Aaron Westerberg Day 4 – Second day of class

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Today was the second day of class. Aaron started with a short lecture where he showed us more examples of his work and more books by the great masters. He is an inspiring teacher. I can see how passionately he loves what he does.

Aaron finished off his lecture by making a big point of encouraging us to do a color study before starting a painting.

Fifteen seconds later he started his demo and told us that he was not, in fact, going to do a color study and that he was just going to start painting. Everyone cracked up.

This was our first day painting with a model. Aaron wanted us to do a sketch of the model before we started painting. He encouraged us to check and recheck the relative sizes and distances of body parts – this is a tip that I hear consistently from all my teachers.

I’m trying to use what I learned in Ellen’s class with the new drawing instructions from Aaron. I love his work but it’s almost counter-intuitive to what I learned from Ellen and Alex! It’s going to be hard for me to blend all these techniques.

While you imagine me sketching and painting away for the rest of the class, here are some more little tips, words of wisdom and some fun facts about Aaron:

  • The human ear follows the same angle as the back of the jaw.
  • The more simple the painting, the better it will turn out.
  • Single-source light makes it hard to see the mid-tones and highlights in your painting.
  • Use Fels-Naptha or Ivory soap to clean brushes.
  • After you clean larger brushes, use two small pieces of cardboard and a clip to hold the bristles together while they dry.
  • Aaron likes listening to classical music while he paints.
  • Aaron recommends Liquitex Soluvar and Gamblin Gamvar as varnishes.
  • It’s not true that you need to wait six months for your painting to dry. You can varnish it when it’s dry to the touch.
  • The more you draw and paint the better you will get.
  • Aaron is 37 years old. He has two adorable terriers named Stella and Lucy.
  • Aaron loves the Zorn palette.

Here’s his palette:

And below is the Zorn pallet:

Gamblin Ivory Black, Utrecht Yellow Ochre, Windsor Newton Cadmium Red and Titanium/Zinc White.


After class I tried calling Cheap Joe’s again and still nothing! I can’t believe this.

On a happier note, I went out to dinner, and I must say that if you find yourself in Scottsdale sometime, you can’t miss Arcadia Farms Cafe. Eat outside, it is fabulous!!

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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