Aaron Westerberg Workshop – First day of class

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Workshop with Aaron Westerberg

Yikes! I still have not received my supplies from Cheap Joe’s. I called them again at 2:00 PM today and left another message. This is crazy!

I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and could not fall back asleep until 5:30 a.m. Wouldn’t you know that even with all my planning, coming in an extra day early, and making a dry run to the school, I was the only student who was late the very first day of class!!

I was, of course, mortified. I tiptoed into the classroom and tried to sneak in unnoticed, but the second I walked in Aaron said, “Hey!  You’re late!”
His statement was very matter of fact, not angry or annoyed. He was just making a casual observation not a judgment or reprimand. I apologized to him, softly replied that I had overslept and joined the class feeling slightly embarrassed.

Overall it was a great first workshop day. I loved Aaron’s teaching style and I just adored him. He had a wonderful, likeable personality. He was smart,  well read, childlike, funny, and very talented all rolled into one.  He was completely charming!

He began the first lecture by referring to women as pretty girls. You would think this would have been super offensive to me, but for some reason, it wasn’t. I guess it was because he was so captivating everything he said sounded wonderful.

When I first met Aaron,  he seemed  rather young. I was skeptical about how much he might know about art.  But once he began  the lecture portion of the workshop and began speaking about art it was clear he knew exactly what he was talking about. It was obvious he approached the subject of art very seriously.

I love how Aaron has devised a unique way to study the Masters. He buys wonderful , elegant art books  by  his favorite artists like Sargent, Charles Bargue, Andre Loomia , and Bridgmen. He rips them apart right away and has them bound on spiral bindings to make them easier to study and read.

Here are some of the books that Aaron recommended:

I love this quote from Aaron:

No one has seen all the things that you have and no one sees the world as you do, so, no one can copy your work.

Aaron mentioned  that he couldn’t paint someone who was watching a movie because the screen would reflect the color onto the sitter’s face.   As an afterthought, he said he supposed you could paint them that way too.

Aaron does not blend colors. He finds a separate, third color in between the first and second color.  He uses the third color to make the other two colors blend together. He blends colors sometimes but he prefers  this method.

Aaron gave the following practical tips to enhance a trip to art museums:

  • Bring a color bar and gray scale to
  • Compare paintings every time you visit an art museum and
  • Do a color study of a great painting that you see.

Use a picture perfect view finder : A view finder is usually a rectangular piece of cardboard with a rectangular hole cut in the middle. Artists use this to view their subject through the hole in order to compose their paintings. Here is a link to an example of one:


Shelli Alford is an artist and author, who enjoys learning from master oil painters from around the world and reviewing their classes, workshops and demonstrations.

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