Not only does the visiting artist program offer amazing opportunities to local artists to study with a variety of established professionals, it also spices up the schedule with new courses. Among those headed our way is Jeanne Mackenzie, noted plein air painter and Denver Art Museum instructor, who teaches Painting in Plein Air, June 21-24. One look at the work on her website, www.jeannemackenzie.com, and local painters will be enticed to grab that portable easel and head outdoors.
The class will be taught using oils or chalk pastels, but Mackenzie notes that the workshop can benefit painters of all levels working in any media.
"One of the biggest changes I see for painters who take the class is learning how to see outdoors, how to get that aerial perspective and see big shapes, because you can't noodle away on the details in the quickly changing outdoor conditions," she says. "You really learn to block in quickly and see your subject as big puzzle shapes and come back in with the detail. Working outside only enhances your studio painting because it helps you see the simplicity of the design."
Other lessons in composition the plein air technique affords, according to Mackenzie, are learning to choose subjects wisely and to see them with honesty.
"You have 360 degrees of subject matter, so we'll talk about viewpoints and focal points in strong compositions," she says. "We'll also work on really seeing the colors in nature. When you work in the studio or from photos, you aren't depending on true natural colors. Once students begin to see true colors in nature that the mountains really are that cool and blue I see huge leaps in their artwork."
Barry Raybould, a leading plein air painter from California's central coast, also offers another outdoor painting class this summer, Exploring Color in Plein Air Painting, July 6-10. Raybould's class is for more advanced painters who want to focus on improving the use of color in their work.
For those who want to explore the with oils, notable East Coast impressionist painter John C. Terlak teaches Oil Painting and Impressionist Techniques, Aug. 26 and 27, coinciding with his show at the Winston Gallery of Fine Art. This class for intermediate to advanced painters will focus on finishing techniques, like scumbling and transparent glazing, used to complete multi-layered impressionistic paintings. Terlak will have paintings for demonstration, but participants are asked to bring two or three works in progress.
Pastel painters of all levels can enjoy a weekend with celebrated watercolor and pastel artist Doug Dawson in his class, Pastel Painting: Studio Landscapes, Sept. 22-24. A perfect media to combine drawing and painting with a passion for color, pastels are amazing to work with. Dawson's approach is highly instructive, giving individual, detailed instruction to each student.
If you are itching to try something new, consider Clay Printing with Pam Horner, Aug. 26-28. Artist, educator and creativity coach, Horner will teach students of all levels how to apply textures, patterns and colors to wet clay to create unique, one-of-a-kind images.
The theatrically oriented can hone their skills this summer, too, by studying with noted directors in two exciting classes. Robin McKee and Ethelyn Friend help students learn performance skills that will advance their stage abilities with musical pieces in Theatrical Music: How to Sing a Song, June 3-4. James B. Nicola teaches Shakespeare: Playing the Audience, An Acting Workshop, July 1-2, to help actors overcome the challenges of portraying the Bard in a natural way.
For more information on these or other classes, call Ah Haa at 728-3886 or visit www.ahhaa.org.