Here are a few photos from my week of teaching plein air landscape painting in the valley around Les Plans in Switzerland. I was working for the Alpine Atelier based in Gryon.
They are very unrepresentative photos as we only had a few hours of sun all week. Most of the time it was low clouds and snow. Nevertheless, the students managed to squeeze out a lot of great work.
It’s often the case that sparse subject matter produces better work while painting en plein air. In my experience, having too many wonderful views to choose from can be more paralyzing to the painter than struggling with difficult or meager subject matter.
Update: Here are a couple more off my phone.
I also shot a video of the 40 minute demo I gave on the first day of the course. You can view it below or on my youtube channel:
Daniela Astone and I just finished our back-to-back plein air courses in Chianti and the gulf of Baratti. We had 19 glorious days of sunshine during the two ten-day sessions. Here are a few of the sketches I managed to bat out during my time off from teaching.
I’ll be doing a one-day plein air workshop in Sag Harbor for anyone in the neighborhood. The date is Wednesday the 25th of August from 10am to 5pm. For sign-ups or more information, you can use the Hamptons Studio of Fine Art website or call 631-603-5514.
As a working painter, I have always tried to avoid teaching. When I taught in the past I always had too many students, inconvenient schedules, and found my own work suffering to the point where I was having trouble meeting my commitments with galleries. This year however, after getting married, I decided the stable income wasn’t such a bad idea and I began taking students again.
The difference this time however is that, working for myself, I have taken them in very small numbers. From 1 to 3 students at a time, and I work alongside them. This summer I tried it out in the countryside with landscape painting and just basically dragged the students to the spots where I was already working and let them set up alongside. I would do demonstrations and give regular critiques, but I found that it didn’t affect my work at all. In fact I ended up painting more this summer than I have in the last few years. More importantly though, the steady (though small) income took off some of the pressure of the gallery production grind, so I was able to work at a much slower pace. In the end I think my work actually improved due to the teaching. The students, of course, appreciate the small class size and get a lot of information in a short period of time.
This winter I intend on continuing with small numbers of students in the studio. At the moment I’ve begun portrait projects with one student at a time, sharing a model.