“All my positive ratings don’t come near to doing this instructor justice. Mitch is a great communicator, a conscientous instructor and a thoughtful critiquer. He is also generous and shares his knowledge graciously. He’s worth his weight in gold.” — Joyce Prigot
The Wisdom of Notan and the Dark-light Composition – 2-day workshop, June 8– 9 in Seattle.
Landscape Power Critique – One-afternoon event, Wednesday evening June 19 or Saturday June 22
Plein Air Painting on Orcas Island – 3-day immersion July 16, 17, 18
Essentials of Plein Air Painting in Skagit Valley - 5 day workshop August 12–16
Keys to Landscape - A Guided Approach - 3-day workshop October 19–21
INDIVIDUAL CRITIQUES AND PRIVATE INSTRUCTION
Enjoy the benefits of individual critiques or studio sessions, targeted to help further your vision or work on specific concerns. Do you have a particular painting issue that your are struggling with? Do you need a reliable assessment of your process or technique? Are you wishing to find direction in your work or in a series? Are you working in a vacuum and looking for encouragement and support? Do you need an objective eye to help develop your portfolio?
$75 per hour ($5 addtional if I travel to your Seattle studio.)
Please email Mitch Albala to find out more or to set up an appointment.
“Your painting class was the best painting class I have ever taken. Your method is a very common sense approach that debunks a lot of myths that people have about the process of moving from observation and inspiration to informed image. Your enthusiasm for teaching is right out there in a very powerful way and gives the student no choice but to be inspired.” — Matthew Kiffin, 2009
THE WISDOM OF NOTAN AND THE DARK-LIGHT COMPOSITION
Gage Academy of Fine Art
Saturday/Sunday June 8–9 in Seattle, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm daily
For more information about class content and classwork examples, email Mitch Albala. For fees and registration information, contact .
Every composition is fundamentally an arrangement of abstract shapes — and nothing defines those shapes more effectively than the balance between darks and lights. “Notan” is a Japanese word that means “dark-light-harmony” and is a type of study study that uses only two values. In the Western tradition, this is called the “dark-light composition.” This strict dark-light arrangement has a unique way of revealing the underlying structure of a composition, thereby allowing us to take an active role in the manipulation of the compositional energies. Working first from masterworks, then photographs, and finally from life (still lives) in both painting, drawing and collage exercises, you will learn to identify the dark-light composition and, most importantly, to “think in notan” — to make better choices in the formative stages of your work in order to bring greater order and power to your compositions. Note: This is not a class that teaches Asian-style painting; rather, it explores a universal principle that is applicable to all types of painting and drawing. ›› Expanded description and images about the notan.
Landscape painter, author, and teaching artist Mitchell Albala hosts a lively critique of landscape paintings. This is a great way to prepare for the summer painting season, as we review many of the core practices at the heart of both plein air and studio work. Mitchell’s “Power Critiques” go beyond individual feedback: the work brought in by attendees is used as a launching point for an exploration of many topics, including color, composition, simplification and massing, working with photos, and various ways of doing studies. Mitchell’s critiques include many examples, live diagramming of compositions, and other visual aids. Bring your work and your questions about all things landscape!
LANDSCAPE PAINTING ON ORCAS ISLAND
A 3-day plein air immersion with author and teaching artist Mitchell Albala
July 16, 17, and 18, 2013 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)
Complete details and registration information …
This summer, author and teaching artist Mitchell Albala brings the plein air experience to Orcas Island. This workshop will focus on the three key practices of landscape painting: simplification and massing, composition, and color. His demonstrations and practical teaching style will help you develop strategies for dealing with these challenges in a way you will be able to use long after the workshop has ended. Learn the best method for starting a painting (the abbreviated underpainting to establish effective design and value structure); how to do proper compositional studies; how to evaluate potential sites; and strategies for depicting light. Be part of a close knit “art colony” as you benefit from daily demonstrations and close one-on-one support from your instructor.
Hours: The class meets for two sessions daily, a morning session from 8:00 to 11:00 am, and an afternoon session from 3:30 – 6:30 pm (for optimal lighting). The time in between sessions may be used for lunch, relaxation or touring the Island.
Level: This is not a class for first-time painters; however, it is ideally suited for those who have painted and drawn before, and now want to break into landscape painting, or hone their existing landscape painting skills.
Medium: The instructor works in oil, but acrylic painters and pastel artists are welcome! You can work in acrylics as long as you have facility with them — able to blend, control edges, and work wet into wet or wet over dry. The method for starting a painting is a little different for pastel artists and acylic painters (and a small portion of the demos speak directly to oil technique); however, the majority the lessons are applicable to landscape painting in all media. (Watercolor is too media-specific to be appropriate for this class.)
ESSENTIALS OF PLEIN AIR PAINTING in SKAGIT VALLEY
Gage Academy of Art. August 12–16, 2013. For more information about class content, email Mitch Albala. For fees and registration information, contact Gage Academy.
Located on Fir Island in the heart of Skagit Valley, this summer plein-air retreat provides a vast agricultural panorama dotted with farmhouses and barns. Students paint at a lush residence and garden, which serves as our home base for the week. We’ll also visit Skagit City Park in the morning, as the sun rises over the eastern hills; and Little Mountain, just a five minute drive from the valley, offering distant vistas and an opportunity to study atmospheric perspective.
This workshop offers practical solutions to the special challenges of landscape painting, including simplification through massing, composing the landscape space, strategies for depicting light, color mixing, paint handling, and managing your “outdoor studio.” Participants learn best strategies for starting a painting — site selection and beginning with an abbreviated underpainting to establish an effective design and value structure.
The class forms a close knit “art colony” as you benefit from daily demonstrations and lectures, a combination of exercises, free painting, and quick studies (in both early morning and afternoon sessions), several personal critiques per session, lunch time chats, and group critiques. Lunches included. Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
PREVIEW examples of student work, class photos and demonstration exercises at my website.
“You got me to really start thinking about what I’m doing and why, and not to just charge into it, as I would usually do. You’ve helped me to break some bad habits and cultivate some new good ones. All of the preliminary sketches and value studies help eliminate countless hours in trying to “fix” things later. So thank you, I feel like I got more than what I signed up for and will use it to continue forward.” – Kelly Patterson, 2011
KEYS TO LANDSCAPE – A GUIDED APPROACH
Pacific Northwest Art School. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Oct. 19-21, daily 9 am– 4 pm. For more information about class content, email Mitch Albala. For fees and registration information, contact Gage Academy.
This unique class uses a studio-based approach to lay the groundwork for the most essential skills required by the landscape painter — simplification, site selection, and color. By learning these challenging concepts through guided exercises, in the relaxed and more controlled environment of the studio, you will be better prepared to problem solve when working outdoors. Working from your own photos and those provided by the instructor, the class will focus on three main skills:
Simplification and massing. Through several limited value exercises, you will learn how to you translate disorganized and overly-detailed scenes into more coherent, readable compositions.
Site selection and composition. What types of scenes translate best and what types should be avoided? What are the visual cues necessary to create a an illusion of depth? And how can a “limited focus” move you toward stronger and more simplified compositions? Plus, learn the correct way to use reference photos.
Light and color will be examined as it specifically relates to landscape painting — not as a color matching exercise, but as a unique synthesis of nature’s color and your own color strategies.
Enjoy in-class critiques and lots of personalized guidance from the instructor. This workshop is not appropriate for first time drawers or painters, but is ideal for those who have painted before and now want a strong foundation in landscape painting. Suitable for for oil, acrylic or pastel painters. A great primer for summer plein air painting. Level: Intermediate to advanced.