.  Albert painted on-location and featured a sycamore tree and adobe wall in morning light.  Afterward, I enjoyed a nice lunch with Albert and Jeanine at El Rincon.  That afternoon, we all went to a secret spot along Oak Creek with more beautiful sycamores and cottonwoods.  Evening, of course, was devoted to critiques and questions about making a living as an artist.

Lucy - Our Studio Companion for the Week

Saturday was our farewell day.  We met in the studio to critique a larger body of work.  In addition to the work we created during the week, Albert wanted to see several more paintings that had been made in the last year or so.  His eye is sharp, and he can see in an instant where a painter might improve.  It was instructive listening to all the critiques, and I personally found many things that I could use to improve my own work.

Albert's Pastel Box

Like all the other participants, I was tired by the week's end - but it was, as they say, a "good" tired.  Now it's time to paint many more paintings with Albert's tips in mind.  I do think he's set me on a new and better path.  I highly recommend this mentoring workshop to artists who feel they have hit a plateau or who have questions about the art business.  As Albert says, "Try it - you may find you like it."

In my next post, I will include the paintings I made during the week.  But first, I offer below images of Albert's demonstrations.

Dry Pastel Demo - en plein air

Pastel with Watercolor Underpainting Demo - studio - SOLD!

Oil Demo - studio - SOLD!

Pastel with Watercolor Underpainting Demo - studio - SOLD!

Dry Pastel Demo - en plein air - SOLD!

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