Course Descriptions

instructional art and painting workshops offered by Calgary based fine artist Sharon Lynn Williams


Mixed Media Collage Workshop


This NEW workshop will have two components:

Day 1: novel ways of making collage paper, discussion of colour use

Day 2: focus on design in using the papers in collages, using heat fusing to stick the collage elements together, and surface embellishment

We will be working in small 8x8” formats, and using a sketchbook, identified compositional formats and view finder designs to create our collages. I have a bunch of new techniques to try, inspired by two artists that I have been following for years, combining their methods with my own. This workshop will be used to play and experiment. Adding these new techniques to what you already know, if you have done abstract collage in the past, or to begin to explore collage, we shall all learn while doing and sharing our work with each other. I hope to provide the impetus for exploration in a safe and fun environment.

Watercolour From The Ground Up -Experienced Beginners Through Intermediate


Love the fluid look of gloriously puddled colour that only watercolours can give? Come and experience the various elements of watercolour painting using a structured learning style with lots of demonstrations and individual one-in-one time, as well as critiques to help you learn to the max. The class will have an emphasis on brush handling, paint application techniques, edge control and colour theory. This workshop will give you the confidence to build your skills base by painting in such areas as still life, floral, landscape, abstraction and figurative subjects. 

Painting With Watermedia -Advanced Intermediate to Advanced


Come and be introduced to more advanced elements of painting and design in your chosen watermedia (watercolour AND/OR acrylic), as well as reinforcing basic principles to fill any holes in your knowledge base. We will thoroughly cover colour theory, edge control, paint application and composition. Although we will discuss various media, the focus of the class will be on finding and developing your own personal style and artistic expression. You will be encouraged to try working in different ways to explore new creative avenues. Subject matter will include still life, floral, landscape, abstraction and figurative subjects, but style of expression will be up to you, and class critiques will guide you to a clearer understanding of your process. 

Paint Creatively with Watermedia


Leave "safe" behind and learn to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your creative muscles in this process/media driven course. We will deal with acrylics and the diverse ways that they can be used. We will use them traditionally as well as abstractly, working from order (design or photo reference) and from chaos.  The main question you will be asking yourself is "What would happen if ...?" You will be encouraged to try it and then to respond to what happens on the work. Calss critiques are held to help you learn from what your fellow students are doing. This course has an emphasis on FUN, with many demonstrations and plenty of time to PLAY! To quote Brian Atyeo, "Creative painting is not about doing it right, it is about learning from each brush mark you make, right or wrong." 


Watercolour Workshop


On the first day we will focus on planning a watercolour by developing value sketches where we will work out the compositional details paying attention to shape making, linking of shapes, simplification of the subject, and clarification of the artists intent (quality of light, mood, etc). After the planning is complete, we will be free to use expressive colour and brushwork in the painting process as all the other details will have been worked out. This part will focus on colour harmony and temperature dominance, using a variety of edges, and 'puddling' of paint to achieve luminous and loose colour areas. In my opinion, the key to 'loosening up' in watercolour while still assuring a good outcome stems from careful advance planning and then spontaneous paint application. I will hope to demonstrate how to get there. Artists at different abilities will benefit greatly, but at their own levels. I have been teaching this approach for the past several years with the greatest success I have ever had in l0 years of teaching watercolours! It will be a packed workshop, so come prepared to work hard. I can do a paint-along if that is what the participants would like.


Pen and Ink and Watercolour Quick Sketching


Combine the ease of a fine point marker with loose, flowing watercolour washes to create quick and exciting sketches of your favorite landscapes. This combination of mediums is the perfect way to begin a visual journal. No previous experience required. Sharon has taught this quick sketching method to hundreds of artists and non-artists alike with great success.



Colour Theory Workshop


Understanding how colour works is an essential part of teaching painting: understanding how to mix colours to get what you want, and how to apply colour schemes to art works in order to create unity and harmony. We will cover the use of a ‘double primary’ palette in order to mix the brightest secondary and tertiary colours; as well as how to choose appropriate colours to make a full spectrum painting with a limited palette. Colour terminology will be covered, and colour schemes will be explored. The information gained in this seminar is applicable to ALL painting mediums, and handouts will be provided for your assistance.



Fluid Acrylic As Watercolour


 Come and join us as we gather with Sharon to learn about the benefits of using fluid acrylics in a watercolour manner. Some of these include the ability to move into translucent and opaque effects, superior glazing ability without the possibility of making mud, and outstanding clarity of colour in the final result.  We will be working from our own successful paintings as our reference in order to concentrate on how the fluid acrylics behave, and we will be using colour schemes in our paintings to make our work more personal.  


Mining Your Photo Reference Material

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This workshop is primarily about how to take your photo reference material and use it to make a personal statement about your reaction to it, rather than merely duplicating what you see. We will learn how to take the elements that are meaningful to you and combine them in a composition that is pleasing, or demanding, or whatever it is that you want to accomplish by making that artwork. This is perhaps a different way of working than you have experienced in the past, but hopefully it will be a doorway to experience what it means to make 'art' rather than reproduction. We will explore many tools to then apply to this framework to further personalize your vision, including value and colour usage. With all that planning, you will be able to paint your plan with joy and abandon. This is an especially good workshop for watercolour artists who don't have the freedom to change things midstream! It is great fun ultimately, it does require some hard work and searching, but the results will stay with you and will inform all you do in the future.

The Business of Art

Learn all you need to know about marketing your art from a professional artist. Designed for emerging artists, topics covered include professional presentation, resume preparation, artist statement, portfolio development, selecting and approaching galleries, record keeping, taxes, framing, networking, organizational techniques, photographing your artwork and much, much more. The lecture format allows plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion. A 50-page manual is included in the fee.

Painting Towards Abstraction


Tired of painting narrative, descriptive paintings and want to move your art to a new level? Rather than focusing on endless detail, learn to abstract your subject to its essence, capturing its flavour and meaning. Think Tony Onley or Georgia O'Keefe: not pure abstraction, but an abstracted, simplified reality. In this intermediate to advanced course, technical instruction will be available where needed in a non-structured way. Working in any media you desire, you will be presented with the challenge to get to the heart of different subject matter, to produce vibrant and expressive paintings. Following a critique session of the previous assignment, presentation of the day's challenge and a look at possibilities, class time will be spent totally on painting. 

Art Critique

Like to work on your own but would appreciate some feedback on your completed paintings? Join us once a month as we focus on technical as well as aesthetic concerns in your work, with the goal of building stronger paintings with more personal impact. You may bring a maximum of 3 completed artworks in all media to each class. The group will participate so that you can learn from each other, as well as privately from the instructor. Learn valuable tips to become the best painter you can be! No supplies required as this is not a painting class.