“A fabulous instructor, gorgeous venue, wonderful staff, great fellow artists...what's not to love?”

Our gallery and workshop spaces are in the historic Benicia Arsenal in Benicia, California. The arsenal is a large area comprised of many former military buildings, and the building we inhabit is a stately brick structure built in 1878. Spend a few hours or a whole weekend with us in Benicia, where you’ll find plenty of dining options, shops and antique stores on Benicia’s waterfront First Street, just a 3 minute drive from the historic Benicia Arsenal.

Upcoming Workshops


February 6-9 / Mary Mendla: Intuitive Landscape Painting in Mixed Media

February 6-9 / Mary Mendla: Intuitive Landscape Painting in Mixed Media


A 4-day workshop: Feb 06, Feb 07, Feb 08, Feb 09, 2020


Explore your personal relationship to the land and express it intuitively through abstract painting in oil, cold wax, and mixed media.  What deep emotions, memories, and responses does the natural world call forth from you? How can you express these visually on a painted surface?

Join us for inspiring demonstrations, encouragement and practice as you learn to trust the intuitive voice in your painting.  Explore the beauty of the Bay Area landscape as inspiration and have fun while you share creativity with others in this three-day workshop.  You will learn how to find your meaning in the landscape and learn techniques to communicate this through your imagery.

We will work in a variety of media, beginning with an under-painting of acrylic and ink.  Complex textures and color subtleties will be created through additional layering with oil, cold wax, oil pigment sticks, dry pigment, and other mark making products to enhance complexity and depth in the work.  You will learn how to control value, color, and composition for emotional emphasis and how to suggest through abstraction rather than to simply illustrate a scene.

Mary is especially gifted at guiding students into greater self confidence in the creative process and helping them to find their unique artistic voices.  Many techniques and approaches will be introduced to give beginners encouragement and confidence while the challenges inherent in oil & cold wax methods will push more advanced students to expand their artistic range.  Supportive critique of students work throughout the workshop will provide insights for success in students’ progress.


Each day, we will spend time out-doors in the beauty of the Bay Area for inspiration (weather permitting). Photos and sketches made during our outings will provide an entry point to face the blank canvas. We will work intuitively, not representationally from these photos and sketches to express our connection to place.

Day One: Introduction to mixed media products and procedures. Discussion of our personal connection to landscape as an abstract subject. We will prep several painting surfaces with acrylic and ink to build on throughout the workshop.

Day Two: We will begin building layers in oil and cold wax medium on our painting panels. Composition and color theory will be discussed as a way to emphasize emotion and meaning in abstract landscapes. Photos and sketches made out-doors will be evaluated as inspiration for paintings.

Day Three: Paintings will be developed with the addition of texture, mixed media materials and collaged pieces from our sketches.

Day Four: Completion of paintings, discussion and critique, and wrap up.

About the Instructor, Mary Mendla:

I am a painter, fiber artist, and apparel designer living in Grafton, Wisconsin.  I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 1992. Since that time, I have been on a creative journey that has led me in many directions; painting, teaching, fabric surface design, sculptural fiber art, and apparel design.  I cannot choose one over the others; they each bring forth essential parts of my creative Spirit.

My non-objective and tonal landscape paintings are created through varied processes involving oil and acrylic paint, cold wax medium, and a variety of other mixed media materials.  Layer upon layer of paint, dry pigment, metal leaf, and additional media are intuitively applied to a painting surface.  These layers are scraped through or dissolved with solvent, additional paint, and mixed media is applied. This process repeats itself until a rich, textural surface reveals a composition and meaning begins to become apparent.  The archaeology of the painting is uncovered and the history buried between the layers are revealed through these processes.  The meaning of each painting evolves through intuition and is expressed through choices made of the images and textures that appear.

The enjoyment I get through creativity is very much enhanced by the unpredictable qualities inherent in the intuitive processes that I work with.


Instructor Website:

By purchasing this workshop, I agree with theWaiver of Liability, Medical Release, Photography/Videotape Release and Indemnification Agreement and fully understand its contents. I am aware that this is a release of liability and a contract between myself and Okey Dokey Inc/Jen Tough Gallery, and that I do it of my own free will. I also understand the Refund Policies and the potential consequences thereof, set forth by Okey Dokey Inc/Jen Tough Gallery and agree to such terms.found here.

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