How to Get the Most Out of a Painting Workshop

4 Sep 2012

I don't get to attend as many oil painting art workshops as I would like, so when the opportunity to participate in one does present itself, I really want to get the most out of my time there. Here are a few of my own "warm-up to workshop" guidelines that I use in preparation for any oil painting lessons that I take so that when I'm in the thick of the it, I'm still focused, purposeful, and gaining ground in my art.

Be the teacher's pet. Okay, this might just be me but I always have questions for my instructors. Whether it is wanting more advice on what oil painting supplies to use, what we are going to cover in terms of oil painting techniques that I'm not familiar with, or what great oil painting gallery the instructor is a fan of that I should look at too--I always have tons of questions. A great way to appease my curiosity is to seek out the instructor before the workshop and ask all the questions I have buzzing in my head, and I encourage you to do the same. They'll appreciate your interest and you'll have a better sense of what to expect!

I would love to take an oil painting workshop with Dan McCaw. He has such a strong compositional sense that he stresses with light and dark forms. Morning Light, oil painting, 24 x 36.
I would love to take an oil painting workshop with Dan McCaw. He has such a
strong compositional sense that he stresses with light and dark forms.
Morning Light, oil painting, 24 x 36.

Put blinders on. I'm a social butterfly, so usually when I get in a group with a bunch of oil painting artists, I want to flit around and chat about their work and see how they actually put oil on canvas. But doing all this distracts from what I'm learning and doing, so in workshops I try to steer clear of the socializing and only chat during breaks. That way I'm not left with a sense that I didn't give myself the time to properly develop my own work.

Seated Figure by Dan McCaw, oil painting, 12 x 9.
Seated Figure
by Dan McCaw, oil painting, 12 x 9.
Demo equals memo. If my instructor does an oil painting demo, you'll always find me as close to him or her as I can be, but off to the side so that I'm not in anyone else's way. I don't take my eyes off the instructor. This isn't because I want to imitate and copy their process down to the last stroke, but the times that I actually get to learn oil painting by watching a painting actually being created right in front of me aren't too frequent. So keep your eyes glued to the instructor, take notes if that is your thing, but definitely immerse yourself in their process and try to figure out how to apply their painting techniques to how you want to work.

Now we are ready to take on any and all art workshops, and it just so happens that our Workshop CD Collection features more than seven years worth of workshop tutorials, step-by-step oil painting lessons, and technique guidelines from some of the country's best art instructors. That's right, seven years! So learn confidently and smartly with Workshop CD Collection because you have the know-how to make the most of any painting session--and there are plenty here to keep you busy.  Enjoy!


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Comments

miragein ca wrote
on 6 Sep 2012 5:20 AM

If you are looking for an affordable, small workshop in a scenic location, please consider one of Michael Chesley Johnson's workshops.  He is a dedicated plein air instructor and also writes about plein air painting in his blog and for various magazines.  He teaches in Canada and the United States and also offers retreats.  His schedule is found  on his web site, plus he will do customized workshops for groups of 4 or more:  www.michaelchesleyjohnson.com.  He is currently at the Grand Canyon painting for "Plein Air on the Rim" which is raising money for a art venue at the Grand Canyon.

on 8 Sep 2012 6:30 AM

I'm not sure I understand is "Workshop" magazine for the students or the teacher?