Spring Workshops, 2017




Wednesday, Thursday, February 8,9; 10:00 -4:00

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 www.opusframing.com for an idea of costs). All other materials provided.

Cost: $220 



 Wednesday, Thursday, February 22, 23; 10:00 - 4:00

Anyone can learn to draw! A drawing practice is good for your brain, relaxing, and can provide a foundation for other media. This class is designed to help you jump into drawing, to teach you some quick and simple ways to improve your drawing, to help you draw more quickly and accurately and to SEE the world in a different way. We will cover basic drawing technique including contour, line, and something I call drawing from the outside in.

$190 All materials provided



 Wednesday, Thursday, March 1, 2; 10:00 4:00 

One of the most common comments I hear from students is “I’d like to loosen up in my painting.” 

This class is designed to introduce you to some exercises, techniques and materials to help you break out of old habits, loosen up your work and find the fun in painting again!
We will work with graphite, pens, and watercolour in day 1 and acrylics in day 2. Bring two small wooden cradles (ie. 10” x 10”, 6” x 9”)
$220 All materials provided. 


painting by Anne Sedola



Wednesday, Thursday, April 12/13; 10:00 - 4:00

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, pencil crayons and pens provided. Each student will also receive a custom bound journal. Students can bring their own watercolours or pay a $10 materials fee for paint. 

Cost: $220 




Art Workshops, Middle Beach Lodge, Tofino  


session 1: March 12, 13, 14 (half day), (Sunday, Monday, 9am-4pm; Tuesday 9am-12pm) sold out

session 2: March 15, 16, 17 (half day) sold out

West Coast Landscape in drawing and mixed media

On the first day we will explore landscape through drawing and some fun experimental techniques designed to help you work fast, loose, and accurately. On our second day we turn to elements of landscape through more traditional watercolour techniques to capture conifers, mist, sky and water.


Our third day is a half day (in order to allow participants who want to get back home that day to leave while it is still light). You can decide on a project of your choosing on this morning or finish work started in the two previous days.

 We will try to work outside when weather permits, to draw and to gather images to develop into paintings in the comfortable indoor “studio” space in the Lodge.

cost: $350     Includes some materials. More information and a materials list will be sent on registration.  Participants receive a 10% discount in lodging at Middle Beach Lodge.


 drawing by Jane Garcia




Entering the Abstract Space

 Wednesday, Thursday,  April 5/6; 10am - 4pm

Enter the abstract process and rediscover a childlike joy of painting. 

 Every painting is an abstract painting, in that once you transform something three dimensional into two dimensions it is an abstraction of reality. The skills of abstract painting can enrich the painter working in any genre. 


My aim is to help students become comfortable with the non-objective process, one that can feel frighteningly random to painters used to the careful planning and execution of representational work. The abstract process is more intuitive, though supported by an understanding of colour, value, line, and composition; each step leads to a set of choices for the next step. 

$225 for members  $235 for members

Register with the Old School House Art Centre, Qualicum

112 Fern Road West,

Qualicum Beach, B.C.

Telephone (250) 752-6133



France 2017

As always, the talented Toronto artist, teacher, and writer  Kelley Aitken and I will be returning to France to teach two workshops in September. Last year we added a workshop of Urban Sketching in Paris to our usual program of plein air drawing and painting, in the tiny village of Espedaillac in southwest France. Again, this new venue was lots of fun, so we will repeat this program this year (see poster attached). The Canadian dollar has not seen the dramatic drop in relation to the Euro as it has with the U.S. dollar!


Be a flaneur, stroll the boulevards of Paris with a paintbrush in hand.

Workshop: Wednesday, August 30th to Wednesday, September 6th
– eight full days of instruction with a farewell dinner on the 6th.


Shakespeare and Company, Kelley Aitken

Some student comments on their Paris workshop:

This was a grand experience! I had such a good time being with you and the group. The art instruction and the museum experiences were invaluable for the future. I appreciated, as well, the warm regard you both had for the group and the sense of humor and good will that prevailed throughout. Lisa Zucharelli

I absolutely treasure the time spent in Paris and feel the trip was indeed worthwhile to me and I hope you both feel inspired to carry on and share your talents with others who will discover the joys of France and outdoor sketching....Giverny-Absolutely magical. I was very moved by the gardens it was just like walking through the paintings and the village and museum were wonderful.  Vida Newington


Sunday, September 10th to Tuesday, September 19th
—9 days of instruction with a farewell
dinner on the 19th.

Contact me alisonm.watt@gmail.com for more information 


 Some student comments on their Espédaillac experiencew:

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: http://www.tourisme-lot.com/


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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.