Student Comments

After years of looking for ways to deepen and strengthen my artistic approach to landscape painting, taking workshops and online classes, I applied to Deborah’s mentorship program.  The mentorship provided a balance of theory, conceptual practice, assignments, and discussion of materials, tools and techniques.  Through her guidance, I was able to delve deeper into the process of naturalistic painting, searching out motifs, constructing more compelling paintings, and developing a more holistic thinking process and approach to plein air and studio painting.

Working one-on-one and focusing on strengthening my weak areas while developing good artistic practices, I found our time together invaluable for improving the foundation of my knowledge, skill and abilities as an artist, learning to see with the eyes of an artist and bring sound practices into alignment with my personal approach. Being able to work together provided accountability, motivation, and immediate feedback to move forward.  Although we never get ‘there’ as artists, working with Deborah has opened new pathways for me to deepen and solidify the process of creating impactful artwork.

Nelia Harper

Deborah Paris’ deep appreciation for the fundamentals of her craft, her intimate approach to the natural world, and her enthusiasm for teaching the traditions of landscape painting is what makes the Landscape Atelier such a special place. As a beginning artist with previous training in other ateliers, I was looking for a rigorous program that strove to pass on the traditions of landscape painting to a new generation of artists. What I found was something much more. The curriculum at the Atelier has not only developed my knowledge of the essentials of the craft, but has also challenged me to explore my place in Nature with the eyes of both an artist and a naturalist. For me, it is this emphasis on “fact and feeling” that makes the Landscape Atelier a profound place for artistic development.

Rob Wellings
Narbeth, PA

Just returned from my second workshop in Clarksville with Deborah Paris. The new Atelier space is sleek, with high ceilings, lots of space and north light. It was in walking distance from the fun B&B where most of the students stayed. The Courtyard Inn was quiet and charming and we filled up the house. The owner, Perry, graciously let us cook dinner some nights in the kitchen, and we had several impromptu class dinners at the antique dining table. It was a real treat to be able to talk about art over breakfast each morning! The group was friendly and I will enjoy keeping up fellow classmates. I learned a number of new techniques from Deborah about her indirect painting methods, despite the fact that it was a second workshop for me. We had two days of drawing out in the rolling pastures in front of Deborah’s house. There were several ponds and some magnificent old White Oak trees- it was easy to see where many of Deborah’s tonalist paintings began. Deborah’s husband, Steve prepared dinner for us one night out under the trees- which was a highlight for me as well. I would highly recommend attending one of her workshops if you have the chance and given the length and quality of the workshop, the tuition is very reasonable.

Mallory Agerton
Houston, TX

After a long and successful business career I decided to follow my passion and jump into a fine arts program dedicated to landscape painting. I have always had a passion for the American Tonalist movement and began to research artists who could help me reach my goal – to become a 21st Century Tonalist landscape painter. I feel so fortunate to have found Deborah Paris and even more grateful to be participating in her Landscape Atelier program full-time. Her patience, deep knowledge of classical techniques and art history and her extraordinary teaching ability have given me the opportunity to realize my goals. Her own paintings are imbued with a love of nature and observation, something I admire and want to emulate. What also matters to me is that I build on what is unique and compelling about my talent and that I have access to the information I need to develop the skills and expertise that I need to succeed. Ultimately, I want to create great work that resonates and sells. Deborah has designed the Landscape Atelier program to get me there.

I recently spent part of my residency requirement for the Landscape Atelier in Clarksville, TX. – a lovely little town in Red River County in Northeast Texas. It was an amazing experience. The countryside is beautiful and a little bit of heaven for a landscape artist. I stayed at the Courthouse Inn, a Bed and Breakfast within walking distance of the Atelier Studio. It was charming, convenient and clean and my bed was very comfortable! Perry, the Innkeeper, was attentive and his breakfasts were delicious.

Marita O’Dea Glodt
Houston, Texas

“The Landscape Atelier was a fabulous learning experience! Deborah is an excellent and very generous teacher and I highly recommend this course to the serious artist, from beginner to advanced. We spent the first two days drawing and observing nature, learning how to gather reference material in the form of preliminary studies. Back in the studio Deborah led us through the entire indirect painting process, from thumbnail sketches to the final glaze. To begin our paintings we learned how to transform all of our field drawings into a detailed underpainting. From there, Deborah provided step by step demonstrations which made the process come alive. She gave excellent critiques, providing each student with individualized instruction and positive feedback. Deborah has an extensive art history background which helps place the indirect painting process in context in today’s contemporary art world. A master painter in her own right, Deborah is also a gifted and very dedicated teacher. I highly recommend the Landscape Atelier to serious artists at all levels.”

