Ted Nuttall Workshop

Ted Nuttall Workshop poster
Click on this image to find out more about the upcoming Ted Nuttall workshop

I’ve just signed up for a Ted Nuttall Workshop at Kowana Valley Ranch. I haven’t been going to workshops or even taking too many classes lately, as I’ve been trying to develop on my own for a while (I’ve needed some time to synthesize all that I’ve learned from wonderful teachers over the years).

But this class is too tempting to ignore. I’m feeling ready for a bit more coaching,  I attended  one of Ted’s classes about 2 years ago, and it was honestly a game changer for me. My watercolors took a huge leap forward. Just watching Ted paint was an education, and his careful coaching taught me things about painting that I use everyday.

Ted has a unique style; part graphic design, part painterly brush strokes. His sense of color and style is enviable. I know that there is the danger of becoming a clone of your teacher, but I’m not worried about that. I feel that if we paint honestly, then we will ultimately and honestly paint like ourselves. What I want to do is  lean a bit in his stylistic direction, in hopes that I can get a bit closer to making the kind of narrative I see in my head.

If you’re a painter looking to take the next step in your work, I recommend taking one of Ted’s workshops (there are still places left in this one!) Kowana Valley Ranch is fabulously beautiful, set in a valley in the Sierra Nevada Foothills (you could  do some plein air painting in the evenings).  And the hosts, Lynn and Richard Ferry are generous, fun, and happy people. Plus, Lynn is a great cook (and she makes a mean gluten-free pie.)

Hope to see you at this workshop!

Painter, have no fear

Before the Big Adventure
Watercolor from Ted Nuttall Workshop

Copyright 2011 by Margaret Sloan

In early fall I took a week long watercolor workshop with Ted Nuttall, one of my favorite watercolor painters. Ted is a marvelous painting coach, and I feel like the workshop changed some important circuitry in my painting mind. Ted said that one of the things he hoped to accomplish in this workshop was changing the way we think about painting. I was looking for a change and I was an easy mark; he succeeded.

The most important thing I learned? Do not be afraid. Go ahead and make mistakes. In fact, Ted says he often purposely paints unexpected colors, streaks, daubs, dribble, and of course, his famous “sloppy dots” in order to give himself problems to solve.

Watching him paint is like taking a roller-coaster ride. (Yeah, I know, painters are easily thrilled). Some strokes made me gasp in fear—I’d never make that kind of mark deliberately—but Ted deftly tied it in to the rest of the painting as he moved along.

I’m not quite brave enough to deliberately make mistakes. I make enough accidental problems to solve in the course of a painting. But I think the answer to that is to make more paintings, and learn from all those accidental mistakes.

More painting? That’s never a bad pursuit.