Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Openings in Upcoming Minnesota Pastel Workshop

Three O'clock Shadow Dance
(painted from a location in Princeton, MN)

Due to some cancellations, a couple of spots have just opened up in my upcoming 3-day pastel workshop in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area.

Cost: $350
Dates: July 31, Aug. 1 & 2, 2015
Contact: MaryAnn Cleary at or 763-552-8650, or Cynthia Kath at or 651-297-8558

You can also contact me at for general questions about the workshop.

Many of my paintings have come from Minnesota over the years. My demos will include some of my favorite Minnesota landscape scenes!

Marsh Reflections
(painted from a location in Princeton, MN)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Preparation Goes A Long Way

Revisiting Wyanett Creek, pastel, 12x16

I just recently returned from the IAPS convention in Albuquerque, NM. This is an amazing and inspiring week of events specifically relating to the pastel medium and is held every other year. IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies) is an "umbrella" organization that comprises pastel societies worldwide, so attendees come from around the globe. For any serious pastel artist who desires a huge dose of inspiration, this convention is a must!

At this year's convention, I had the incredible honor of serving as an instructor and demonstrator. The timing of my move to Oregon made it a bit tricky to prepare for this, but it all seemed to work out pretty well, despite the logistical challenges of having all my materials where I needed them at the same time the entire contents of my home and studio were being moved across the county. Oddly, I think this was the first time I didn't forget anything!

Unless you have superpowers, any artist (instructor or student) has experienced that awful feeling when realizing you've forgotten some crucial item needed for a workshop. Because I tend to be a wee bit on the scattered side, I've learned to keep lists and schedules, which helped me tremendously during my move.

Since I often see students go through the pain of forgetfulness after they've arrived at day one of a workshop, I thought I'd share some suggestions on preparing to take a workshop, and getting the most out of your time/money investment:

 - Two or three weeks prior to the workshop: Read carefully through the supply list and order/purchase the supplies you don't already have. Even if you can usually pick up many of the supplies at a local art supply store, allow for extra time to order items if they're out of stock at the store. If you want to learn a particular instructor's methods, as much as your budget will allow, you'll want to use the same materials as that instructor uses. If your budget is very tight, and you're able to contact the instructor for questions, ask the instructor which supplies are most important and which ones can be substituted.

- A week or two prior to the workshop: If reference photos are required, read through the workshop description and take your time selecting photos that will be most in line with what subject matter that the instructor typically paints. If your current supply of photos may not be sufficient, and you live near subject matter that would be relevant, you may want to build in some time to go shoot some appropriate photos.

- A week prior to the workshop: If you need to mount/trim/prepare panels or do any other preliminary preparation to your materials, it's best to not have to rush through that the night before.

- A day or two prior to the workshop: Read through the workshop description and supply list one more time to be sure you have everything. Pack it all up as compactly as you can, since space is usually tight in a workshop.

- The night before: Look up the instructor's work and any information on the instructor's methods. This will get you acclimated to what may be covered and also help you come up with some good questions to ask during the workshop, and will make your time spent there much more productive.

Even as someone who makes a living teaching workshops, I still recommend taking fewer workshops, but building in plenty of prep time before a workshop, and LOTS of practice time immediately after a workshop in order to digest and absorb what was learned so that your investment in the workshop is well spent.

Had I not let the scatter-brained side of me take over during my moving turmoil, things could've gone bad real fast for me during my teaching/demo days at the IAPS convention.

"Revisiting Wyanett Creek" (above) was my 3-hour Color Harmony in the Landscape demonstration, and "Delicate Illumination" (below) was my Poetry in the Trees workshop demo. (Both are unfortunately low quality photos shot from my phone.)

Delicate Illumination, pastel, 14x11

Both groups were filled with wonderful, passionate artists, many of whom were very high-level painters, which made the experience exciting, and a little scary.

From my Color Harmony in the Landscape demo*:

*A big thank you to my wonderful friend, Nancy Nowak, for taking these photos, and for letting me stay at her house and use her studio for some much needed practice time just before heading to Albuquerque!

In the meantime, my family and I are in the process of buying a house here in Bend, OR. At the moment we feel like we're on a perpetual vacation with lots of work involved. By the time we get into our new house, we will have stayed in four different temporary places here in the Bend area, with all of our stuff in storage, and living out of suitcases, bags and boxes. But it's still a fun adventure. Yesterday we hiked to the top of Pilot Butte, which is located roughly in the center of Bend and overlooks every direction as far as the eye can see. 

View from atop Pilot Butte in Bend, OR.

Upcoming Workshops:

Oregon City, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Aug. 28, 29 & 30, 2015
Contact Carrie Moore at 
(More details will soon be posted on my website)

Minneapolis, MN - 3-day PASTEL workshop - A COUPLE OF SPOTS JUST OPENED UP!
July 31, Aug. 1 & 2, 2015 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
Lake Country Pastel Society
Contact MaryAnn Cleary, 763-552-8650, or Cynthia Kath, 651-297-8558,

San Antonio, TX - 3-day PASTEL workshop
Oct. 17, 18 & 19, 2015 (Sat/Sun/Mon)
The Coppini Academy of Fine Arts
115 Melrose Place
San Antonio, TX 78212
$400/member; $450/nonmember

Wethersfield, CT (Hartford area) - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Nov. 12, 13 & 14, 2015 (Thurs/Fri/Sat)
Wethersfield Academy for the Arts
431 Hartford Avenue
Wethersfield, CT 06109
$390/member; $420 nonmember

Shown here are upcoming workshops that still have openings. See my website at for full 2015 & 2016 schedule.