Michael Workman Workshop
Landscapes in the Studio
DATE: September 22 - 26, 2014
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate/advanced
For Michael Workman, the act of painting usually starts with an emotional response to the landscape and is ultimately completed by the viewers through their emotional responses to the painting. A delicate balance is achieved in his paintings between realism and abstraction. The landscape can be dramatic, moody and subtle. Michael Workman's art is blended in a play between opposites on a variety of levels: classicism and romanticism, thin and thick paint, warm and cool colors, careful planning and spontaneity.
This 5-day workshop will be primarily an indoor class. Michael will be painting throughout the week, thus allowing the participant to see first hand how he addresses these same subjects in his own work. Michael will demonstrate and lecture for all the students, while allowing plenty of one-on-one time for discussion and critique designed to help each student achieve their own personal vision. Students should already have basic drawing skills and prior experience with landscape painting.
In this class, we will paint mostly from photographs, so bring photos that you might want to work from and a camera, as there is some fantastic subject matter in the area. We will talk a lot about what makes good photos for painting and what to look for when you are out in the field. This is mostly a landscape class so don't bring photos of people, pets etc.
Bring a lap top computer if you have one. It is really nice to be able to edit photos and paint from the laptop screen.
Michael encourages self-direction and personal discovery and wants to help students find their own way to solve art problems. If you have a palette of colors that you feel good about use them. However, for those who want to know exactly what he does, the school will be sending out his supply list about 45 days before the class begins.
For the students that want to do a "paint along with Mike" which is something he has been doing in workshops lately where everyone paints from the exact same image on the same size panel etc., bring a rigid 12"x12" panel primed with gesso and ready to paint on. Other than that panel, bring what you are comfortable with.
If you have some images of some recent work bring those so he can see where you are. People always ask what books he recommends. Here is a couple to think about buying if you don't already have them: John F. Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting and Edgar Payne’s book on composition.
Michael Workman's Bio
My wife Laurel and I, with our five children, live in the small town of Spring City in central Utah. I am a "Utah Boy" born and raised and though now in my "middle ages" still love the high mountain desert that I grew up in. I spent most of my childhood and young adult years on a small farm in Highland Utah and most of the subjects that find their way into my paintings are the rural things that I grew up with. Highland as well as the rest of Utah Valley is now a fine example of urban sprawl. This "progress" up north is what inspired our "move to the country" over a decade ago. After Laurel and I finished our education (as if it is ever finished) at Brigham Young University we moved South to the Sanpete Valley that I had grown fond of during hunting trips with my Dad as well as photo trips by myself trying to find my way as a developing landscape painter. When asked for an artist statement I try to keep it simple; I am a "contemporary traditionalist". I know that sounds contradictory, but I hope I can be up-to-date, and still honor tradition. One thing that is consistent in art history, is the opposition between different ideas, i.e.: contemporary vs. traditional, romantic vs. classic, naturalistic vs. abstract, etc. I decided years ago not to choose between the opposites, but instead work to bring them together in a beautiful way.
My watchword is beauty. It is not difficult to see that we live in a world that is full of turmoil. On the other hand, it is easy to be tempted by the cliche. Rather than choose between angst or picturesque beauty, I hope to offer a reminder that there is beauty in the ordinary. When asked for an artistic statement one is tempted to try to impress with intellectual rhetoric, but my statement is simple: "There are still good things."
Michael Workman is one of the greatest landscape painters of our time. It is interesting to learn how Michael ‘deconstructs’ his paintings and balances between a realistic approach and abstract interpretation. He takes an organic approach toward teaching. With the painting workshop in such a wonderful place as South Whidbey Island, we expected to do a lot of painting on location. However, because of the high caliber of artists, the week evolved into many thought provoking lectures and generous demonstrations. Michael taught us about a lot about his philosophy on composition