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  • Writer's pictureJenny


Portrait Workshop 2022 at Art Center Sarasota (Irene and Aurie hard at work)


We are adding more studio space across the street from our current studio at Creative Liberties in Sarasota! The new space will have eleven new artists AND a beautiful classroom space where we can all teach and take classes! Our team has been working on the building for months and it's still on schedule for a January opening (exact date TBD). We'll be announcing on social media as we get closer.

We have made a tentative teaching schedule for the classroom and I have chosen Wednesday mornings 9am - noon for my painting class. We're penciling the first class in for January 11th.

Yeah, I hear you groaning you non-morning people but I'll bring muffins and even GF things and have the coffee going! You'll be fine, I promise.

This is a pre-registration only. There is no obligation, you can cancel - no problem. It's only to hold your spot in the first class. It just let's me know if you have serious interest in the class so I can start a second class if we need to before all the classroom spots are filled. If you're only a little bit interested, no need to grab a space. This is to help me figure out how many people I'm going to have on a regular basis. There is no need to pay anything now.


On another note, I have found a brand of oil paint that is completely toxin free, not just solvent free but completely chemical additive free. D'artecor paint, handmade in Portugal. I don't react to it at all and I've been painting with it for about 6 weeks now, every day for hours. 🥳

I've tried working with just about every brand of oil paint on the market and they all have different chemicals that I seem to be reacting to. I've found through the years that many of my students have told me similar stories and I didn't know what to tell them. Often they just switched to acrylics and I tried to do that too over the summer with mixed success, I felt like a complete beginner again which was frustrating. The process of painting isn't the same with acrylic as it is with oil. I'm happy that I learned a lot about the process of painting with acrylics so now I feel like I will be a much better teacher for my acrylic students. But I'm not gonna lie... I'm happy to be painting with oils again, I've got too many years with the medium and it was hard to give it up. I felt like a fish out of water!

Included with the cost of class, I will be providing toxin free, D'artecor paints for you to use in class so you can try them. I will also have limited palette sets available for you to buy. Hansa Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Napthol Red and Titanium White (we can mix an amazing array of color from these four). If you want to expand your pallet you can also buy, Magenta, Pthalo Blue and Pthalo Green. I just ordered these myself, now that I know I'm okay with D'artecor because sometimes you really do need those colors but I'm pretty attached to my simple, primary palette.

The Pthalos are for waters and odd cool greens but when you need them you need them. But that Magenta, it's a good one. If you can afford it, get it.

When I first discovered I couldn't paint with oils anymore, it happened suddenly, after I got Covid (I'd been reacting a bit for a couple years to solvents) but then suddenly I can't go within a foot or two of oil paints for more than a few minutes without stabbing, shooting pains in my head and horrible nausea that would sometimes last for days. I thought it would pass. Nope. I isolated brands and tried them individually. They all caused symptoms. Some worse than others. Then I heard Leonel DeCosta, owner of D'artecor Paints in Portugal talking about his paints on John Dalton's Art Podcast. The paint sounded like just what I was looking for. I ordered a simple primary palette and have been working in it for months. I didn't want to buy the whole set of one more manufacturer which is what I did with water soluble oils assuming they wouldn't cause a reaction. It was all getting pricey. I wanted to make sure I could actually use them first.

I knew theoretically you COULD paint with three colors I just never thought I'd WANT to. Wow, I have learned so much from this experience, it has been a gift in so many ways. You'll be shocked how fast you can mix a full spectrum of color with 3 colors on your palette. And it's easier. Sometimes I feel like it's the lazy person's way of painting 😂 Once you learn it you won't want to go back. But the truth is you're thinking about color and it's fun at the same time. You will finally totally, completely and deeply understand how color works. And the next time you go to reach for your tubed Burnt Sienna or Yellow Ochre you'll think "Oh, that's not exactly right, I need it to be just a little bit more blue" or "Just a bit brighter" and you'll know how to do it! Tubed colors won't be quite good enough any more! And did I mention it's fun?

This is a painting I'm currently working on. The three primaries and the white are at the top and all the mixes that came from them are what is below. I like to mix paint in color strings. You can see my cooler greens (blue or evergreen) and cooler reds (cherry or wine) go off to the left and the warmer ones (swampy greens & chili pepper or more yellowy reds) tend to go off to the right. It may be getting a bit harder to see here late in the day it's getting messy lol. Color temperature is advanced but I make sure you understand it. It's so much fun. It's why things glow!


