upcoming workshops

Mary Mendla: Intuitive Landscape Painting in Mixed Media
to Feb 9

Mary Mendla: Intuitive Landscape Painting in Mixed Media


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

Location: Studio Space #29, 940 Tyler St, Benicia, CA 94510

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.


Day one: Introduction to process and materials with a slide presentation, discussion of the personal intent behind the imagery each student is choosing.
Panel preparation with acrylic and water based media
Time spent outdoors for inspiration

Day two: Discussion of personal meaning in artists' connection to the landscape.
Two foundation layers of oil & cold wax applied to panels/paper in AM
Discussion and planning of composition and color as it relates to the intended emotion of the works.
Time spent outdoors.
Development of composition and imagery with additional layering.
Introduction of mixed media products

*Day three: Continuing development of paintings and experience with mixed media products.
Discussion of how successfully the choices made through color, composition, and value are working to communicate the artist's intent.

*Day four: Completion of paintings.
Discussion of effective presentation choices to enhance the meaning of a piece such as framing or mounting a substrate or leaving a panel unframed.

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 & mixed media is applied, and 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 is 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. 

My textiles are created primarily through the techniques of Shibori and direct dye application.  Shibori, the ancient Japanese art form of folding, tying, and binding fabric, creates intricate variations in color and pattern which reveal themselves as the fabric is untied and dried - much like watching a film photograph as it is developed in the darkroom.  My apparel line, Facets Fashions,  has grown out of my passion for this work with textile.  My attempt to create beauty on textile is then brought to life on the human form through its transformation into a garment.  (To view a current collection of my apparel, go to 

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:

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Carol Dalton: Working Small
10:00 AM10:00

Carol Dalton: Working Small


Date: October 19, 2019 / 10:00-4:00 / doors open at 9:30

Location: Studio Space #29, 940 Tyler St, Benicia, CA 94510

Small collage & mixed media: A one day workshop with Carol Dalton
I am excited to share my experiences "working small" in a one-day workshop. Over the years I have been asked many times if I would do this, so I am now obliging!
Whether working small as an end in itself, or as another tool in your toolbox to prepare for larger works, I believe working small is one of the most important and rewarding art practices.
In this workshop, we will be working on an "intimate scale"-two to six inches! We will work on many pieces during the day, focusing on preparing a "ground" and then collage and mixed media application. We will also start a notebook of small works, discuss presentation, and how to develop larger works. There will be a short critique to end the class.
Students are encouraged to bring along their own collage materials, a favorite brush or two, scissors, glue stick, watercolors, pencils and pens, and a small notebook with heavy watercolor paper. Everything else will be provided. Since we will be painting and gluing, please dress accordingly.

About the Instructor:
Carol Dalton is a painter, and also works with mixed media, collage, and printmaking. Her most current work has to do with the land and sea, and continues her basic exploration into the consequences of human involvement in our environment.
Small works play a big part of Carol's art making. Exhibiting in many juried and invitational small works shows, she also juried the "Gems" small works exhibit for Arts Benicia in 2013.
Growing up in Southern California, Carol attended the Santa Barbara Art Institute, a part of Brooks Institute, from 1971-1974 on scholarship. Carol considers herself primarily a self taught artist since she feels exploration and discovery of process paramount in the development of her art.
Dalton has been exhibiting for over twenty-five years in Bay Area galleries, including over a dozen solo exhibits, and has work included in the Crocker Art Museum, Monterey Art Museum, and corporate collections including Kaiser Permanente. Carol's artwork is also included in many private collections, locally and abroad. She is represented by Jen Tough Gallery.
Carol divides her time between working with her husband Lowell in their business Benicia Frame, and her studio in the Arsenal Art District along the Carquinez Straits in Benicia, California.

Instructor Website:

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Erin McCluskey Wheeler: Color & Collage
to Sep 29

Erin McCluskey Wheeler: Color & Collage

We will explore color and composition and use collage as a starting point for painting and further mixed-media work. Students will have the option to create several small pieces to experiment with color composition, layout, gluing and connecting techniques, or to create one larger piece. This is a wonderful opportunity to re-purpose and give new life to old painting, drawings, prints, and photographs - if it’s on paper and it’s okay to cut it up - you can use it! In this class you will generate new ideas for creating abstract art and think deeply about color and composition through the fun, accessible medium of collage. Open to artists of all levels of experience.

Day 1: We will sort through materials brought in by the instructor, items you have brought in from home and create complimentary collage materials with paint and paper to build our collage(s) 

Exploring color 

Creating a color story of papers 

Cutting forms and working with composition 

Day 2: We will work on solidifying our compositions and talk about editing techniques in great depth. We will look at ways to connect and enhance the composition with drawn and painted lines and how to edit with white paint and perhaps further cutting. 

