Thursday, December 26, 2019

Watercolor Syllabus and Materials List

Introduction to Watercolor , A class for beginners
Achieve results  and skills you can  put to use immediately!
Day 1:  We cover watercolor brushes, palettes, brand qualities and best practices.
Brushstrokes-Understanding what your brush can do- how to load the brush, tricks to gauge water and pigment loads,how to get rich sumptuous applications of color.
Day 2:  Color mixing made easy. How to achieve the mix you want using both glazing and mix process. 
Understanding values and neutrals.
Day 3:  Special effects techniques - scraping, salt, plastic pressing, sponge,wet into wet etc. Creative uses for masking fluid , when and how, best practices.
Day 4, 5 and 6: : How to use photo based reference , avoiding pitfalls of photos, to achieve optimal results.  Composition and planning a picture successfully
 How to achieve clouds, water and sea effects, trees, vibrant flower colors.
I will demo each lesson, so you achieve maximum results in the shortest time.
Materials List:
1st day -tool check, we will make sure you have all the right stuff, so you can refine all of this with your questions,
No worries, we can walk through and buy them at the opening class, I will help you if you are not confident buying ahead of time.
PAPER:  (BEST): ARCHES Watercolor paper in Arches block form. (10”x14” or bigger)
OR : Single sheets that can be modified in size and taped to a rigid base such as Masonite.
Other brands like Fabriano and others are good- NOTE: NOT Strathmore pads- No!)

Paint - Windsor & Newton PRO GRADE  or Holbein paints (do not buy Cotmans -NO!) :
Colors - Cadmium Red, Opera rose, Cerulean Blue, Horizon Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine blue, Olive Green, Sap Green, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, Indigo
Plastic folding Palette
Brushes - #12 and #16 Sable (Princeton (best) or Simmons brand ) ,a 1”hake’ brush
Low tack masking tape 1”
Masking fluid -Windsor Newton is best, and a rubber cement eraser (ask about this)
#2 pencil
1 KNEADED eraser
Semi-coarse med grain Kosher salt in a small shaker
Flat 3” X 5” kitchen sponge
WIDE BASE Water Cup such as tupperware for cleaning brushes and water source
Paper towels
butter knife
whales tale palette knife small made of metal- buy at Reddi Arts day of class

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Materials List for Acrylic class

Introduction to Acrylic ,  A Class for beginners
Achieve results  and skills you can  put to use immediately!
Day 1:  Why acrylic?- We cover acrylic strengths and weaknesses, how to overcome the weaknesses, what brushes are best for acrylics. Other tools  such as palettes, brand qualities, special mediums and paint enhancers, and best practices.
Brushstrokes- Understanding what your brush can do- how to load  and use the brush, tricks to gauge water and pigment loads, how to get rich sumptuous applications of color.
Day 1 & 2:  Color mixing made easy. How to achieve the mix you want using both glazing and mix process.  Understanding values and value of neutrals.
Day 3: How to set yourself up for success every time.  How to begin a picture successfully every time, grounds, sketches, photo reference and pitfalls to avoid.
Day 4, 5 and 6: Composition and planning a picture successfully. How to achieve clouds, water and sea effects, trees, vibrant flower colors using values and glazing , brushmanship for best results.
I will demo each lesson, so you achieve maximum results in the shortest time.
Materials List:
1st day -tool check, we will make sure you have all the right stuff, so you can refine all of this with your questions,
No worries, we can walk through and buy them at the opening class, I will help you if you are not confident buying ahead of time.
Stretched canvases is best but canvas boards are alright (16”x 20”or your choice)
Paint - Goldens BEST! or Liquitex (NO Poor Quality paint like Basic and No Galleria!)
Colors - Large tube of Titanium White, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine blue, Sap Green, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, black optional
Golden's glaze medium, and extender
“Stays Wet “ resealable palette, a shammy and disposable palette paper are usually included in a new set.
Brushes - bright white small 4,6,8 filbert and 4,6,8, square flat tips (I can help choose those day 1)
charcoal pack, 1 KNEADED eraser
Flat 3” X 5” kitchen sponges
2 WIDE BASE Water Cups such as tupperware
Paper towels
whales tale palette knife small made of metal

Friday, December 20, 2019

An interview of me at my studio from Art Sales and Stories

here is the you tube link:

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

New Schedules for Art Classes at The Barn Studio

“To be an artist is to believe in life.” – Henry Moore
UPDATE:New Options for
Art Classes at
Reddi Arts or My Barn Studio!

