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  • Joe Altwer Interior Painting Demo, August 2017


    Last Saturday morning Joe Altwer was kind enough to do a very thorough demonstration for a group in my studio.  Though Joe is well known in the Florence Academy/Academic painting circle, he rarely comes back to America these days.  I was happy to introduce him to our New England painting community.

    I asked Joe if he would do an interior of the studio for everyone- he paints great interiors with a palpable sense of quiet. In my opinion, the interior is a painting genre many people find interesting, but balk at the prospects of.   The amount of perspective in them and shifts in light I think people find intimidating… Joe does a great job of reducing interior views to their most basic elements.


    Below, a couple of Altwer’s past interior paintings:

    daniela astone studio florence, 2015 (?) 60×80 cm ~ 24×30

    ‘where i work’, sweden 2014(?) 80x60cm ~30×24″




    Joe did not rush through his demo in a slapdash manner- he painted slowly and methodically, taking time to explain each of the steps he was walking through.  We were fortunate to have 6 or 8 good examples of Joe’s work in the studio, so that the group could reference what he was doing in these early steps of a painting, and compare to his more finished work on the easels behind them.


    joe working on his lay-in



    joe was very generous with his time, and spent time after the demo discussing his work with students


    Here’s a nice short recap of the demo on instagram by 2016-2017 student @hungryforcolors :

    Demonstration ‘Painting the interior’ by @JoeAltwer really impressed me: speaking when you’re painting, slow done and explain your actions to others and answering all questions that are coming up is just a lot! So clear how he shared his way of working in just less than 3 intensive hours. Explained how he engineered his easle and paintbox. Told about his paints, brushes and composition. Showed all drawing to painting steps and mixed colors to shift values. Joe and studio @leo_mancini_hresko encourage greater knowledge and understanding. If I’ll ever reach that level I hope I can do the same.


    Joe’s completed demo painting, ~27×23″


    I will be inviting Joe back to teach again sometime in the next year.  A painting group in Fairfield County, Connecticut has asked if I would organize a class with Altwer for them, and I will have him do something through my studio in Boston as well.  I look forward to it.

  • Sergio Roffo Demo July 2017


    Last Saturday I was happy to host a demo for Sergio Roffo in the studio.  Although Roffo is one of the best known painters here in New England, particularly for his ambitious, color saturated coastal scenes and marine paintings, it was only the second time I had seen him in action.  It was a ton of fun.  He paints a great demo, is engaging with the audience, and I personally came away with the same thing as when we painted together last winter-  man, he works quickly and efficiently.



    As is somewhat standard for a two hour demo, Sergio started by describing his artistic background, how he organizes his palette and brushes, and how he lays out a painting.  For this demo, he brought in two images, a print of an older large landscape of his to use for color, design, and parts of the composition, and a second painting of a Herreshoff sailboat to insert into the painting.



    After laying in the composition in pencil, Sergio painted the sky to his satisfaction, and then painted in the rest of the landscape (from back to front, most distant water finally to the nearest dune).  Roffo nearly finishes as he goes, painting to high detail in a bright, luminescent fashion.  After a pass on each spot, he would return to it to revisit the coloring of an area, and describe surface texture with meticulous, calligraphic brush strokes.

    While painting the boat, Sergio not only described all of the boat’s anatomy, but spoke about the importance of having consistent wind marks running through your grass and sand to support the direction of the sailboat.  I believe Sergio said that the Herreshoff in his painting he wanted to appear traveling at about 15 knots.



    After just an hour and forty minutes or so, Sergio quickly grabbed his painting and went over to the adjacent table (and to audible gasps from the audience) framed the picture.








    Huge thanks to Sergio Roffo for agreeing to come share his talents with us.   He has many distinctions, he is an elected Fellow of the the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA), an Associate Living Master of the Art Renewal Center, and an elected member of the Guild of Boston Artists.

    You can visit Sergio’s website by clicking here.   He has a solo show opening at Quidley & Co’s Nantucket gallery on Friday August 18th, and if you click here you will be brought to Sergio’s page on their website.  

    Additionally, Roffo is taking part of a group show opening September 9th at Tree’s Place in Orleans, MA.  He will also do a demo the day of the opening, contact the gallery for seats.

    There will be another demo by Sergio at the Rockport Art Association in October, during the Cape Ann plein air festival.  Contact the Art Association for availability.


  • Demo at Tree’s Place, February 4th


    This past Saturday I drove down the Cape to do a two hour demo at Tree’s Place gallery in Orleans.  It was a very interested group, and I had a great model.  Unfortunately I have been sick for nearly a week-and was totally not feeling great during the demo.  Though I’ve done lots of demos and talks, I’d never done one with a fever, but thankfully I think it all went OK.

    If you’re on the South Shore or nearby, my next event will be another 2-day portrait class at North River Art Society in Marshfield, MA on March 18th and 19th


    above, talking with some of the group, and below a shot of my setup.


    And here is a final image of the demo:


  • Mario Robinson Demonstration, October 2016


    This past weekend Mario Andres Robinson came up to Boston to share a bit of what he does with us in the studio.  For those unfamiliar with his work, Mario is one of very few American artists holding to a tradition of high-finish, realist watercolor.  He also paints in pastel and oil, and now is a published author.

    I’ve known of his work for over a decade, as we came up in a common gallery (Ann Long Fine Art) I was able to see many of his watercolors, pastels and graphite drawings years ago- though we hadn’t met til this past weekend.  Mario is a generous, open artist, and it was a lot of fun speaking with him and sharing the studio for a few days.


    During the demo I took a few snapshots of his process, below, a few of the steps that Mario’s demo went through:







    Many artists (cough cough *me*) find watercolor frustrating and mystifying.  Watching Mario paint on Sunday through the early afternoon, I was struck by how similar his approach was in many respects to the techniques that I use in indirect oil painting- he starts off with a line drawing to allow him to paint more freely through the session, and layers his work with an attention to tonal relationships that really are near analogue to my oil underpainting process.  Of course, watercolor moves differently, dries a different color, and is affected by gravity- lots to think about.

    I wholeheartedly recommend his book, it’s all explained in better detail there.



    click here for an Amazon link to Mario’s new Book, Lessons in Realistic Watercolor


  • Ben Fenske Demo, Halloween 2015



    This past Saturday I hosted a painting demonstration by Ben Fenske in the studio.  We hired a model, and Ben talked through how he approaches a figure painting as he worked for ~2.5 hours.  Like our last demo in the studio, we had a large group, 30something people in all.

    One of the aspects of hosting these demos that I really enjoy is that it starts to feel like we are building a bit of community-I like the idea of getting a group of people together to discuss art.  Although I am teaching plenty these days, I am actually not trying to start a school.  The artists that I invite here are all people that I respect, who i wouldn’t mind sharing a studio with for a few days.





    Ben will be teaching another course through my studio in mid-March, which will be announced on my website and mailing list next week.  If you’re interested, inbox me: it’s already half-full.


    Below is a shot of Ben’s painting and palette at the end of the session:










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