•Working with disrupted forms and connecting shapes

•Building layers and the editing process

Materials to bring: 

Collage material you’d like to work with 

Mixed media weight paper and/or watercolor paper - any size you'd like to work on. You will need 5 - 10 sheets of at least 9 x 12 paper and perhaps one larger sheet of watercolor paper.

Paint (opaque watercolor, gouache or acrylic) in colors you like or a set of mixed colors

At least one small detail paint brush and one larger paint brush

A brush you’re okay with using for glue

A small container for water

One of the following glues: Yes Paste, Mod Podge (Matte), or any acrylic gel medium (matte, regular body)

Scissors - ideally a short blade scissors (2 - 3 inch blade)


A self healing cutting mat and X-acto knife

Cradled birch panel(s), unprimed, or any size smaller than 12 x 12

Materials provided: 

Additional collage material 

Additional glue and paint to experiment with

About the Instructor: Her work, like quilting, is full of strong and vivid color combinations, asymmetrical and strip piecing, reused old material, uneven and large line work (stitching), and the use of hidden protective charm symbols. Erin views her work of cutting and piecing and gluing and painting over as a method to record and share events of familial and personal importance.  In piecing together these disparate pieces, she gets to explore the themes of regeneration and rebirth, of bringing new life to old things.  

All of the pieces in the Papers Series start with accumulated and collected paper: postcards from family and friends, envelopes, sketchbook pages, her daughter’s doodles, old wallpaper and photographs, hand-painted papers, and office supply stickers. Erin pieces the papers together following colors, forms, and shapes. There is often the suggestion of topography and water, botanical forms, and big curves of space.

Erin is represented by Jen Tough Gallery


California College of the Arts / MFA, Writing

Beloit College, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude / BA in Studio Art (Honors)

BA in Art History + East Asian Studies

Class will run 10:00-4:00 each day. Doors open at 9:30 AM each day.

Unlimited + free bottled waters, coffee and tea (bring your own carafe or mug). Sodas and sparkling waters available for $1 each.

Limited to 12 students.

Lunch: We offer a delivered lunch from one restaurant (with limited selections) each day for $20, payable each morning of class. Students are also welcome to bring their own lunch and store in the refrigerator, or take a longer break and drive to Benicia’s First Street, 2 minutes away, for a variety of dining options.

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SOLD OUT Shem's 3-over-3 Abstraction By Design
to Sep 22

SOLD OUT Shem's 3-over-3 Abstraction By Design

“I had an excellent time at Shem’s workshop! Shem really took the time to walk us through the process of “Abstraction by Design” His one on one approach really helped in times I felt I was creatively stuck. I would definitely recommend his workshop and look forward to future opportunities!”

One of the gallery’s most sought after instructors and a favorite of collectors and students alike, Shem will be teaching for three full days this September. This is a very special class you don’t want to miss… Fun and informative, supportive and enlightening are words that others have used to describe Shem’s workshops. 

In this 3- day  workshop you will be creating a modular (3 over 3)  panel installation. As with our past triptych workshops, each panel should work on their own  and be integral to the installation as well.  We will establish a limited color palette with both our collage papers and paint. This parameter allows us to fully focus on our design, mark making and  balance skills, as well as permit a manageable interplay between our panels.

Students will leave the workshop with a in-depth knowledge of Shem’s techniques and materials to use in their own studio practice. Because the number of students is limited to 12, there will be a lot of one-on-one instruction opportunities. This class is appropriate for both beginning students who wish to learn techniques, or returning students who wish to refine skills with more personalized instruction.

About the Instructor: Shemchuk “Shem”, known for his multi-layered mixed media works on panel, is a Bay Area artist with decades of experimental art making experience. A career dating from the 1980’s includes photography, installation, paint- ing, mixed media and a commitment to art mentoring and instruction. He is represented by Jen Tough Gallery.

“Excellent instruction and I’m excited about the possibilities unlocked over the course of the workshop. I’ll be mining them for years to come.”

Class will run 10:00-4:00 each day. Doors open at 9:30 AM each day.

Unlimited + free bottled waters, coffee and tea (bring your own carafe or mug). Sodas and sparkling waters available for $1 each.

Limited to 12 students.

Lunch: We offer a delivered lunch from one restaurant (with limited selections) each day for $20, payable each morning of class. Students are also welcome to bring their own lunch and store in the refrigerator, or take a longer break and drive to Benicia’s First Street, 2 minutes away, for a variety of dining options.

