WORKSHOPS: Course Descriptions

The following are a list of the types of workshops I have done for various art groups. As a workshop leader for many years, I would be happy to tailor a workshop to fit the needs of the participants.



So you want to try watercolour, but don’t know where to start? This workshop will explore some of the possibilities of watercolour. Use of materials, and  how to create effects such as a graded wash, drybrush, wet-in-wet, scumbling, etc. will be demonstrated. Lots of play is encouraged! Basic do’s and don’ts of composition and colour mixing will be shared, so that you will discover the spontaneous and expressive use of this versatile medium.



Johannes Itten defined seven strategies for making colour and design work, all based on using contrasts. With this in mind, you will start with a series of collages to explore these contrasts, leading to stronger, innovative compositions. With these ideas firmly in mind, you will plan and ultimately do a painting that will deserve a second look.You may be working outside of your comfort zone, but this workshop will push you beyond the ordinary.



It seems only natural to be painting the element of water using watercolours.  The transparency of water can be captured so beautifully in this transparent meidium. Colour mixing, understanding why water behaves the way it does, and what will make a dynamic design will be valuable tools in 1) painting a seascape, 2) painting rivers and waterfalls, 3) painting reflections in water.The workshop is topped off with an experimental approach to the subject of water, playing on your imagination.



Screenprinting (or serigraphy) is a process that allows for the making of multiple images of the same subject matter. Different methods of making stencils for screenprinting will be explored, including paper stencil making, blockout, and light-senstive photo emulsion.  Cards are a great way to make an edition, and you will learn how to print a simple, multi-colour edition on Stonehenge paper.



Many of the same techniques for traditional screenprinting will be used, but in a more immediate, expressive manner. Using a silkscreen frame as a matrix, watercolours, inks, water-soluable pencils and crayons are applied directly to the surface of the mesh and allowed to dry. A layer of clear screenprinting medium is flooded across the surface, while a piece of paper is put under the screen. With another pull of the squeegee, the image on the screen is transferred to the paper. Subsequent colours and shapes will be layered as quickly as you can clean your screen!



Using water-based Akua inks, you will learn basic techniques of mixing ink, rolling out a “flat”, manipulating the process with the use of stencils and templates, multi-plate use, registration and printing techniques that work in a painterly approach to printmaking. Building up the print through a series of layers makes for a richer and more complex image. The addition of chine collé will add imagery and colour fields where needed.



This is a more dimensional approach to making art with acrylic paint. You will try three approaches with a similar theme, first using a square format of gessoed paper or canvas to paint, collage and add found bits to its surface. The second project consists of constructing a small box inset in a stretched “gallery” canvas where you will place a found object, with the rest of the painting and assemblage contributing to the theme. The third project will incorporate two small canvases to make a book, with or without a window.



By definition, a retreat is a withdrawal to a safe, quiet place by a group of people for meditation and study. This inward and outward exploration of the land will be an opportunity to do just that— to sketch, paint and gather material on field trips that will result in works that reflect a personal response to nature.  Each day, a design challenge will be offered to participants. Using colour, texture, words and whatever else can be collected en route, participants will paint, print and assemble pieces that will take on a life of their own. There will be daily group critiques and discussions, demonstrations of techniques (if needed), with every effort made to meet the needs of the group.



There are so many options available when looking at the elements and principles of design. Using a questionnaire and collecting images of art examples to establish your preferences, you will discover what is most important to you when you draw and paint. For example, you might discover you like colours and shapes best, or you may discover that lines and texture are what inspire you. By limiting your choices and choosing what to make dominant in your work, your style will emerge in a small series of paintings. Simplify!



Does abstract art mean “not real”? Abstract as a style of work is an art history invention and perhaps a misnomer. Do we simply mean non-objective? Using a series of explorations, you will discover how to simplify your work to integrate abstract elements. In this sense of the word, you will be looking at making art that does not attempt to represent a depiction of a visual reality but instead uses shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. We will look at some of the ways that artists have used abstraction to develop a series of paintings, and there will be an opportunity to find a method that speaks to you.

PERSONAL GEOGRAPHY – The Artist as Cartographer
A map is an abstract idea of a place; it is an interpretation of reality based on what the map-maker wants to show… a reflection of its maker. To this end, your map will be  a visual record of your experiences, a journey, a narrative, a memory—the possibilities are limitless! Using mixed media, you will paint, collage, and assemble pictures, using words and traditional map-making elements such as a cartouche, a legend, neatlines, etc. to tell your story. 

This workshop is designed to give participants a wide variety of art making experiences while transforming old books into creative works of art.  After choosing an old book, you will paint, draw, add pictures or images, collage found objects, textiles, beads and other ephemera.  You might remove pages, cut niches, or add found objects. You might opt to incorporate words, text, or images from the existing book, or you might not! There are no rules, and that’s why it’s so much fun.


Bricolage is a construction made of whatever materials are at hand— the perfect description for doing mixed media! Collage, assemblage, painting, image transfer, and mark-making with different tools and processes will encourage experimentation using different formats and colour possibilities. Brainstorming as a group leads to all kinds of ideas that will spark your creativity.



Unlike other printmaking methods that require using dried plant material, this one draws on the use of green or fresh plant material. Applying watercolours in layers on plexiglass plates, in combination with the plants, yields vibrant and rich prints on paper. Working with two plates increases the possibilities, and the addition of Chine collé can add a whole other dimension to this style of printmaking.



The satiny sheen, luminous layers and the veiled mystery of encaustics can be achieved through the use of acrylic paint and mediums, but without the fumes or heat of wax encaustic. Its all about building layers to create a depth and history that eventually look like wax. Drying time is needed in between various techniques, so it is helpful to work on several projects at a time.



Collagraphy is an experimental form of printmaking which involves gluing different materials to mat board or thin plywood to create contrasting textures. There are no limitations to how complex or simple a plate may be, which is what makes collagraphy so intriguing.  Beginning with small plates, you will learn to ink, wipe and print a small edition, using non-toxic AKUA inks and an intaglio press.



Repeating yourself can be more creative than you think. Exploring one idea or theme sets in motion all kinds of new ways of improvising themes using colour, different design formats and media. Participants may use a painting(s) that they have already done as reference to springboard new ideas. Analyzing your work (and other artists’ as well,) and then doing some brainstorming will get the ball rolling. You may work in your preferred medium.



What defines an artist’s style? In this workshop we will look at several different artists and then recreate her/his style in watercolour.  A slideshow, along with an analysis of each artist’s distinctive style and discussion of what we need to emulate will be followed by a a chance to explore our findings in paint. By trying to mimic different artists’ styles, you will find a method that suits your work, as well as learning what makes each artist tick. Participants need to have some basic knowledge of watercolour.