Workshop Student Comments







Plein-air Workshop




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!"
Linda N., U.S.A.

Tuscany Plein-air Workshop


"Our experiences at the Watermill were definitely the highlights of our tours!
Maggie, your gentle and helpful manner coupled with your technical skill and aesthetic sense opened the gates of motivation for your students, making them comfortable in their new surroundings and primed for an exciting creative experience in those beautiful hills of Tuscany."
Peggy M., U.S.A.
Tuscany Plein-air Workshop


"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. 
Maha, Saudi Arabia
Tuscany Plein-air Workshop


"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."
Lynn S. Canada
Tuscany Plein-air Workshop


"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."
–Laurie Levey, New Jersey
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant


"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.

I appreciate the tips, encouragement and projects that were doable. The studies prepared the final project so well!"
Jan Heinlein, Texas
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant


"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!
Andrea Seitz,
former School Principal
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant


"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."
Cindy Stiles, Bakersfield, Calif.
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant

"I want to thank you for the fabulous workshop. The locations you chose were beautiful, inspiring, and varied. The concepts you presented were exactly what I was looking for, without even knowing what to call them. It helped so much to focus on one or two concepts each day, and then practice integrating the concept into my style of painting. I plan to keep your worksheets handy, and refer to them until the concepts are a bit better ingrained in my approach to composing a painting.

I can now imagine myself creating landscape watercolors that are rich and engaging, that originate by the side of a road or on a hillside somewhere, rather than from a static photograph. This was an essential next step for me, and you helped it be seamless.

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 fabulous workshop.
–Marilyn Holm , Mountain View, Calif.
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant


"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!"
Joe Oakes, Southern Calif.
Sedona Art Workshops
artist/ participant


"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
so much time focusing on the compostion sketches! It has really made a difference in what I am able to come up with!"
Eileen Stowe, Boston
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant



California Plein-air Workshop

"What I liked best about the workshop was Maggie's approachable manner and encouragement. Her clear understanding about color
and light.
Her experience in simplifying landscapes and the discipline of first studying the subject in values. And how to make poetry out of a simple landscape."
–Frank Speyers, Michigan
Art Professor
California Art Workshop


"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
I could to take another workshop with you!
–Kathleen, Ontario, Canada,
California Art Workshop


"It exceeded all my Dreams!
It was perfect!"
–Deone Knight,
French Alps Plein-air Workshop -artist/participant


"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,
explore our styles. You're very non-judgmental and at the same time provide useful insight and suggestions. That's a hard balance to strike, especially when dealing with another's creative spirit.

What I liked best -
Your instruction.
You're clear, patient.

The one on one time was most valuable. Being able to watch you
work, invaluable.

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."
Mary Planding,
Education Marketing Director
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant


“I love Maggie's style of teaching, she gives very clear & logical instruction.

Maggie is able to distill the complexity of oil painting into
an easy to understand and doable step by step approach.

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!"
Karin Leonard,
California Art Workshops
Open Studios artist & workshop participant


"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. 

It was also so much fun.  I came home each day exhausted and exhilerated.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  You and your husband are both so warm and
friendly and so helpful.  I would recommend your class to anyone interested in painting no matter what their painting level is."
Mary Garon
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant


"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!"
Michael Brennan, Pismo Beach
Sedona & California
Art Workshops
artist/ participant


"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."
–Elaine Northcutt, Southern Calif.
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant


"The gentle ideas, hints, suggestions, & reminders about the art were presented in such a way that was perfect for my temperment!"
- Heidi Renner,
French Alps Plein-air Workshop, Sedona & California Art Workshops-artist/ participant


"I have some pastels hanging at
Beckmann's Bakery on Mission for the month of February. Thanks, Maggie, for getting me started!"
–Stephanie Martin,
California Art Workshops
Open Studios artist & workshop participant


"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. "
–Sharleen Boucher,
California Art Workshops
artist/ participant





California Plein-air Workshop

"I loved your style of teaching,
you give very clear & logical
I loved painting with you.

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."

–Kristen J,
Leadership Training Instructor
California Art Workshops


"You are a huge talent! Your landscapes are really intense & fearless!"
–Ed Penniman, artist

"The painting is Amazing!!
It is so much more beautiful in real life. You are a wonderful artist. Thanks so much."
–Collector, upon receiving shipped painting bought from my website.


"We totally love this (painting)! We are so glad to have found you when we did!"
–Brent Lewis,
International Musician and Brenda Reyes, Manager–CD Cover


"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 copy!"
– Carol Flatt, Arizona


"Hellmann's paintings are rooted in the school of Bay Area Landscape, are lushly brushed with thick paint and applied with bravado."
– Michaelangelo Gallery



"Life shrinks or expands
in proportion
to one's courage."
- Anais Nin




Copyright © Maggie Renner Hellmann. All rights reserved. All Images and Text on this site are copyrighted by Maggie Renner Hellmann.