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Monhegan Island Maine

  • Monhegan Island Monhegan Island Monhegan, Maine USA (map)


Gain invaluable tools and learn to paint Alla Prima with total confidence. The term Alla Prima means 'At One Go'. In his remarkable treatise 'In Praise Of Painterly Painters', the late artist, author and teacher, Charles Movalli wrote; painterly painters are surrounded by seeming contradictions. They finish by not finishing, include by leaving out, paint more by painting less. Their means are easy to see, the results, immediately felt. But how such seemingly insufficient means lead to these results is a mystery. 

In this three-day workshop, let us take the mystery out of this painterly approach. Economy of stroke is within every painters grasp if they are willing to approach the painting process with a 'Less Is More' mind set. More than half the battle is a willingness to load the brush with enough paint and make each stroke count for something. Over the course of the three days, we will strive for this. 

On day one, we will employ the use of just value and shapes. No color allowed! Think of this process like learning to juggle. First we are taught to juggle with only two balls, Value and Shapes. I will demo in 5 values with large premixed piles of Burnt Umber and White. There will be enough piles of premixed paint leftover for each participant to use for the day. Each student will then work on their own painting and be asked to use up all the paint they are given. Good brushwork happens when oil paint is 'built up' on top of oil paint. This lesson will help drive that point home. On day two, I will demo using color. With my help, each student will first mix up a few large piles of basic colors that represent the main value shapes, for their individual painting. Then we will employ the same method of painting from day one. Day three will be a full day of painting followed by a critique. On days two and three, you will be encouraged to tackle up to 3 plein air pieces using the methods you've been taught.


Monhegan Island is a tiny island about 12 miles off the coast of Maine and reachable by ferry. As soon as you step off the boat, you'll begin to feel Monhegan's special charm. The painting subjects on this quaint artist's paradise have barely changed in over one hundred years and everywhere you look is another painting waiting to be captured on your canvas. Robert Henri ventured out to Monhegan and was so enamored by its subject matter that he painted 25 small oil sketches in a four day period. Everything about Monhegan Island is special and the experience will stay with you for the rest of your life. 
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The link to our supply list below is only a suggested list. If you have a palette of colors, a medium and a supply of brushes that is working for you, then by all means, you are welcome to bring what you like. I do highly recommend a warm and cool tube each of Red, Yellow and Blue. 

Location: Monhegan Island Maine

Cost: $400  Class  size is limited to 12 students. To register send a deposit check for $200 to:

David Lussier, 80 Olde Mill Rd. Apt 10, Somersworth, NH 03878

Time: 9:00 - 4:00 each day

The link below will take you the Monhegan Welcome website. The website offers information about planning your trip to Monhegan, along with all accommodation choices, and boat information to get you the the island and a myriad of other things about Monhegan.

Monhegan Welcome Website

Robert Henri And His Circle

In Praise Of Painterly Painters

Suggested Supply List