Materials to bring:

6- 16”x16” x 1.5” cradled wood panels. (See Blick)

1 qt “white” satin or semi gloss house paint. Any brand

1 qt. “Black” satin or semi gloss house paint.

2 qts. Gloss acrylic varnish

10-12 sheets black tissue paper (non bleed)

6+  Quart paint/mixing containers. Plastic, yogurt, cottage cheese containers work well

5-6 2” chip brushes. & stir stick

1-wide 6” 1 -narrow 1” metal putty knives

1- scrubber sponge & rags 

1 sheet 80 grit sandpaper.

Scissors & utility knife.

Various collage papers including: white/black/solid color/pattern/recycled paper as well.

Instructor: I will supply primary latex paint color, some collage papers, some tissue papers, sanding block, utility razor knife.

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Karen LeGault: Four Treasures of Asian Brush Painting
to Sep 8

Karen LeGault: Four Treasures of Asian Brush Painting


Dates: September 6, 7 + 8, 2019 / 3 days / 10:00-4:00 each day

Location: Studio Space #29, 940 Tyler Street, Benicia, CA 94510

While there are many lessons in Asian Brush Painting, there are four classics of flower painting in the tradition of Chinese Brush that substantially aid in the progress of the developing student. Together they are known as the “Four Treasures.”

Representing the four seasons and classes of plants, in each of four lessons we will learn how to get control of the various brush strokes that go into that particular subject. These brush strokes can be applied to many other subjects, plant, animal or landscape, giving a brush painter a sense of freedom to explore on their own.

Suitable for beginners and more experienced.

Plum Blossom - flowering trees
The stark naked beauty of winter branches that are bursting with new life, symbolize hope and potential.

Orchid - Grasses and bulbs.
New Growth, love, beauty, and graceful elegance are implied.

Bamboo principles are used in upright growing plants and trees.
Flourishing, abundance, growth, vigor and the symbol of the scholar.

Chrysanthemum - Ligneous broad-leafed plants with simple-petal flowers. Community, enduring friendships and graciousness in age are suggested.


We start with introduction to principles, warm up brush stroke exercises and then begin to actually create topic image step by step in black ink. If there is enough time color is also applied. If there is still time then we may attempt some variations

Materials Fee: $5.00, paid to instructor first day of class

All materials provided by Instructor

About the Instructor:

Karen LeGault, fine art painter since 1967, painting professionally since 1993, is joyfully committed to visual poetry, light, transformation and healing, through her paintings that bring energy and serenity into the world.  Her lush, distilled compositions express beauty, fragrance, rhythm and form in a magical palette where spirit is reflected through matter.

Homeowners, art collectors, garden appreciators, nature lovers, healers, interior designers and architects who appreciate contemporary fine art with an ancient root that energizes, calms and inspires, turn to her to collect and commission original paintings that contribute to peaceful, welcoming and harmonious environments.
Over thirty years of spiritual practices and study, including Tai Chi, meditation, feng shui and clairvoyance along with a life time of painting contribute to a rare sensibility, energetic while serene, delicate yet powerful.

She applies her extensive artistic skill, mastery and sensitivity to compose and balance color, shape, form and depth that engages all the senses, offering gorgeous paintings, commissions or prints that define the spaces you live, work and breathe in with vibrant color and life. Ultimately Karen enjoys working with you to provide and create paintings that make your walls and heart sing and dance.

Instructor’s Website:

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Suzanne Stroebe: Mixed Media Relief Sculptures
to Sep 1

Suzanne Stroebe: Mixed Media Relief Sculptures


Dates: August 25, August 31 + September 1, 2019 / 12:30-4:30

(note: this workshop is scheduled a week apart to accommodate drying)

Location: Studio Space #29, 940 Tyler St, Benicia, CA 94510

Material Fee: $30 paid to instructor first day of class

This workshop is for artists and creatives of all skill levels who would like to begin to explore creating dynamic, mixed-media sculptural objects that can easily displayed on a wall.

In this workshop we will explore papier mache, air-dry clays, and the use of simple materials including wire, wood, cardboard, paper, and found objects. Sculpture is an excellent way to use found and recycled objects, both from nature and personal objects including jewelry, photographs, drawings, and fabric.

Each process will be clearly demonstrated by the instructor, so those without a background in art or sculpture are encouraged to attend. The first day will be spent creating a base for our sculptures; we'll return after they have dried to add color and details. Each attendant will complete at least one piece in the workshop, but there is the possibility to make more.


Day 1:
Intro: Look at artwork examples for inspiration / introduction to relief sculpture
Demo: Demo creating an armature, then building on it papier mache, paper clay, wood, and/or wire
Work time: attendants work on armatures and sculptures, with guidance/ help from instructor
Reflection: Look at armatures/bases and share ideas for color, details, forms to add next week. Discuss found materials that can be brought in next week to add to sculptures.

Day 2 & 3:
Intro: look at more examples, discussing use of color/ found objects/details
Demo: Demonstration of applying paint and/or papier mache with colored paper to add color, how to incorporate more materials into the sculptures. (Day 3: attaching wire/D rings to the back so sculptures can be hung easily on a wall)
Reflect: Share and discuss completed works as a group!

About the Instructor:

Born 1981 San Francisco, CA

Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY


MFA in Fine Arts, Parsons the New School for Design (2009)

BA in Drawing/Painting, University of California, Santa Cruz (2004)

Instructor’s Website:

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Mark Ashworth: Paints & Mediums from Scratch
10:00 AM10:00

Mark Ashworth: Paints & Mediums from Scratch


Date: August 24, 2019 / 10:00-12:30 / doors open at 9:30

Location: Studio Space #29, 940 Tyler St, Benicia, CA 94510

My paintings are rather large so I frequently make my paints from scratch as a cost savings measure. The process is fairly simple and I'll demonstrate how I make oils, watercolors and gouache. I also use both genuine and imitation gold leaf so we can also talk about the pros and cons of the two with some demonstrations of the techniques involved.


Start with making a watercolor medium, next how that can become gouache and then oil paints. second part will be demonstrating how to prepare a surface and apply both genuine and imitation gold leafs.

About the Instructor:

Californian artist Mark Ashworth has been creating impactful extravaganzas of color and design for over 30 years. While some works can be petite, such as his gold leaf series,  most of his paintings are on a large scale. In all cases, the goal is to create an inspiring and transportive atmosphere for the viewer. 

Mark’s paintings have been shown in exhibits throughout the west, including the Diego Rivera Gallery and regular showings at the SFMOMA Artists Gallery. His pieces have been exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and much more.  

From an early age, Mark has been forging his own creative path. He knew that he wanted to be an artist from the age of four, and has worked in oils since he was first exposed to the medium in high school. He was granted an art scholarship to Universityof Nevada, Las Vegas but found he was already a “big fish” on campus there, and didn’t feel challenged—so he moved to Los Angeles where a friend was studying at the California Institute of the Arts. 

It was after arriving in California that Mark felt he had finally found his home and artistic community. He immersed himself in his creative education—initially auditing so many classes at the California Institute of the Arts that the dean thought he was a student. Soon he moved to San Francisco, where he earned an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute studying under mentors such as Richard Shaw, Tom Holland, and Sam Tchakalian. It was there that he developed his current style.

Many of Mark’s paintings are references to real objects or places, while others are purely abstract designs. He is avid about pursuing sources of inspiration, from his own garden to wild landscapes to urban environments. He studies the linked and blended shadows thrown by everyday objects, which serve as mirrors for the unusual forms in his own paintings. 

From the raw inspiration, Mark works and reworks forms on the canvas—initially adding layers of shape and color, and then paring down this vibrant foundation with the liberal application of neutral negative space. The process is entirely emotional and instinctive, but the final result is the reconstruction of simplicity out of chaos, while maintaining an underlying sense of dynamic action and tension. 

 Mark continually feeds his creative instincts on a diet of art. He tailors his vacations around museum collections, and works professionally as an art mover. His job allows him to see little-known and high-end collections for galleries and private owners. Inspirations range from the playful Bauhaus forms of Paul Klee to the simple spontaneity of Cy Twombly. 

Instructor’s Website:

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Pamela Stefi Toki: Clay Monoprinting
to Aug 18

Pamela Stefi Toki: Clay Monoprinting


Date: August 17 + 18, 2019 / 10:00-4:00 / doors open at 9:30 am

Location: Studio Space #29, 940 Tyler St, Benicia, CA 94510

Learn the unique process of printing from a clay slab surface to develop one-of-a-kind monoprints. Student's designs, patterns, and artistic expressions are quickly and easily transferred from newsprint, via colored clay slip to a damp clay slab, or expressions can be painted directly onto the clay slab, from which a print is pulled.


Artist Introductions, introduction of what clay printing entails, demonstration of techniques throughout day one and two, students apply techniques, printing
(no press required).

About the Instructor:

Pamela Stefl Toki, monoprint artist from Oakland, California, creates clay monoprints and ink monoprints. Stefl Toki graduated from Mills College with an M.A. in Educational Leadership and a B.S. in Special Education from California University of Pennsylvania. She has been a teacher of special needs children for over 25 years in public schools. Toki is currently employed by Orinda Union School District in California with Educational Specialist and Administrative credentials. Stefl Toki studied with master clay printmaker Mitch Lyons, the originator of clay monoprints, in Santa Fe, New Mexico during the summers of 2001, 2002, and 2003.


  • Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, New Castle, Maine, 2003.

Exhibitions include:

  • Arte, Misia Gallery, Sedona Arizona, 2003

  • Paradise Ridge Winery, Santa Rosa, California, 2004

  • The Loft, Palm Springs, California, 2005

  • Osceola Gallery, Emeryville, California, 2006

  • Museo de Arte, Mazatlan, Mexico, 2009

  • Library Art Gallery, Orinda, California, 2010

  • 525 Market Street, San Francisco, California, 2010

  • Craft and Cultural Arts Gallery, Oakland, California, 2011

  • Village Theater Art Gallery, Danville, California, 2012

  • Epperson Gallery, Crockett, California, 2014

  • Library Art Gallery, Orinda, California, 2015

Clay Monoprint Workshops:

  • Sonoma Community Center, Lecture and Workshop, Sonoma, California, 2007.

  • Heaven on Earth, Workshop, Todos Santos, Mexico, 2015.

Materials List:

-water spritzer bottle
-1 to 2 Hake brushes (ceramic supply store-teacher will supply additional, as needed)
-two tablets of newsprint (18 x 24"-100 sheets)
-variety of different sized, quality paintbrushes

Materials Fee: $40 (paid to instructor first day of class)

Instructor website:

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Louise Victor: A New Lens, Working with Abstraction
to Jul 14

Louise Victor: A New Lens, Working with Abstraction

Louise Victor: A New Lens, Working with Abstraction


Two full days of instruction with Bay Area Artist Louise Victor in our new project space with lunch included both days.

We briefly trace the history of abstraction, beginning with Hilma von Klint, who was the first abstractionist, through Kandinsky, Mondrian, Gorky and the Abstract Expressionist to modern abstraction.

Through drawing experiments, we learn how to find forms and structure for our abstractions. There are several techniques for doing this, which I demonstrate. Participants will experiment and play with these methods over the two days, leading to a firm development of a personal formal vocabulary. 

We also discuss the ways in which we can describe space and movement within the abstraction. Using different techniques such as: overlap, negative space, texture and color, the two days culminate by painting vibrant, exciting abstractions with solid structure and intention.

We’ll start by an introduction and discussion/slides/photos, followed by demonstrating different ways of achieving abstraction: cut and paste, different perspectives and scale, following the line, drawing the negative and working within a structure.

First day - review of abstraction (history and techniques), drawing, experimenting and investigating the possibilities and a quick review of color’s spatial properties

Second day- selection of method/drawing for painting, laying out the painting, setting up to paint and painting

Attendees will learn new ways of seeing elements and objects to apply to their own work.

About Louise Victor:

Louise Victor lives in San Francisco, California, with her husband, the poet, William Cirocco. She is a practicing artist and educator. She has worked in most visual media, including printmaking, photography, installation, encaustic, sculpture and painting.

Louise has had solo shows throughout the US and gives numerous workshops throughout the SFBay Area. Her work has been curated by Peter Gordon, Howard Fox, Renny Pritikin, Judy Chicago and with special recognition from Donald Kuspit. Many private and public art collections include her work. Along with her art education, Louise trained as a pilot. She became one of the first women to fly for a major commercial airline and the second woman in the world to become a Captain on the Boeing 767.

Louise Victor has been working as an artist for over 40 years. She is particularly interested in the how and why of art: what techniques make a particular idea work and why are they successful. Her years of extensive research and study has led to a passion for helping artists expand their creativity and move their work to the next level. Along with private instruction, she holds workshops at the ICB in Sausalito, Arts Benicia and Marin MOCA.



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San Miguel de Allende, MX with Michael Shemchuk
to Jun 29

San Miguel de Allende, MX with Michael Shemchuk

4-Over-4 Abstraction by Design

with Michael Shemchuck “Shem”

A Five Day Workshop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Join us in San Miguel de Allende June 23-29 for a once in a lifetime class with Micheal Shemchuk (“Shem”), where you’ll dive deep into mixed media, paper and paint while in one of the most inspirational and artistic cities in the world.

You’ll go home with a completed 8-panel piece able to fit in your suitcase, and armed with new tools, techniques and knowledge to apply to your own work for years to come.

You’ll be creating a gorgeous, 8-panel installation utilizing all of Shem’s trademark methods of design using papers and paint along with a process of scrubbing, sanding and scraping to reveal and discover patterns, shapes and textures. Shem, known for his multi-layered mixed media works on panel, is a Bay Area artist with decades of experimental art making. A career dating from the 1980’s includes photography, installation, painting, mixed media and a commitment to art mentoring and instruction.

