Saturday, November 12, 2016

Albert Handell Mentoring Workshop Wrap-Up

High Desert Juniper 12x18 pastel by Michael Chesley Johnson

"I've always dreamed of coming to Sedona's Red Rock Country and working under a master painter like Albert Handell," one participant said.  For six days, she and 15 other participants enjoyed a rigorous but extremely satisfying schedule of demonstrations, painting time and evening critiques.

For me personally, this has been my fourth time serving as host and coordinator for Albert, and I think it was the best week yet.  Each of his demonstrations was masterful and narrated fully, interspersed with helpful tips and tricks; painting times were long and in beautiful locations among creeks, red rocks and sycamore and cottonwood trees; critiques were right on-point, with Albert seeing immediately what needed to be addressed.  And because this was a mentoring workshop, he generously shared his knowledge of career-building with everyone.   Even though I live in Red Rock Country and have studied with Albert before, I found the week valuable and enjoyable.

Reach for the Sky 18x14 oil by Michael Chesley Johnson

Participants came from Oregon, California, Illinois, Florida, New Mexico and Arizona.   Many of them were eager to "go pro" and found the career-building talks very helpful.   Also helpful was that this was an "immersion" program filled with activities.  Here's how the week went:

We started with an orientation meeting on Sunday evening followed by dinner at a local restaurant.  Then, each morning started with a studio demonstration in oil or pastel at 9:30 that lasted till noon, followed by a short break and then an afternoon of painting time on-location with Albert going from easel-to-easel.  After a dinner break, we all met again in the studio at 7 for critiques and career-building.  One day, we went directly to the field where Albert demonstrated in pastel in "paint-along" fashion, and the rest of us continued to paint for the rest of the day until crit time.  Friday night was the final critique night, which started at 6 and lasted until we'd reviewed each participant's work from the week plus other, earlier work he or she brought in.  Afterward, Albert gave each person an action plan for further improvement.  Finally, on Saturday morning, he gave one last demonstration, and then we all bid each other farewell.  I've included a few photos from the week, including two of my paintings.

Albert has scheduled another mentoring program week for March 12-18, 2017, so I encourage you to sign up now, as this last one filled quickly.  Also, lodging at the studio is available at a very reasonable cost.  With other students staying there, it can become a true immersion experience.  For details on this next mentoring program, please visit

If you weren't able to take this last workshop with Albert and can't take the next one, please remember that I teach plein air painting workshops in the Sedona area.  For details, schedule and to sign up, visit

No comments: