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Plein Air to Studio

Michael Workman

April 21-25, 2014


For Michael Workman, the act of painting usually starts with an emotional response to the landscape and is ultimately completed by the viewers through their emotional responses to the painting. A delicate balance is achieved in his paintings between realism and abstraction. The landscape can be dramatic, moody and subtle. Michael Workman's art is blended in a play between opposites on a variety of levels: classicism and romanticism, thin and thick paint, warm and cool colors, careful planning and spontaneity. "That flirtation between yin and yang is by design, because in Workman's view, mastering those opposites is a source of unparalleled magic." (SouthWest Art, September 1996).

This workshop will emulate Michael's working process including the plein air experience  but mainly developing work in the studio. Michael will demonstrate and lecture for all the students while allowing plenty of one-on-one time for discussion and critique designed to help each student achieve their own personal vision. Students should already have basic drawing skills and prior experience with landscape painting.


Payment Options: Students may pay in full or choose the payment-plan option during registration. The payment plan requires a non-refundable $100 deposit with the balance due 30 days before the first day of the workshop.




Workshop Materials List

In this class we will paint mostly from photographs so bring photos that you might want to work from and a camera as there is some fantastic subject matter in the area.  We will talk a lot about what makes good photos for painting and what to look for when you are out in the field. This is mostly a landscape class so don't bring photos of people, pets etc.

Bring a lap top computer if you have one. It is really nice to be able to edit photos and paint from the laptop screen.

I encourage self-direction and personal discovery and want to help students find their own way to solve art problems.  If you have a palette of colors that you feel good about use them.  However, for those who want to know exactly what I do here is a list of colors that I use:

  • ·      Burnt Sienna
  • ·        Ultramarine Blue Deep
  • ·        Cerulean Blue (not hue)
  • ·        Titanium White
  • ·        Cad Yellow Lt
  • ·        Cad Red Lt
  • ·        Alizarin Crimson

I prefer to paint on a rigid panel but if you like stretched canvas use that.  I highly recommend quality materials so keep that in mind when coming to this class.  Don't bring any cheap canvas cardboard panels or cheap student grade paints.  You get what you pay for and quality materials are a much better investment.  Bring plenty of rags, paint thinner and a portable open-air type easel.

For the students that want to do a "paint along with Mike" which is something I have been doing in workshops lately where everyone paints from the exact same image on the same size panel etc.  Bring a rigid 12"x12" panel primed with gesso and ready to paint on.  Other than that panel, bring what you are comfortable with. 

If you have some images of some recent work bring those so I can see where you are.

People always ask me what books I recommend.  Here is a couple to think about buying if you don't already have them:

John F. Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting and Edgar Payne book on composition.

About Michael Workman

When asked for an artist statement I try to keep it simple; I am a "contemporary traditionalist". I know that sounds contradictory, but I hope I can be up-to-date, and still honor tradition. One thing that is consistent in art history, is the opposition between different ideas, i.e.: contemporary vs. traditional, romantic vs. classic, naturalistic vs. abstract, etc. I decided years ago not to choose between the opposites, but instead work to bring them together in a beautiful way.

My watchword is beauty. It is not difficult to see that we live in a world that is full of turmoil. On the other hand, it is easy to be tempted by the cliche. Rather than choose between angst or picturesque beauty, I hope to offer a reminder that there is beauty in the ordinary. When asked for an artistic statement one is tempted to try to impress with intellectual rhetoric, but my statement is simple: "There are still good things."

Michael Workman Website







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