One of the country’s most sought after instructors, Shem is full of enthusiasm, support and boundless creative energy. Shem is known for signature bold abstracted mixed media works with paint and paper on panels that involve a process of layering and revealing, creating both intricate and graphic compositions. He is fearless in his approach, and generous in sharing his skills and knowledge with student lucky enough to study with him.

“Brilliant, unique technique taught by master teacher - generous with his expertise and his superb eye. Excellent instruction and i’m excited about the possibilities unlocked over the course of the workshop. I’ll be mining them for years to come.”

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Melissa Mohmmadi: Contemplative Drawing
to Jun 16

Melissa Mohmmadi: Contemplative Drawing

Join us June 15 and 16, 2019 in the historic Benicia Arsenal for Melissa Mohammadi’s Contemplative Drawing: Finding Compositional Elements through Still Life Drawing

This 2-day workshop revolves around the discipline and surrender of observational drawing. Students with no drawing experience will enjoy a solid foundation in rigorous drawing from life, and students who are already working on their own will find an encouraging space to take risks with their work, deepen their language and explore new tempo.

We will cover fundamentals: measuring, scale, balance, rhythm and repetition, theme and variation, negative space, value, contour drawings and line quality (line weight, speed, energy, edge). I will discuss the body mechanics that give us full control of our drawing tools.

We will glean elements of design from still life material to fuel and propel our compositions. Reacting to drawings as they form, we will read their visual language and allow their marks, energy and scale to inform the next stages of the composition.

Drawing from life will give us the permission to slow waaaay down — to take a reprieve from the multiple streams at our fingertips, all our responsibilities and daily concerns and enjoy the effects of mindfulness. I will provide still life material from nature (shells, pinecones, botanical elements, driftwood) as well as simple white and wooden geometric shapes. Students are welcome to bring still life material as well.

I am not concerned in this class (or in my practice) in a distinction between drawing and painting, all media is welcome. I will conduct demonstrations on paper in graphite, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, and pen and ink.

Students may choose to complete a series of observational studies, work through one or two compositions, and/or begin several works to continue on their own.

At the end of each day, we will look at all the work together and discuss how individual drawings are moving our eyes through compositions, share struggles/successes

Melissa is represented by Jen Tough Gallery. She was included in the group show, “Women in the Abstract” in 2017, and the San Francisco Popup “Wild Things” in February 2019, and will be part of a 2-person show, “Oscillate” with Jenny Phillips April 27 - May 20, 2019.

Learn more about Melissa Mohmmadi on the Jen Tough Gallery website or on her website.

Doors open at 9:30 / Class begins at 10:00 / Class ends at 4:00

We offer a delivered lunch from a limited menu each day for $20, or participants are welcome to leave the Arsenal and go to downtown Benicia (a 2 minute drive) or bring their own lunch.

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Airiel Design: Learn to Design your Artist Website: A Step by Step Approach
12:00 PM12:00

Airiel Design: Learn to Design your Artist Website: A Step by Step Approach


Date: June 01, 2019 / 12:00-4:00

Location: Studio Space #29, 940 Tyler St, Benicia, CA 94510

You know it is important to have an online presence as an artist. You've put in the studio time. It's time to share your work with the world, but how? In a few hours I will take you step by step through the process of creating your online presence using Squarespace—one of the most popular, artist friendly platforms in the world.


1. Preview of Artist and Photography website portfolio examples
2. How to curate/organize your own artwork
3. The difference between a bio and an artist statement.
4. The importance of good photography
5. Image preparation for the web
6. Choosing a Squarespace Template
7. Pros and Cons of different Gallery examples within Squarespace.
8. Design Styles and Typography Choices
9. Going Live!

About Airiel Design and Airiel Mulvaney:

Ok. Let's talk about you first. You've been prolific in your studio. Your art is surrounding you and you are ready to move it out into the world. You are thinking, "Do I seek gallery representation or do I sell my work online?" Either way you need a professional presence online to showcase your work. 

This is where I, Airiel Mulvaney, lead designer of the team steps in. I have more than 25 years' experience as an art director, graphic designer, and project manager for corporations, ad agencies, universities and arts organizations.

One highlight of my career has been to work with the John Stevenson Gallery in New York City for twenty years. As their marketing and website designer I was immersed in images of exceptional artists and photographers whose work had a profound and energizing effect on me. It was an awe inspiring experience. I learned to step out of the way as a designer and let the artwork speak for itself. It has so much to say.

