Daddy's Christmas Angel

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Joy of Artists Workshops, Painting with Robert Burridge

"Painting at Cheap Joe's" ©Olen Sikes
Every year I try to take an artist workshop away from home, often in another state. I have especially enjoyed those taught at Cheap Joe's in Boone NC. Not only are the workshops top notch, but being there is like having a child lost in a candy store. After all, the classroom door leads directly into the main Cheap Joe Art Store with almost every art supply imaginable  on display in a fascinating artful setting. It's like Christmas morning every time you push open the entryway.

Recently, the Robert Burridge Workshop I attended was completely full-25 students. Although the room was crowded with artists, we each had our own painting table and enough room to spread out work as we created it. Also, there was a seating area for everyone to gather at the front of the classroom for demonstrations and to watch Bob work via a large video monitor. At noon each day, lunch was served, and we could take it outside either to picnic tables or to the sprawling porch with its large, comfortable rocking chairs.

What could be more ideal? A week painting among other artists!

Robert Burridge is an amazing instructor. His demos are not only informative, but they are flavored with colorful stories that have happened to him along the way. A few years ago, he was the teacher in the first workshop I ever took at Cheap Joe's. I learned about creating an intense orange background over my gesso paint. I also discovered how to paint subjects more loosely. Eventually I created a popular series of work, "Monti, Just for Fun", using the techniques Bob taught.

"Classroom at Cheap Joe's" ©Mary Montague Sikes
Last week, I didn't anticipate learning much that was new. But I did. I learned more about making texture and about painting "carrot" figures. What I found will surely wind up somewhere deep inside a mysterious cold wax painting or even on a sheet of Yupo in midst of Robert Doak watercolors.

Besides all that, things I knew from long ago were reinforced. Thank you, Robert Burridge, for what you brought to us. Traveling all over the country to teach is really hard. Thank you, too, for all the miles you travel from your great California studio.