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Alla Prima Art Clinic

Plein Air: Sketch on Site – Finish in Studio

By May 18, 2018May 19th, 2024No Comments

Wednesdays, September 11 – November 13, 2024

10:00 – 12:30pm

10-week Art Clinic with J. Jordan Bruns


Leave the bulky plein air gear in the studio and embark on a journey of reference collection. This class focuses on gathering the right photographs, sketches, and color studies to infuse your studio paintings with the freshness and beauty of life. This class is a balance of in-studio and on-site work. Class Level: intermediate to advanced. Minimum age 14. 10 sessions.

Schedule of Classes:

Class 1) September 11- Demonstration/Lecture: What do I take into the field?

Location: Meet at Stone Tower Studio, Glen Echo Park

Class 2) September 18 – On Location: Demonstration- Collecting References – Focus on Value Studies

Location: Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, 4155 Linnean Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

Class 3 September 25 – In Studio at Glen Echo Park: Begin working on the Hillwood Painting using the references gathered from the week before.

Location: Meet at Stone Tower Studio, Glen Echo Park

Class 4) October 2 –Continue working on the Hillwood Painting

Location: Meet at Stone Tower Studio, Glen Echo Park

Class 5) October 9 Collecting References – Focus on Hue and Chroma

Location: Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902

Class 6) October 16 In Studio at Glen Echo Park: Begin working on the Brookside Painting using the references gathered from the week before.

Location: Meet at Stone Tower Studio, Glen Echo Park

Class 7) October 23In Studio at Glen Echo Park: Continue working on the Brookside Painting

Location: Meet at Stone Tower Studio, Glen Echo Park

Class 8) October 30 Collecting References – Focus Movement, Feel and Experience

Location: Great Falls Park (Maryland Side) – https://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/greatfallstavernvisitorcenter.htm

Class 9) November 6 – In Studio at Glen Echo Park: Begin working on the Great Falls Painting using the references gathered from the week before.

Location: Meet at Stone Tower Studio, Glen Echo Park

Class 10) November 13 – In Studio at Glen Echo Park: Finish working on the Brookside Painting

Location: Meet at Stone Tower Studio, Glen Echo Park

Suggested Material List

This class switches mediums depending on whether we are collecting references in the field or working toward a final piece in the studio. I will go over some suggested materials to bring to the field during the first class. My experience working in Japan has influenced how I approach this class. I pack very light and work in two mediums to gather the information necessary to execute a more finished piece in the studio.

The first medium I suggest is one that simplifies and captures dark versus light tones. I use Copic Markers and carry markers in the cool grey family. I find that C3, C5, and C7 are useful. A C9 is good too but should be used sparingly. If you prefer warm to cool, just swap them for W3, W5, W7 and W9.  Alternatives like pencil, ink, and conte also work. I recommend staying away from mediums that smudge.

The second medium is a small watercolor set. Many compact and easy-to-use sets are available for busy areas. I have one that I got in Italy, but a good, affordable option is the “Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor Set – Travel Set, Set of 12 or 24, Assorted Colors, Half Pans.”  I also really like using Derwent Ink Pencils and a water brush. The color is a bit duller, but they travel well.

For field paper/sketchbooks, my go-to is Stillman & Birn Beta Series Spiralbound Sketchbooks. I have found that the 7×7″ size works great for me because I can open it into a landscape format and use both sides of the book, potentially making it 7×14″.  The Copic Markers bleed though, so I skip over pages.  The pages are also OK for light watercolor tests.  I usually just bring small watercolor sheets that fit inside the sketchbook for color studies.

You also may want to think about the camera as a tool to help complete paintings in the studio.  There are a lot of benefits to using a camera but also a lot of pitfalls.  We will go over this in class.

For studio work, I leave the medium up to you. I have really enjoyed working in acrylic ink wash for a more tonal approach, but typical oil or acrylic are, of course, the standard.

Things to bring to the Great Outdoors

Sunscreen, Allergy Meds, Bug Spray, Sun Visor or Hat, Bottle of Water, Snacks, Bull Dog Clips, Bungee Cords, Collapsible Stool, business cards to hand out (ya never know)

Registration For Fall Classes Begins in July
Brookside Gardens

NOTE: Note that this is a VERY fluid and flexible schedule.  When the weather is lousy, I will rearrange the class schedule, so we are working in the studio rather than braving even the slightest of “bad weather”.  We can always collect references another day.  If the weather is questionable, emails will be sent the morning of the class in case we need to relocate to the Stone Tower Studio 2nd floor at Glen Echo Park.