I'm also a completely focused and dedicated artist, have been a consultant and curator for multiple art exhibitions, and adhere to the belief that art will save the world!

I look forward to working with you and your art!

Airiel Mulvaney 
Lead Designer, Airiel Design Studios

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Pat Calabro: Pour with Pat
12:00 PM12:00

Pat Calabro: Pour with Pat


Date: May 26, 2019 / 12:00-4:00

Location: Studio #29, 940 Tyler St, Benicia, CA 94510

Learn the poured acrylic painting technique including paint recipes, pouring mediums, and additives. Pat will demonstrate different methods of pouring paint to show results. Students will have the opportunity to try each technique and will develop their own individual style.


We will start with small items such as diskettes and move to other substrates. I will also do some demo's on butcher paper. Each student will create their own work and I will provide boxes to take work home. I will have the students work in contained areas, which will keep paint within boundaries.

About the Instructor:

For most of my life, I have differentiated myself with humor and hard work.  I had no idea how important art would become to my life until I retired.  I merged my computer experience and art to obtain a graphic design certificate.

I moved on to a  ‘pour paint’ technique because I love texture.  Pour painting doesn’t use the same tools as traditional painting to create art. Often fluid paints are poured directly onto the chosen substrate and then manipulated by tilting or pushing the paint.

Creating art from an emotional place can be a good thing, but the downside of working without a plan is that I sometimes wind up with too much intensity in my work.  I tone down some areas to make places for the eye to rest.  I am learning that my art is a process and what I create may not be perfect.  I try to accept this and continue to put my work out anyway, knowing that some people will not understand it.  Some see what I see, and that is enough. This feeds my passion to do more.

Instructor Website:

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Hadas Tal: Urban Landscape Painting
to May 19

Hadas Tal: Urban Landscape Painting

Hadas Tal: Urban Landscape Painting


Learn in depth color theory, color temperature & value with direct demos & hands on discussion. Learn scale, composition, while interpreting & constructing an image from a photo reference of your choice that will result in an image that marries realism & abstraction. I will teach you to go beyond the photo reference.

I will go into detail with mark making, premixing your colors, shape, value, & scale & taking your work to the next level, allowing students to make solid development in their technique in a relatively short amount of time.

About the Instructor: Hadas Tal is a fine art painter born in Israel in 1975, raised in Fair Lawn, NJ
Studied Painting at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Studied drawing and painting at Rutgers University, New York Academy of Art, and the Art Students League of New York
Exhibited her work at the Annual Spring Show at the Academy of Art in 2011 and 2012.
Named Top Ten Artists to Watch in 2012 by California Home & Design Magazine, April Issue.
Chosen to participate in the Young Generation Matter Showcase at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, April 2012. 
Nominated for the 2012 SECA Art Award by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Hadas Tal has recently been featured in the SF Chronicle debuting her first Solo Show at
Paul Thiebaud Gallery - San Francisco, CA.
Hadas had her second Solo Show at Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco in January of 2018.

Hadas is represented by Maybaum Gallery in San Francisco

Hours: Class will run 10:00-5:00 each day. Doors open at 9:30 AM each day.

Unlimited + free bottled waters, coffee and tea (bring your own carafe or mug). Sodas and sparkling waters available for $1 each.

Limited to 12 students.

Lunch: We offer a delivered lunch from one restaurant (with limited selections) each day for $20, payable each morning of class. Students are also welcome to bring their own lunch and store in the refrigerator, or take a longer break and drive to Benicia’s First Street, 2 minutes away, for a variety of dining options.

Materials fee: $50 ~ payable to instructor first day of class

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Mira M White: Mixed Media Mashup
to Apr 28

Mira M White: Mixed Media Mashup


APRIL 26-28 / 3 Day Workshop with Mira M. White

This workshop offers new possibilities for artists who want to enrich their work by incorporating multiple media.  It focuses on the amazing possibilities available in combining acrylics with soft pastels and oil pigment sticks. It is also about creating work that strikes a deeper meaning for you.  We will be building layers, adding, subtracting, scraping, using both homemade and commercial stencils, using soft pastels and oil pigment sticks  as both a drawing and painting mediums.

Acrylics, soft pastels, water soluble graphite sticks, water soluble oil pastels, oil pigment sticks  will all contribute to this mixed media mash up!  I hope you will join me!

You are fascinated with Abstraction as a way to bring more personal meaning, excitement and  drama into your work.

You want to learn more about combining the soft pastel medium  with oil pigment sticks and how to incorporate it into your paintings.

You are obsessed with color, texture, and design and want to incorporate these elements more fully into your work:

You are fascinated with layering processes and the possibilities of layering and excavating- it is kind of an archeological dig.

