Click workshop title to jump to full descriptions below.
Friday afternoons, Jan 20–March 17, 2017 at Gage Academy in Seattle
Saturday, January 21, 2017 at Winslow Art Center, Bainbridge Island
Saturday–Sunday, March 25–26, 2017 at Pacific Northwest Art School
Saturday–Sunday, May 6–7, 2017 at Winslow Art Center
Saturday–Sunday, May 27–28, 2017 at Daniel Smith Artist’s Materials
FREE DEMONSTRATION: Saturday May 13, 11 am – 1 pm at Daniel Smith Artist’s Materials
July 25, 26, 27, 2017 with Gage Academy of Art
September 15–22, 2017 through Winslow Art Center
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
Real World Composition
9-week class at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle
Friday afternoons, 1:30 – 4:30, Jan 20 – March 17 | $415 | Supplies
For questions about course content, please email Mitchell. Registration opens Nov. 14. Contact Gage Academy of Art.
Compositional energies are fundamentally abstract and often hidden beneath the surface of the painting. This class takes a “real world” approach to composition by showing you how to find those energies and work with them. Working from both photographs and life, with practical exercises, critiques, and analysis of master compositions, you will learn how value zones are used to identify the underlying shapes of a composition, the principle of variation and intervals, the effect of the “picture window” on composition, and how to activate negative space. Principles like balance, rhythm, and unity are explored, but only as they apply to “real world” representational problems. Homework required. Intermediate.
Beyond Mud: Techniques of Working Wet-into-Wet with Oil
Every 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 your 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 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 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 on Bainbridge island, Wash.
Saturday–Sunday March 25–26, 2017| $300
Registration: contact PNWAS.
If a composition has a soul, then the notan is the doorway to that soul. The notan gives us access to the underlying energies that drive a composition. Learning about notan teaches us to be better composers.
See examples, video, and more detailed information at the notan workshop page.
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 strictest form, black and white; and in its more liberal form, black, white, and a mid-tone. This flat and and ultra-simplified design 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, Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Saturday–Sunday May 6–7, 2017 | $295
Registration: contact Winslow Art Center.
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.
The Four Stages of Landscape Painting
2-day workshop Daniel Smith Artist’s Materials in Seattle, Wash.
Saturday–Sunday, May 27–28 | 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM | $235
Register by phone by calling the Daniel Smith store directly at (206) 223-9599, or email email@example.com
In this concise weekend intensive you will develop a single painting, as you are guided through the four stages of landscape painting, using the the approach taught by Mitchell in his book, Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice. Each of the stages respects the idea that a landscape painting — whether executed outdoors or in the studio — is built on an ordered, step-by-step approach that flows from the general to the specific, from planning to execution.
The Saturday morning session will introduce Stage 1, Site/Subject Selection and Stage 2, Composition. You’ll learn about differentiation of shapes and simplification; the requirements a subject must have in order to translate well into painting; how to compose using a limited focus; and compositional thumbnails. The Saturday afternoon session will cover Stage 3, Beginning a Painting, using the shape- and value-oriented block-in method. Then on Sunday, we move into Stage 4, Paint Handling and Color Application, which will include segments on color strategies, limited palettes, and (for oil painters) working wet into wet.
For oil and acrylic painters. This workshop is ideal for those who have not been exposed to Mitchell’s four-stage approach, or those who want to paint under his guidance for the weekend. Level: This workshop is not suitable for first-time painters, but is ideally suited for plein air or studio landscape painters who want to strengthen their foundational skills in landscape.
Plein Air Painting on the Hood Canal at Alderbrook
3-day workshop through Gage Academy of Art
Tue, Wed, Thu, July 25, 26, 27, 2017 | Cost: TBA late January | Registration: Begins May 8
Join Mitchell Albala and Gage Academy of Art for their second year at Alderbook Resort on the Hood Canal, one of the Northwest’s most beautiful getaways. Located just two hours from Seattle, Alderbrook is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Olympic Mountains and sits on the shores of the Hood Canal. Be part of a close knit “art colony” as you benefit from daily demonstrations and lectures, personal and group critiques, and lunch time chats. Participants may paint in oil or acrylic.
Level: This is not a workshop for first-time painters; however, it is ideally suited for those who want a solid foundation in the essentials of plein air painting, or those who want to hone their existing skills.
Schedule: Paint in both early morning (8 – 11) and afternoon (3:30 – 6:30) sessions.
Supplies: Recommended and lightweight supply list will be issued by instructor in the spring.
Accommodations: Workshop guests can take advantage of an exceptional preferred rate at the resort. (Book early. Guest rooms and cottages are on a space-available basis). Guests interested in accommodations at Alderbrook will be able to arrange the special rate. Details TBA.
The workshop focuses on practical solutions to the special challenges faced by landscape painters, including:
- Site Selection – What conditions do we look for in a subject? Which views are best?
- Composition – Learn about landscape composition. Begin with a limited focus and compositional thumbnails. What information should be left out, and what should be kept in?
- Simplification and Massing – Learn the essential skills of simplification and massing for translating the vastness and detail of the landscape into simplified compositions.
- Smart Starts – Learn how to begin a painting with a simplified and shape-oriented block-in.
- Color – Explore color as it specifically relates to landscape painting. Learn how a limited palette simplifies color mixing and helps achieve a unified light.
- Paint handling – Learn how to control oil paint without muddying the surface.
Plein Air Painting Adventure in Umbria, Italy with Mitchell Albala
September 15–22, 2017
Cost: $2,975 (non-painting guest in shared room with workshop participant: $2,200).
Complete details, inclusions, itinerary and photos at the Italy workshop page.