Monday, November 7, 2011

Workshop with Camille Przewodek

My third workshop in October was a five day workshop called "Color Bootcamp" with the fabulous artist, Camille Przewodek. I first must say that it was a different kind of workshop from any other that I have done before. Camille is a Colorist and paints in tradition of the Cape Cod School, and trained with Henry Hensche. Her workshop was about LEARNING about color and this method of painting and seeing the effect of light on color, and not about making finished paintings, studying composition, values, or any other of the many aspects of good art. All of the work we produced that week was like note-taking - not finished paintings. We worked exclusively with a palette knife, which was different for most of the artists there. The reason for this was so that we could get clean color mixes and not using a brush where remnants of the previous color can remain.

Needless to say, there was a lot of moaning and groaning initially from those of us (me included!) that were not used to using the palette knife exclusively on a painting. However, we all quickly learned how to make it work, and continued on. Camille is an excellent teacher and knew that immersing us in this method first off and immediately was the best way for us to learn and understand. In my head, I called it "trail by fire," but soon realized that it was working. She does some very valuable things in her workshop, such as have us all walk around and see each other's progress so that we can learn from not only our successes and mistakes, but also those of others in the class. And we did this very often during the day and not just at the end of the week, like a workshop critique in other workshops I have taken. I felt this was very informative and helped me see so many things more clearly.

We spent the first two days working with blocks in the sunlight (and on gray days when we had cloud cover). Then we spend the next two days on location painting buildings outside, and the landscape also. We painted one day at the beautiful location that you see above. As you view this painting, please remember it is not a finished painting and only a block in using the techniques that Camille teaches. She believes, as do many others out there, that you must have many starts in order to begin to understand this method and how to represent the effect of light on colors. The final day we spent painting models that were hired to sit for us. I have not done much work before with live models so that was a great experience for me.

I also loved having her husband, Dale Axelrod, there too helping with the workshop. Dale and his ever present timer (to tell us when to start and stop on the studies) was so helpful and I really enjoyed the banter between the two during the week. He kept us all organized and moving right along! Also, Camille has a wonderful sense of humor (not understood by all) and gift of knowledge that was so refreshing and I thoroughly enjoyed my week with her.

I also met a great group of women from Louisiana that came together to paint and had two of my art friends from Arkansas there also in the workshop. We all stayed at the same hotel and enjoyed hanging out together in the evenings and at breakfast and lunches. We tried not to be too annoying but I am sure that the people at the Madison, MS, Embassy Suites thought there was something wrong with us most of the time! Again, the people I meet at these workshops are one of the main reasons I continue to go. We learn so much from each other and laugh so much that it makes the workshop experience even more fun!

If you have ever wanted to learn more about Henry Hensche and this method of studying color and the effect of light on color in painting with pigments, this is the workshop for you. Not for the faint of heart and not for someone who isn't willing to work hard though. It isn't a vacation where you paint. Camille pushes you to think outside the box and it is a huge undertaking if you are used to painting in a different way.

I am including another one of my studies below of a building across the street from our classroom. Again, it is a beginning STUDY of color and the effect of light on color and NOT a finished painting. You may be able to tell that I used a brush on this one, which was fine, but I went back to the palette knife on the next study because I had found I did indeed get cleaner mixes and applications with it.

At the beginning of this month, Camille had a video released and if this is something you think you might be interested in learning about, I suggest you try the video. Also, she will be featured in the next Plein Air Magazine and so if you receive that magazine, look for an article about her. All in all, it was a wonderful workshop and I feel like I learned a lot and also had fun at the same time! She is truly a modern day Master in this style of painting and I feel fortunate to have spent this small amount of time studying with her!


  1. Sounds llike you have lots of knowledge to put to use in your paintings.
    thanks for sharing!

  2. Wonderful write up on the workshop and I hope Camille appreciates all the great insights into her methods of teaching. It sounds like it was a blast and so glad you had fun and learned a lot. I enjoyed seeing your paintings from the workshop. Good for you:)

  3. Denise, this is another excellent post on yet another amazing workshop. Camille would be proud, for sure. The images you included look very professional. I know it was an intense workshop, and that you learned a lot. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful workshop, Denise! Thank you for sharing a bit of the information that you learned! Looking forward to seeing your paintings after being to your workshops!

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I have admired Camille's work but had no idea what her technique and background was.

  6. What an excellent write up of Camille's workshop Denise. Thank you for taking the time to write such an extensive review. Camille is an artist whose work I have long admired and was fortunate to take a workshop with her in Easton, Maryland. She is just amazing. Remember those colored blocks well. So happy for you that you were able learn from her. Thanks for letting us know about her dvd too.

  7. I wanna be you and go to a workshop a week!!
    Merry Christmas Denise!!