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Power of Planning

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February 23, 24 & 25, 2024
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
3-Day Workshop $475

Supply List

Workshop Description:

This course is designed to inspire your creativity by learning to “see” and experience some different design and composition concepts; and understand the power of planning even if you are an “intuitive painter”.  This workshop is designed to inspire advanced beginners and provide a review and challenge for the advanced student.


Sue’s goal as an instructor is to present you with information about DESIGN AND COMPOSITION to add to your core of knowledge regardless of your medium. She believes in the power of planning and understanding the basics. The objective here is not to change you, but to take you to another level. Then it is up to you to internalize this knowledge and apply it to the medium, genre, style and subject matter that suits you. If you like to paint intuitively, the more you know and have internalized, the better your choices will be during your process.


In this workshop you will experience how Sue creates and designs her imagery and achieves a “strong” quality of light. You will be introduced to many topics and concepts dealing with design and composition.  Your goal should be to decide how these ideas could apply to your painting, your subject matter, your intent, and style. Elements and principles of design need to be understood; they are not rules, only guidelines. You, as the artist, need to learn how to use them successfully in your work! Learning about design takes a lifetime of study. Time for you to get started. 


Finished paintings are not our objective; the planning and designing of your paintings are. Your days will be filled with daily demos, lectures, color or design projects and on-going critiques; personal, one on one consultation time may be available.


IMPORTANT!  It is unethical to copy another artist’s work. (This includes photos off the internet.)

 You will be using your own drawings and using your own personal reference during class, unless

 Sue provides ones for a specific project.


NO magazine cut outs or other artists photos from the internet.

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  • Idea

  • Concept

  • Gathering reference and knowledge

  • Editing and Drawing

  • Design and Compose (choose and plan the elements,principles and design/composition)

  • Techniques to accomplish your goal

What is being an Artist?  & What is a Painting and Drawing?  


Create or Imitate from a Skip Lawrence article   (an instructor)

"For beginners, imitation and copying is a way to hone your skills. We imitate someone or something. That is only to learn your craft. Not a reason for painting. It will lead to skillfully painted, but imitated art. Soon, time and experience should lead you toward using your imagination, and toward your own direction. Toward being an “artist.”"


A painting is defined as the process of applying paint or other medium to a solid surface. However, an artist’s painting is the expression of his or her vision, ideas and/or emotions, with the creation of certain aesthetic qualities within a 2-D visual language.


Being an artist is about the process; the artistic process! About the journey.


We, as instructors, know that our students become involved in artistic endeavors for a variety of reasons; having fun, the enjoyment of creating and of being with creative people in a creative environment to name a few. Also, we would love to provide our students with the tools to go on this artistic journey. With total involvement in the whole process, we can  create art! And we can have just as much fun and enjoyment by making it more personal.


For your painting to be considered “art,” it requires a person’s mental, emotional and physical involvement throughout the process, from beginning to end. Without this we are only copying images, other people’s images, with no connection to it except applying techniques. With total involvement in the whole process, we can create art! And we can have just as much fun doing it by making it more personal.

The Artistic Process and the Power of Planning





The internet has begun to blur the way new painters look at the artistic process. We have had numerous discussions amongst ourselves about this topic. We all know the world has drastically changed for artists since “pre-social-media” times. Social-media, internet image sites and digital drawing/painting have arrived on the scene, and will remain and evolve in the future.


But the artistic process has not changed. The world’s technology has. We get to see firsthand all the new art that is being produced and photos that everyone takes. 

We must not forget that many are still “snapshots” with no artistic vision implied and paintings that are copies and imitations already.


Then we have the artist/photographer who takes that photo with his artistic eye, his vision, and with something to say. However: These are not ours to copy and “imitate”; they are not our vision; we did not crop that tiny piece of the world at that time. Study them, admire them, dream about them and wish you saw and captured that moment of time. But remember you didn’t! You need to go out and find your moment of time; frame and capture it. 


The internet has sites which have photos that are labelled free to use or buy. If you do, refrain from directly copying them. Only use them as a jumping off place, put your spin on them; use them get your creative juices flowing so you can try something new and move toward becoming a better and more creative drawer/painter.


You can find these moments in time right in your own neighborhood and town. You do not have to travel the world. This vision can be of a “still-life”, figure, portrait, architecture, etc. right around the corner or in your home! Take the time to learn what it takes to see as an artist, do your own reference gathering and composing. You might surprise yourself and enjoy doing it!


Teresa Kirk   (Instructor)

"It is your job as an artist to entertain your viewer, to have a conversation with them through your art and its idea. To have the courage to put your own idea out there and to push that idea.  Study the artists you appreciate. Believe in your-self and your artwork; don’t copy others, don't compare your-self to others, but learn from others.  Stay true to what you love and what you are trying to accomplish.

Most of all, enjoy the process.  As you know, most of us won't end up in a museum or want to, so play and push your boundaries, knowing each piece that is good or bad leads to the next.  Nothing is painted without what came before.  Have fun, it is only a piece of paper, canvas or any other surface.   Enjoy."


Brommer in his book “Emotional Content”   

"4 basic elements in the painting process:

  • Drawing

  • Design or Composition

  • Intent or Emotional Content: not the subject matter or things in the painting. Content is the communication of the artist’s ideas, feelings and/or reactions connected with the subject. It is what is sensed rather than what we can analyze. It is something that is instilled by the artist and sensed by the viewer.

  • Lastly Technique"


Thank you for your time,

Sue Archer   (instructor)

About The Instructor:

Sue Archer - AWS, NWS, TWSA, FWS

Sue is a studio and plein air artist, national workshop instructor and national juror and judge for watercolor exhibitions. She showed her work in Art Festivals in Florida from 1985 -2014 and still shows her work in national watercolor exhibitions.  Since Sue began exhibiting her work in 1985, she has won over 200 state and national awards, has received a Florida State Individual Artist Fellowship grant for painting, and has a DVD “Commanding Color”.

For 25 years Sue had painted large still lifes showing strong light and with textural interest. Now she is doing abstracted-textural work, close-up or mid-distant landscapes, some figurative works, and drawings in-studio and plein air. Painting the effect of light on her subjects and creating texture are still a passion of hers no matter what the genre.

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