Great Teachers Make Great Artists

Joseph McGurl teaching a class at
Weekend With the Masters.

I’ve never talked to as many excited artists as I did during American Artist’s Weekend With the Masters, an event that took place from September 9 through 13 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. What got everyone excited? The chance to meet and learn from some of the top artists in the country, including Richard Schmid, Mary Whyte, Joseph McGurl, David A. Leffel, Susan Lyon, and many others.

Not all of us are ready to take a workshop with people at the top of the profession, but once we have learned the basics of drawing and painting and we are ready for a serious challenge, we want to watch, read about, and listen to experts.

Weekend With the Masters will be presented again in 2010, and if you have signed up to be part of our artist community you will be among the first to receive a notice about registration. In the meantime, there is another way for you to study with McGurl, Whyte, Johnnie Liliedahl, Jeffrey R. Watts, and 10 other great teachers. You just need to purchase a copy of the newest American Artist Highlights magazine at This special issue contains 12 step-by-step demonstrations; complete instruction in painting figures, still lifes, and landscapes; and finished artwork by each of 14 master teachers.

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M. Stephen Doherty

About M. Stephen Doherty

I've been interested in art since I was a child,  and I was fortunate to be able to take Saturday art classes at the Cincinnati Art Museum from the time I was 9 years old until I finished high school. I majored in art at Knox College and graduated summa *** laude, Phi Beta Kappa (proving artists can use both sides of their brain!).  I then earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from Cornell University; taught art in public schools, a community college, an adult education program, and a college; worked in the marketing department of a company that manufactured screen printing supplies; and was hired to be editor of American Artist in January, 1979.

Thomas S. Buecher introduced me to plein air painting and it immediately became a passion of mine because it got me outdoors and allowed me to continue learning when I traveled to judge art shows, attend conventions, give lectures, and interview artists. Over the years I've exhibited my paintings at Bryant Galleries in New Orleans, Trees Place Gallery on Cape Cod, and in a traveling exhibition titled From Sea to Shining Sea.

I've written 10 books on artists and art techniques and contibuted articles to magazines, websites, and exhibition catalogs. Now as I prepare for semi-retirement, I'm trying to hone my painting skills -- especially those related to painting portraits.

I've been very fortunate to have met thousands of talented artists who have enriched my life with their art, their friendship, and their advice. I am grateful to Jerry Hobbs and Susan Meyer who hired me in 1979, to the talented people who worked with me on the magazines, and to the artists and advertisers who supported American Artist, Watercolor, Workshop, and Drawing  magazines and the related websites.

I've also been blessed with a supportive, talented wife, Sara; a daughter, Clare, who works for an insurance agency; a son, Michael, who is a computer enginner in Austin; a son-in-law, Shawn, who can fix and carry anything; a granddaughter, Amanda, who has me wrapped around her finger; and my mother, Dotty, who has advised and encouraged me from the beginning.