Artist Crush-Qiang Huang

Artist Crush-Qiang Huang

Qiang Huang demo at #PACE16

Qiang Huang demo at #PACE16

I have an artist’s crush his name is  Qiang Huang.

Of the twelve demonstrations I attended at#PACE16, my favorite wasQiang Huang- Capturing the Texture of Old Architecture. An inspired artist and exceptional teacher, Huang managed to explain his process so clearly I felt as if I could accomplish a passable representation of an architectural piece, a genre that,so far, has eluded me.
I first noticed Qiang Huang‘s (pronounced Chong Wong) artwork on Pinterest
Then in March I listened to his incredible interview on AHA . I knew from that point on he was someone I could connect with, learn from, and have an affinity with his vision. Serendipitously he was on the teaching staff at #PACE16, held in all places, Tucson! Just about 40 miles from my home. #PACE16 hosted by Plein Air magazine and Eric Rhodes know how to pick’em!

His demo, much like a mini workshop, at #PACE16 was a breakdown of his painting process. He shared the reasons for his color palette choices,such as using Naples Yellow Pale for warmth in the lighter values.He also gave us tips for drawing with the proper perspective and shared some great nuggets of wisdom.

If you see a happy accident,try and keep it.

Signature Style

Huang uses various painting methods to create contrast and variety in the same color notes. Some of his most used tools include the palette knife, bristle brushes,paper towels,calligraphic strokes, and even a credit card.

way better than a photograph

Qiang Huang’s philosophy on painting.

Qiang Huang-inspiration tip

I think I’ll use this reference for a painting and consciously recall Huang’s mini workshop

I have signed up to take his workshop in February, at Scottsdale Artist’s School in Pheonix, and can hardly wait! Last I checked spots were still available. If you have never been to the Scottsdale Artist’s School, I highly recommend it. You can read about my experience in the post-Workshop Review-Michelle Dunaway.

Qiang Huang demo at #PACE16

Qiang Huang demo at #PACE16

I hope you have enjoyed this latest “Artist Crush”, please feel free to share on social media, it really helps me out 🙂


Workshop Review-Michelle Dunaway

Workshop Review-Michelle Dunaway

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My day 3 and 4 attempt at portraiture.-Leslie Miller

Workshop Review-

Michelle Dunaway

Many of you have asked about the workshop I attended in January with Michelle Dunaway at the Scottsdale Artists’ School. It was a phenomenal experience- intimidating, galvanizing, exhausting, challenging, and overall exhilarating! The whole experience was blogworthy. From the road trip with artist and dear friend, Pam Wedemeyer, to the school itself, being in the presence of so much talent and energy, and learning from Michelle both the technical and spiritual side of painting was inspiring.

The night before the workshop, as I packed and prepared my things for the workshop, I noticed that I had signed up for an advanced class. An advanced class in portraiture! I was already quite intimidated, but this was icing on the nervous cake. I had never painted a live model. I had only worked with still life and landscape. Now, I was set up to take an advanced class in a new field for me. Still, I eagerly anticipated the chance to learn.
Artists can sometimes seem anti-social as we retreat into our creative spaces. Being able to share our thoughts and emotions about art with like-minded individuals is the key to not becoming a recluse. We left Tubac at 6 a.m., and though Pam is not a morning person, we talked non-stop the whole way there about our goals, ideas, and fears. What a boost to my spirit!

Scottsdale Artist’s School

I had no clue what to expect when we arrived at the school. The Scottsdale Artists’ School is located in a former grammar school built in 1928 in old town Scottsdale. The halls are lined with museum quality, awe-inspiring artwork by students and teachers of the school. The moment we stepped inside, I felt the buzz of energy and creativity, knowing good things were about to happen.


Leslie Miller, Michelle Dunaway and Pam Wedemeyer

There were five classrooms listed on the directory, Michelle Dunaway, Daniel Keys, Susan Lyon, Kathy Anderson and the Academy! 15 to 16 students for each of the workshops, a welcoming staff at the reception desk, Symi from England with a huge selection of handmade Rosemary brushes, a couple libraries filled with art books, props line the hallways and the aroma of linseed oil and fresh flowers fill the light-filled corridors. Models changing into costumes, backdrops and lighting being adjusted to cast the perfect shadows. Can you imagine the buzz?

