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Seeing Expressive Color: Studio to Plein Air 3-Day Workshop

Instructor: Susan Nicholas Gephart


Location & Sponsor: The Green Art House

at Pala Mesa Resort

2001 Old Hwy 395

Fallbrook, CA 92028

Price: $450/3-day workshop

Feb. 23-25, 2018 in North San DiegoCounty

All Mediums Welcome with a focus on oil or pastel in demonstrations. This class is geared towards intermediate or advanced level painters.

During this 3-day workshop you will discover how to see beyond the obvious within the plein air landscape, and use expressive color to capture the essence of mood and atmosphere in sky, water, and more. You will learn to see the depth of color and create a unique and personally expressive plein air painting.

Susan is skilled in all mediums, with an expertise in both pastel and oil, and is a Dedicated Workshop Instructor for Gamblin Artist Colors, a Jack Richeson Certified Instructor, a Sennelier Demonstrator, and a 40 year seasoned plein air painter, that will lead you to your personal color expression in the medium of your choice. Each day will begin with a short demo focusing on methods that will aid in color expression.

Susan's goal as an instructor is to connect and inspire each artist. Studio demos will support transitional skills from studio experiences to plein air painting.

This workshop will be geared to the artist's goals. "Thumbnail Sketches" and their importance in supporting strong compositions and values within color, will help you "Target Focus" on what inspires you in the plein air landscape.

There will be paint out opportunities following the morning demonstrations each day. Susan will support your skills and guide you to new discoveries.

Questions? Call Susan at 814-360-2166.

Once you register, please contact Susan at to discuss your supplies and medium of focus.


Classes will meet at the Green Art House.

Time: 9:30am to 4pm

1st Day:

9:30am to 10:00pm: Set up your personal art supplies, while getting to know your instructor and other artists.

10:00 to 10:45: Studio Demo: 'Learn to See Expressive Color’.

Susan Nicholas Gephart will do a, ‘Kick Start’ Demo, designed to wake up your inner color senses.

10:45 to 12:30: Artists should bring photos or previous plein air paintings for references to use during this time. (Also have photos available if we have a rain-in.) Instructor will support all artists in the medium of their choice. The morning studio session will focus on discovering how to better see and incorporate expressive color into your work. Sketchbooks will first be used to design strong dark and light values to support your composition and color.

​12:30 to 1:30pm: Lunch Break

1:30 to 4:00pm: Artists will have the options of continuing on their painting, beginning a new one, or experienced plein air painters are welcome to set-up their easels outside the studio nearby. Susan will continue to support all artists at their easels in the medium of their choice.

2nd Day:

9:30am to 10:00pm: Studio Demo:

‘How to use Underpaintings as Underlying Color Foundations’. ​

Susan will lead a “Hands-On Demo” that will explore underpaintings in a variety of mediums connected to the medium of your choice. (This will be based on the artists enrollment mediums; oil, pastel, watercolor, or acrylic. Remember, we can learn from other mediums.) In this session, each artist will create an underpainting on their surface to be used after it dries. Susan will briefly demonstrate how to begin blocking in a landscape subject on her underpainting choice.

10:00pm 12:30: Next, we will deal with creating sketches or studies for a new painting to be incorporated onto our personal underpainting surface. Artists will be given the choice of transitioning to plein air nearby, or continue inside the studio.

12:30 to 1:30pm: Lunch Break

1:30 to 4:00pm: Artists will meet back at the studio. We will carpool to a new plein air destination. (To be selected) The instructor will support the steps involved in understanding the process and important factors of selecting your personal easel set-up spot. Susan will also set-up on location near the artists. She will balance beginning her new piece on location, with visiting each artist as they develop their painting.

3rd Day:

9:30am: Meet at the studio and carpool to our destination. Possible Plein Air location: Oceanside/Carlsbad (Artist living in this area may plan to meet there.)

10:00 to 10:30: Artists will select a spot and set –up

On location Demo: 'Multiple Image Composition Studies'

Susan Nicholas Gephart will show how multiple image studies in the medium of your choice, can support color exploration in the field. Artists may choose to use this process or do a single painting on location.

10:30 to 12:30: Instructor will support all artists in the medium of their choice.

12:30 to 1:30pm: Lunch Break. Artists should bring a bag lunch.

1:30 to 4:00pm: Artists will have the options of continuing on their Multiple Image Studies, or beginning a new plein air painting.


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