PLEIN AIR WORKSHOPS
My plein air painting workshops are an opportunity for painters
of all skill levels to immerse themselves in several days of painting outdoors on sites around Easton, Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. These workshops focus on balancing the development
of technical skills with the aspects of painting that transcend technique and get us to higher levels of ourselves as artists
Really, every day spent painting outside is an opportunity for growth as a painter because plein air painting is also a lesson in paying attention to the moment you’re in. That can be a frustrating lesson for some especially if they are struggling with the technical aspects and skills needed to accurately express what they want through their work. In my workshops, I seek to meet painters where they are in the strengths and struggles of their practice and help get them to their next level as artists.
what to Expect
We’ll meet on Friday morning at the site to introduce ourselves and cover some basics as we read through the 'Notes on Plein Air' Guide and address any questions you might have.
At this meeting we’ll also go over your goals for the workshop. I think it’s important to set some kind of intention for the time you’ll be working so that we can focus on that rather than meander around with too many objectives. So, for example, some students want to spend the three full painting days working on the same composition while others would rather make short studies of varied subjects all over the site. Both are fine but I think it’s important to figure that out first so when you start your work, you can operate without pressure or impediment and give yourself the best chance to get as much out of the time as possible. I’ll go over some fundamentals and in most cases, start a demo. We'll then familiarize ourselves with the site by sketching possible compositions with pencil in sketchbooks.
Saturday we’ll meet at 8,30 am at the site. We should be painting by about 9 or 9,30 am and can continue until about 1. We’ll break for an hour lunch which you can bring with you or, if we're in Easton, you can venture a few minutes downtown where there are many excellent restaurants as well as a lovely farmers market on Saturdays and the new brilliant and beautiful Easton Public Market. We’ll reconvene at about 2 for the afternoon session which will go until approximately 5.
Sunday we will meet at the same time in the morning and paint until about 2. After that we’ll have a group critique. These are usually really fun as well as incredibly insightful because we get a chance to revisit what we spoke about at our Friday meeting before we started painting. These group critiques have provided some of my favorite moments and serve as a great way for students to learn to articulate what worked and what still needs work with their paintings and with those of their fellow students. Many times we end the weekend at Sette Luna for the best pizza and wine and more good conversations.
Some Important Points
- Absolutely ALL levels of painters are welcome. Do not be intimidated if you're a beginner or if it's been a while since you've painted outdoors. I'll be doing demos and instruction on fundamentals. The best thing about plein air painting is the immediate experience of the day. Don't let yourself miss that because of a little fear. It'll be great.
- Intermediate and advanced painters are also welcome. We will have group critiques at the end of each day where we can all contribute to the conversation and where all skill levels learn from all skill levels.
- If you've signed up for a workshop or class, please visit the Materials Lists Page for more information on paint choices, brushes, surfaces, mediums and everything you'll need to get started. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
- ALL styles and mediums are welcome which means you don't have to be a realist or naturalist painter to participate. In fact, you don't even need to be a landscape painter to participate! I'm endlessly interested in other perspectives and would love to see the abstract painters or strictly figurative painters immerse themselves in nature these two days and see where it takes them.
It seems obvious but I think it’s important to remind you to enjoy yourself. I know from experience that it’s very possible to lose oneself in the struggle with the technical aspects and the attachment to what you think your final painting should look like. It’s best to let that all go or you can find yourself ultimately frustrated with every thing you make, sometimes even before you make it. Or worse, that kind of energy can just kill your creative spirit entirely. Instead, consider your time outside in and with nature to be an exercise in paying attention. A chance to cultivate a dynamic dialogue between what you’re seeing and what you are making. There’s no need to impose pressure on yourself to make a masterpiece in one day or a weekend.