Yes – YOU can paint (and it isn’t the Mimosas)

February 26th, 2012

student Anna Mattingly and her fly fisherman

From Kathryn’s desk…

What if I told you anyone willing to put in the effort can learn to draw and paint? Imagine that! So many of us have been led to believe otherwise. We think drawing, painting, and basically all forms of art happen by osmosis for a chosen few. Maybe we’ve been the victims of some well meaning teachers or parents who redirected us to business classes after seeing our early creative efforts. I know someone with a cure for that misguided thinking.

Using a section of the age-old book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards, a local artist – Linda Gilson, can help you reexamine your creative possibilities. She teaches a “Yes, You Can Paint!” art workshop where people learn about proportional rendering, and build their confidence in the process. Her 2-day class (8 hours total) is nearly as much about how to relax (and therefore more easily engage your right side of the brain) as it is about controlled and accurate depiction.

Student Jessica Disney


The day begins with drinking mimosas and reading a few basic handouts. It all seems doable and everyone is ready to ‘do it’ after just a few minutes of reading and …sipping. Linda is a gracious host and soothing instructor who is nonetheless savvy about the concepts she is wooing you to employ.

Explore her website and discover how she has mastered the ability to paint in beautiful detail. She is an award-winning painter who has displayed and sold primarily in the Santa Cruz/Monterey area of Northern California. Like many artists, she is quite humble and somewhat reclusive. These days, helping others see how they, too, can draw or paint is her main focus. And she does it very well.

This process of engaging the right (creative, but less dominate) side of the brain begins by having students do a few ‘seeing’ exercises. Aha! Breaking things into ‘pieces’ demonstrates how those pieces can be connected to make a ‘whole.’ Brilliant!

After enjoying a sumptuous meal with those few other lucky students (classes are small and personal) everyone is ready to begin their mastery of the canvas journey. While dispelling negative conditioning about limitations, Linda teaches her students that drawing, like anything else, is a process. Anyone following the steps given to achieve this skill will succeed!

Well-fed students (still sipping mimosas) are asked to draw a familiar portrait that has been inverted. Through this study of light and dark, and because the left (logical) side of the brain is not sure what to do with the inverted portrait, students are able to depict what they see, rather than what they think they see. Linda’s instructional groundwork and relaxation/confidence boosting techniques have helped engage that creative (right) brain – which purposefully contributes to the success of this task.

With newly acquired positive attitudes and what feels like a whole new artistic future, students begin drawing on their canvases what they have chosen to paint. This is done using a grid, with a scale of equal proportions between the picture to be rendered and the canvas it will be rendered on. This makes it an easy task to transfer exactly what is seen. It’s a great skill to learn for accurate detail work!

(Homework is to complete the simple but accurate-to-scale drawing on the canvas.)

Day 2

The second day brings more relaxation techniques in the way of yummy mimosas and sweet munchies, along with positive reinforcement about everything accomplished day 1. The ‘safe’ workshop environment, where encouragement and courage are the concepts chosen over criticism and ‘can’t do,’ is making a huge impact on this small group of students. Everyone is excited to begin painting!

A materials kit has been made available which includes a canvas, basic oil colors for mixing endless shades, and the proper brushes for best results. A turpentine mixture and reusable pallet are included, as well as the much needed paint rag. Linda leaves nothing to chance and has planned in detail this transition from a successfully drawn sketch (in a likeness that is impressive) to an oil painting in progress. If you are interested in taking this workshop, you can contact Linda at:

Linda Gilson

It is quite a learning curve for anyone who didn’t think it possible to draw/paint with accuracy of detail – definitely a WOW factor worth experiencing! Linda has follow-up workshops for further mentoring and to ensure a safe, supportive environment for completing that painting you were sure you could never paint!

Every seemingly impossible task in life should come with a 2 day motivational and mimosa driven ‘how to’ like this painting venture. Who is game to begin one for “How to do your tax return?”

Tell us about your latest jump into an artistic endeavor, mimosa-fueled or not!

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