Painting with Expression

DATES: 05/30/2020 - 06/06/2020
LOCATION: Cinque Terre
PRICE: $3,150.00
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
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Born in Canada, James Griffin grew up in Peru, England, Brazil, and the USA. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 1972. In 1976, James began freelancing as an illustrator and working for most of the major publishers. In his 42 years of work, he has created almost 4,000 illustrations, which were mostly romance novel covers.

Mr. Griffin’s fine art work is represented by three galleries; the Dabbert Gallery in Sarasota, Florida, the J.Petter Galleries in Saugatuck, Michigan, and the Ironbound Gallery in Camden, Maine.

Reflections by James Griffin

James has also had many solo exhibitions, most recently holding a solo show at the Art and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota, and in November 2019 he will present another solo show at the Art Center Manatee, titled, A Tapestry of Motion.  The theme refers to his long, narrow compositions of pedestrians walking and of ballet dancers in motion.

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Teaching art has become a very creative endeavor for James, his class projects pushing the learning experience into the realm of major art pieces. In winter 2018, Mr. Griffin’s class created a twenty-foot long painting from his own design. The piece was titled, Pedestrians, and is made up of individual canvases, all which fit together to make up a vibrant and colorful composition of people walking along the picture plane. This piece will be donated to a large public space, such as a hospital or airport.

James has been exploring Tuscany for the past two years, painting in plein air and studio work from sketches and photos. His approach is always derived from observation, and using realism as his baseline. His pieces, however, move back and forth between the real and the abstract.  This style can be seen in Il Pozzo (The Well) and Arches and Shadows, both paintings of Tuscany.

Arches and Shadows by James Griffin

James Griffin’s paintings are often described as powerful and moving. He talks with great satisfaction of people who see his shows saying they began “seeing paintings everywhere”.  His goals are expression and communication. If he reaches his viewers through his work, he feels he has succeeded.

The area of Cinque Terre has inspired artists for centuries with its gorgeous vistas and quaint towns.  There, along the coast and among the five connected towns, we will discover the beauty of this part of Italy.

A Walk in a Tuscan Farm by James Griffin

Expression is the main reason people pursue art.  As an artist, I have gathered the experiences through a lifetime of painting to distill this basic concept: how can we be expressive in painting?  In this inspiring workshop, we will discover how to paint our feelings based on our experiences in this incredible region.

We will begin with a classroom session, in which new students will be given the basics of my approach, while experienced students get a refresher course.  In following sessions, we will be painting outside, from life, then from memory, sketches, and photos.

The Golden Door by James Griffin


I have developed my own techniques for directing students to think differently about what they see, as in concentrating on the shadows, for instance. It’s amazing to see what beginners have achieved in my classes!  More advanced students benefit too, as I tailor my approach to the skill level of each person. I will also provide my own written information on the art of painting, perspective, tonality, composition, and color.

 

With plenty of one-on-one instruction, as well as live demonstrations, I usually set up an easel and paint along with the class, stopping occasionally to focus on a specific technique. Because we will be in beautiful Cinque Terre, we will naturally be focusing on land and seascapes.

In Excelsis by James Griffin


I encourage painting from life along with the use of photography.  An Iphone or Ipad are very helpful for this. I avoid the intensive use of photos, rather using them as a guide. Getting to know the scene is vital, and that is best done with sketches and studies. I recommend the use of a pocket-sized sketchbook for quick thumbnail sketches.

 

The idea is to learn to truly see the subjects we’re painting, so that we can become free to paint it expressively. Students will be able to use their sketches and photos to create more finished works, if desired.  To provide even more inspiration, on top of the gorgeous scenery of the Mediterranean coast, we will take excursions to the nearby towns by train and boat.  Trekking between the towns is encouraged for those heartier students!

Painting with Expression is open to beginners through advanced students.


Painting with Expression materials list:

Students will bring their own materials and easels. Though I am an oil painter, I have found acrylics that have extenders in them, like Golden’s OPEN acrylics, to be the perfect travel paints.  You can use your usual acrylics, but I don’t recommend bringing oil paints.

  • 5oz tube: titanium white
  • 2oz tubes: yellow ochre, naples yellow, burnt umber, cadmium red light, cadmium yellow medium, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, light ultramarine blue, phthalo blue (green shade)
  • Also recommended are tripod-style easels, such as The En Plein Air Pro Traveler Series for Watercolor with Sunpak 2001 Tripod .  If possible, get the rolling bag, instead of the backpack (or you can use your rolling luggage to pull the easel and paints around)
  • Also helpful to hold your tubes of paint is a canvas carrier: Tran Carrier for Paint Tubes, Acrylic
  • We will be using canvas boards, which I will provide
  • In addition I recommend an 9 x 12” watercolor block, like Arches Watercolor Paper Pad, 140 pound, Cold Press, 9″x12″ (or similar)
  • A canvas brush carrier, like Royal Langnickel 12-1/2-Inch by 14-1/2-Inch Keep N’ Carry Zippered Brush Carrier, Long Handle. Or Creative Mark Folding Long Handle Paintbrush Storage Easel & Traveling Case
  • A selection of brushes for acrylics. Bring your favorites, and include some ¾-1” wide brushes. I love the DaVinci Impasto long handled brushes, #16 and #10
  • 4-6B pencils and sharpener
  • Pocket-sized sketchbook, if desired. This is very helpful for quick sketches and can be used when there isn’t time or space for paints. I use a ballpoint of felt tip pen. Do not bring gel pens as they tend to explode in flight
  • Iphone or Ipad
  • Hat for sun
  • Light rain jacket. I love the one I bought from Columbia, which can be rolled up very small and is good for wind and layering

Note: I put my paints in the canvas carrier inside a big ziplock bag and attach a bold duck tape label, saying “Artist Paints”. I haven’t had any trouble with the paints as checked luggage.  You might have trouble as carry-on luggage.


