Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Winter Painting Retreat in the Bahamas Almost Sold Out

"I think the Bahamas the best place I have ever found." — Winslow Homer
Has the approach of winter got you singing the blues? Escape the cold and gray and add some color to the season with The Art League's upcoming travel workshop to the Bahamas this February.

A landscape of Elbow Cay by Susan Abbott
But don't expect just a vacation.

"We work really hard," says Susan Abbott, the instructor for the trip. "They're very active workshops." Instead of superficially experiencing the Bahamas, traveling as an artist means being actively engaged with one's surroundings, she says — a traveler, not a tourist. “My teaching is focused on composition and color, and also developing a personal response to landscape,” Susan says. 

Each day includes a morning and afternoon plein air session, about three hours each, and a critique at the end of the day.

Painting with a parasol on last February's trip. Photograph by Susan Abbott
There's plenty of inspiration to fill those sessions, as Winslow Homer found with his famous watercolors of the Bahamas. The narrow island of Elbow Cay, where the workshop is held, features water on both sides — bay on one side, ocean on the other — not to mention the compelling architecture. Hope Town on Elbow Cay, which was featured in the Washington Post this month, was settled by Americans loyal to the crown during the Revolution, resulting in the curious sight of New England-style homes painted in tropical colors.

"Sponge Fishing, Nassau," by Winslow Homer, 1885
This winter, the long-running Bahamas workshop will take place February 9–14. This is Susan Abbott's third year as instructor, but before she took over, Ross Merrill ran the workshop. He was Chief of Conservation at the National Gallery and taught courses at The Art League before he passed away last year.

Susan, who is based in Vermont, also has upcoming travel workshops in Vermont and Provence, France, in addition to local workshops this March on color theory for painters and on traveling with a sketchbook in Old Town Alexandria.

Visit The Art League's website for more information on the Bahamas workshop and how to sign up. Spaces are almost sold out!

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