Paint :: Do Not bring your own paint. I will have all paint you will need but of course you can purchase your own paint here, too: D'artecor Even having one or two colors of any other brand of paint out on your palette might cause me some problems when I come near you. I'd wear a mask if it helped!

Brushes :: Any brushes you have are fine! But if you want my recommendation, my favorites are Rosemary & Co I like their Ivory line if you like a synthetic hog bristle (especially their long flats and filberts), they last forever. If you like something softer the Shiraz line is really nice (very nice for acrylics but also wonderful for oils especially for detail work, the pointed rounds are really nice). I use Shiraz for most everything these days. Flats and pointed rounds, sizes 00 - 6 in pointed round and 2 - 6 in long flats. Those are my every day brushes. I wouldn't order that many until you're sure that you like them though, try mine in class first. Size and shape depends on how you paint and how large you like to work. Please message me if you have any questions about brushes.

Easel :: We won't have easels in class. Bring an easel, it's so difficult to try to work flat it distorts everything and makes it so much harder to see. Everyone seems to have different preferences about easels too.

Canvas :: Bring whatever size and type canvas or panel you like working on. I prefer gessoed wood panels. I either finish them myself or buy Gessobord by Ampersand. But any canvas you like is perfect.

Reference :: I'll speak with you before class starts about what you're going to paint and how you're going to print it out, what size it is, how you're planning on drawing it, get it on to the canvas, etc. We'll figure all of that out before class and have everything set. All of this is necessary to figuring out your drawing method and the tools you'll need. I will help with all of that. We will also be having live models and still life set up in this class at some point.

Medium :: Don't bring any mediums into class other than linseed or walnut oil. We're keeping the class completely non-toxic. I like Gamblin's linseed oil because it's easy to open, my students and I were always fighting with WN's bottle cap.

Medium Cup :: Any little cup to hold a bit of oil if you use it. I find I sometimes need just a drop or two of it with D'artecor. Any little cup or bowl will do. A little shot glass works perfectly.

Palette Knife :: Whatever size or shape you prefer is fine. I tend to favor a smaller point, diamond shape with the long tip. This is my favorite, RGMs small, long spade. It's cheap and it holds up pretty well. It is not a single piece of metal so it will eventually snap in half but they usually last me a couple of years before I break them and I'm pretty happy with that for the price. The long pointed tip lets you get into a small pile of paint and mix with precision.

Palette :: Whatever kind and size of palette you prefer is fine with me. My favorites are Nu Wave Posh palettes I like the wood ones but I have a couple glass ones too. If you like to let paint dry on your palette and scrape it off with a glass scraper, get the wood ones, the glass will scratch a bit over time. Or just soak it with Murphy's Oil Soap first 😊

Roll of Wax Paper :: Just a simple roll of regular waxed paper. Or any way you'd like to get your wet paint home. You can just leave it on the palette and transport it. I scoop up each color into a little blob and transfer it to the waxed paper fold it twice into a little envelope and pop it in the freezer. If you're going to keep it longer than a couple of weeks you can keep it in a zip bag. It'll last forever. If you have enough room in your freezer, your entire palette can be kept right on a shelf. I just have several paintings going at once so I keep them in folded wax paper. It also makes it easy to get back and forth to class without mishap!

Wet Painting Carrier :: Something to carry your wet painting in. Even a box lid with sides that can lay in the back of your car that's large enough to hold your canvas steady so it doesn't bump into anything would work fine.

Roll of Paper Towels :: We will have some on hand in case you forget them but it's always nice to have your own right next to you.

Color Wheel :: Always a help with color mixing if you've got it. I'll have a couple on hand too.

Brush Cleaner :: I will have vegetable oil and Ivory soap and other clean brush cleaning options available for you to show you how to clean your brushes without solvents. You don't need to bring any Gamsol, Turpenoid or any other type of solvent or mineral spirits to class. I will show you how to do everything solvents do... without solvents!

Acrylics :: I will have a bit of acrylic paint on hand for underpainting but people working in acrylics should bring their own supplies as about but also bring their own paint.

Gallery of student work in classes and workshops over the years

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