morning sheen on parker river_Christopher Volpe.jpg

Instructor: Christopher Volpe
July 16 - 20
Monday - Friday

9am - 12pm
5 Sessions

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Much instruction in plein air painting focuses on “essentials” like direct observation, composition, tonal values, simplifying shapes, and accurately rendering perspective, color, light, space, and atmosphere. All of that’s important, but it leaves out the best reason to paint at all: exploring the interaction of “objective” perception and personal truth. In my experience, far less technical expertise is necessary than most people realize in order to paint not just what it looks like, but what it feels like, not what you see, but what you think and feel about what you see. Approached in this way, painting becomes a call to visualize felt ideas, to fuse sensation, imagination, and abstract design in a compelling vision of life. In this workshop, we will go beyond imitation of nature and use the objective world as a springboard to explore the expressive use of design, color, and paint. Our goal is to develop exercises, processes, and disciplines that will align your creative process with your subjective responses to nature and to life and, ultimately, to infuse your work with poetry, feeling, and a sense of play. We’ll spend three days painting sketches outdoors and two days painting larger work in the studio.  Our “big” paintings (24” x 24,” 36” x 36,” or larger) will be inspired by memories and material gathered and refined over the previous days. This is a chance to try some bold, adventurous painting and open  new avenues for original work.
This class functions well for a wide variety of skill levels, but some previous plein air painting experience may be helpful.

Christopher Volpe is an artist, writer, and teacher whose paintings treat the natural world as a site of introspection and visual metaphor. In addition to teaching studio and plein air painting, he has taught at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, Chester College of New England, and Franklin Pierce University. He has received the Saint Botolph Club Foundation’s 2017 Emerging Artist and Nellie Taft grant awards as well as fellowships and grants from MassMoCA/Assets for Artists, the NH State Council on the Arts and the NH Humanities Council.