The small coastal community of Cannon Beach, Oregon was the setting for an oil painting workshop instructed by Michael Orwick. Michael’s experience as a landscape painter, combined with his passion for painting, provided for a magical 3-day event.
Michael’s method of mixing colors from a limited palette, not only simplified the process, but also made it easy to create rich, dramatic and controlled colors.
By applying the solid practical principles laid out in class, each participant made great strides in artistic growth over the three day period.
Michael’s enthusiasm was contagious, and the atmosphere of encouragement made the class an added delight.
There was even an opportunity for some “plein air” practice. The bravest among the group set up their easels on the beach, and painted along side Michael, as they attempted to capture the sunset in real time.
During the afternoon session on Saturday, the owner of the Dragonfire Gallery talked to the students about art from the gallery’s perspective.
Later that evening, the gallery hosted a special reception for the group with appetizers and wine. This change of venue was a great chance to converse with fellow students on a more personal level. And with the framed paintings done by Michael and other artists hanging throughout the gallery, it was tempting to wonder if maybe one or two of those present might one day have their work hanging in galleries as well.
Sunday was the final day of the workshop. One by one, starting around mid-afternoon, students scrapped the colors from their palettes, said their goodbyes and departed. But no one left empty handed. Each took with them, a more complete understanding of the painting process, as well as a greater visual sensitivity. Students were now armed with a new arsenal of tools to take command of their work with.
I was lucky enough to take part in this workshop. Below are some paintings I did during our sessions. Even though they need some work, I consider each a success, because I learned valuable lessons while working on them, which I can apply to future projects.
Hopefully, with practice, I will progress and improve. I will most likely never see any of my works hanging in a gallery, but I can certainly develop new skills and mature as a painter.
Michael Orwick refers to his painting style as “inspired expressionism”. By his color choices and purposeful use of light, Michael creates an atmosphere that takes the viewer on a journey to a place somewhere between the familiar and the entrancing. The onlooker is drawn into the painting and is invited to bring it to life by providing details of the story that are left unsaid by brushstrokes. This approach engages the viewer in a way seldom achieved.