Lolly Shera
Fall River, WA

Those close to me joke about the number of colleges and schools I have attended. I have experiences in over a dozen post secondary educational institutions, both private and public. Two of my more recent experiences are with RISD (Rhode Island School of Design and Lyme Academy College of Fine Art.

About two years ago I was site jumping on the web and I happened upon a site by Deborah Paris. I was immediately taken by the images I found. The luminosity captured me and I decided I wanted to learn how to do that. Workshops are tough but I found on-line courses were offered by Deborah and I thought this would be a good way to prepare for a workshop. I signed up for the ‘Clouds’ course.

Having taken many studio classes I was interested in experiencing an on-line art course and how that might compare to a studio class. Well, it is different. It is wonderful.

Everything is written. Every lecture, assignment, comment and critique is written. Each and every conversation between student and instructor and student to student is recorded. I have wonderful notebooks. Video Demos allow one to view and review as many times as one wish. They allow one to rewind and repeat any particle one did not quite understand or one has great interest in seeing again. Student work is as relaxed, formal or informal as the student wishes. It can be a time to ‘work’ or a time to ‘relax with ones assignment at the easel or in the lawn chair in a meadow, marsh or prairie. The student may place full attention and focus on their subject rather than those around them.

Comments are precise but not pointed. Deborah’s advice is the type that opens a path before you rather than to focus you on a spot. Comments will not be long in word but they will expand how you think and see and what you look for and come to understand. Sometimes a day or two may pass after a comment on an assignment, it may be the next image you are creating, and all of a sudden a word or statement Deborah made comes to life and NOW you understand.

Best of all, at least for me, is the history with which instruction comes. Deborah has a way of creating an illusion that allows one to believe we still live with people such as Ruskin, Corot, Constable and it is even possible to receive advice directly from Asher B. Durand and one must be ready for words such as ‘slovenly’ or phrases such as ‘irremediable evil’. And to have ones drawings, sketches and assignments sit alongside those created by such people…who would have thought.

The only drawback I find, and the best advice I could give, is do not let time get away from you. These classes are packed and as everyone knows, time really flies when you are having fun.

Tom Peterson
Canton, CT

“‘The Landscape Atelier changed the way I thought about the landscape and helped me reach the next level in my work as a painter. Deborah Paris challenged us to work only from direct observation and memory. She emphasized drawing and creating the forms of nature by understanding their structure and value. I felt Deborah gave each student individual attention and addressed them at their own level. As a professional artist with classical training from The Art Students League in NYC, I learned a great deal. The class field book was 65 pages long in color- with detailed drawings, examples from master paintings, charts and procedures. We received the field book in advance and were able to study it prior to attending. Deborah was approachable, kind, and articulate. She was generous in what she shared. Most importantly, she has a thorough knowledge of color harmony, glazing techniques, art history, composition and both linear and aerial perspective. Deborah gave several demos and was able to explain her procedures carefully. Since attending, I have also taken two of her online courses, which compliment the Atelier workshop.

We also visited Deborah’s studio and the Lennox Woods- her source of inspiration. Each day she read us a poem about nature and shared some original quotes from19th century landscape painters. She also opened her art library to us. Her husband, Steve Whalen, prepared a delightful al fresco dinner at sunset under the trees. I enjoyed the other students in the workshop and am still corresponding with some. Studying with Deborah is an opportunity not to be missed by those who are serious about their art.”

Mallory Agerton

“Deborah Paris’ workshop is a must for dedicated artists wishing to take their painting to the next level. Paris invites a mere handful of artists to study in her studio and teaches with intellect, purpose, humor, and lots of personal attention and demos. The week was filled with plenty of painting time, discussions in art history, painting techniques, marketing, framing, and lively social gatherings. It stretched into heart and soul of painting. I drove the thousand miles home with renewed excitement and knowledge, increased awareness of the qualities of great painting, and a satisfaction of time well-spent. ”

Sara Lubinski, Minnesota

“This 6-day artistic experience was fast paced (as are all of Deborah’s courses) and challenging. The curriculum for the course is full, structured with flexibility for what the group would like in some of the free-time sessions.

Deborah expects her students to continue, and continue, and continue, working hard and harder than one thought their comfort zone would allow. This is no “tea and crumpets” course. It is truly a working course. Daily course routine included demos, individual painting time and individual instruction, reading and drawing time. Deborah encouraged our further study into works of American Masters of Tonalism and Luminism. One key thing I have found in Deborah’s courses is her desire to open an excited awareness in each of us to understand the painted landscape through new avenues of knowledge of art history and theory. Her studio is a very comfortable working studio, with a pleasant reading area and an incredibly vast library for our reading and learning pleasure.
The subtitle of this course was “mini-mentorship” and that was one of the things which attracted me to the course and I was not disappointed. Patience, encouragement, and humor were the characteristics of her conversations with each of us.