The classroom Michelle’s class was held in was at the end of the hall and filled with light, two stages on either side set with an armchair filled with a beautiful ivory complexed brunette in a 1920 period costume, music from Downton Abbey fills the room along with the scrapping of easels being positioned and brushes placed in jars in preparation to create a symphony in paint. The four-day workshop format consisted of Michelle painting a demo, with loads of instruction and wisdom, on of the first and third mornings and in the afternoons, we would paint one of the two models while Michelle provided guidance and critique. Day three there will be two new models, males and of African American descent, a completely different complexion, facial structure and palette. Demonstrating two separate approaches to portraiture.

Take-aways from Michelle Dunaway Workshop

I have pages and pages of notes representing only a smattering of the things I learned, Michelle talks really fast! Here is a random listing of some of my faves.

  • Always State three intentions for a study painted Alla Prima.
    In other words,what are the things you want to convey most?
    – Is it the light?
    – is it color?
    – is it contrast?
    – is it an emotion?
  • – is it a likeness?
  • Painting is like drawing with puzzle pieces that fit together like a mosaic.
  • Paint the abstract shapes not the eyelid the iris or the pupil but the abstract shapes you see.
  • It’s not how fast but how accurate.
  • Better to have a small area really accurate then a covered canvas covered from edge to edge incorrectly.
  • Learn to not be so attached to whatever you put it down. It may need to change.That said, don’t change to chase the light or the model or the article of clothing but to make drawing more accurate.
  • So it is better to do something bold, then, selectively soften, than it is to be timid.
  • Brilliance tends towards color not white.
  • “Don’t paint everything in sight, paint things that make your heart beats faster.” quote by Daniel Gerhartz
  • The focal point should be completed to a higher degree of realism or resolve. Linger in these areas
  • Returning to them with each pass
  • Have Patience!
  • Michelle Dunaway thinks of painting as “a way of saying Amen visually”
  • Michelle uses small paint color tiles because she wants small color changes throughout the painting for added interest. In other words, Keep simple values but use many color variations.
  • Being attached to your vision but don’t be attached to each stroke take the leap sometimes. You need to let go of the good to get to the great.


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A Transformative Workshop with Dawn Emerson

A Transformative Workshop with Dawn Emerson


One Word: Transformative

transform |transˈfôrmverb with obj. ] make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of: 

I mentioned to someone that I would be attending a pastel workshop led by Dawn Emerson she said she had heard great things about her and her workshops in fact one person had told her it was “transformative to her own art”. After two days of incredible instruction and motivation, I would agree, wholeheartedly!

The title of the workshop “Dance with Pastels” was a literal description of her style of instruction. With progressive steps she led us in a dance with our artwork both figuratively and literally. “Lead with your belly button”, “feel the form and lightly describe with the charcoal”” find the rhythm and locate *******repetition in your composition

Like a party whisperer she had the energy and personality to take the wallflowers away from the edges and onto the dance floor, so to speak.

She shared the ups and downs of her career, She encourages trying various mediums and mixing multiple media, exploring and releasing creativity by letting go of pressures we put on ourselves about cost and perfection. working in series to explore all of the elements of a subject or composition.

I wish I had written this idea down verbatim she shared about painting the same thing many times. but it went something like this… if I were to paint you, the first couple times it would resemble you in appearance, then a couple more times, I would begin to pick up on your personal characteristics and your personality would begin to shine through, then after multiple sessions my feelings about you would be apparent. This idea has stuck with me and comes to mind often.

If you were to ask me one reason to take a workshop from Dawn, it would be very hard for me to narrow down. I think it would be, although there were 13 students in a two day workshop, she quickly picked up on each persons strengths, weaknesses and temperament. Then towards the end of the workshop took the time to guide each of us in ways to improve our work and enrich our artistic experiences.

