Monday, April 22, 2013

Plein Air Workshop with Frank Serrano

In art school I was always told I needed to try and master different subject matter - not just portraits, but also still life and landscape. Studying other genres (and mediums, such as sculpture) will only help an artist excel at whatever they are already good at.

Since I haven't had much actual training in landscape painting, and since I LOVE being outdoors, this spring I decided to take a plein air workshop with Frank Serrano.  The workshop took place in New Harmony, Indiana. Spring was late this year, so all the trees were sprouting that neon green that happens just before they've fully leafed out. The weather was cloudy for most of the 4-day workshop except for one day, so needless to say, it was challenging. Still, I learned a LOT. Frank is an excellent teacher and an amazing painter.

(Above) Doing a demo with his back turned to the scene (to avoid direct sunlight on the canvas). This requires an excellent short-term memory! :-)

Above: Showing us how to paint realistic reflections in the water.

I came home with probably 8 or 9 paintings, but these two (above and below) were the only ones I was mildly satisfied with.

Frank doing a fast cloud demo. I've decided to adopt his limited palette for plein air (white, ultramarine blue, thalo green, cadmium yellow light, alizarin crimson, cadmium red, cadmium orange, burnt sienna), since pretty much every color is possible with this combination.

Above: my attempt at atmosphere on the one sunny day we were given. Just trying my hand at simpler brushwork, and beautiful greys. Then, there was Frank's AMAZING demo (below), which all of us in the class were drooling over. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm excited to get outside and implement it all.  :-) Last year at this time, I had a cast on my painting hand, so I'm grateful for every second I get to paint!

A big thanks to Frank Serrano for being so generous with his knowledge. I am inspired.



  1. Your artwork is always so incredibly beautiful... that I am sure you will achieve equally good results with painting landscapes. I will be looking out for more.

  2. Happy painting Anna! You are well on your way to a successful career!


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