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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:

Earlier Event: October 19
Carol Dalton: Working Small