You want to learn how to combine acrylics with pastels  and oil pigment sticks in a way that enhances rather than muddies.

You want to experiment with  mark making, doodling and develop a  more personal   calligraphy and visual vocabulary.

Class will run 10:00-4:00 each day. Doors open at 9:30 AM each day.

Unlimited + free bottled waters, coffee and tea (bring your own carafe or mug). Sodas and sparkling waters available for $1 each.

Limited to 12 students.

Lunch: We offer a delivered lunch from one restaurant (with limited selections) each day for $20, payable each morning of class. Students are also welcome to bring their own lunch and store in the refrigerator, or take a longer break and drive to Benicia’s First Street, 2 minutes away, for a variety of dining options.

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SOLD OUT Diane Williams + Chuck Potter: Painting Bold
to Mar 31

SOLD OUT Diane Williams + Chuck Potter: Painting Bold

Painting Bold With Acrylics & Other Mediums

Instructors: Diane Williams + Chuck Potter

$475 / lunch included each day

In this 3-day workshop you will learn to be BOLD. Learn about the different stages of making a painting as we guide you through the process. Mark making is distinctive as your fingerprint adding a personal touch to your painting. Marks can energize a painting or highlight movement, rhythm or direction. This workshop will emphasize composition and movement using gesture, color, contrast and texture. By making a mark and responding to the mark we will build the painting. This approach infuses the painting with the feeling of freedom and adventure.

We will introduce unpredictable materials such as homemade rust solutions for a patina of age, sumi ink to enhance movements, and other mediums to explore texture. We will teach a multi-layered approach to painting giving the work complexity and depth. Using bold brush strokes, connecting the body to the canvas, brush loading techniques, and multiple working surfaces we will create a cohesive body of work.

Instructor Bios

Chuck and Diane have gained recognition as bold abstract painters who infuse a deeper emotional content by their mastery of materials. They both hold Master of Fine Arts degrees in Studio Art and Consciousness studies from John F Kennedy University in Berkeley, California. Additionally, both have studied at the University of Hangzhou China, incorporating calligraphy, traditional Chinese landscape painting and Chinese medicine with their western art practices. Their studios are located in Benicia, CA. (I AN I Studio) and Greenville, CA. (Diamond I AN I Studio). Their works can be found in corporate, public, and personal collections nationally and worldwide. Chuck and Diane also have an extensive exhibition list and workshop background.

Class will run 10:00-4:00 each day. Doors open at 9:30 AM each day.

Unlimited + free bottled waters, coffee and tea (bring your own carafe or mug). Sodas and sparkling waters available for $1 each.

Limited to 12 students.

Materials list provided upon purchase.

Questions? Info@JenTough.Gallery

For more information and to register, click HERE

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SOLD OUT Sara Post: Landscape + Architecture Abstract Experiments
to Mar 10

SOLD OUT Sara Post: Landscape + Architecture Abstract Experiments

Landscape+Architecture: Abstract Experiments with Pigment Sticks, Oil Paint, Wax and Paper

with Sara Post (click for more information on this artist)

A 3-day workshop with lunch included each day

LOCATION: Benicia Arsenal: 940 Tyler Street, Benicia, CA 94510 / in the Ballroom

Landscape and our relationship to it is a powerful theme in contemporary abstraction. The Benicia Arsenal offers a unique combination of landscape—sky and water worlds, and architecture, massive buildings and boats.  Inspired by the land and our architectural interactions with it, workshop participants will use beautiful materials to focus on color and placement of abstract elements in order to express powerful thematic ideas. We’ll blend and combine soft pigment sticks with oil paint, wax and other mediums. Working on paper provides options not available on other surfaces while allowing flexibility and permission to break new ground. Economical and effective presentation ideas for finished work will be demonstrated. Open your imagination and come ready to explore and enhance your own artwork with “strategies to create miracles”.

Sara Post is a life long professional artist. She first gained national prominence for her artwork through her ceramic wall installations—paintings in clay—which formed the basis for her continuing interest in exploring layered surfaces. Her current work includes oil based mixed media paintings and paint based collage. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Arizona’s ceramics program with a master’s degree in studio art and art education.  Sara Post lives and works in Davis, California, maintaining a studio and classroom space at Art 26 in downtown Davis.

Artist Statement: I’m concerned with what it is to be present in the world— with exploring experiences of the extraordinary invention and majesty of nature as well as realities of the structure and limits involved in being human—all come together, layer upon layer. Contradictions abound. I try to work it out with lines, shapes and colors, using the language of abstraction. 

Sara is represented by Jen Tough Gallery. Look for her solo show at the gallery during this class.



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