ABOUT THE CLASSES
Sites We utilize over 20 local sites with landscapes that vary from wild forest vistas, waterscapes to historic farms and country homes, streets and gardens. Most sites are within a 15 minute drive from our Thornbury studio see the map. (NOTE: Officially, Thornbury falls under the regional name, The Blue Mountains). Instructors choose the sites they would like to visit. On the first day you will receive a list of sites for the week, with descriptions and location maps. In addition to the instructor, two coordinators are present at the workshop all day to manage logistics, assist you and answer questions. Coordinators can also assist in locating the sites. All sites will have washroom or porta-potty facilities. We also choose sites that have some shade for those hot summer days.
Studio We also have a spacious studio in St. Paul’s church in Thornbury (see a map on the About Us page). It has wide tables and a large overhead screen to enable all students to see clearly the demonstration by the artist.
Class Size We limit our class sizes to 20. We have found this to be a manageable number that ensures each student receives personal attention from the instructor and has sufficient room to set up close enough to the instructor to hear the lesson and see the demonstration,
Transportation and Lunch You are responsible for your own transportation to and from the sites or studio. We will assist by organizing car-pooling where feasible. The lunch break is usually an hour and you must supply your own lunch. Most students eat on site and pack their own lunch (we provide a cool box). Some of our sites are close enough to town or to a country market that it is possible to drive out for lunch.
Accommodation and Our Pets Policy You must arrange your own accommodation. The area is a popular 4-season tourist destination so there are many hotels, B&Bs and motels in the area. Some of our students rent cottages or stay with friends and make it a mini-vacation. Here are some accommodation listings to look into. Air B&B is also an option you may want to explore. Staying reasonably close to the studio’s location will ensure that you are within easy driving distance to all our sites. Please note that pets are not allowed on any of the sites or in the studio.
Art Supplies Students must bring their own art supplies. Water for painting is usually available on-site but in some cases that must be brought as well. Each instructor provides a list of necessary painting materials and this list is set to you upon registration. There are a few local art supply stores within a 30 minute drive. Here are a couple: Alexanders Art Shop, Collingwood and Birch & Benjamin Art Store, Thornbury.
Outline for the Week
So you’re thinking of registering but you’re not quite sure what to expect. You’re not alone. Whether this is your first plein air workshop or you have attended workshops elsewhere, you are bound to have questions about how ours is organized. Below is a summary of what to expect during your week with us.
Day 1 The first morning we’ll all meet at the studio in the lower level of St. Paul's Church in Thornbury (see a map on the About Us page). You will register, receive an information package, meet the rest of your class, your instructor and the workshop coordinators. Your information package contains site information, locations and directions, a daily schedule, name tags, workshop evaluation form etc. Your instructor will tell you how the week is likely to unfold. Each instructor runs his/her workshop slightly differently and chooses the sites to visit that week. Certainly, the weather forecast will help decide whether a day will be spent painting outdoors or in the studio.
Welcome Reception: On the second day of the five-day courses we will be hosting a welcome reception at the home of one of the Board Members after class to thank you for participating and to give you the opportunity to mingle with your fellow students and get to know them better. For the first course with Peter John Reid the reception will be on the 26th May, the first day of the course.
Days 2–(4)5 Set-up for classes normally begins at 8:30 am and, if it is a plein air day, you can travel directly to the site. You’ll have a map and the coordinators’ phone numbers in case you are having trouble finding a particular location or if questions or problems crop up. All locations are within a 10 to 20 min drive of the studio.
You should bring a folding chair/stool, easel, painting supplies, drinking water and paint water (in case there is not a supply on-site), sun screen, bug repellent, sun hat and anything else you might take when spending the day outside.
Each instructor supplies a list of necessary painting materials and this list is sent to you upon registration and can be found on the Homepage under supplies list for each artist.
Each morning, your instructor describes the focus of the lesson and demonstrates by painting the chosen scene. Following the demonstration there is ample time for you to paint and receive one-on-one time with your instructor. Depending on the complexity of the subject matter, there may be a morning session on one subject and an afternoon session on another at the same site. Time is also set aside during the day for the instructor to discuss the paintings with the group and offer critiques. Classes normally wrap-up by 4 p.m.
Because we limit our workshops to 20 students, one-on-one time with the instructor allows for a broad range of styles and levels of experience to come together, promoting robust and valuable group discussion and questions during our end-of-day critique session. It also gives you lots of opportunity to bounce ideas off other students as you paint.
The Result Our goal is to offer you an enjoyable workshop in which you feel comfortable, can paint at your own pace, interpret the landscape in your own way, try new techniques and receive constructive feedback that will help you master the “art” of plein air painting.