Essence and Design! Ken DeWaard


Ken DeWaard is one of the best instructors we’ve had here…and we have great instructors! He is thorough, full of information, lavish in his attention to students…one of those who is as true a teacher as he is a fine painter! Ken says there is nothing more rewarding and challenging than painting under an open sky, surrounded by the scents and sounds of nature, submersed in its ever changing color and harmonies. 
The Challenge of painting outside is in selection, in holding to the  principles that let you get your response to what you see onto your canvas. Utilizing and building on what nature gives us but not being a slave to it, chasing the light and seeing beyond what is there, always looking for more. No matter what we are looking at, it is all about the design and interpretation.

                                                                                                 Essence: the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, without regard for peripheral details. To see fundamentally.

Design: an arrangement of lines or shapes created to form a pattern. To do or plan (something) with a specific purpose or intention in mind.

In this class, you’ll be working to simplify shapes, pushing to explore use of temperatures and color, controlling values and  edges to make your paintings fresh, vibrant, and full of light and color. Composition and design underly all of these: drawing is the foundation.
Individualized critique, at your easel, will be the basis for instruction. Altho Ken will demo the first day in oils, you are welcome to work in whatever medium you’d like,  oil, watercolor, pastel, or acrylic. You’ll be painting outside as much as the weather allows and in a variety of local scenic venues.
“My personal objective during this workshop is to make sure that each and every student experiences advancement.”  Ken Dewaard


After receiving his Bachelor of Arts with honors, Ken began working in a commercial art studio in Chicago. He continued his studies at the American Academy of Art, where he studied with nationally recognized watercolorist, Irving Shapiro. Upon Irving’s recommendation Ken joined the acclaimed Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Art in Chicago, where he studied with Scott Burdick and Dan Gerhartz. Here Ken developed his direct and pure approach and  bravura brush style, which he achieves by painting directly from life.  Strongly inspired by John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, William Wendt, Edgar Payne, Nicolai Fechin, and the Russian Impressionists, Ken paints subject matter from everyday life. The feelings Ken evokes in his paintings come from the excitement and passion he feels while capturing the fleeting effects of light, and the wonderful color nuances and harmonies presented by nature. He has won numerous awards around the country in many of the top Plein Air Competitions, including the coveted Artist Choice and Best of Show awards.  After 14 years in the Driftless area of Wisconsin, Ken and his family have moved to Mid Coast Maine, an absolutely gorgeous area, full of inspiration…so much to paint!

Some General Class Information:

  • We will process your payment after we get your online Registration and will email you a receipt. A $300 deposit will hold your space. Refund and Cancellation Policies are at the bottom of the Registration Form.

  • You will get a Supply List and more detailed info when you Register, and again about a month before the class.

  • If you will need mediums, let me know and I will have them here for you to buy in class. You are also welcome to ship materials ahead…ask for the address!

  • The first day, the Studio will open early…we will make sure you know the time!Classes usually run M-F, between 8:30-4:30, but the exact hours are at the Instructor’s discretion…never fewer than 6 hours total/day, but sometimes we start earlier or end later…or both!

  • We eat dinner (Dutch) somewhere as a group at least once, usually Monday nite for starters; friends, companions, hosts are welcome to come along.

  • We always have a lunch break, to use or not, it’s up to you…and a lunch plan depending on where we are painting.

  • The Plein Air plan for the day is weather-dependent and usually decided at the end of the previous day if possible, or more likely, each morning!

  • If your class is Plein Air, make sure your Class Monitors know where you have set up, and try to stay close to the demo area. Less running around for them, more time for feedback to you!

  • Our Studios are large with good light; you’ll have your own table space and you are welcome to leave equipment etc. there for the duration of the class. It may be possible to paint after hours, we’ll explain the logistics!

  • There are some steps to the main floor where the Studios are located but there is an elevator in the building if you need it.

  • There is ample free parking at the Studio building, which is within walking distance of downtown.

  • We carpool (or sometimes walk) to Plein Air painting sites, most of which have shade and at the least, a porta-potty or nearby facilities. You will get good directions and we usually caravan. Please, do NOT depend on your GPS unless we say so!

  • Each class has an experienced Monitor (or two!) as your Go-To person for any problems or needs…please ask…we all will do our absolute best to see that you have a great class experience!

  • Downtown has great galleries, shops and food and the area is full of wonderful places to paint!

  • For Lodging and Travel info, click on the buttons on the Home Page.

  • Cancellation and Refund info is at the bottom of the online Registration Form…(please do read the Policies before you check that you have!)

  • Be sure to contact us with any questions. Thanks!