About Online Classes
Our popular online classes are open to students of all experience levels. We have been teaching online classes for over eight years and deliver personalized high quality instruction in an online format. These four and six week classes are offered as virtual online learning opportunities. They are designed to provide a complete learning experience at a slower, more measured pace and without the added expense of travel and lodging. Students may log into the class blog at anytime. There are no scheduled times for the class to meet, so students may complete their work and study on their own schedules. Students also receive a bonus of an additional week to complete their assignments and post for comment. The class blog serves as an online studio/classroom where students and the instructor can interact. Students receive one on one critique and comment from the instructor.
Students have access to and may copy all class materials and also have access to class video demos for up to one year after the class ends.
The Class Blog
The class is centered around a private blog, accessible only by class participants. Classes are a great interactive learning experience with the class blog functioning as an online studio and classroom.
Several weeks before the class starts, students receive via email a materials list and reading list. About a week before the class starts students will receive an invitation via email to join the class blog. Each week on Friday a class assignment and lesson will be posted along with other pertinent information like examples of exercises or other concepts, video demos and written materials pertaining to that week’s topic. Students will complete their assignments and post them to the blog for discussion/critique by the following Friday. Most students post their work throughout the week and questions and comments are posted and responded to on a daily basis.
In order to fully participate students will need to be able to upload digital images to the blog.
Online Class Descriptions
Understanding Values in the Landscape I
These classes cover the use of value to create distance, depth, atmosphere and separation of the planes in the landscape according to Carlson’s Theory of Angles. In Values I a thorough study of Carlson’s Theory as well as exceptions and modifications will be explored. Atmospheric perspective and its effect on values in the landscape as an overlay to the Theory of Angles is also covered in depth. We study how to create certain effects of light by careful attention to the value range or ‘key’ which is used and how to compress the value range effectively from what is seen in Nature and what our materials are capable of producing. Students will learn the value ranges to use to create the illusion of a sunny day, an overcast day, a foggy or rainy day, backlighting, patchy sunlight, dusk, evening, and nocturnes.
Practical Color Mixing for Landscape Painters
This class will approach color mixing from the viewpoint of landscape painting. Understanding the color of the light in the landscape and how it affects the color we see is imperative for successful color mixing. Learning how to create color harmony in your work will be another main goal of this course. In this course we will cover:
~various palettes for landscape painting and how they produce different results
~understanding the color of light in the landscape and how it affects color we see and mix
~ learn how to mix accurately for value, temperature and chroma
~learn how to mix naturalistic greens and other “problem” colors in the landscape
~how to create color harmony
Practical Color Mixing II
This class will build on the concepts and skills gained in the first class. Applying what was learned, we will concentrate particularly on understanding the concepts of vibration, gradation and how color harmony is produced. We will also learn to reproduce particular atmospheric affects in the landscape by understanding the color of light and mixing accurately for value, temperature and chroma.
Drawing the Landscape (six weeks)
Drawing is an essential foundational skill for landscape painters which is all to often ignored or given short shift. Solid drawing skills give you the ability to edit the raw material that Nature provides into a work of art, freeing the artist from dependency on photography or merely copying Nature. Drawing skills are the first step toward being able to work successfully from memory and imagination and to effectively compose. Drawing sets you free.
Working from Nature and direct observation is the time honored way to learn how to paint landscapes. Unfortunately, many aspiring landscape painters miss the essential first step: learning to draw and sketch in the field. If you are unable to draw the landscape you will have a much more difficult time learning to paint it convincingly. Most classes and workshops jump into plein air painting without giving students any tools to make a success of their efforts. This course is designed to give you the tools to draw and sketch in the field with confidence, both improving your plein air paintings and leading to better, finished work in the studio.
In this class, drawing materials and techniques will be fully explored and explained in video demonstrations. Principles of perspective, creating three dimensional form, identifying proper value relationships in the landscape, and drawing techniques for specific parts of the landscape will all be covered. This class will give the student the ability to draw the landscape with confidence and to use drawing as a effective means of gathering reference material for paintings.
The Strong Start- Techniques and Strategies for Successful Paintings – Plein Air & Studio
In this six week online class, we will tackle the important skills needed to make a strong start in your landscape paintings. Starting with skill building exercises and moving on to painting outdoors, this class will give you the skills and concepts to make strong starts which lead to successful painting results. The skills and concepts we will work on in this class can be applied to painting outdoors as well as studio work. Video demos, illustrations, step by step guides, and written lectures will give you the confidence and skills to paint outdoors in a group or on your own.