UPDATE:New Options!
for Art Classes at
Reddi Arts or My Barn Studio!
@ 3920 Sierra Madre Dr S. Jax Fl.32217
Reddi Arts will still be conducting classes for a while at the same old location! So I have amended my class schedules to include mornings teaching there as before, and afternoons at my studio if you prefer to have classes in my active studio environment. (See the NEW scheduling details on your Reddi Arts or Studio schedule options below)
Reddi Arts is in negotiations with potential buyers at the current location. They will continue to operate at that location for perhaps three more months. When they change locations, they asked me to continue teaching there when they relocate! SO, while things are in flux, it gives you MORE OPTIONS!
As for my schedules, I will offer continuing art education to dedicated students who want to improve their skills in drawing, watercolor, acrylic, and oil at my very own studio location.   The classes at my studio location will be limited to 6 student capacity. You are free to come by to see my studio (by appointment).

Call me at (904)309-0151,
or email me at
to book 2020 sessions at my studio 
@ 3920 Sierra Madre Dr S. Jax Fl.32217
Wed mornings and afternoons, Thursdays and Friday afternoons
or for continuing with mornings at Reddi Arts
contact Patti (904) 396-6385) ext 312 to attend at that location

If you have taken one of my classes before 
Please write a review, it will introduce me to new students in the future.
Use this link. (let me know if you have trouble)
The New Years Art Class Schedule Below:
You can review my work at
to help you decide what I can do for you!
Wednesdays Starting Jan 8
Open to all mediums- Charcoal or Pencil Drawing, Oils, Acrylics Watercolor
I guide you as you work on subjects of your choice, still life setups, or
I can suggest subject matter, or try plein air in the garden (weather permitting)
I may even demo projects that I am working on if that is more interesting to you at that time. This will put you in an active studio creative inspiring mind space.
$45.per 3 hour set ala carte
(your flexible rate)
$ advance for six weeks of classes
(a $75. savings)
My watercolor show in our sisters city of Nantes, France was a culmination of much planning and plein aire paintings during adventure travels throughout France, and the local Jacksonville area such as my favorite haunt, Talbot Island, State Park.
Watercolor Mornings
at Reddi Arts
10am - 1pm $195.
Starting Jan 16, 23, 30,
to Feb.6,13 ,20
Watercolor Afternoons
At My Studio
My Studio Schedule is different
$45.per 3 hour set ala carte
(your flexible rate day rate)
Bring someone new earn a free 3 hour set!
$195.for six week sets in advance
($75. savings)

I will help you work out strategies for beginning, breaking down the image into manageable parts, and time saving tips and help you spot the little things that keep your watercolors looking dull and overworked or too pale. I will cover techniques, secrets, pitfalls to prevent years of frustration. Use your own themes or follow my step by step demonstrations. I leverage the power of water to do the work, and harness the rich sediment of minerals to mimics the effects of light better than any other medium !
ACRYLICS at Reddi Arts
Abstraction and Realism Covered
Open to Beginners and Intermediate Level
Acrylic & Oil Classes-
Friday Afternoons at My Studio
@ 3920 Sierra Madre Dr S. Jax Fl.32217
Abstraction and Realism 
Open to Beginners and Intermediate Level
$45.per 3 hour set ala carte
(your flexible rate one day at a time)
Bring someone New, earn a free 3 hour set!
$195. in advance, good for six weeks of classes($75. savings)
Here's what we will cover below:
"How to set yourself up for success"
"Paint and mediums, Do's and Don'ts
"How to take that first difficult step,
a process that works every time"
"Secrets, color values, glazes, special
Easy composition, color mastery"!
"How to get the most out of photo reference, and a photo's pitfalls"
"How to approach the mysterious world of Abstract Art!"
"Examine and clarify, refine and seize your own voice by adding energy to your strokes." We will explore both abstract and realistic disciplines and concepts to develop your strength and find your preferences. We will do class reviews of your progress, to help you improve your approach.
I take step by step photos of the ongoing demonstrations for your continuing review at home. You own it!
Call me at (904)309-0151,
or email me at
to book 2020 sessions at my studio @ 3920 Sierra Madre Dr S. Jax Fl.32217
 Wed mornings and afternoons
& Thurs. and Friday afternoons or 
contact Reddi Arts 
call Patti (904) 396-6385) ext 312 to attend at that location
“Every child is an artist. The
problem is staying an artist
when you grow up.”
Pablo Picasso

Children's Art Classes
5 week sets $100. come either day
Saturdays 10am to 12 noon, and Sundays 2pm to 4pm
for Children ages 7 to 16

