Helga Watkins: Design for Landscape Painting

LOCATION: Escalante Innovation Center

Friday, September 20, 2024: 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM and Saturday, September 21, 2024: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

COST: $180 /  Maximum of 8; Minimum of 4 / All ability levels

It is convenient at times to think of composition as equivalent to design in representative painting.

While composition is a critical factor, there is also a range of other substantial design factors that determine a painting’s final impact. In this workshop, we will examine the elements of design (of which composition is one) and how to apply these effectively in landscape subjects.

Plein Air painting, as anyone who’s ever tried it knows, is an especially challenging form of artmaking. It requires the artist to improvise upon and organize the chaos of the natural world, while painting confidently and efficiently within tight time constraints and subject to the vagaries of the outdoors. 

To produce effective work under these circumstances, you need really a solid framework and strategy. 

During the first morning, we will formally examine the elements of design as they relate to landscape painting. We will paint outdoors in the afternoon, and then continue through the second day.  Participants will remain in general proximity, to make sure there is time for plenty of individual feedback from Helga and to provide opportunity to learn from one another. To conclude we will reconvene with our work indoors to enjoy and discuss our work.

For a workshop syllabus visit

Participants will meet at the Escalante Innovation Center media room at  9:30am. We will then paint outdoors in the afternoon.

Each participant will receive three prepared painting surfaces. Participants should bring their usual plein air painting kit, a sketchbook and their favored drawing medium such as a soft graphite pencil, grayscale marker, or pastel pencil.


Workshop Registration


Helga Watkins is a painter and designer. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Painting (MFA) Degree from the University of Notre Dame. 

Helga initiated the Bachelor of Design and Media program at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she was a faculty member. Helga also taught in UNLV’s innovative Entertainment Engineering and Design program. While a tenured professor, she also maintained a professional design practice over two decades, specializing in identity design for resorts and restaurants. Prior to her academic career, Helga was Art Director (Interiors Division) at Young Electric Sign Company in Las Vegas, where she managed a large art department and designed large-scale environmental graphics, lighting, and signage programs for an international clientele. 

She recently retired from academics to have time to spend more time painting, and enjoys participating in plein air events. She has received multiple awards including Best of Show at the Escalante Art Festival Plein Air Competition.

You can see more of her work at

Bill Cramer: Canyons & Colors, Escalante en Plein Air

LOCATION: Escalante Town Park Pavilion

Monday and Tuesday, September 23 & 24, 2024 (7 am – dusk), Location – Meet at Escalante Town Park Pavilion

COST: $250 /  Maximum of 12; Minimum of 6 / All ability levels

This will be an enjoyable and intense two-day plein air workshop painting at scenic locations around Escalante, Utah. Emphasis will be placed on how to effectively translate the often complex three-dimensional landscape onto a two-dimensional plane through the careful use of composition, colors, values, shapes, edges, and textures. Taking and using reference photos will also be discussed. 

Further emphasis will be placed on the creative process, with the aim of creating paintings that go beyond strict representations of the landscape. Multiple demonstrations will be provided, complemented by individual attention and group learning. 

Students of all abilities are welcome, although all participants should have a basic familiarity with their chosen painting medium and plein air equipment. While all of the demonstrations will be done using traditional oil paints, I’m familiar with the use of all mediums. You can find a list of the materials I use and recommend at

Prior to the workshop, I’ll contact all concerning all participants regarding materials, locations, and meeting times. The course will begin early in the morning on the first day, on location.


Workshop Registration


Bill Cramer is best known for his striking oil paintings of the American West. Growing up in the west, Bill always had an interest in exploring nature and creating art. As a longtime rock climber, he spent much of his youth enjoying the more vertical aspects of the landscape. After receiving a fine arts degree from CSU Long Beach, he moved to Arizona with his wife Michelle to be closer to the scenery they both enjoyed. It was there that he discovered the delight and challenges of plein air painting, his outdoor experiences providing much of the insight and inspiration for his landscape paintings. Bill works in a style best described as Impressionistic Realism, where strong brushwork and colors are used to express the vitality and beauty of the natural world.  

You can see more of his work at

Pam Haunschild: Landscape Textures in Watermedia

LOCATION: Escalante Innovation Center

Wednesday, September 25, 2024: 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM and Thursday, September 26, 2024: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

COST: $175 /  Maximum of 12; Minimum of 4 / All abilities, all levels

In this fun and exciting workshop, we will create textures for nature-inspired paintings using the watermedia of your choice. Textures create excitement and a sense of depth in paintings and help viewers emotionally connect with your work. They are also a wonderful way to rework and revitalize paintings you are not happy with. We will use various texturing materials and tools (provided), including sand, palette knives, tissue paper and various texturing mediums. We will focus on creating textures that work well with natural subjects like rocks, mountains, trees, and water. This workshop will be held indoors the first day, but we will cover how to use textures “en plein air”. Our goal is to create 3-5 painting starts and work toward finishing 1-2 of these starts the first day. The second morning you have a choice of taking your texturing skills outside (I will provide texturing materials for you) or continue your starts indoors with me. Both groups will gather for a wrap-up session indoors at the end of the morning. 


Participants will meet at the Escalante Innovation Center media room at  9:30am on day 1, and at 9:30am on day 2.

Supplies provided by instructor: Two 11 x 14 surfaces; all texturing mediums and materials, applicators and other miscellaneous materials.

Supplies provided by students: 3 surfaces – watercolor paper, pre-gesso’d boards or canvases all work well. Brushes, a palette, a large water container and a water spray bottle. I encourage you to bring 1 or 2 of your paintings that you are not happy with, as texturing is a wonderful way to revitalize and rework your creations!

You might also want to bring sketches or photographs for inspiration.  


Workshop Registration


Pam’s paintings provide a unique, powerful vision of nature that deepens the connection between the viewer and the natural world. She works in watermedia – acrylics and watercolor. Her distinctive style is colorful, highly textured and semi-abstract, but the natural forms can still be identified. She loves to paint both outside for inspiration and in the studio for texturing and finishing work. Pam’s art education consists of many classes at art colleges and intensive mentorship with three well-known watermedia artists. Pam has been selected as an artist-in-residence at three National Parks and the Mendocino Art Center, and continues to be inspired by her time there. She is a signature member of Artists for Conservation and has received many awards for her work. Her work is held in many public and private collections, including the National Park Service. She is represented by three galleries. Pam has taught many watermedia workshops in Oregon and Northern California, including at Sitka Center for Art and Mendocino Art Center and enjoys helping students find their own artistic pathways.

You can see more of her work at