Those close to me joke about the number of colleges and schools I have attended. I have experiences in over a dozen post secondary educational institutions, both private and public. Two of my more recent experiences are with RISD (Rhode Island School of Design and Lyme Academy College of Fine Art.
About two years ago I was site jumping on the web and I happened upon a site by Deborah Paris. I was immediately taken by the images I found. The luminosity captured me and I decided I wanted to learn how to do that. Workshops are tough but I found on-line courses were offered by Deborah and I thought this would be a good way to prepare for a workshop. I signed up for the 'Clouds' course.
Having taken many studio classes I was interested in experiencing an on-line art course and how that might compare to a studio class. Well, it is different. It is wonderful.
Everything is written. Every lecture, assignment, comment and critique is written. Each and every conversation between student and instructor and student to student is recorded. I have wonderful notebooks. Video Demos allow one to view and review as many times as one wish. They allow one to rewind and repeat any particle one did not quite understand or one has great interest in seeing again. Student work is as relaxed, formal or informal as the student wishes. It can be a time to 'work' or a time to 'relax with ones assignment at the easel or in the lawn chair in a meadow, marsh or prairie. The student may place full attention and focus on their subject rather than those around them.
Best of all, at least for me, is the history with which instruction comes. Deborah has a way of creating an illusion that allows one to believe we still live with people such as Ruskin, Corot, Constable and it is even possible to receive advice directly from Asher B. Durand and one must be ready for words such as ‘slovenly’ or phrases such as ‘irremediable evil’. And to have ones drawings, sketches and assignments sit alongside those created by such people...who would have thought.
The only drawback I find, and the best advice I could give, is do not let time get away from you. These classes are packed and as everyone knows, time really flies when you are having fun.
"Painting Water" is the newest offering in Deborah Paris' lineup of remarkable online classes. If you have ever wished you could paint better reflections, or wondered about the "natural laws" behind them, this class is for you. Within a few short weeks, a painter can learn the physics,geometry, and art of light on water through Deborah's excellent discussions, and through a wonderful text published in 1903 - "Light and Water, a Study of Reflexion and Colour in River, Lake and Sea" by Sir Montague Pollock. The colorful text is supplemented with beautiful photographs of all kinds of water and reflections, and plenty of diagrams. No modern day publication like this exists. Deborah's discussions are supplemented with historical and current paintings to illustrate the principles. Assignments include value studies of calm and moving water, composing with water, and painting techniques to create convincing reflections. All posts are critiqued with plenty of time for discussions. The class is set in blog style, and everyone has opportunities to post their assignments, comment and discuss each others' works, ask questions, and develop friendships with artists from all parts of the US and Europe. Best of all is the knowledge gained through understanding the science. It might be compared to studying the human skeleton for life drawing - knowing what lies beyond the surface makes all the difference.
"Deborah's online classes have allowed me to study with an artist I greatly admire on an extended basis while continuing my daily responsibilities at work and home. Deborah is generous with her knowledge and brings to her classes an informative and inspiring mix of technique, historical context, critique, and encouragement. I've taken several online classes with Deborah and have benefited greatly from the spirit of mentorship that has evolved as she's been able to guide and contribute to my progress over time. She successfully encourages a sense of camaraderie and common purpose within each class so students enjoy the support and enthusiasm of interaction with peers while being able to work at their own pace in their studios."
I had been a full time landscape painter for eight years when an announcement from the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico landed in my “in” box announcing a Deborah Paris workshop in Taos in the fall. Seeing her work on her website made the decision for me right then and there, such amazing sensitivity and beautiful color harmonies in her own work.I decided to try an on-line class first, as a warm up , Drawing and Painting Trees. It was such a joy and great beginning. I feel that I have connected with many kindred spirits but especially Deborah whose vast knowledge of technique and materials not to mention her love of art history come pouring out to her students. She is a patient teacher who is always, always so giving with her knowledge and experience gently guiding her students.
It is a rare opportunity to study with a painter who is so successful and who can clearly and concisely convey to her students some of the complex ideas involved with indirect painting and the spirituality of landscape painting. Deborah’s book is also an excellent guide for artist sharing her experience in creating a very successful painting career.
Santa Fe, NM
"I knew I wanted to learn indirect painting (underpainting, glazing and scumbling) but had no idea what to expect from an online course when I signed up for Deborah’s Luminous Landscape Class. It was amazing. You work hard in her classes. In 4 weeks I not only gained new skills but she also focused us on the elements that make up a good painting: composition, value and temperature. Since then I went to Texas for her on-site workshop and took a very helpful online class on business practices. Deborah has a breadth of knowledge in art history and composition and is very good at truly seeing my work and giving me useful, productive feedback that moves my work forward."
"I love the combination of the drawing and painting. It has really helped me. I will never look at a tree the same way again. I have a whole new appreciation for trees and their part in the structure of the landscape painting. Before your class, I may think, "ok, let me just throw in a basic tree here and there." Not now. I think about composition, value, the type of tree, etc. I would recommend this class to anyone, and in fact have. Each successive assignment puts me quickly in the "creative zone." The combination of the class and the time frame is good. Pressing, but great!!"
Workshops & Advanced Workshop
"Deborah Paris' workshop is a must for dedicated artists wishing to take their painting to the next level. Paris invites a mere handful of artists to study in her studio and teaches with intellect, purpose, humor, and lots of personal attention and demos. The week was filled with plenty of painting time, discussions in art history, painting techniques, marketing, framing, and lively social gatherings. It stretched into heart and soul of painting. I drove the thousand miles home with renewed excitement and knowledge, increased awareness of the qualities of great painting, and a satisfaction of time well-spent. "
Sara Lubinski, Minnesota
Deborah expects her students to continue, and continue, and continue, working hard and harder than one thought their comfort zone would allow. This is no "tea and crumpets" course. It is truly a working course. (In fact, one of the requirements of this course is that the students bring at least 6 underpaintings dried and ready for painting, and other works in various stages of progress so the fast pace will not be held up at any point). Daily course routine included demos, individual painting time and individual instruction, reading and drawing time. Deborah encouraged our further study into works of American Masters of Tonalism and Luminism. One key thing I have found in Deborah's courses is her desire to open an excited awareness in each of us to understand the painted landscape through new avenues of knowledge of art history and theory. Her studio is a very comfortable working studio, with a pleasant reading area and an incredibly vast library for our reading and learning pleasure.
The subtitle of this course was "mini-mentorship" and that was one of the things which attracted me to the course and I was not disappointed. Patience, encouragement, and humor were the characteristics of her conversations with each of us.
Those who have taken Deborah's other courses know full well that you won't get out alive if you don't draw, draw and draw! Daily outdoor observation and drawing were a must. She even scheduled her course for a full moon so we could appreciate moonlight nocturne skies. The class, though structured, was also very free, and often a student here and there would quietly leave the studio and sit outside under a tree and draw, or observe, or go over to the library side of the studio and study works of great masters.
It was definitely not all work, as the lunch and dinner breaks were marvelous. Home cooked country food was provided by her "team". Each meal was absolutely delicious! Late afternoon and evening fireside chats were invaluable. Deborah pragmatically presented the business side of art in all aspects, including framing, shipping, tracking, gallery representation, shows, etc. At the end of the 6th day none of us wanted to leave. The environment of having the course at her home and studio in rural Northeast Texas limited all distractions but landscape painting. The sky colors and sunsets from the property are spectacular. Deborah and her husband Steve, opened their hearts, home and studio to us, and made us feel like a part of their family."
Judy Fuller, Lafayette, Louisiana.