“Every child is an artist. The
problem is staying an artist
when you grow up.”
Pablo Picasso
The materials list for my studio classes is: Bring what you have! On the first day we'll cover materials, and get you oriented as to exactly what you need so you don't waste money!
I try to do the most with the least amount
of tools so you can travel light and not spend a fortune.
I will publish suggestions on my blog but come as you are first if there are questions, I have tools and many materials on hand for the first day to review my work and explore my extensive background in murals and fine artworks for private collections.
Call me at (904)309-0151,or email me at
“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.” – John Mason
I have been at this awhile, as you can see! I am photographed here in 1975 working on a surrealistic 48" X 48" oil canvas called "Marriage of the Sea And Sky" and can be viewed at the studio. I paid my dues during my starving artist days, made lots of mistakes and had successes too.
Call me at (904)309-0151,
or email me at
to book 2020 sessions
limit six per class!
Haskell Show 2013
I also have extensive portfolios of large wall murals painted internationally, and wall finishes to review! I can share all of that with you best at this location!
Class sizes are limited to six though, so book your spot in this first offering, while there is still room.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Rules of Abstraction

Below: A watercolor abstract demonstration piece by Gordon Meggison


A Syllabus
by Gordon Meggison

“What was I thinking?”
Of course there are no rules, but if there were it might be suggested these concepts observed on occasion!
“Make the paintings breathe” Mark Rothko
Space is a priority for a good abstract.  Rendering the feeling of space can be done in the way you handle line or color when forming a shape.  The eye will naturally connect continuous and related lines or colors to form new relationships.  These can make you feel open or claustrophobic.
“In looking you are part of the process”  Tess Jaray  It is meant to look totally simple...
“… we were taken out into the streets with our drawing tutor and I drew a row of trees into my
sketch-book, the tutor was scathing: you are only looking at the trees. What about the spaces in between? You wouldn’t even see the trees if they weren’t framed with space. And look, he said, the spaces in between also have shapes – imagine the trees as the edges of the picture, and framing only the space. You still have a shape. Perhaps even more interesting than the trees themselves. Well, I’ve forgotten his name… but I owe him much.
”Tess Jaray, in an interview with ‘RA Magazine’ [Spring 2014]

Kazimir Malevich “logical consequence of no one ever being able to put back together the fragmented bits of cubism is that art should take the next step and abandon logic, embrace it’s absence”
By bringing the picture plane up to you, you flatten the plane, unlike illusionism which is the basis of classical art.  Rather than create depth by perspective, we use light to dark color values and push the extremes of open space and filled space (details), bright and neutrals, to arrive at a juxtaposition of opposites.

Here you build the scaffold on which the color is hung.  A certain amount of compositional knowledge of how simple shapes interact and relate is vital to finishing with a living, breathing work of art.  Every image no matter how simple is composed of some line, shape. These immediately begin to seek relatedness and connection to one another the moment they are indicated.  The tools are shape, value, line, color, contrast, texture, form within a space.  Many designs are based on shapes of letters L, S, and Z, H, and T are the common ones.  There is also radial balance, grid compositions, cruciforms, and many others.

“Pay attention to the infinite subtleties of tonal shades in nature” Paul Klee Abstraction poses the question “What is perception”  What is really seen when one sees anything?
We can only see any kind of form because of the way light reveals it.  It is thru light and dark
that you understand the shape of anything-  Biggs and Collins.   Contrasts can result in drama and variety.  Elements such as texture, color, tone, can create contrast by the juxtaposition of itself next to the empty or negative space around it.  Tone is making an otherwise bright color lighter or darker

This is arranging the elements in composition to cause the eye to move or scan the art.  Perspective and “bridge elements” can connect various points of interest, the eye will make the connection.  Clutter is the result of bad composition, with no sense of where the eye should flow.  Things just thrown at the canvas can be a good way to start but are rarely a finish.
“Form is Feeling”  Wassily Kandinsky
The art should have a dynamic sense of inner peace or active energy, it should seem alive, not labored or stiff.  It is best if it just seems to have happened spontaneously, even though in fact you may have put in many hours on working the concept out.  It is meant to be a process with hidden meanings.

Color is light, and science has transformed art by the understanding of light and codified it in the color wheel - colors opposite each other cause a vibration.  If a color next to another in an abstract threatens to be out of step with the others, it can be changed and altered through tone, texture, glazing, impasto.  I believe it should be in harmony with the principles of advanced color theory and light such as comes from the study of the color wheel and relationships revealed therin.  You should not rely strictly on primaries though they have their place.  Neutrals play a vital part in the total interplay as it sends it’s abstract message to the eye by making color look better.

Abstraction has elements of Japanese ZEN, and oblivion, chaos and perfection.  It evolved out of an appreciation of line and the movement of the hand, such as graffiti, automatic writing , calligraphy, composition.   Experimentation with line is critical to understanding and appreciating a good abstract.

