Painting Workshops, Classes with Mitchell Albala

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2016 Classes and Workshops

Plein Air Painting on the Hood Canal at Alderbrook

3-day workshop with Gage Academy, Tue, Wed, Thu – July 19, 20, 21, 2016

Plein Air Painting on Orcas Island

3-day workshop, Aug 9, 10, 11 with Orcas Art Studios – SOLD OUT

Understanding Simplification and Massing for Landscape Painters

Saturday–Sunday, Oct 1–2, 2016 at Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Is.

The Art and Culture of Cuba

Nov 1–6, 2016 with Mitchell Albala and Gage Academy of Art

2017 Classes and Workshops

Beyond Mud – Techniques of Working Wet-into-Wet with Oil

Saturday, January 21, 2017 at Winslow Art Center, Bainbridge Island.

Exploring Composition through Shape and Notan

Dates to be announced with Pacific Northwest Art School

Building Landscape Harmony with Color Strategies, Limited Palettes and Color Groups

Date to be announced at Winslow Art Center on Bainbridge Island. 2-day workshop.

I learned so much in your class and loved your teaching approach. You have a great way of letting each individual know what to work on next and where they need to improve, while keeping the class as a whole moving along. I so appreciated your organization, multitude of examples, great analogies, sense of humor, your deep knowledge, and obvious love of painting. – Miriam Works, Color Strategies for Landscape Painters, 2015

Plein air demonstration at Coffelt Farm, August 2015, on Orcas Island.

Plein air demonstration at Coffelt Farm on Orcas Island, August 2015.

Plein Air Painting on the Hood Canal at Alderbrook

3-day workshop with Gage Academy of Art – Early registration begins Friday March 25
Tuesday–Thursday, July 19, 20, 21, 2016 | $385
For more information about class content, email Mitch Albala. For fees and registration information, contact Gage Academy.

moccasin-lake-mitchell-albalaLocation an environs: One the Northwest’s most beautiful getaways, Alderbrook Resort & Spa is Located just two hours from Seattle. The resort is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Olympic Mountains and sits on the shores of the Hood Canal, a glacier-carved fjord home to eagles, osprey, salmon and seals. The beautiful natural setting provides unparalleled vistas and a gorgeous home base from which to enjoy your plein air sessions with instructor Mitchell Albala.

Accommodations: Workshop participants can take advantage of an exceptional preferred rate at the resort’s wonderful restaurants and many amenities like premium linens, comfy duvets, and soaking tubs. Book early — guest rooms and cottages are on a space-available basis. Workshop participants  interested in accommodations at Alderbrook can arrange the special rate by calling (360) 898-2145 and indicating that you’re with the “Albala Plein Air Workshop.”

Workshop description: This workshop will focus on practical solutions to the greatest challenges faced by the plein air painter: simplification and massing, composition, and color. In his lively, practical teaching style Mitchell will also cover how to evaluate potential sites and do proper compositional studies, the best way to begin your painting, and paint handling. 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 grounds.
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 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. A small portion of the demonstrations speak directly to oil technique; however, the majority the lessons are applicable to landscape painting in all media (except watercolor which is is too media-specific and not appropriate for this class).


Plein Air Painting on Orcas Island

3-day workshop at Orcas Island Art Studios – SOLD OUT – ask to be put on wait list
Tuesday–Thursday, Aug 9, 10, 11, 2016 | $355 | Supply List
For more information about class content, email Mitch Albala. For fees, registration, and information about accommodations and travel, contact Orcas Island Art Studios.

coffelt-farm-orcas-island-mitchell-albalaOnce again, author and teaching artist Mitchell Albala again brings the plein air experience to beautiful Orcas Island. This workshop will focus on the three most essential 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 paint handling. 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. A small portion of the demonstrations speak directly to oil technique; however, the majority the lessons are applicable to landscape painting in all media (except watercolor which is is too media-specific and not appropriate for this class).


Understanding Simplification and Massing for Landscape Painters

2-day workshop at Pacific Northwest Art School, Whidbey Island, Wash.
Saturday–Sunday, Oct 1–2, 2016 | $285
For more information about class content, email Mitch Albala. For fees and registration information, contact PNWAS.

discovery-sunsetIt’s easy to paint a thousand points of light with a thousand brushstrokes. It’s much more difficult — and infinitely more eloquent — to paint a thousand points of light with only one hundred strokes.”
from Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice

The ability to to simplify — to covert nature’s complexity into fewer and more readable shapes and patterns — is the most important skill for the landscape painter. Painting or drawing a shape is not difficult, but seeing a shape through layers of surface detail and complexity requires a practiced shift in perception — an ability to see the forest and the trees. In this workshop, working from your own photos and those supplied by the instructor, you will do several guided painting and drawing exercises that are designed to encourage your eye and hand toward the broad, simplified shapes thats are the backbone of any landscape composition. This workshop will cover:

  • the first act of simplification — composing with a “limited focus”
  • the four value divisions of landscape
  • the importance of “value zones” for managing detail within a simplified framework
  • how to do thumbnail studies that are truly simplified and explore composition options

Time will also be set aside for a review your own works (optional) as they relate to the workshop topic. You may work with your own photographs or work with those provided by the instructor. Detailed tips for selecting your own reference photos will be provided before the workshop.

Level: This is not a class for first-time painters; however, it is ideally suited for those are interested in landscape and want to learn more about the essential practice of simplification.


