Workshop Student Comments
Tuscany Plein-air Workshop
"Participating in a workshop with Maggie is a delight! She is one of the rare artists who likes sharing her knowledge nearly as much as she likes to paint. Her demos are a delightful opportunity to be a fly on the wall as she goes through the various steps in the process while simultaneously explaining each step: composition, sketching, laying in the colors, developing a completed painting, and demonstrating and explaining her courageous use of color. Her critiques are equally helpful to the novice and the experienced artist. They are honest, very helpful, and still kind. It was great to see the improvement in each artist's paintings though out the week.These things, along with her availability to help and answer questions throughout the day are reasons I would be happy to take another workshop with her when the opportunity arises!
The Watermill was a perfect place; beautiful, well appointed, organized, and the comradiery of the gracious gatherings, and the food!"
"Our experiences at the Watermill were definitely the highlights of our tours!
"I went to explore painting and I did! Your demos were a great learning experience for me. The end-of-day critique made me see more.
"I had the greatest week doing art in Tuscany with great hosts (Bill and Lois) at the Watermill, Posara, Italy and with a very diversified teacher, Maggie. Maggie is good at teaching in all mediums and with all levels. She did wonderful demos in watercolour, acrylic, pastel and oil. Every day we did critiques together and learned from each other. I highly recommend this art workshop as well as the most wonderful accommodation with great food and wine. A little piece of heaven in experiencing Italy."
"I really enjoyed your workshop. You brought up concepts that I have long forgotten and feel grateful that you have refreshed my memory.
I really loved being outdoors all day drawing
or painting. Overcoming all my drawing fears took so much time and
energy ....and still does...but I'm glad for the time and the encouragement
that I received in the workshop from both you and the group. May
your attitude in life and work always remain so balanced. You are
an inspiration to me."
"I received good solid, basic instruction,
which I needed as a beginner. I have done other workshops that started
too far along for me to get what I needed. Thanks! I can take what I learned
and continue to improve.
"In the first two days, I felt that I learned about massing shapes, which really helped me a great deal as well as selecting a "star." The other thing I found particularly helpful was simplfying shapes and working out the values.
I felt that I learned three ways to emphasize the center of interest in a painting and three ways to use color, which I had never heard about before. I also learned about oil paint, brushes and the basic technique of painting with oils.
What I particularly like about your teaching is that you seem to be able to distill the learning into meaningful chunks that are understandable and then you demonstrate the concept and have us practice it. Your methodology is very effective.
I really like getting your feedback.
You give it in a very helpful and constructive way and always let us observe
you painting. Thanks!
"The instruction was very balanced - I'm glad you had us do the little studies - surprisingly, that was my favorite thing!
I really loved it all - the 3
step process was great! Locations wonderful! Loved your color vision -
something I want to develope."
Your approach to 'massing in'
shapes, and building in a star opened up a whole new realm for me, and
I am once again excited about creating watercolors. I am so glad to know
you, it was wonderful spending time with you and with Lou. It was an absolutely
"I enjoyed that Maggie & Lou are friendly & outgoing and made me immediately comfortable working with them. Also, that you can go at your own pace and still receive plenty of help/support and guidance.
This workshop was a great experience.
I am very glad I did it and can't thank Maggie & Lou enough for everything!"
"Thank you for the great workshop! It was awesome, I enjoyed meeting you and being in your company, and all of your wonderful expertise was very inspiring!
I am glad that you spent
California Plein-air Workshop
"What I liked
best about the workshop was Maggie's approachable manner and encouragement.
Her clear understanding about color
"My time spent with you was so helpful - I learned so much about the beginning, the planning, and layout of a paintingv- how to approach the subject and how to have a focal point.
The best part of the workshop, after instruction from you - were the locations we went to paint - the California sunshine is like nothing I've ever seen before - it has a warmth and richness that just infuses the scenery.
Your kind instruction and encouraging words were affirming and inspiring - I am still in awe at your ability to "finish" a painting with a flick of your wrist , a highlight put here, or a small adjustment there - you are truly a master!
As a novice I am eager to explore more of the "courageous colour" you show in your work - I see the world through renewed sight - and marvel even more at this beautiful world God created! Thank you for being part of this!
I would take any opportunity
"It exceeded all my Dreams!
"I thoroughly enjoyed our time together
and feel that I learned so very much from you. You have a delightful way
of teaching and allowing us to each be ourselves,
What I liked best -
The one on one time was most valuable. Being
able to watch you
Being outdoors, getting practice painting
outdoors. The discipline of creating the sketches ahead of time really
made me think about what I wanted on the page. Letting me do what I want
and then showing me how to do it better."
I love Maggie's style of teaching, she gives very clear & logical instruction.
Maggie is able to distill the complexity of
oil painting into
After working with her, I now love oils, and my ability to work in this medium has taken a huge leap forward.
Thank you so much for your patient, effective
- and fun - teaching!"
"I loved your workshop. Painting outdoors can be overwhelming and you taught us how to zero in on something to paint. I found that so valuable.
I also learned a lot about color
and already feel that my first painting after taking your class is
so much more vibrant.
"I liked the personal instruction &
guidance with demonstrations, the small group which makes it better for
personal attention & the beautiful areas we go to paint!"
"Mariana and I both wholly and completely
enjoyed your workshop. We both agreed that we got a lot more out of it
than we expected. Meaning, that the information and guidance you provided
was excellent, succinct and immediately applicable."
"The gentle ideas, hints, suggestions,
& reminders about the art were presented in such a way that was perfect
for my temperment!"
"I have some pastels hanging at
"You are so talented and make everyone
feel welcome to 'do' art with you. I never felt like I wasn't as good
as anyone else or that I shouldn't be in the class. You really take each
person at their own level and help them improve their skills. "
California Plein-air Workshop
"I loved your style of teaching,
I learned so much, especially on the last day at the Beach. I struggled mightily painting that day, and when I saw my painting I knew the colors were so muddy. I took a picture of your paints, so organized in columns. I took a picture of my paints, a messy muddy cacophony. I realized how little I know about color; I bought a color wheel. Wow what a universe! I worked again on my Beach painting and with a little more awareness, it is coming alive with different values, life, color. So I broke through. In to a world of color I am only beginning to understand.
Thank you so much Maggie - I will look for more chances to learn from you and paint alongside you."
"You are a huge talent! Your landscapes
are really intense & fearless!"
"The painting is Amazing!!
"We totally love this (painting)! We are
so glad to have found you when we did!"
"Your art is stunning and sooooo much to my liking. The color you use excites me, and the texture you impart because of your brushwork is energizing.
Have you written a book that might give me
more info on your methods? If so, please tell me where I might find a
"Hellmann's paintings are rooted in the
school of Bay Area Landscape, are lushly brushed with thick paint and
applied with bravado."
Copyright © Maggie Renner Hellmann. All rights reserved. All Images and Text on this site are copyrighted by Maggie Renner Hellmann.