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2017 Workshops

June 3   Deerfield Valley Art Association, Northfield, Mass., one day demo and workshop; click here for info.
     In this one-day workshop, we will be painting in the studio using photographs, sketches, and/or plein air studies.
     This workshop is now FULL~waiting list only.

June 9–11   Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; www.pafa.org
      TWO PLACES AVAILABLE.
     This three-day workshop will focus on the process of using photographs, sketches, and/or plein air studies executed on location to create dynamic paintings in the studio. We will explore the uses and limitations of photographs as reference material and methods of enlarging studies and sketches for larger studio paintings.
     This class will take participants through the entire process of creating a strong landscape painting: from building an effective composition to working with value and color and, finally, to finishing with sensitively chosen details.  An emphasis will be placed on proper seeing–looking closely at the existing color and tonal relationships–and on understanding and manipulating what is seen. We will be working with the basic elements of painting, seeing them anew and in ways that can improve the craft of your painting. Each day will begin with a brief lecture and demo. The remainder of the day will be spent painting with one-on-one instruction. (Please note that although the title of the class is "The Plein Air Landscape with John MacDonald," plein air painting will only be a small, and optional, part of the workshop.)
     When filling in the form to register for the class on the PAGA website, under CE PROGRAM, choose "Master Classes," and then choose the workshop under "CLASS."

July 13–14   Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, Mass.; berkshirebotanical.org
     In this two-day workshop, we will be painting plein air on the beautiful grounds of the Berkshire Botanical Garden, with views of woods, gardens, and buildings.

Aug. 7–9   Wethersfield Academy, Wethersfield, Connecticut;  www.wethersfieldarts.org    
     This workshop is now FULL~waiting list only.   
     This three-day workshop will focus on the process of using photographs, sketches, and/or plein air studies executed on location to create dynamic paintings in the studio. (Please see the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts workshop above for the full workshop description.)

Oct. 8–14   Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, Greenville, NY; www.artworkshops.com 
        This five-day workshop will focus on the process of using photographs, sketches, and/or plein air studies executed on location to create dynamic paintings in the studio. (Please see the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts workshop above for the full workshop description.)

Oct. 25–27   The Landgrove Inn, Landgrove, Vermont; www.landgroveinn.com
        This three-day workshop will focus on the process of using photographs, sketches, and/or plein air studies executed on location to create dynamic paintings in the studio. (Please see the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts workshop above for the full workshop description.)

2018 ~ sabbatical

     I'm taking off the entire year of 2018 to concentrate on my painting, o review and update all of my teaching materials, and to take a few workshop as a student. It will be a year of exploration and energizing!

2019 Workshops

Sept. 22 to 28   Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, Greenville, NY; www.artworkshops.com 
        Studio painting from photos, sketches, and studies

TBA   Wethersfield Academy, Wethersfield, Connecticut;  www.wethersfieldarts.org 
     Date to be determined in early 2018.

Oct. 11– 17MassMOCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), North Adams, Massachusetts.   
        A one-week workshop, this will be a Master Class for experienced painters (participation in a one of my workshops will be required) and limited to 8 participants. The schedule is yet to be determined but it may involved some plein air painting. Large, enclosed, individual studios will be provided with a common area for lectures and demos.
     Lodging and food: Housing will consist of two apartments with four participants each on the grounds of the museum. All rooms are private with a shared kitchen and bath. A Friday group dinner and all lunches will be provided. (Several restaurants are within walking distance.) Please contact me if interest. More details will be available in late 2017.

Teaching Philosophy

     My teaching philosophy is simple: it's all about you. I'm not interested in teaching you to paint like me. My sole concern is helping you to discover what it means to paint like you, to help you become a more skilled artist as you develop your authentic voice. I teach the craft and the art of painting; the craft based on my 30-plus years as a painter and illustrator and the art from my experience as a creativity coach.

The craft entails the nuts and bolts of the visual language: value, composition, drawing, color, edges, details, variation, pattern, etc., seeing the basic structure of a landscape while learning to thoughtfully and skillfully choose which elements to include in one’s painting and which ones to leave out.  I emphasize proper seeing—looking closely at the existing color and tonal relationships—and then understanding and manipulating what is seen.

The art is about discovering your authentic voice and developing self-awareness as an artist. We learn to paint by painting. If we wish to increase our skill level there is no substitute for putting in long hours in the studio. But fear, perfectionism, the need for approval, the aversion to risk-taking—all of these can inhibit our willingness to paint. The ability to deal skillfully with these issues is as important as the ability to know how to mix the right color.

To attend one of my workshop, contact me directly or the venues listed above. See you soon!