I am embarrassed to say this post has been in my “drafts” folder since October 2014. I wanted to do it justice. Elaborate more, gush more over Dawns work and teaching skills and share some big plans that developed as a result of this workshop… Best laid plans.

Most of the time my ideas are bigger and more involved than I have the time to implement. Since that time I have lost a good bit of my photos and a whole lot of my recall!

Just take it from me if the opportunity arises to take a class from Dawn Emerson, jump at the chance! I promise it will be transformative,_MG_5622

Review of Paint the Peninsula

Review of Paint the Peninsula

This post takes place over a full week…and as the judge Jim Lamb said, “Art is a very subjective subject”.

The “Paint the Peninsula” plein aire competition  is in full swing on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington

By invitation 30 artists are juried and chosen. Artists are required to paint en plein aire at various locations throughout the Olympic Peninsula throughout the week. Each artist summits six paintings and participate in the quick draw competition. The winners of the competition will be announced at a reception at Port Angles Fine Arts Center with the artists, Saturday evening.

Sandy Newman

Sandy Newman

On Tuesday we met Sandy Newman at the John Wayne Marina painting a beautiful sea and landscape. She graciously told me about her painting and some of the event details.
I was intrigued by her brushstrokes and the. Nuances of color she achieved through well place color and direction of the strokes. The painting of the coastline was in my top three of the entire event. Somehow I failed to get a photo.

sculpture gardens @ Peninsula fine arts Center

sculpture gardens @ Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

Friday went by the Port Angles Fine Arts Center to view the artwork that had been submitted so far. I was blown away, inspired to paint and incredibly impressed by the eyes of others.

Farmers market demo with Emiliya Lane

Farmers market demo with Emiliya Lane

Saturday morning at Port Angeles farmers market two artist were demonstrating their plein aire skills. Emiliya Lane was very approachable and clearly at ease showing how it’s done. Depicting a scene in a few short hours, usually paired within a 2-3 hour period, before the lighting changes dramatically.

I also met Jeanne Edwards there a very talented local artist, with a warm smile and encouraging spirit. Later at the reception while admiring her paintings she had some very encouraging words for this budding artist.

Saturday evening we attended the reception at the art center.

Jane Wallis, Third prize.

Jane Wallis, Third prize.

Third place was awarded to Jane Wallace. The judges comments, Structure of design, movement of brushwork, loose quality, how it reads. Dynamic

Ned Mueller

Ned Mueller

  • Ned Mueller recieved 2nd place the judges insights, Percpective takes the viewer back into distance, grays warm and cool juxtaposed to bright colors…

    Bruce Gomez

    Bruce Gomez

  • Bruce Gomez is the first prize winner. Jim’s  pronouncement,Bruce is an expert pastel colorist, Great composition -large simplified masses with the finesse of strong light and detail.
  • Best in Show
  • Best in show went to Eric Jacobson the judge based his choice on, the most impressive body of work.Exemplifies confidence with brushstrokes, a decisive stroke laid down with confidence in the right color temperature and value. Simple statement,  strong in technique, color and statement.

Our dear friends purchased two paintings that evening,

and John and I were torn trying to choose a favorite we could both agree on. I have a couple still in the back of my mind I will seek out when I sell a couple more myself 🙂 Some of my favorites were by,

Jeanne Edwards

Ken Faulks

Maria Josenhans

Emiliya Lane 

Susan Ogilive 

Gretha Linwood

Sandy Newman

visit their sites you’ll be rewarded by beautiful images.

The festivities continued on Sunday with a family day, face painting, young artists painting a mural various set ups for demos and a food cart. The demos were fun to watch different artists approaches, perspectives and techniques while painting the same subject. There was nice still life set up with sunflowers  pumpkins and gourds on blue plaid. Two models were hired to pose in the meadow under the shade trees.

I was once again inspired by the event and impressed by the caliber of artists present. I took my sketchbook and felt welcomed by the other artists, though I am a beginner and, I even received some praise for my drawing! Though these were accomplished artist they most seemed to welcome my curiosity and questions. They seemed to have developed a strong camaraderie throughout the week, making the overall event a plesant one.