This summer Tony van Hasselt, A.W.S. teaches an exciting plein air watercolor workshop at inspiring locations in the beautiful Hudson River Valley. Tony’s 5-day class, Watercolor in Nature’s Studio will be held August 9 to 15, 2015 at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops in Greenville, NY.
How long have you been teaching and what got you started?
To earn a living while attending art school in New York, I became one of the first workshop organizers and studied under painters who taught on those workshops I organized. In that way, my watercolor heros, Rex Brandt, Tom Hill, John Pike, Edgar Whitney and Robert E. Wood, became my mentors and friends.
Based on that education, watercolor became my primary painting medium and I started teaching my own plein air workshops in the 70’s after being elected to full membership in the American Watercolor Society.
What is your favorite part about teaching? Meeting all the wonderful participants over those many years. Despite different ages and backgrounds, we all have one thing in common: we all strive to improve. This makes for warm camaraderie and friendships which carry on long after a workshop is over. Many such friends become “groupies” whose familiar faces show up at different workshop locations I teach.
What would you tell students are the best reasons for taking a workshop? A workshop is a short, concentrated study time where you have the opportunity to fully focus on art, without the usual distractions and obligations. It offers the opportunity to see how a pro approaches a subject and brings it to completion. When students paint, they benefit from the instructor’s personal guidance and during group critiques have the opportunity to observe how their own work as well as that of the group, can be improved upon.
What are you currently working on in your own art? I have gypsy blood, love to travel and painting on location, so new surroundings offer the inspiration I need to explore excitingly different subject material.
Where is your art exhibited? Here in Maine, there are three galleries which show my work.
I also show in a gallery in Charleston, South Carolina.
What is your favorite art quote? I quote my fellow Dutchman Henry van Dyke: “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
My own quotes? “There are no failures. They are deposits in the bank named Future Success.” And: “You can’t learn from timidity.”
Describe your studio. Nature is my studio without walls. 80 percent of the work is done on location while finishing touches are added in my studio.
Name your “can’t do without” tools/products.
A sturdy outdoor easel. I prefer the Jullian half box French easel and when flying, the Winsor & Newton Bristol watercolor easel since it is lightweight and fits into a suitcase or duffel bag.
A heavy weight such as a gallon of water and long bungee cord to steady my easel during windy conditions.
Professional grade cold press watercolor paper
A variety of inexpensive brushes, including a large hog hair fan brush, plus of course, van Hasselt’s Magic Muslin, with which I keep painting until getting to the little details.
A palette with a large, unobstructed mixing area. The Anderson folding palette fits inside my Jullian easel.
Professional grade watercolors with a fresh squeeze added each time before starting to paint.
A folding cart to carry these items.
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