We will cover:
understanding the main four value zones in the landscape
how to see the big shapes in Nature- the “big look”
selection of subject- how to narrow your focus
using simple three and four value studies to see and organize big shapes
learning to edit – simplification and massing
how to use thumbnails to quickly investigate compositional possibilites.
how a simplified underpainting can provide a strong framework for your painting.
how to choose a color harmony for your painting
how premixing can simplify your painting process and ensure clean color
simplifying your “kit”- selecting equipment for painting outdoors
NEW***Painting the Luminous Landscape (six weeks)
This course is designed for intermediate to advanced oil painters, and will introduce students to the Tonalist landscape aesthetic and techniques. Tonalism, a distinct style of landscape painting which developed in the late 19th century, is experiencing a resurgence of interest today. It is characterized by simple design, a narrow range of values, a limited but luminous palette and an emphasis on atmospheric effects in the landscape, particularly during the hours of dawn, sunset, dusk and evening. Techniques for creating underpaintings, glazing and scumbling will be covered.
One of the hallmarks of the Tonalist aesthetic is an interest in the “Magic Hours”- dawn, sunset, twilight, evening, and of course, night. Learning to paint those effects is an essential part of understanding the Tonalist style.
NEW*** Use Notan to Strengthen Your Landscape Compositions
Unleash the power of Notan in your landscape compositions. Notan (meaning light/dark harmony in Japanese) is a powerful design concept we can use to strengthen the impact of our landscape compositions. In this class we will learn about this concept, and how to take the visual clutter of the natural world and simplify it into big shapes. Notan helps us see and organize those big shapes to create an strong underlying structure for our landscape paintings.
In this class we will learn:
– how to see the big shapes in Nature
– how to simplify shapes and values in the landscape
– how to create 3-4 value studies to find the underlying structure of a composition
– how to further simplify your design using Notan (2 values)
For centuries the depiction of water has challenged artists. Its unique properties- transparent, reflective, moving, still- create wonderful visual opportunities. This course will cover water features such as rivers, lakes, creeks, and ponds. We’ll examine both the natural characteristics of water and techniques for depicting them:
~ how are reflections created and how to depict them
~ how the depth of water affects its color and value
~ the structure of waves
~ how the surface of water is affected by wind
~ techniques and color palettes for water
~ using water features in your compositions
Drawing the Landscape in Charcoal (Suggested Prerequisite Drawing the Landscape or drawing experience)
This simple medium has been utilized by artists both past and present for its unique qualities. Whether using charcoal for a simple sketch in the field or a large scale finished drawing, it is a perfect tool for landscape artists to achieve a full range of values, painterly drawing, and atmospheric effects. Because of these qualities, charcoal is the traditional medium for students transitioning from drawing to painting or for more advanced artists to use alongside their painting practice. Artists have also used charcoal for finished drawings that stand on their own.
In this class, the various kinds of charcoal, papers, and tools will be explored and explained through drawing assignments and demonstrations. Students will work in the field and studio to develop their understanding of how charcoal can be used to represent the landscape. Artists from the past and present will also be explored to appreciate and inspire this time-honored medium. This class will give the student the opportunity to further their drawings skills, develop an in depth understanding of charcoal, and explore its many uses for representing the landscape.
The Painted Sky
For landscape painters, painting a believable sky means creating a sense of distance, atmosphere, light, and mood. This course is designed to give students the knowledge and techniques to paint beautiful atmospheric skies. In this course we will cover:
~ gradation of colors in the sky at various times of day
~ gradation of values in the sky
~ types of cloud formations and how to depict them
~ use of atmospheric and linear perspective to create believable skies
~ glazes and scumbling techniques
~ using a variety of edges in painting skies
~ composing skies for maximum effect
Drawing and Painting Trees
For landscape artists, trees are arguably the most important raw material of our craft and art. Their very individual character, their attitude as living beings within the landscape make them a source of endless fascination and challenge for the artist. Artists in the 19th century routinely sketched and painted studies of these sentinels of nature in order to understand their structure as well as their artistic bearing. These drawings and studies were then used to create larger studio works.
