Call Detail
TRANSCENDING THE PHOTO REFERENCE IN PAINT - a 4-day workshop by Alyssa Monks
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Entry Deadline: 8/11/23
Application Closed

Entry Fee (Entry Fee): $15.00
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 5
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 5
Call Type: Workshops
Eligibility: International
State: California
Budget: $1460 includes lunch daily

This workshop is designed to guide the students toward creating a painting from a photo reference, using both indirect and direct traditional painting techniques. It aims to instruct painters on how to use the photograph to create a painting that surpasses the look of the photograph, not simply imitates a photograph. The workshop will explain how to create a useful photo reference, covering topics such as ideal lighting, camera settings, lenses, Photoshop, and printing. The process will begin with preparations such as choosing a composition through quick sketches from a variety of reference photos, progressive oil sketches with limited use of the photograph, and then laying in the composition with an imprimatura wash. When that is dry, the students will learn to create color relationships that portray space and volume, creating the illusion. Emphasis is then placed on paint application and ways of activating the surface. By focusing on deliberate brush strokes and maintaining accurate color relationships rather than rendering, the application of paint to describes the form. We will accentuate the structural volumes of the form over the contour, concentrating on relating all parts of the picture to each other with an organized palette. From there, students will be guided toward deciding what information is useful to look for and what usual pitfalls to avoid when interpreting a photograph. Deciding when and how to invent and experiment is perhaps the most crucial part of the process. Students will be encouraged to look more at the painting itself than the photographic source, using it only for initial reference.

We will explore ways of seeing the picture objectively, how to imply detail without overstating, and what level of finish works best for the particular painting or style. The painting will develop through indirect layers of opaque and transparent painting to achieve the delicate nuances of flesh and other surfaces. Methods of Glazing and Scumbling will be discussed. The final result can be a painting that captures the essence of your subject (and your connection with that subject) and contains the intimacy of the human touch that transcends a smooth photo-realistic image. There are a variety of results varying from abstraction/improvisation to a more illusionistic representation. All will be discussed and the challenges and rewards of each will be explored. To find out more about Alyssa Monks go to

Lunch will be supplied by a local chef and is included in the price.

A limited number of attendees will have the option to stay on-site at for an immersive workshop experience with a daily light breakfast and dinner catered by a Central Coast chef. If this is your preference then go to and reserve your room once you are a confirmed attendee of the workshop.

Application Requirements

Submit 5 images of your work. Jpegs to be no larger than 1000k in size and titled as follows: LastName_TitleOfWork_Medium_Size.jpg

Eligibility Criteria

Must work in oil paint. No other mediums are accepted. Must speak English.