Repetition creates an interesting conversation with form and space, can be geometric or loose color.  This creates a thing called “spontaneous order”, or a larger sense of itself.  The forms do not need to be the same size, but can be.  Pattern and Rythm can be features of this phenomenon.  PATTERN: By creating a pattern of objects, then varying the tone or color of the elements lends a composition a sense of movement.
RYTHYM: When one or more of the other elements of design is repeated, that can
create the visual equivalent of a rhythmic beat in music. For example, if an established pattern manifests in multiple areas of a painting, it builds into a visual rhythm.

 Abstraction or process painting need not BE anything, nor even be explained.  It should contain some elements of self assured mystery.   It is not a rational process, it taps into the unconscious mind at it’s best.  It reveals through primordial manifestation being “in the process of doing”.  It’s about making very personal subjective choices. The merit of your efforts tends to stand scrutiny and the test of time if you have an underlying “experiment” you are working on, an idea. Abstraction allows an artist to be completely free to make something new, a personal physical inner vision, from the depths of one’s primal being.  Artists choose to work abstractly because abstraction allows artists to be themselves, and to be free.
Abstraction attempt to be true to it’s own nature, and capture a higher reality,
beyond the visual representative world we see, that of illusion .

In non-objective process work, even more than abstract, which “abstracts something from reality, you are in dialogue with yourself about your intent in the piece.  Allow the canvas and the process to speak back to you, to have a conversation.  A balance between conscious intent and spontaneous creative combustion are magic to a process or abstract painting.  Be playful.   It also includes willingness to try new things that may even feel a bit uncomfortable at first.  You can always edit later.  It’s only paint. Abstract art is trying to create something internal, something that doesn’t yet exist

Some of Helen Frankenthaler’s thoughts on painting:
“A really good picture looks as if it’s happened at once. It’s an immediate image.  For my own work, when a picture looks labored and overworked, and you can read in it— well, she did this and then she did that, and then she did that there is something in it that has not got to do with beautiful art to me.  And I usually throw these out, though I think very often it takes ten of those over-labored efforts to produce one really beautiful wrist motion that is synchronized with your head and heart, and you have it, and therefore it looks as if it were born in a minute.”
(In Barbara Rose, Frankenthaler (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1975, p. 85)

The hardest part is Starting
Exercises: 1. take tracing paper or use a marker and find the simple composition structure lines underneath some of your favorite pieces. Look for the way the eye moves and find the focal point.
Arriving at The Concept-
1. Draw a grid, tape it off, on Yupo or cardboard, do a series of quick free charcoal sketches, tonal sketches then use calligraphy style brushes to quickly draw out the tones in black and white.  Use calligraphy as inspirational start-like words on the canvas .  Use sketchbook, alter what you wish, keep what you want, sketch composition drawings using gesture, line for future use.  The compositions can be loosely abstracted from representational subject matter, be sure to reduce and simplify.  Gesture, Line as a starting point- can be done with charcoal, brush, twigs!  build a scaffold on which to hang the colors, be willing to sacrifice the drawing for the color

2. Mix a variety of neutrals and through repetition of form paint the neutral variants in linear patterns small to large , lightest to darkest, they can use linear or crosshatched strokes.  Value relationships- use varieties of values and tones t get the most out of each color

3. Transfer sketch to canvas, apply staining washes liberally
perhaps Use Repetition of form exercise, add circles, loops.

4. Break image down.  Carve large spaces with lines random - think neural network of your mind

5. Use large areas of flat color brushed on or even palette knifed, squeegeed or troweled on, in large saturated applications, allowing some of the underlying staining to peek through in areas. 

6. Pick your palette- give yourself copious mixes in a color theme-  (suggest black and white to start)  Use neutrals and whites to edit and carve out spaces for a place to rest the eye and some background to the brighter or darker elements to come.

7. Accent those with complementary , triadic, or analogous colors.   Simplify and Flatten space
follow your muse- play off cools against warms, loud against quiet, neutrals against bright color,
space against detail, soft against hard, be willing to embrace contradiction, spontaneously
changing your brushstrokes and approaches constantly
Edit unnecessary detail where needed- It’s like destroying and creating at the same time”  Paul Tonkin

8. Glaze applications over in isolated areas-could be whites or more staining glazes. Abstract Non-objective painting is adding, subtracting, adding again, breaking that down, editing and adding to that, in a layer of complexity or reductive process. Allow the process to unfold, be fearless!