The Art and Culture of Cuba
with Mitch Albala and Gage Academy of Art

Nov. 1–6, 2016 through Gage Academy of Art
$4,350 double occupancy/per person | $5,650 single occupancy
Registration Form (PDF) | Itinerary (PDF)
Tour information at Gage Academy

havana-1Travel with Gage instructor Mitchell Albala to this once forbidden island, and experience the rich diversity and stunning artistry of a land steeped in history and conflict. In addition to the luncheons and dinners at Havanna’s finest restaurants, the tour includes many artistic and cultural events:

  • Private musical performance and lecture on Cuban music by Prof. Alberto Faya
  •  Walking tour of Havana Vieja, with a visit to the Escuela de Taller restoration project
  • Taller de Grafica Experimental, a studio and school and that preserves the sophisticated art of printmaking
  • Several artists studio visits
  • Lecture by  Cristina Escobar Domínguez, Cuban TV broadcaster and journalist
  • Visit to Museum of Cuban Art
  • Visit to Callejon de Hamel, with Cuban scholar Elias Aseff, on the Afro-Cubam religion and culture. With ritual dance performance
  • Arts and crafts market
  • Private flamenco dance performance by Compañía Irene Rodríguez
  • Lecture: “Cuba in Transition: The Rule of Law as part of Cuban Reforms”
  • Visit to Instituto Superior de Arte, the premier Cuban school for music, visual arts and performing arts
  • Home visit: collector and art dealer Milagros Borges
  • Aabrica de Arte Cuba,  This former tramway power plant now the most current collaborative art project in Havana

Included

  • One (1) night accommodation in Crowne Plaza Hotel Miami (standard room, October 31st)
  • Five (5) night accommodation at 5 Star Parque Central Hotel Havana (standard room)
  • Daily breakfast in Cuba & Miami
  • Four (4) lunches and Five (5) dinners as described in itinerary (including tips)
  • Full time escort from Cuba Cultural Travel as well as local guides, in addition to Gage hosts
  • Air conditioned bus throughout the trip equipped with cold water at all times
  • Admission to all museums and public buildings listed in itinerary
  • Private music and dance performances
  • Cuban Insurance (health and evacuation)
  • Compliance with U.S. Treasury Department

Not Included

  • Airfare to/from Miami
  • Roundtrip Airfare – Miami/Havana/Miami
  • Airline baggage fees ($20 per bag, $2.00 per pound over 44 lbs)
  • Cuban Visa/Tourist Card & Cuban Airport Departure tax
  • Tips for drivers and local guide (recommended amount is 7CUC per person, per day for guide and 5CUC per person per day for driver)
  • Meals other than listed on itinerary
  • Individual hotel expenses (mini bar, room service, laundry fees, etc.)
  • Trip cancellation insurance
Havana-rooftops

2017

Beyond Mud – Techniques of Working Wet-into-Wet with Oil

1-day workshop at Winslow Art Center on Bainbridge Island, Wash.
January 21, 2017 | 9:30 am – 4:30 pm | $160

The-Way-Home-StudyEvery oil painter, at one time or another, has experienced the frustration of working in oil. We love its buttery consistency and blend-ability, but those are the same qualities that can lead to overworking and “mud.” Keeping yours colors fresh and clear is not something that happens by accident — it’s a practice that involves a series of technical maneuvers that you must learn to apply with every stroke. This workshop covers everything you need to start improving your wet-into-wet practice: the the law of  “thin > thicker > thickest” and layering order, paint consistency, transparency and opacity, touch, and the right kinds of brushes to use. The morning session is devoted to several practice exercises that introduce the techniques. Then, in the the afternoon session, you’ll do a painting of your own choosing, where you’ll practice the wet-into-wet technique under Mitchell’s guidance.


Exploring Composition through Shape and Notan

2-day workshop at Pacific Northwest Art School | Dates to be announced

notan-markerIf a composition has a soul, then the notan is the doorway to that soul. The gift of notan is the access it gives us to the underlying energies that drive a composition. Learning about notan teaches us to be better composers.

Every composition is fundamentally an arrangement of abstract shapes. To truly “compose” and take command of those shapes, we must first be able to identify them. The notan is a unique type of study that allows us to discover the underlying energies of a composition through the arrangement of dark and light patterns. “Notan” is a Japanese word that means “light-dark harmony.” The notan study uses an extremely limited set of tones — in its most strict form, black and white; and in its more liberal form, black white, and a mid-tone. This flat and and abstract design notation is uniquely suited for expressing a composition in its irreducible shape terms. Working first from masterworks, then photographs, in both painting, drawing collage, and abstract exercises, you’ll learn to “think in notan” and begin to see the underlying structure of your compositions. You’ll learn to make better choices in the formative stages of your work and bring greater order and power to your compositions. Level: Intermediate.

Building Landscape Harmony with Color Strategies, Limited Palettes, and Color Groups

2-day workshop at Winslow Art Center, Whidbey Island, Wash. | Dates to be announced.

Landscape is an endless source of color inspiration, yet successful landscape painting is only partially about referencing the colors we see in nature. More often than not, a successful depiction of landscape light is based on the implementation of a color strategy or “color plan.” Although we will reference photos in this workshop, we never copy photographic color; instead, we learn to build color harmony by becoming color strategists and inventors.

In a series of guided exercises, this workshop will cover:

  • how spectrum-based relationships like complementary, analogous, and triadic can serve as the foundation of a strategy
  • how limited palettes help direct a strategy and keep color mixtures more unified
  • how landscapes can have greater color unity with the use of “color groups” — two or three basic color families into which all the other colors may be grouped
  • the different ways we approach color en plein air and in the studio
  • the proper way to reference photographs, so as not to become “copyists”

You can work with your own photographs or work with those provided by the instructor. Detailed tips for selecting reference photos for the workshop will be provided before the workshop. Level: This is not a class for first-time painters; however, it is ideally suited for plein air or studio landscape painters who want to expand their color vocabulary.