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home : art & exhibits : art & exhibits June 24, 2016

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3/12/2012 8:01:00 AM
Aritst Michael Chesley Johnson offers outdoor painting workshop

Nationally-known painter and painting instructor Michael Chesley Johnson, who winters in the Sedona area, will be teaching a plein air (outdoor) workshop for the Sedona Arts Center, April 9-12. In his easy-going manner, Johnson will show participants how to capture the landscape quickly and effectively but without sacrificing mood and magic. Each day starts with a talk about plein air painting principles followed by demonstrations and plenty of student painting time. As students paint, Johnson goes from easel to easel, offering personal help. At the end of the day, Johnson offers supportive critiques of student work.

This workshop will be for all levels of student, from beginner to advanced, and all media are welcome. (Johnson will demonstrate in oil and pastel.) Price of the four-day workshop is $450. Contact the Sedona Arts Center at 1-888-954-4442, or visit the website,

Johnson, who has participated in the last six Sedona Plein Air Festivals, began spending winters in the area four years ago. "Sedona is the perfect winter environment for the painter," he says. "We get just enough snow to make the red rocks pretty, and then it's gone in a few days." Johnson likes the area so much that he came to Sedona not only to live and paint but also to teach. "It's a fabulous place to teach, with lots of beautiful and very accessible terrain." He teaches plein air painting workshops in his "Paint Sedona" program. The workshops are intentionally kept small, to usually no more than four students. "Many workshops these days will have anywhere from 15 to 30 students," he says. "It's so easy for a student who needs help to not get it. I prefer teaching only a few students at a time." Visit for more on the program.

Besides the Sedona Plein Air Festival, last year he was invited to and participated in two other events, the Grand Canyon "Celebration of Art" and the Zion National Park's "In the Footsteps of Thomas Moran" event. This year, he has been invited to demonstrate at Plein Air Magazine's Plein Air Convention & Expo in Las Vegas this April. During the rest of the year, he lives, paints and teaches on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, in the Canadian Maritimes. Campobello Island is famous for being President Franklin D. Roosevelt's family home, which is now part of the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park. In addition to painting and teaching, Johnson is also a writer. He is a Contributing Editor for The Artist's Magazine and a frequent writer for Pastel Journal. He has also several books including Backpacker Painting: Outdoors with Oil & Pastel and Paint Sedona: A Plein Air Painter's Field Guide to Sedona, Arizona.

For more on Johnson, visit his website at or his blog, His private studio is open by appointment. Call (575) -267-2450 or e-mail

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