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Spring Break at the Tallapoosa Art School

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Demo at Lake Martin 2019 2
Oil on panel
This is Qiang Huang's demo from day 2 of the workshop.  He focused on metals in the lesson

Happy Wednesday, My Lovelies!  During the last week of March, I spent Spring Break at the Tallapoosa Art School on Lake Martin in Dadeville, Alabama.  Dorothy Littleton owns the school, and her studio is truly something special, as is her cottage home and the lakeside cabins for guests.  I stayed at our lake cabin because it's only 13 miles from Dorothy's lake property called the Blue Heron.  Click on the LINK and check out the Blue Heron and the summer workshops Dorothy has planned.

Y'all know how much I love the lake, and I also have admired the workshop's teacher, Qiang Huang (pronounced Chong Wong) and his art for a long time.  I jumped at the opportunity to attend the workshop, and I'm so happy I did.  Not only was Dorothy a wonderful hostess (plus amazing artist herself), but Qiang is the BEST workshop teacher I've ever had, and I've attended dozens of workshops over the years.

Qiang Huang and his demo from Day 3
You can learn more about Qiang, his workshops, and his art by linking to his website HERE.

Close-up of demo from Day 3: Glass Lesson
This was also a High Key Lesson, and I found it to be challenging. 

It is very difficult to talk and paint at the same time because both actions use different parts of the brain.  Qiang can do this well, but he's a genius, literally.  He's an engineer by trade, and his story is so interesting.  He actually fell into art when he wanted to furnish his new home and couldn't find anything he liked in his price range!  Qiang is very personable, and very, very patient.  

La Countess de Monet accompanied me on the trip, however I wouldn't let her attend class with me in the studio.  I'm way too messy!  See the door on top?  It's a loft for visiting artists or other guests.  There's a spiral staircase accessing it, but I cut it off in my photo!

Many of the materials for the art studio were sourced from a mid-1800s Iowa barn.  I wanted to show a few of the woods used in the studio in this photo.

Looking over the loft into the studio area
There's room for about ten artists in the studio.

Qiang teaches a process of oil painting called alla prima.  According to Wikipedia:

Wet-on-wet, or alla prima (Italian, meaning at first attempt), direct painting or au premier coup, is a painting technique in which layers of wet paint are applied to previously administered layers of wet paint.

Demo at lake Martin, Day 4: Floral Lesson

Lake Martin Day 1 Demo
I brought this one home with me!  :D

Now I'll share two of the paintings I completed at the workshop.  I learned so much painting them, and I can look at them and remember what I learned.  Plus I took copious notes to help me remember what Qiang taught.  

Painting from Day 1
I enjoyed learning a better way to paint grapes.

This is my painting from Day 2.  It was challenging painting both metal and glass in one painting!

Now that I'm home, I'm determined to try to paint everyday and join the Daily Painting Movement.  Below are two alla prima daily paintings that I painted here at home after the workshop.

Both paintings are 6" X 6".

I want to thank Qiang for traveling to Alabama to teach us; the other incredibly talented artists who attended; and Dorothy, the sweetest hostess *ever*  I had such a nice time sharing meals with these artists, too.  I can't wait to take a couple of the workshops this summer!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. How wonderful! And your paintings are just beautiful! I love the cup of cherries the best! And this is the perfect time for me to read this...I've gone crazy with watercolors. I go to bed thinking about what I want to do next! I've never painted or even sketched in my entire life and now I'm trying it and loving it! You have always inspired me with your beautiful paintings and the art you have in your home. Hugs!

  2. Hi,
    I was waiting for this post. This is fantastic. You do such beautiful work. I am passing your post on to Atticus. He is doing an essay on Qiang Huang!!! Amazing how you posted this just in time.
    Thank you,

  3. What an amazing workshop for you RJ. I love your painting with the blue coffee pot. You got it right, it is lovely with the glass. I'm so happy you got to do this and get away. Sounds like you enjoyed this and learned techniques you'll use over and over. XO

  4. Oh wow Ricki your paintings are just beautiful. What a great place to learn too. Love the building. Qiang Huang sounds like the perfect teacher and very inspirational.

  5. Wow RJ, your paintings are fabulous! I especially love the single red apple, stunning! How wonderful to have a week of eating, sleeping, breathing, talking art! I am not familiar with this artist, and I love love his style. I have been thinking about joining Daily Painters too, but there is no way I can produce a painting a day! I did sign up for their daily email, and love seeing the new paintings each day...I also prefer to work larger. Did you paint on gessoboard? I have been debating about taking another 2 day workshop in May, and you've inspired me to sign up!

  6. Brilliant. I love your work. You catch the sunlight highlights so well. Boy, do I have a hard time with lighting -- this is splendid in every single way. The workshop sounds great and you must have had a wonderful time being with like-minded people and expressing yourself artistically. I love classes and being creative in the company of others. Qiang sounds like a marvelous teacher and his work is lovely. So, too, the studio and environment. My idea of perfect!

  7. I'm so impressed Ricki, with your painting. Sounds intense but you enjoyed it I can tell.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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