John Carlson, author of Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting (the bible of landscape painting) rightly tells us that the way to learn to paint trees is by “much drawing of trees”. Through drawing and observation, we will learn to paint not only their anatomy, but their line, character, and the emotions they can inspire.
Topics covered in the class will include:
– a study of examples of 19th century drawings and painted studies
-materials and techniques for drawing in graphite and charcoal
-the structure of different species of trees, varieties of outlines and shapes against the sky
-making close studies of trees and portions of trees
-making painting studies of individual and groups of trees
-linear and atmospheric perspective of trees
-incorporating studies into studio works; compositional studies with trees
New **** The Training & Use of Visual Memory for Landscape Painters
This course will introduce students to the training of visual memory and its history as part of a landscape painter’s practice. The importance of memory training and the ability to use memory in one’s work cannot be overstated. Memory distills and intensifies observational experience, aids in the simplification and editing process, and has a direct correlation to the artist’s emotional response to the motif- clarifying both how to paint it and why to paint it. A well trained visual memory allows the artist to observe and retain the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere, reducing the reliance on photography. The sustained observation required to train memory deepens and focus’s the artist’s relationship with Nature. Memory acts as a bridge to competent work from imagination.
Students will learn through directed exercises how to strengthen their observational and memory skills. They will learn how to incorporate memory into their own work and to continue to improve their memory skills.
Composing the Landscape
This class is designed to provide both an understanding of design principles and a methodology for applying them. I believe that composition is something you learn in the studio. It is an artificial structure we impose on Nature. It involves taking the raw material Nature provides and translating it into a work of art.
In this course we will cover:
~general principles of good painting design
~common compositional types
~study of masterworks as well as contemporary paintings to dissect and analyze compositional structure
~organization of value masses for maximum effect (e.g., counterchange, variety, asymmetry)
~designing for movement and rhythm through the picture plane
~using reference materials-editing, selection
~methodology for planning and your compositions (e.g., thumbnails, value sketches)
Three art history courses are offered.
19 th Century American Landscape Painting – The Hudson River School, Luminism, Tonalism and early American Impressionism
Early 19th Century European Landscape Painting I- Constable, Turner, Corot, and The Barbizon Painters
Early 19th Century European Landscape Painting II-
Field Sketching for Landscape Painters
(Suggested Prerequisite Drawing the Landscape)
In this class, our focus will be choosing a motif or idea to paint, then doing the field work- observation, drawings, color and monochromatic studies, and visual memory training – to assist us in the creation of a studio work. One of the primary goals of the course is to gain confidence in field work, memory and relying on those tools together with sustained observation rather than photography.
Topics covered will include:
~a history of field sketching and study of examples of 19th century field sketches (drawings, watercolors and oils)
~how to use field sketching to gather reference material for studio work (and reduce your dependence on the camera!).
~how to use field sketching to aid in working from memory and imagination
Found Still Life and Foregrounds
In this class students will focus on the foreground- either as a motif for finished paintings (found still life) or as an important element of the intimate landscape. Often, this aspect of landscape painting is overlooked by contemporary landscape painters, out of a fear of niggling detail or of drawing. But, by learning how to use selective focus to depict some information and “suggest” other forms, we can discover compelling motifs in the landscape which we might otherwise overlook or be afraid to tackle.
Studio & Business Practices for Successful Artists
What we do in the studio has a direct affect on our careers as artists. This course will connect the dots between the studio and the desk. My intention is to give you the straight scoop from a working artist- from the trenches.
Success can mean many different things- so this course is designed to help both professional artists as well as those who don’t want or need to make a living from their art, but do want to be better artists, sell more work and achieve more recognition.
In this course, I will share what has worked for me- and what didn’t, and why- over the last fifteen years of building a career in art. It will be an intense four weeks of study which means you should be prepared to complete “assignments”, read, think about, and discuss the topics at hand. Because the class size will be limited to 10 participants, I will be able to tailor information and discussion to individual needs. I provide a no-nonsense but supportive environment for learning.
Here’s what we will cover in this course:
~ The Three Keys to Success
~ Studio practices that make you a better artist and sell more art.
~ The Pipeline
~ Go Where the Collectors Are
~Choosing the Right Venues- Pretty Is As Pretty Does
~ How to Approach a Gallery