Those who have taken Deborah’s other courses know full well that you won’t get out alive if you don’t draw, draw and draw! Daily outdoor observation and drawing were a must. She even scheduled her course for a full moon so we could appreciate moonlight nocturne skies. The class, though structured, was also very free, and often a student here and there would quietly leave the studio and sit outside under a tree and draw, or observe, or go over to the library side of the studio and study works of great masters.

It was definitely not all work, as the lunch and dinner breaks were marvelous. Home cooked country food was provided by her “team”. Each meal was absolutely delicious! Late afternoon and evening fireside chats were invaluable. Deborah pragmatically presented the business side of art in all aspects, including framing, shipping, tracking, gallery representation, shows, etc. At the end of the 6th day none of us wanted to leave. The environment of having the course at her home and studio in rural Northeast Texas limited all distractions but landscape painting. The sky colors and sunsets from the property are spectacular. Deborah and her husband Steve, opened their hearts, home and studio to us, and made us feel like a part of their family.”
Judy Fuller, Lafayette, Louisiana.

“Painting Water” is the newest offering in Deborah Paris’ lineup of remarkable online classes. If you have ever wished you could paint better reflections, or wondered about the “natural laws” behind them, this class is for you. Within a few short weeks, a painter can learn the physics,geometry, and art of light on water through Deborah’s excellent discussions, and through a wonderful text published in 1903 – “Light and Water, a Study of Reflexion and Colour in River, Lake and Sea” by Sir Montague Pollock. The colorful text is supplemented with beautiful photographs of all kinds of water and reflections, and plenty of diagrams. No modern day publication like this exists. Deborah’s discussions are supplemented with historical and current paintings to illustrate the principles. Assignments include value studies of calm and moving water, composing with water, and painting techniques to create convincing reflections. All posts are critiqued with plenty of time for discussions. The class is set in blog style, and everyone has opportunities to post their assignments, comment and discuss each others’ works, ask questions, and develop friendships with artists from all parts of the US and Europe. Best of all is the knowledge gained through understanding the science. It might be compared to studying the human skeleton for life drawing – knowing what lies beyond the surface makes all the difference.

Sara Lubinski
Brownsville, MN

“Deborah’s online classes have allowed me to study with an artist I greatly admire on an extended basis while continuing my daily responsibilities at work and home. Deborah is generous with her knowledge and brings to her classes an informative and inspiring mix of technique, historical context, critique, and encouragement. I’ve taken several online classes with Deborah and have benefited greatly from the spirit of mentorship that has evolved as she’s been able to guide and contribute to my progress over time. She successfully encourages a sense of camaraderie and common purpose within each class so students enjoy the support and enthusiasm of interaction with peers while being able to work at their own pace in their studios.”

Brian McGurgan
Astoria, NY

I had been a full time landscape painter for eight years when an announcement from the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico landed in my “in” box announcing a Deborah Paris workshop in Taos in the fall. Seeing her work on her website made the decision for me right then and there, such amazing sensitivity and beautiful color harmonies in her own work.I decided to try an on-line class first, as a warm up , Drawing and Painting Trees. It was such a joy and great beginning. I feel that I have connected with many kindred spirits but especially Deborah whose vast knowledge of technique and materials not to mention her love of art history come pouring out to her students. She is a patient teacher who is always, always so giving with her knowledge and experience gently guiding her students.

It is a rare opportunity to study with a painter who is so successful and who can clearly and concisely convey to her students some of the complex ideas involved with indirect painting and the spirituality of landscape painting. Deborah’s book is also an excellent guide for artist sharing her experience in creating a very successful painting career.

Jamie Kirkland
Santa Fe, NM

“I knew I wanted to learn indirect painting (underpainting, glazing and scumbling) but had no idea what to expect from an online course when I signed up for Deborah’s Luminous Landscape Class. It was amazing. You work hard in her classes. In 4 weeks I not only gained new skills but she also focused us on the elements that make up a good painting: composition, value and temperature. Since then I went to Texas for her on-site workshop and took a very helpful online class on business practices. Deborah has a breadth of knowledge in art history and composition and is very good at truly seeing my work and giving me useful, productive feedback that moves my work forward.”

Lisa McShane
Bellingham. WA