James Middleton Plein Air Workshops.
Hello fellow painters,
The weather is getting better by the day, so it’s time to get outside and paint. This year I will be teaching two plein air workshops, one on August 14 – 18
and another on September 4 – 8.
Getting better at painting can be a long and sometimes frustrating journey. I know this first hand. I struggle like everyone else.
This is a bit long, but bear with me.
With the intention of producing better results, I have changed a few things in my workshops. Even though I still feel that we should have fun at a painting workshop, I don’t think that having fun is enough. Workshops are a time for learning and we all need to stretch. I need to stretch, too. I have won a few awards last year, but that really doesn’t help me in my growth as an artist – learning does.
After many workshops, I’ve noticed that students generally have common concerns and usually need help in the same areas. As a result, I have developed exercises that address specific areas of difficulty or concern. It’s not just about fancy “techniques” of how to apply paint, how to use a painting knife or how to mix a specific colour – these things are good to know and are always covered. But these are not the key areas to becoming a better painter. We are all individuals and have our unique way of painting. What’s really important is about understanding what we see, how to translate what we see and what to do with that information.
I have decided to be more practical with my workshops. I have developed exercises that will help us better understand the different aspects of painting and seeing, by isolating these areas. For one particular exercise, I have had some students say “I don’t want to try that – that’s work”, only to later say “that was the best part of your workshop”. Some results take time to percolate.
I will try my best to teach you how to see, to show you what to look for in a landscape (or still life or portrait) and how to understand what you see – drawing as it applies to painting, the importance of values (more important than colour), angles, negative shapes (all shapes are really positive), edges, colour temperatures, textures and a heck of a lot more.
Learning is fun, but also it’s work. If you are interested in my approach, join me this year and let’s have fun (and work) painting on the beautiful south coast of Nova Scotia.
Last year we painted at the Lunenburg Golf Course (spectacular views of the Town of Lunenburg), the Petite Riviere Vineyards, the LaHave Yacht Club, Blue Rocks fishing village, Green Bay, West Dublin Government Wharf and from the front yard of my studio, overlooking the popular LaHave Bakery and the sail boats passing by – life is rough.
Join me this year on a painting adventure.