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Direct Observation
in the Landscape

Williamson Tapia

April 28–30, 2017

All Levels / All Media

Class will meet 10am–5pm on the
first day and 9am–4pm on subsequent days




There has to be a different approach to painting for every artist out there and perhaps as many different philosophies on how to paint from life outdoors - this workshop will focus on the challenge of working in ever-changing outdoor environments, through a technique of painting directly from observation with help from a 40-year practitioner of painting en plein-air ('sans' cameras since 1997). Artists are encouraged to bring with them the tools and equipment they are most familiar with. Williamson Tapia will provide demonstrations and individual attention to help build confidence and reduce frustration when working in the outdoors. If you can develop a way to be comfortable while painting outdoors - you are much more likely to do it and to enjoy it.


Class will meet 10am–5pm on the first day and 9am–4pm on subsequent days

Cancellation/Refund Policy: The $125 deposit is non-refundable; the balance is due one month before the first day of the workshop. No refunds after the one-month cut-off date. If paying in full upon registration, $125 of the total tuition fee is non-refundable. There are absolutely no refunds after the 30 day cut-off date for any reason, unless the Sedona Arts Center has to cancel the workshop, then all money paid will be refunded in full.






About Williamson Tapia

If traditional plein-air painter Williamson Tapia is stubbornly passionate about one thing in life, it is painting natural outdoor subjects without the influence of an "iron eye". As a (city-born) Native-American art student at Glendale College (1978-80) and Arizona State (1981-83) he acquired a deep appreciation for the challenge of oil painting and the great traditions of artists in history who produced iconic works of art without the modern convention of portable camera technology.

In 1978 a college professor introduced Will to the process of painting outdoors en plein air (in open air). Through this early and unique opportunity he was able to report back to class at the end of each session to show and discuss a progressive yet ongoing effort to paint landscapes in and around the town of Glendale. As a continuing student at ASU, his ties with Native-American traditions became more diverse through NASA (now NASO) ... awakening a comparable interest and philosophy toward environmental preservation coupled with a singular determination to paint natural subjects through direct-observation. Further studies in art history and photography provided him with a deep revelation into his own style of painting ... that what his ancestors believed about photography stealing a person's soul, mirrored a personal discovery that only through direct-observation, could he convincingly describe the soul of nature in composition. Tapia graduated from Arizona State with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1983. In 1985 living landscapes at Chichen Itza and Palenque drew him South into the Yucatan, and further still to Verona and Venice in 1991.

Will Tapia's post-graduate painting study resumed at ASU West in 1991 (after working 7 years in corporate-media presentation) ... the artist subsequently began to redesign, develop and apply an eco-sensitive approach to large-scale plein air (3500+ square inches), chasing perceptual vistas both in and around Oak Creek Canyon which greatly expanded his working color palette. After a permanent move to Sedona in 1995, gallery support and local contacts would lead to teaching at the Sedona Arts Center from 1997-2001.

In 1999 Will served 2 years on the volunteer Board of Directors for the Sedona Arts Center ... Sedona's seminal not-for-profit arts organization founded in 1958. In 2005 he was invited to participate at the first Sedona Plein Air Festival, sponsored by SAC ... an event that began his 'competitive' timeline in outdoor painting arts.

Will Tapia was tremendously honored to participate in The Greatest Earth On Show (Winter 2009-10) exhibit of Western-Regional landscape artists (past and present) sponsored and hosted by the Phippen Art Museum displaying his direct-observation paintings alongside legendary artists Maynard Dixon and James Swinnerton.

Thanks to associations with SAC and retired Park Ranger, David Haskell (USNPS), Will was invited to participate in the first Grand Canyon Celebration of Art for September 2009 in the plein-air painting segment of its annual fundraiser - a competitive-arts venue conceived to enhance the Grand Canyon Association's mission supporting the Grand Canyon National Park Service. During paint-outs at the South Rim, Will met then-Grand Canyon Artist-in-Residence, Richard Chalfant, who encouraged him to apply for the AiR program ... subsequent events led to a 4-week term as the Grand Canyon South Rim Artist-in-Residence for March 2011.







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