Teaching Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>>,

Going forward, I want to try something new, I want to use these emails as a way to communicate and share lessons about art and painting technique. And if I have some classes or workshops coming up, I will also list the details.

Today, I want to share my mental framework about how I like to learn and how I believe it really helps with growing your skills in the craft of art making.

This is an introduction to my way of segmenting focus and spiraling up on developing expertise, and how you can do this on your own in a self-directed way. The same way I took my art education in hand when I decided at 30 that I was going to transition from being an architect to a full-time artist in five years. The cool thing is that it worked. And even after leaving architecture, I applied these study rituals to my daily studio practice and in less than two years my work was exhibiting in several juried international exhibitions and was selling regularly. Within less than two years later, and I was represented by the Principle Gallery.

I still employ this method of learning in school growth to my art career because I know it works, and I believe that you never stop learning in life.

What is my method? I focus on one specific skill at a time, and create exercises that consistently stretch my abilities in that area until I reach a modicum of improvement and then I move on to another area of focus.

Mentally I have divided my areas of study into distinct focus areas. A few of my study categories are: art theory, composition, form, value (total beauty), and edge quality (sense of depth), and color.

When I want to improve in one of these areas, I will devise painting setups and then complete paintings that specifically explore this area of study. I will complete at least one painting, but typically I strive for 3 to 4 paintings that test this specific area an idea.

Each improvement is a metaphorical step in a spiral staircase that eventually leads to mastery. The idea is that with each exercise, another step is taken. When I feel like I have improved enough I then focus on another skill that needs improvement, and typically the next area becomes apparent to me because I will analyze and critique my paintings, identifying what works and what needs improvement.

In the next newsletter, I will discuss an important influence on creating realistic paintings and my thoughts about it.  However, I also want to hear from you and know what you are interested in.

This is where I need your help.

Please visit this survey I set up and list out any questions you have about learning to paint with oils
. Your questions will help me identify future topics covered.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

With warm regards,


PS:  Below are two classes I will be teaching in Great Falls, VA starting this September.  Read on for details. :)


Evening Painting with Oils 

This class concentrates on mastering color and paint handling with oils focusing on still-life painting. Specific exercises and lessons will be taught to deeply understand the color wheel while using a full-color paint palette. Paint application techniques are discussed and demonstrated, stressing the expressive quality of working with oils. Lessons will cover the basics, such as selecting and arranging a composition, lighting, supplies, canvas and supports, paints, and mediums. Participants are encouraged to explore color, tonal, and edge quality in their compositions. All levels are welcome.

Sep 27,2017 – Nov 1,2017    Time: 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Tuition: $240 (6 Sessions)

Floral Still Life with Oils 

This class concentrates on capturing the natural beauty found in flowers, working directly from life using oils. Specific lessons will cover all aspects of painting with flowers, learning to work with the individual characteristics of the different flowers available for each season. Alla-prima painting techniques will be taught and demonstrated to emphasize the importance of color and form when expressing the unique beauty found in flowers.  All levels are welcome, however some experience with oil painting and accuracy in drawing will garner more realistic representations.

*During the growing season, flowers will be provided from the instructor’s garden. During the offseason, a flower supply fee will be collected to purchase fresh flowers.

Sep 27,2017 – Nov 1,2017    Time: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Tuition: $240 (6 Sessions)
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