Get the most out of your paintings

Techniques class 1 Recap

By taking the time to work out your design and values before hitting the canvas can make the experience more enjoyable and result in a better painting. If you haven't decided where you are going with the painting or what are the most important elements, you can spend most of your painting time trying to work through all that and it will show.

Here is a recap of what we covered in class today. Working from a photo, create as many gesture sketches as needed until you are happy with the design. These need to be fast and are meant to help you work through your ideas about the composition. Make as many adjustments as you need. Next step, create a value painting using black, gray, and, white. By taking away the color in a study, it's much easier to see what is going on in the painting. Again, make any adjustments to make a stronger painting.

In this example, I am working from several different photos.

Below are my initial gesture sketches.  The wagon is the focal point and the house is just the back drop. But in my first sketch the wagon is a minor player. I switched to oil pastel and tried agin. It wasn't until the 4th one, I came up with something I liked. I finally made the wagon the major part of the painting. I was able to work through this in about 30 mins. That's the beauty of a rough drawing, just keep tossing them out until you get a good one.

Gesture sketches for wagon painting

Next week  - block in the painting with color. 

I often will do this step in acrylic so that I can make quick adjustments before starting with the oils. When you"re happy with the overall design and color palette,  it's time to paint!

Blocking in color for wagon painting

All of this took under and hour, and the time and struggle it will save for the rest of the painting will be well worth it. 

We will work on blocking in the color in next weeks class.

Second week making color notes.

Below you can see  the next steps. Making color and value decisions. 

Until then - have a great week!


Hope to see you out there.

Happy fall, Dawn

Summer travels and fall shows

My painting has taken a new direction this year and I'm happy to say, it was well received at my art shows. Above are a few of my favorites that found new homes. It's always a rewarding experience, but these, I'll miss. Time to get back in the studio!


 after spending 

much of the summer traveling, it's great to get back home and regroup. I had a wonderful time painting, learning,  making new friends and catching up with friends I only see once a year. I hit the upper Adirondacks in June and then Mystic CT, Mount Gretna PA, then on to Cary NC - and can you believe the weather was perfect?

          UPCOMING EVENTS                

Judges Choice award at the Mount Gretna Art Festival

Show Schedule

Aug 29  3 - 6 

Painting demo and sale Whole Foods Briar Cliff , Atlanta GA

Sept 26  8 - 6 

Stone Mountain Plein Air Paint Out,  

Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta GA

Sept 19 - 20

 Alexander Art Festival, Alexandria,VA 

Oct 10 - 11

 Brookhaven Art Festival , Brookhaven 

Oct 24 -25

Atlanta art Festival , Piedmont Park, Atlanta GA 

More info


ept dates


Oct dates

Class Schedule **


 15 - Nov 10  6:15 - 9:30


Painting Studio 

Sept 16 - Oct 21 Wed 10:00 am - 1:00pm 

Joy of Painting, T

echniques class

Oct 3 Sat 10:00 - 3:00

 Intro to Plein Air

Oct 9-11, Fri - Sun 

Painting Retreat at the Parker Ranch 

Clayton, GA

Holiday Classes**

Nov 11 - Dec 9, Wed 10am - 1 pm

 Painting Techniques

November 14 - 15, Sat & Sun 10 - 3 

 2 Day 

Color Confidence  


Dec 1 - Dec 15,  6:15 pm - 9:30pm 

Tues Painting Studio 

**classes held at DawnArt Studios, 180 A 11th St NE, Atlanta GA 30309, unless noted.

Check out all classes available online click 

Classes and Workshops

and choose the Classes and Workshop heading.

Hope to see you out there.

Happy fall, Dawn

Joy of Painting - Painting Techniques / Beginning Painting March 25 -May 13

Joy of Painting - Painting Techniques 

/ Beginning Painting 

6 weeks


April 29 - June  3 

Wed 10:00 am - 12:45pm

DawnArt Studios

180 11th St Ne, Atlanta GA

404 399 0853


Supply list


6 week 225.00


This is a techniques class to design to give you the tools needed to solve problems in your paintings.  Have you  struggled with knowing  how to get your creative ideas on the canvas? Than this is the class for you. Each class will show a specific painting technique, with demos and examples and then have a painting assignment to reinforce the techniques.  The class will cover composition, value, color and finishing techniques. You can use my examples for your projects or bring in your own photo. All levels welcome - appropriate for beginners. You will we able to  leave your wet canvas and supplies in class. Class size limited to 6 students. Street and pay lot parking.

This 6 week session will focus on composition, different ways to begin your paintings and, how to work from photos.

Contact Dawn with any questions

3 day workshops

April 17 - 19

Callaway Gardens

/ Warm Springs - Plein Air Retreat - Azaleas in full bloom!

May 14 - 17

Parker Ranch -

No Stress plein air workshop in the beautiful North GA Mountains

Contact Dawn with any questions or


Supply lists

See more paintings at

Check out the class FB page