Additional Activities: Our daily painting will be combined with other adventures such as:

  • train pass to visit other towns (Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia)
  • boat trip to sketch or photograph from the sea
  • free shuttle service from the hotel to the main town
  • pick up in Florence on the first day

The Cinque Terre – is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. “The Five Lands” comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. For more about the Cinque Terre, the Lonely Planet gives a nice description with photos:  http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/cinque-terre

Il Pozzo by James Griffin

The Food – We will have 5 dinners organized together at local restaurants and trattorie.  We’ll sample the pastas, seafood and specialties of the area.  Wine is included in all meals.  Lunches and 2 dinners will be independent for you to explore the local cuisine on your own.

Given its location on the Mediterranean, seafood is plentiful in the local cuisine. Anchovies of Monterosso are a local specialty designated with a Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Union. The mountainsides of the Cinque Terre are heavily terraced and are used to cultivate grapes and olives. This area, and the region of Liguria, as a whole, is known for pesto — a sauce made from basil leaves, garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. Focaccia is a particularly common locally baked bread product. Farinata is also a typical snack found in bakeries and pizzerias — essentially it is a savoury and crunchy pancake made from a base of chick-pea flour.


Price: $3,150 p/p based on double occupancy; (non-painters $2,850)

Evening at Poggio by James Griffin

Optional Supplements:

  • $475 for single room – limited availability
  • $250 p/p for suite with Jacuzzi and terrace

Includes:

  • Shared double room in Hotel La Cabana in Monterosso (singles available for a supplement)
  • Daily traditional breakfast
  • 5 dinners with wine
  • Daily painting classes and critiques with James
  • Train passes for exploring other towns
  • One boat trip on the Mediterranean
  • Pick up from Florence train station on arrival day (on the departure day we do not return the group to Florence, as many people will want to go off in other directions.  There is a convenient train station in the center of Monterosso that connects with every major line in Italy.)

Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch
  • Art supplies
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing

To Register:  just click on the Sign Up Now button.  A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot in the workshop.  Payment can be made on line with a credit card, or you can follow the instructions to send in your registration and payment by mail.  Once we receive your deposit we will send you a formal Registration Confirmation with further information about the program.  You will receive 2-3 other correspondences by email prior to the workshop with information about Italy, a supplies list and an electronic invoice for the balance.  Final Balance is due by April 15th.  Any time prior to your arrival, if you have questions about anything regarding the trip or the program, you can contact us by email or phone and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Contact us for more information:  info@ilchiostro.com or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

Cabana-5 TerreOur small hotel La Cabana sits on a small hill that divides the historic center of Monterosso from the new part, Fegina.  It is a typical Ligurian farmhouse that has belonged to one family for generations. The vines and the olive trees that they have cultivated form the backdrop to the rooms that have been recently refurbished with the utmost respect for the environment and the traditions of the Cinque Terre, but without forgetting modern comforts.

Cabana roomThe 9 rooms are furnished with antiques, parquet floors, curtains, and finishes intended to frame the unparalleled panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea. It is an oasis of relaxation completely surrounded by greenery and silence with wonderful vistas and gardens to paint.  Our group will take over the entire hotel for the week.

To get down to Monterosso you can take advantage of their free shuttle service or, if you are up for it,  walking down is not difficult and takes less than ten minutes. It’s a nice walk down that offers beautiful panoramic views. On the descent, you will pass the ancient 11th century castle (today houses the cemetery of the village) and wind through olive trees until you reach the historical center of town. Coming back up, the shuttle might be a good idea!

For more information, visit their web site:  http://www.lacabanacinqueterre.com/en/index.php

cabana-breakfast-room1

Breakfast room

cabana-common-room1

Reception

cabana-driveway

Entrance to La Cabana

cabana-garden1

Garden overlooking the town

cabana-terrazza3

The terrace

cabana-vista-west

View from the terrace

shuttle

La Cabana shuttle

The Cinque Terre are in the section of Italy known as Liguria on the western coast.  The main city of Liguria is Genova.  These 5 towns were traditional fishing villages, cut off from the mainland by a steep range of mountains.  For centuries they were only accessible by the sea.

For our program, we will meet the group in Florence on the first day.  From there a private bus will take the group to our hotel in Monterosso-al-Mare.

To visit the town from our hotel there is a regular shuttle bus.  The towns are small with narrow roads, so the shuttle will leave us off in the newer section, then we will walk through a short tunnel to the historic center of town where most of the shops and restaurants are located.

To go between towns (Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia or Rio Maggiore) there are local trains connecting all of them.

AHoltzman-Boat

5 Terre fishing boat, photo by Andy Holtzman

The Cinque Terre – is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. “The Five Lands” comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside.

For more about the Cinque Terre, the Lonely Planet gives a nice description with photos: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/cinque-terre

The Food:  Given its location on the Mediterranean, seafood is plentiful in the local cuisine. Anchovies of Monterosso are a local specialty designated with a Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Union. The mountainsides of the Cinque Terre are heavily terraced and are used to cultivate grapes and olives. This area, and the region of Liguria, as a whole, is known for pesto — a sauce made from basil leaves, garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. Focaccia is a particularly common locally baked bread product. Farinata is also a typical snack found in bakeries and pizzerias — essentially it is a savoury and crunchy pancake made from a base of chick-pea flour. Epic porcini mushrooms are presented in a wooden box for you to chose for grilling with olive oil and garlic.

AHoltzman-photo 2  AHoltzman-Seaside Restaurant