November 7 - 9, 2017. 
9:00 AM-4:00 PM

Many artists have an unnatural aversion to painting people, yet we know there is an attraction to the human form in a painting. Not only does including people in your work add interest and connection to the viewer, it takes the same skills as painting a landscape or still life.

The method Michael demonstrates and instructs will take you through the necessary steps to achieve your goals and give you tools to create a well-structured representation while still allowing for the expressive use of color and brushstroke.

Michael’s workshop will include insightful discussion of important aspects of figurative work such as composition and capturing a mood. You will spend time on exercises designed to heighten your techniques.

There will be real-time demonstrations as well as high-speed video demos of Michael Working in his studio.

Students of all levels and interests will enjoy Michael’s personal and up-front style of teaching as well as his inspirational approach to his creations.  

Students will leave prepared and challenged to move on to a new level of confidence in painting portraits in watercolor.

Watercolor Impressionism: Painting People from Photos


Note: Please read the supply list carefully to assure that you are prepared with
the necessary materials for the workshop. Following is a list of suggested supplies for Michael’s watercolor Portrait workshop.


Arches 300 lb Hot Press (1 or 2 Sheets should be enough)


Optional-- Arches 300 lb Cold Press (1 Sheet should be enough)

• Additional paper. Remnants, blocks or other sizes for excersizes.

For most assignments we will work 1⁄4 sheet (of 22x30 sheet)


Have a sketch-book or other loose paper for sketches and value studies.


raw sienna, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, scarlet lake (Winsor Newton), cadmium red light (Holbein or M Graham), alizarin crimson, cadmium orange, quinacridone gold, cobalt teal, neutral tint, hookers green, quinacridone violet (preferred) or mineral violet, sap green,
quinacridone rust, (M Graham), burnt sienna (prefer the WN), cobalt blue, new gamboge (not the new WN color)

TUBES instead of dry cakes and that you avoid the student grade paints.


I usually use a John Pike palette and also an inexpensive folding palette on occasion. Any palette will do.


Any kind will do.


I use a lightweight wood drawing board or mdf (medium density fiberboard) to mount my paper on.


I use masking tape to tape my paper to the board. We may also use masking tape for masking... a wide roll would be good to have available (2” or ????) When attaching paper to the board, you may use clamps, push pins or any system that suits you. I have been using tape lately to keep the clean edge that results when it is removed.


Or similar tool for cutting masks.


Bring any masking fluid that you may have. (no preference)
You might like to purchase a Masquepen that has a built in fine point... 2 sizes
are available. ( I have heard that some Michaels and Hobby Lobby have these)
Cheap Joe’s has them.


I predominately use these brushes: Mostly rounds.


Escoda Ultimo #18 (synthetic)

Princeton Neptune Quill #6 (synthetic)

Rosemary #10


Escoda Prado #14 (synthetic)

Escoda Prado #10 (synthetic)

Escoda Prado #8 (synthetic)

Rosemary #12 Squirrel

Other good brushes...

Princeton Neptune #6
Silver Black Velvet 3/8” Striper (or a rigger)
Also either an Alvaro Castagnet Needle Point rigger
or Rosemary Extended Point which is the same type as the Castagnet brush
Or you might find these similar brushes
Silver Black Velvet #16 and # 8 (synthetic/squirrel – these are great for the price).
I also have some flats and hake brushes that are useful for landscapes.
For landscape, any kind of brush can be useful. Also scrapping tools, palette
knifes, old credit cards etc.


A variety of lead hardness. Some soft and a 2H for detail... A kneaded eraser.


I will vary the angle that I paint, so an easel that can adjust easily is perfect. I
often paint very vertical.
I have a Plein Air easel from that is very versatile.
I also often use a French Box easel that can be tilted at any angle. While many
painters are not accustomed to painting vertically, I would like everyone to try it.


A good absorbent cloth towel or roll of paper towels will work well.


I like to have a sponge handy for a variety of reasons. I find a Dupont Cellulose
household sponge is the best for general purposes.
And I have resorted to using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge occasionally.
Used sparingly, it can save a painting and lift your watercolor back to white


We will be working from photographs. Shoot close-up images of people in bright sunlight. Look for shadow patterns and interesting features. It would be best to NOT plan to paint
someone who you know well since you may try too hard to get the
likeness. The best images do NOT have large smiles with teeth
Do not use flash.
Do: Shoot lots of photos leading up to the workshop.
Shoot in natural light (no flash)
Look for interesting shadow patterns.
Pick photos with lots of good light and dark patterns
Look for a way to crop the photo to give you an interesting composition
Print your photo as an 8x10 if possible.
Also bring reference photos of people in a variety of situations.


Once you have signed up for the workshop we will send you a photo via email
that you will prepare prior to the first day of the workshop. This will give everyone
a common experience as I introduce the steps for the portrait portion of the week.


Bring your camera. We will work briefly on capturing a good image and you may
find having your camera available will be a bonus. Any good camera will do. I
have even used my iphone to capture an image that has become a successful
painting. I use a Nikon Digital SLR.


If you have a laptop computer or tablet you may bring it so you can also have
your photo available digitally (great for zooming in to see details).


Have a ruler or other straight edge


It is good to have some kind of spray bottle that you can use to mist your painting
to keep it moist or, on occasion get interesting effects. Any type that gives a fine
mist is good.


For portraits, as mentioned, I will provide an initial image for you to use that you
should have ready for painting. And you should also have a drawing ready of a
photo that you have taken and would like to paint.