Thursdays, April 4,11,18, 25. 9:30am-4:30pm

In this class we will begin by reviewing basic watercolour foundations: mixing, wet-in-wet, lifting, washes, glazing. We will move on to more experimental techniques, working loosely, incorporating  printing, texturing, layering, flow, resist, ink, and opaques. 

Participants bring their own watercolours, watercolour brushes, and one or more canvases for the third class (size to be decided on during the course.) All other materials (paper, mediums, inks, gouache, resists, mark making media, provided).

Cost; $400




Saturday, Sunday, April 13, 14. 9:30am-4:30pm

 An illustrated journal is a wonderful way to keep a record of day-to-day life as well as travel. A quick illustration can capture a memory in a unique way. In this class we will go over materials (journals, watercolours, pencil crayon, pens), and techniques (basic watercolour and pen and ink). We will learn how to simplify a scene to make a quick sketch, using some basic rules of composition, as well as review specific techniques of landscape painting. Finally we will explore creative ideas to get started on your own illustrated journal. Paper, paint, pencil crayons and pens provided. Each student will make a folded watercolour journal.

Cost: $220



Monday, Tuesday  April 8, 9, 9:30am-4:30pm

One of the challenges of painting with acrylic is to avoid the flat “paint-by-number” look. The key is creating lively surfaces, which draw the eye closer, even when the passage is large (i.e. a sky, a wall). In this popular workshop (appropriate for both beginners and experienced painters) we will work on canvas with simple compositions to create interesting surfaces with layering and glazing, resist, and transitions of colour and value. We will also introduce texture using applied papers and acrylic mediums like modelling, molding pastes, and gels. Students should bring two small canvases (8” x 10”, 10” x 10”, or 12” x 12”). (Check Opus online for an idea of costs). All other materials provided.

Cost: $250 




Wednesday, April 10

9:30am- 4:30pm


Unlike an acrylic modelling or molding paste, which dries and holds a hard texture, plaster can still be sanded and sculpted when it is dry. It will adhere to a properly prepared wooden support Handled carefully this slightly fragile medium will endure. (It is after all the medium of ancient frescoes.)

It absorbs acrylic paint beautifully and can be burnished to an almost ceramic shine. 

We will begin this class by pouring a plaster which you can take with you to work on at home. In the studio we will work on plasters which have been poured and dried thoroughly. 

 All materials supplied

Cost $150


If you would like to combine this class with the Surfacing Class, the cost is $375


In late March (29,30,31st) I’ll be offering a 3-day Painting the Large Canvas class in for the Tofino Arts Council. In the gorgeous setting of Tofino, this class, always fun and surprising, is meant to help you take a canvas through to completion. Cost $300, register at

I’ll be returning to the Gibson’s Art School this August (11-15) to offer “Moving Botanicals Towards Abstraction,” with drawings made from live material in a local garden we will explore techniques and materials, which help us move away from strictly realistic interpretation, to paint more intuitively while still referring to a solid foundation of composition, line, colour and value. I really loved teaching here a few years ago. A beautiful setting and lively painters.

 Finally, the Toronto painter and writer Kelley Aitken and I will be returning to FRANCE in September, to offer a week drawing and painting in the beautiful city of Bordeaux and a week of plein air in our favourite French village, Espedaillac.


Sunday September 8thto Sunday Sept 15th

Seven full days of instruction with a farewell dinner on the 15th. The week will include morning and afternoon lessons, sight-seeing in and around Bordeaux, walking through its 17thcentury centre to draw architectural facades and people in urban settings. We’ll explore markets and museums, and take day trips into wine country and to the seaside. With a combination of drawing and painting instruction we will concentrate on the art of keeping it quick and light in a Travel Journal as well as a few finished paintings.

Cost (not including accommodation) is $2,000. This includes instruction, museum entries, transportation to a vineyard and the seaside and lunches there as well as the final celebratory dinner.  

Participants will find their own accommodation. There are all kinds of Airbnb and hotel options in Bordeaux. You can expect to pay about $150 Cdn per day for accommodation, food, wine and local transportation. NB, some food is included in fees.




Wednesday Sept. 18thto Wednesday Sept. 25th  

Seven full days of instruction with a farewell dinner on the 25th

 The emphasis of this workshop is sketching and painting en plein air. The subjects include the stone architecture of the village and the surrounding countryside, cazelles(stone lambing huts) rolling fields, woods and shady lanes. Village paintingwill bethe focus of day-trips to markets and nearby medieval towns on the Camino: Figeac, Saint-Cirq Lapopie,Marcilhac-sur-Cele. We’ll also visit Pech Merle Cave tosee its Paleolithic drawings and spectacular calcite formations. 

Cost: $2000. This includes accommodation, transportation around Espédaillac and our daytrip sites, and instruction.

Other costs: In general you can expect to pay about another $200 for food (excluding wine) for the week, including a couple of dinners out at local restaurants. There will be some communal meals in the village.

Some student comments on their Espédaillac experience:

Thank you to you both for making the entire 8 days another amazing and memorable experience for me. You were a dynamic duo with an abundance of knowledge, skill and experience  that you so willingly and generously share with such grace and humour, Sally Fisher, Vancouver BC

This experience was memorable and exceeded my expectations from the location in the picturesque village of Espedaillac, the accommodations, our drawing and painting instruction and projects, the field trips and projects, the opportunity to meet local people... the wonderful local cuisine in the restaurants that we went to, and most of all the caring concern for our welfare and our learning by both of you Kelley and Alison. Thank you for this incredible experience. I loved it, Corine Clark, Vancouver BC

Have a look at the blog to see what we and our students were up to.

Where is Espedaillac?:

Espédaillac is in the Lot region of the Midi-Pyrénées:
25 kilometers from Figeac, 40 kilometers from Martel, 45 kilometers from Saint Cirq la Popie, 30 kilometers from Rocamadour, 20 kilometers from Peche Merle, 50 kilometers from Cahors. An hour and a half from Toulouse airport. Five hours by train from Paris.

This region is known for its traditional rural heritage, medieval towns, castles, villages, fields and orchards.
You can visit a couple of websites to get a feel for this beautiful area:

page3image18152 page3image18312


Espédaillac is a charming village set in an area known for its natural and architectural gems, fortified towns and villages, hiking trails, Romanesque art, cheese, wine and typical markets.

The perched medieval town of St. Cirq Lapopie






Nanaimo, Vancouver Island BC Painting Lessons

I teach painting workshops primarily out of my studio on Protection Island, near Nanaimo B.C. Students enjoy the studio's intimate setting, nestled in the garden of my waterfront home, as well as the small class sizes (maximum 8).  Visit this space for updates on offerings.

"Thank you very much for creating a warm, encouraging environment, for teaching me so much in so short a time and for making me feel I can't wait to learn more, and have more fun!! and get better."

 -Margaret Litch, Nanaimo, BC








A small foot passenger ferry leaves the Nanaimo boat basin near Cameron Island at ten after the hour and returns on the hour from Protection. The trip is 10 minutes and the cost is $9 return.

The nearby Dinghy Dock floating pub is a great place for dinner.