Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Questions About Plein Air Painting Workshops: Advanced Workshop

Photo by Terri Attridge

(Looking for the post on Questions About All-Level Workshops? Click here.)
(Looking for the post on Questions About One-on-One Private Painting Intensive? Click here.)

Many of you are already active plein air painters. Chances are, you're beyond needing a "basics" workshop. But maybe you feel your paintings could be improved, or you'd like to try my method of painting outdoors. This, then, is the second part of the three-part series of answers to questions I get about my plein air painting workshops, and it concerns workshops for painters with experience. As I have mentioned before, if you don't see a question that you'd like an answer to, please let me know, and I'll be happy to update this post. 

How do I know I'm ready for this workshop?

If you've taken a beginning workshop with me or another instructor, you probably didn't have time to learn anything beyond the basics. If you'd like to learn about different color palettes and how to use them, or the concept of color temperature and how it works in the landscape, or the finer points of handling edges and brush work, then this workshop is for you.

For this workshop, you should be comfortable with your gear and materials in the field. You should know the basics of value and design and color mixing.

Exactly what will be covered in this workshop?

In this workshop, I cover different color palettes for the landscape; how to see and capture color temperature; how to manage edges and brush work; and increasing our understanding of what makes a good painting. We may also have the opportunity to introduce the topic of outdoor-study-to-studio.

What do I need to bring for supplies?

I have a full supply list for oil and pastel on my web site. Please try to bring everything on the list. If you want to bring something different, please let me know, and we can discuss it.

I'm flying. How do I take my paints?

Oil painters, pack your paints in a non-crushable container (a large plastic container works), insert a copy of the MSDS (Manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet) in with the paints, and label the container "Artist's Oil Colors—Made with Vegetable Oil—Non-Flammable." Tape the lid on securely. Put this in your checked baggage. Do not take mineral spirits or turpentine on the plane! Arrange to ship this to your destination or locate a local art supply store where you can get it. Other items, such as brushes, easel, etc., you can either put in the checked bag or carry-on. Pastel painters, do NOT put your pastels in your checked baggage. Pastels are "carry-on only," and make sure you are present when the TSA officer opens your bag so you can give him direction in opening the bag. (I have a blog post with more detail here.)

How will I get my paintings home?

Pastel painters, just sandwich your paintings between two sheets of foam board, and interleave the paintings with glassine. Tape up this sandwich so nothing shifts. Oil painters, I recommend Handy Porters, resuable cardboard boxes that can hold up to four wet panels or two wet canvases. The boxes come in different sizes. When heading home, these can either be packed inside a second box and shipped home, or you can carry them on the plane. On the other hand, if the paintings are dry to the touch when you're ready to leave, you can simply stack them and interleave them with waxed paper and make a sandwich, similar to what I recommend for pastel painters.

How should I prepare for the workshop?

At this point, you should be painting outdoors regularly. I suggest you read my new book, Outdoor Study to Studio: Bring Your Plein Air Paintings to the Next Level, as we may have an opportunity to apply the practice I describe therein. Also, if you need a refresher or, if you haven't seen my approach to plein air and would like to do so, I recommend that you enroll in my Plein Air Essentials self-study, self-paced online course. My other book, Backpacker Painting: Outdoors with Oil and Pastel, is a good reference. I also have several videos through Northlight Shop.

Will I need to walk far?

Most likely, we will paint just a few minutes from the car. However, I do recommend that you wear good walking shoes. If you have mobility issues, please understand that you will need to carry your own gear unless you bring an assistant.

Can I bring my spouse or friend? My dog?

Most of our locations will having hiking and photography opportunities. If your spouse or friend likes to hike or take photos, they are more than welcome to join us on-location. In the studio, when we are doing critiques and lectures, they are welcome to join us if there is adequate seating and they sit quietly in the back. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in the studio or to be with you while we work on-location.

You mention retreats and mentoring.  What's the difference?

A retreat is just that:  A time for the artist to get away from the daily grind and join a few like-minded painters for some serious time painting and building friendships.  There's no formal instruction in a retreat, although I do daily critiques, offer to do demonstrations, initiate talk about art and provide an organized itinerary.  Mentoring is much different.  I offer to guide you through your craft and, if you wish to "go professional," through the business of art.  This is more of a long-term relationship founded on attending my workshops regularly.

In my next post, I'll talk about the one-on-one private painting intensive. In the meantime, if you're interested in taking a workshop with me, please see the following for my schedules:

Paint the Southwest (all-level workshops): www.PaintTheSouthwest.com/sched_reg.htm
Paint the Southwest (one-on-one private painting intensive for experienced painters): www.PaintTheSouthwest.com/sched_int.htm
Plein Air Painting Maine (all-level and advanced workshops in Maine): www.PleinAirPaintingMaine.com
General Workshop Listing (which includes workshops for art centers): www.MChesleyJohnson.com/workshops

Also, I host painting retreats once or twice year.   These are for past students only.  Although there is no formal instruction, there is plenty of art talk, critiques and camaraderie.  Retreats are small in size, we all stay in the same place, there's lots of painting time plus an organized itinerary.  By the way, they are always in scenic spots!  Past retreat have been to Isle of Skye (Scotland), Lunenburg (Nova Scotia), Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and elsewhere!  If you'd like to join us on a retreat, first, make sure you've taken a workshop with me, and then make sure you have signed up for my newsletter!

Ready for critiques!


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