Below:   "Tropical Color 2" an acrylic abstract by Gordon Meggison

 "Saturation and Simplicity" a watercolor 22"x16"

(Image right) History Note! Theosophy- Hilma af Klint-One of the first abstract artists was a woman and known then as a theosophist- Hilma AF Klint b 1862.  
She predates Wassily Kandinsky the more famous artist renowned for seeing art as music.  Her secret life was with 4 other women “the five” The Serpentine Gallery on You Tube)
Taking a Step

Techniques  and Tools you can eventually explore, try and use:

A large variety of tools (and this is but a few) may be employed in acrylic painting

Fan Brushes and Oriental brushes- for bold simple calligraphic strokes, or crosshatch
Large brushes keeping strokes simpler, brushey or flat, crude or boldly graphic
Squeegee for long clean color field strokes
Palette knife -laying rich saturated applications of pure flat color down next to other colors
Pouring color or varnishes-allows surface of canvas to have different absorbtion or sheen
Glazes-use broadly and boldly, distress glazes where you alter wet surfaces to get optical texture
Scraping tools and Combs-
Sculpted Textural Bases-gel mediums, joint compound
Plastic Pressing (wire mesh, other patterned industrial found stencils)
Scumbling- for softness
Washes -pouring or brush wash, can also be wet into wet washes of differing color
Drip Technique (like Pollack) adds energy
Taping or masking- stencil- preferrably self made or modified Graphic Design- creating random
or carefully carved simple shapes in which sponge, opaque, transparent or washed to create soft or broken areas
Roller strokes using small and large roller
Negative Space- editing out previous work through negative painting with white or another color
Scratching away - remove top coat to reveal bottom coat
Multiple Opaque Layering - brush paint or palette knife-skip across surface to get  open spaces
Multiple layering of glazed paint- applied openly with brush, or poured, scraped or knifed on
Geometric Designs- taped large and small Color blocks-order or random, squared or soft edges
Collage- application of fabric tissue etc to surface
Soft Edge- soft brushed color field areas one against another
Stamping- nautilus, shells, lace auto parts
Stencil- same as stencil or cut you own
Monotype- Putting paint (oil) on glass or wood and transferring to paper or canvas
Etching into texture- with pen or scratch tool
Pencil or Silverpoint on Gypsum
Cake decorator- to layer controlled texture
Embedded color -applied first, then after dry other color added over with knife or glaze
Deconstruction -by sanding through paint layers
Spray cans or spray pens

Types of materials
Paper or canvas, wood, cardboard primed, yupo can be used.  Smooth or add rough texture base for other textured effects.
Acrylic tube paints, house paints, put your own colors in cake decorating sqeeze bottles
Glaze liquids and extenders lengthen drying time for special effects.
Plastic tubs with lids for large wash mixes for pouring or adding later
A Brief History of Abstraction:  Many different Abstract Movements:
“What is Abstract Art”?
Abstraction is essentially about “Mark Making” and inscribing your personal spiritual DNA on the surface of canvas or objects , much like graffiti artists attempt to do when they try to self actualize on the streets.  The difference is we are doing it here in the studio.  Each persons’ view from the center of the universe is unique, and their language for interpreting that universe is unique,  and comes from a deeply connected place to the source.  So the theory is that every mark intentional or otherwise, comes from a deep inner need to make a stroke, texture, color wash etc. to describe the indescribable.  It is ultimately about freedom to express what you want how you want, like a child, innocent and honestly.  Editing and censorship are what we are immersed in daily, but art is personal and about cutting away from that.
Abstract Styles-
Bauhaus- Wassily Kandinsky
Suprematism- Kazimir Malevich
Cubism- Picasso, Cezanne
Lyrical Abstraction- Matisse, Jean Jose Marchand
Abstract Expressionism- Willem De Kooning,  Antoni Tapies
Action Painting- Pollock, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell
Geometric Abstraction- Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman
Color Field abstraction- Rothko, Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Patrick Heron, Kenneth Noland,
Sam Francis, Cy Twombly, Richard Diebenkorn, Thiebaud, Hans Hofman
Pop Art-Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Rauchenberg,Roy Lichtenstein, Jean Michel Basquiat
Minimalism-Barnett Newman, Yves Klein, Kazimir Malevich Frank Stella, Mark Rothko

Below: An acrylic by Gordon Meggison using acrylic texture media and color washes wiped on and off on metallic, and using some crackle medium

"Orange Sky" by Gordon Meggison 40" x 60" acrylic on canvas

NEW! WATERCOLOR CLASSES at Reddi Arts February Schedule 2021

A dventure in Watercolor!  A class for beginners and Intermediate alike. I approach this medium with a sense of adventure and flexibility,...