Santa Barbara class declares Independence

Students Paintings 

When people are encouraged to be more creative  than imitative in their art making, their true nature, style, and voice are free to explore.  I offer these examples as proof.

I just returned from conducting two one week workshops in Santa Barbara, CA sponsored by Ruth Ellen Hoag at the Whistle Stop Gallery. The works shown are the efforts of the students in the second week workshop.   I haven’t included the paintings from students first week-sorry for that oversight.

For many years my teaching followed the  usual instructive workshop template.  The days were divided between demonstrations, lectures, and critiques.  My present approach in my ‘mentored’ workshops is to spend much more time in individual consultations with the artists.  Now there are generally two demonstrations per week were I share concepts of identifying and building dominance and tension within compositions, and two group critiques.

The most exciting revelation in the group critiques is the vast variety of styles and approaches among the different artists. Most of the time during the workshop is devoted to private conversations geared toward clarifying the artists intention, goals and finding effective ways to express it.  I have found that the bigger and more inclusive the concepts are, the easier it is for an artist to find their own style and subject.

My thanks to every student in theSanta Barbara class, and every class I teach, for their willingness to explore possibilities rather than seeking  formulas for predictable success. It takes courage to let go of familiar safe habits and try things. The results are surprising and inspiring and very rewarding.  I am always thrilled and excited by the work produced  in these workshops.

Sampling of Student Works from Santa Barbara Workshop March 2018


Patti Dawson-Elli

Ruth Ellen Hoag


Ruth Ellen Hoag

Jacqui Beck 

Nancy Rossi
Ruth Armitage Liz Johnson Janice Lorber

Janice  LorberPatti Dawson-Elli
Loreta Landucci

Ruth ArmitageBart Tarman
Bart Tarman

Jacqui Beck

















Jonlee NunnWilliam Wesley



  • Jonlee Nunn

    Mar 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm Reply

    Your class was excellent! I like how you helped each of us to make our paintings better, giving us individual critiques, pointing out problem areas, and suggesting solutions.
    It is not easy changing bad habits. But, I now feel I can move forward with more confidence.
    I liked seeing paintings from our class and remembering the fun we had.m

  • Sarkis Antikajian

    Mar 26, 2018 at 5:25 am Reply

    Skip, this must have been a very inspiring and productive workshop, as seen in the participants’ amazing workshop works.

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