My 2010 Portland-Area Plein Air Workshop…

Well, I Had A Great Week With Ten Wonderful People Wanting To Learn How To Paint En Plein Air. 

Up on Oak Island Dike . . .
Five days of painting the landscape in the landscape at many of my favorite spots around Portland, Oregon. The weather was terrific. Perhaps too terrific, since we started off on Monday with a high of 97 degrees before the days finally settled into a comfortable mid-’70s. Perfect conditions to be out under the sun pushing paint around.

Again, Sauvie Island . . .

Over the week we painted up in the Rose Garden, out on Sauvie Island, the east bank of the Willamette River, and on a heritage farm south of Lake Oswego. For our last day, we went up onto the rim of the Columbia Gorge.

Working in the shade . . .

I tip my hat to everybody who took the workshop – not only for your determination and grit, but for your focus and dedication to the fine art of plein air painting. It ain’t for the timid at heart. You set aside any preconceptions you brought into the workshop and participated enthusiastically in everything I had to offer in our short time together. (Remember, keep speed-painting those small 15-minute sketches. It will get you to where you want to go in less time than anything else I can recommend!) Each and every one of you gave everything you had out on the field, every day, and you still came back the next morning eager for more. Your work at the end of the workshop showed great progress. You said so yourselves.

Playing the ‘360 Degree Speed Game’ . . .

And finally, thank you all for the fun week we had together. The last five days were some of my favorites too. Plein air painting as a group doesn’t get any better than that!
Touring the Gamblin Oil Factory . . .

Yay! Free-time painting . . .

Making some decisive changes . . .
Taking a short break from painting . . .
Painting clouds . . .

Checking the color . . .
An impromptu, but well-deserved break
following a hard day’s work . . .

Painting on the east side of the Willamette . . .
Making new friends . . .

Some Personal Comments And Photos About The Workshop:

Sarah P.:
“Thanks again for the workshop!  I loved your enthusiasm and positive attitude, and am in awe of your expertise. I had dozens of ‘aha!’ moments during our time together and learned more about color from you than I have from any other source.”

John F.:
It was about the most informative, and fun week I’ve ever spent. I was hesitant to take the plein air plunge and Thomas was a great guide as well as an inspiration. I’m a much better — and much more humble — painter after those five days. …  I will certainly enroll in future TJK workshops…and from where the sun now stands, I will never use even the teensiest drop shadow on any signature, nor will I show Thos. such old paintings as may have that sort of signature…

Mary S.:
This was my first workshop with Thomas and I can’t wait for the next!  He is both a gifted artist and teacher. His instruction was clear, personal, and pertinent. The workshop was very well organized with just the right number of participants and all skill levels. I was amazed at the amount of growth I saw in my work in just five days because of his instruction.

Dave M.:
I had a great week in Thomas’ workshop – I learned some great lessons in plein air painting and enjoyed the great camaraderie among fellow plein air painting enthusiasts. Thomas was a very helpful teacher – he was able to zero in on the weaknesses in my paintings and guide me in how to improve and strengthen them. I am looking forward to taking another workshop from Thomas and would heartily recommend him to anyone looking to improve their painting skills.

Nicole M.:
I had a great time this week. It was a kick-in-the-ass to get painting again.  It was obvious that a lot of care went into planning the workshop; the locations were exceptionally beautiful. The lectures were informative. The individual critiques were helpful and well articulated.  The demos were great. I loved the Gamblin tour. Overall It was a fun and helpful experience and a wonderful mix of personalities. One of my favorite weeks this year.

Herb T.:
As a beginner, I probably had a lot more to learn than most fellow artists in the class. I did not, however, feel out of place or inferior to the rest of the group. Art is learning no matter how good or how much knowledge you already have. Thomas, you are a great teacher with a great deal of knowledge, enthusiasm, and energy. We worked hard, got home tired, but enjoyed every minute of it. 

Erin T.:
I learned more in this one week workshop than I’ve learned about painting in my life.  So many elements were both explained and demonstrated; composition, brush-work, atmospheric effects on perspective and color, and so much more!  The “drills” employed to move us beyond our own comfort and habits were invaluable.  Add to that an instructor of both superior talent and genuine passion – well, words just fail to describe my gratitude. The joy I felt as a young “artist” has returned to my process of painting, while I hope technique and discipline will give birth to some measure of Beauty. If I succeed, the credit will be due my teacher. 

Bonnie J.:
This workshop was so worth it. For an artist who has an art background, but never painted en plein air, this was the class for me. The demonstrations, one-on-one instruction, great group-learning, and personal painting time made it fun! Not to mention the beautiful outdoors and knowledgeable and personable teacher. I’m looking forward to a second workshop which will build upon the foundation I now have. A MUST!!!!

Chuck S.:
I found the workshop to be a valuable learning experience. It dealt with color, composition, brush use for varying textures, accounting for lighting conditions, and many other issues. Watching Thomas work on demos was particularly valuable. It was also nice to see the work of the other students. I reccomend the workshop to anyone interested in improving their plein air painting skills.

Ellen S.:
Thomas Kitts is an established plein-air painter. I had high hopes of learning ideas and skills to become a better artist, and he didn’t let me down.  Prior to the workshop, Thomas updated us all on supplies we needed, sites we would visit, and any information he could to help us come prepared.  I was concerned about flying with art supplies, and he went so far as to help me pack my bags in a way to keep the airport X-ray guys happy.  He sent us maps, made sure we had enough sunblock and water, etc. In Portland, he did a lot of actual teaching us as a group, emphasizing the theme of the day (such as focusing on large shapes,) discussing and demonstrating techniques.  At the sites, he did a huge amount of individual coaching.  There were ten of us in the workshop, and everyone made apparent progress.

Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to work with you! It was a privilege and an honor. We covered a lot of ground, had a lot of fun, and made some good friends and memories. I hope to see you all again. If not in another class, then out in the field . . .


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