Welcome to the Perfect Palette

Stone Wall, Salt Marshes, 14×18, $1594 framed.

The Perfect Palette online course is $35.00 and you can access it here.

Today marks the launch of my first online painting class: The Perfect Palette. It’s the first in a series of seven, and I think it marks a new way of learning about painting.

I teach painting through a set of discrete steps that anyone can master. That gets the ‘how’ out of the way and makes room for the ‘why.’ In theory, once a student has my painting protocol sheet in his or her hand, I’m not necessary.

I wish it were that simple. Each step is the distillation of a great deal of theory and practice. It takes time to absorb new concepts. My idea with these online training classes is to expand that protocol sheet, to create a system in which people can return to complex ideas over and over until they really have them down. I’m going to make seven of them over the coming year, taking you through each step of oil painting.

Seafoam, 9X12, oil on archival canvasboard, $869 framed.

More better learning

A few years ago, I made some simple calculations. If I taught at my current rate (which is a heavy load for a working artist), I would have a maximum of three hundred open student-seats a year. That sounds great, until you consider that it takes a few years to make a painter. That means most of those slots are taken by repeat students-so much so that I’m not advertising my weekly classes right now. I’m only able to influence a few dozen painters each year, and there’s material I never get to.

Consider drawing. It’s fundamental, but I can’t add a drawing class to my schedule. I can just recommend a good book and hope people open it.

I have a much wider influence through this blog, which has thousands of regular readers. Mine it carefully (there’s a search box to the right), and you’ll learn everything you need to know. However, because of the way blogs are organized, that’s difficult. The content may be evergreen, but the indexing stinks.

I set out to write a ‘how to paint’ book in 2021. It didn’t go well. I’m too restless to sit still that long. Besides, a little voice kept asking, is that how people learn today?

Persistent clouds along the Upper Wash, 11X14, oil on archival canvasboard, $869 unframed.

Why did I start with the palette?

If you’re new to oil painting, the prospect of buying all the necessary paints can be overwhelming. If you’ve been painting for a while, you might find yourself with a expensive drawer full of paints that you never use-or worse, that make dull mixtures. That’s where this class comes in – you’ll learn how to set up the perfect palette with just the paints you need to create the widest range of beautiful colors.

In this class, we explore basic color theory and introduce you to the world of mixing oil paints. You’ll learn how to choose the right pigments for your palette and how to mix them effectively. We’ll also delve into the history of pigment and show you how to make informed decisions when buying paints, decisions that will save you time and money.

Early Spring on Beech Hill, oil on canvasboard, Carol L. Douglas, 12X16, $1449 framed

I couldn’t do it myself

Some of you know my daughter Laura Boucher. She’s ‘wicked smahht,’ as they say here in Maine. As sometimes happens in the software start-up world, she was footloose and fancy-free at the same time as I was realizing my limits.

I have never taken an online workplace training class, but they’re common enough in business. She took that model and applied it to painting. This class is the result, and today we launch the first of our new series.

I hope you enjoy it. Meanwhile, we’re well into the weeds with the second video. I’m learning some new skills, like how to run a video camera and how to light a shot.

These videos will follow a logical progression from getting started to finishing up a painting. Once you own the course, you can go back to sections one at a time to refresh your knowledge.

My 2023 workshop schedule can be found here. That includes the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, urban painting in Austin, TXJune and September workshops aboard schooner American Eagle, mountain vistas in the Berkshires, and our ever-popular Sea & Sky at Schoodic in Acadia National Park. Why not register today?

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