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Frequently Asked Workshop Questions..

Here are answers to some questions that been received that may not be answered in the workshop information packages. If something you need is not answered here please email Diane :)

General Questions:

First check specifics on materials, lodging, meals, locations, schedule & content, provided in each downloadable workshop Information/Registration Package.

"I'm assuming this is a daytime workshop..."
Workshops are from 3-12 full days. plus usually the first evening we are at our location. Although our daily scheduled workshop time ends at 5 pm we frequently paint into the evening and in the early morning when the light is most dramatic. Since we are the only group painting in most locations, you are free to paint at any time and for as long as you like. I usually stay on the property and am available to instruct, paint, or help with anything I can.

Accommodations Questions:

"Are lodging or meals not included? Are rooms & meals available at the site?"
Some workshops, offer all-inclusive room accommodation and meals, others do not provide for meals/lodging on site. We generally have coffee in the morning at most workshops. You can bring anything you wish to eat or snack on for the day. (I always take some snacks along with me, as well as lots of water.) If you need accommodations information please let me know and I will direct you according to the workshop you have an interest in.

Equipment & Materials Questions:

"I was considering the purchase of a French easel, but when I visited your web site I saw your set up in one of your articles (Plein Air Painting - In or Out). I liked it better than the French easel. The fold out wings seem to offer more work space, especially for acrylics. Would it be improper to ask exactly what you do use for an easel and perhaps where it may be acquired?"

There's no real secret to the paint box you saw me use in the "In or Out" demonstration, and perfectly appropriate to ask. It is actually a home-built kit which I fashioned out of inexpensive materials. I have a page showing how it was made here: http://www.ldianejohnson.com/paintkit.html

It was very easy to make and held up for 2 1/2 years so far. It's portability is great and I have since made two in different sizes. I still use other pack easels depending on how far I am traveling and the terrain. This particular box can be used in your lap or with the addition of a screw mount be set on a tripod for standing. Hope this gives you some ideas!

I'll also be handing-out my "top-picks" listing of easels and pochade boxes at the workshop.

"Are there substuitute colors I can use for the recommended paint colors?"

Substitutes are not exact, but sometimes mixing with another color can emulate what you need. Just find what you can (along with colors that are already familiar for and comfortable to you) and we'll go from there:

"Lemon Yellow", or substitute:"Cadmium Yellow Light" or "Yellow Light Hansa"

"Permanent Alizarin Crimson", "Alizarin Crimson Permanent" or substitute: Golden "Quinacridone Crimson"

"Vermilion", or substitute: Pebeo "Vermilion", Golden "Pyrrole Red Light", Liquitex "Cadmium Red Light"

"I am an oil painter but want to try using acrylics for the workshop. What brands do you recommend?"

In response to your question about acrylic brands. I would start with Liquitex, Windsor & Newton Finity, or Golden acrylics, and any colors you cannot derive from these, buy or substitute Pebo, Lascaux, Lukas, or Brera. As long as the paint is "professional" grade you'll be fine and they are mixable. As with oils, the more pigment the better.

It is a great idea to bring your oils. You can start in oil, then try-out the acrylic. Using what you are familiar with is always best, especially if you find you prefer to use oils during the entire workshop. I generally paint the same way in oils as I do in acrylic so you should be in good shape either way.

In addition to the acrylic paint, if you'd like to pick-up a small bottle of "retarder", as well as "gel medium" (either matte or gloss) I can show you how to use these too. I generally do not use any additives when working with acrylic. But since it will be June, and it may be dryer outside, a bit of retarder may help during your transition from oil. And if your used to glazing, the gel medium will be of help too. These are the only two things I use while painting. When an acrylic painting is finished I use an acrylic varnish, but you won't need to buy that for the workshop.

And do bring a small spray bottle for water. It can be an tiny, plastic hair spray bottle used for travel.

"Since I'll be coming from a distant city I'm thinking my cart/chair/easel/french mistress might be a little cumbersome. Obviously there are others who fly in and have to work this out. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated."

Sounds like you have a good start on your equipment. I recommend bringing as small a pack chair as possible if you like to sit while painting. (If you let me know you are coming, I have a couple of extra pack chairs you may borrow.) The easel should be lightweight, compact, and study enough for you to work with.

I suggest packing all the equipment you think you'll want to bring, then try to lift/carry it outside for a distance. If it's too much at home, it will definately be too much in the field. Then try to downsize as much as possible while still bringing what you need to paint with. If you can at least bring the easel, but not the mistress that would reduce your weight right there. But if you use the mistress alot, try to find another way to accommodate your painting.

My general rule of thumb is, everything should be able to fit in a case the size of a wheeled carry-on piece of luggage. As a matter of fact, that is what I use. It doubles as a backpack although I rarely use it as one. Anything more, gets cumbersome.

Bring new, full tubes of paint plus a large tube of white (if using pastel, full sticks and a set of mini-broken pieces of special colors you use), about 5-10 brushes and of course your canvas' or paper.

One attendee to a recent workshop came with huge cart loaded with everything. (She drove to the site so it was nice to have all of this along). But by the end of the workshop, she had reduced her setup to one third of what she brought. If you can practice and reduce your load before you attend the workshops, it will be great for you. And we always exchange ideas with each other about packing more efficiently at the workshop as well.

"First, I am primarily a watercolor painter (signature member of 3 states) but would love to pick up oils again. Do you cover a very basic start-up during the workshop for someone like me?"

If you are an accomplished watercolorist, you should have no problem with the concepts of color, structure, etc. in oil. I'd be happy to do a brief intro to oil for you. There are usually others that are interested in the same topic. However, in your case, I would recommend trying the water-based oils (Grumbacher Max, Van Gogh, etc.) for a time before going straight to standard oils.

I have found that for watercolor painters, using the water soluble oils is a great transition media from what you've used for so long. It may reduce any frustration that can occur when using a new material. The issue of working dark to light, as opposed to light to dark (as with watercolors) for instance, is minimized using the water oils. But either way we can cover this. In fact, if you decide to work in oil at the workshop, I'd be happy to give you some tips before you go so you are equipped with the basic things you need. I will definitely be doing a "start-up" introduction to plein air painting which will apply to just about medium.

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