Friday, May 3, 2019

May Newsletter from Michael

Spring in the Canyon
30x24 Oil - Available
(I'll be posting a blog on the creation of
this studio painting soon.)

May 2019
Ramah, New Mexico

It's hard to believe, but another season has gone. In just a few short weeks, Trina and I will be heading off for our summer studios on Campobello Island. This year, though, we're staying a little longer in New Mexico. Thanks to this winter's plentiful snows, we're being treated to a truly wonderful spring, and we didn't want to miss it. The sage on the mesa top is shooting out thick new leaves, and when we hike, we come home smelling of sagey freshness. Nature's brush has scumbled a rich green over the cottonwoods down by the lake. The hummingbirds are back, too. When we work in the yard, we now hear a frequent "zing" as one races overhead.

This past season, I taught several sessions of my Private Painting Intensive in which each day we got to enjoy our beautiful landscape. As part of the program, we took students to the nearby Zuni Pueblo to take a tour with a native, who taught us about their culture's understanding of the local landscape. I believe the more you know about the land—not just its natural history but also its human history—the richer your painting experience will be. Also, because each program is customized for the individual and some of the projects involved "new thinking" for me, I personally grew as a painter. (If you're interested in the Intensive, I already have posted the next season's schedule - http://www.paintthesouthwest.com/sched_int.html.)

I also taught two full workshops in Sedona. Although we no longer live there, it is fun to go back and refresh our memories of that landscape. Taking students out to paint was, for me, like rekindling an acquaintance with an old friend. Although these days the town seems busier than ever, I know many quiet spots I like to share. (If you're interested in the Sedona all-level plein air painting workshops, I have already posted my future schedule here - http://www.paintthesouthwest.com/sched_reg.html. I am now only teaching two Sedona workshops a year.)

Every year, I try to take at least one painting trip. In March, I headed to northern Arizona with my friend, M.L. Coleman, and his Lazy Daze RV. We painted at Navajo National Monument, Monument Valley Tribal Park and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Despite the wind and some snow squalls, we got lots of painting done. (So I can do more of this, Trina and I will most likely be buying some sort of RV in the near future.) You can read it about the trip on my blog: http://mchesleyjohnson.blogspot.com/2019/04/painters-on-wheels-northern-arizona.html

I was honored to serve as Judge of Awards for the annual Pastel Society of New Mexico National Exhibition and invited to give a demonstration to the group. The overall work at the exhibition was of a very high level, and I enjoyed the unqiue opportunity to spend a whole afternoon viewing the paintings at Sorrel Sky Gallery in Santa Fe. By the way, if your group would like me to judge a show and teach a workshop, I'd be happy to hear from you.

As for the future, I want to remind you that I still have a couple of spaces left in my Lubec, Maine, workshops this summer. You can find details at www.PleinAirPaintingMaine.com.

Also, please remember that Trina and I host one or two painting retreats each year, and if you'd like to join us, you need to have taken a workshop with me first. We are just now starting to think about a retreat in Taos, New Mexico, in October 2020. If you'd like to join us for that, let me know, and I'll send details once we have them. In the meantime, you can read about some of the history of Taos on my blog, here. The retreats are small, so they fill very quickly!

Finally, don't forget to sign up for emails announcing new small paintings. These paintings are 9x12 or smaller, unframed, and offered at good prices. You can sign up here.

By the way, our lilacs are just starting to bloom. The fragrance reminds me that when we get to Campobello, the lilacs there will just be starting to bloom, too. Until then, enjoy life and be well!

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