David P. Curtis
Paintings and Plein Air Art Instruction

2018 Workshop Schedule: So What Can a Workshop Do for Me?

These workshops are designed for students who wish to improve their artistic skills by focusing on the fundamentals of oil painting outdoors. Curtis will stress the importance of observing and composing directly from nature, as well as how to interpret light and atmosphere with color brush and canvas. With more than thirty-five years of personal experience, Curtis brings to his 22nd season of teaching, a wealth of knowledge derived from practical application and an extensive interest in the history of art.

As one who received his formal training in the great traditions of the Boston School, Curtis is a strong advocate for the principles of American Impressionism. “Take the philosophy of the Academic School and join it with the impressionist seeing of the French avant-garde movement,” Curtis says, “and you get the best of both worlds: the high key palette of the Impressionists, who were trying to paint light hitting the object rather than the object itself, and the strong drawing ethic of the Academicians, which stops one’s work from becoming sloppy.” There is no effortless way to become a successful outdoor painter. It takes time and practice, on location, to sharpen observational skills and improve painting performance.

One reproduces only that which is striking; that is to say, the necessary. Thus, one's recollections and inventions are liberated from the tyranny which nature exerts. ~ Edgar Degas


Sunlight and Shade, o/c, 9 x 12 David P. Curtis


June 18-22, 2018 - Sight & Insight ‘Pictorial Quality’ Composition Workshop with Instructors: David P. Curtis and Lorwen ‘Connie’ Nagle.  $500

Of all the principles of painting, Composition is the one that plies our mind and senses, especially our imagination, towards thinking - and in truth, Art is Thinking. The Pictorial Quality is always in the background of painting as the artist proceeds to deepen, tighten and revise his/her composition. If the artist can define the pictorial quality initially - this lofty conception and the feeling nature of their painting - then the entire composition will achieve a ‘bigness.’ Without this vital element, one’s paintings may never succeed in manifesting an aspect of beauty that exudes refinement.

Additionally, this workshop addresses memory painting - a vital component of plein air painting and an aspect of landscape painting that is rarely taught! Most outdoor painters will concede that a good painting is based on what they remember and what they believe will improve their paintings. They must make their decisions on memory or compositional analysis because the actual pattern of light and shadow changes over two or three hours outdoors.

Whether working direct from Nature or painting from memory, the key principles guide us and serve as stimuli for creating good compositions. Remember, rhythm is used to signify movement shown by lines, tones, and colors. The ordering and/or arrangements of these facets can affect us without having any direct relation with Nature, but pure appeal directly to our feelings. Thus, in painting there is a Pictorial Quality beginning with a reaction or emotional feeling that appeals directly to us, apart from any significance associated with the representation of natural.

Each day students will paint one or two works leading to the discipline of completing a small sketch that will be turned into a finished canvas at the end of the workshop. Remember the Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts.


Portsmouth, South End by Lorwen C. Nagle


July 11-13   Boats And Buildings  $300

This is one of the most popular themes in the workshop program. We will paint at 3 different locations throughout Cape Ann over the 3 days. This workshop is designed to improve drawing skills, as well as the understanding of perspective, and the immediacy of composing and designing on the spot. Early sign up is recommended as this workshop fills quickly.


September 3-7   Coastal Maine Art Workshops ~ Rockland, ME



David P. Curtis, a much-loved Cape Ann instructor, graciously agreed to cover a class in 2015 when the scheduled instructor could not come at the last minute, and blew everybody out of the water! The students, good painters with lots of workshop experience, were unanimous in their praise, saying it was absolutely the best class they had ever taken. I hear this all the time from students who have taken a class with David, wherever he has taught!” ~ Lyn Donovan

Plein Air Landscape in Oils!  All skill levels


To sign up for this workshop, please contact Lyn Donovan direct at info@cmaworkshops.com 207-594-4813 or PO Box 845, Camden, ME 04843.


October 10-13  Sight & Insight - ‘October Skies’ $300.00 pp

  David P. Curtis, Cloud Shadows


Achieving aerial perspective is critical to earning your credibility as a serious artist. Outdoor painting requires different ways and methods to suggest atmosphere and distance. Aerial perspective equals atmosphere — and all those things an artist has at his or her disposal to represent the picture plane. Learn these methods and more in this intense 3-day workshop. As Leonardo said, "There are three aspects to perspective. The first has to do with how the size of objects seems to diminish according to distance: the second, the manner in which colors change the farther away they are from the eye; the third defines how objects ought to be finished less carefully the farther away they are." Join David and Connie to learn more.


Instructors: David P. Curtis and Lorwen C. Nagle.


* For further information on these workshops, please call (978) 283-4135, or email davidpcurtis@comcast.net, or visit the webpage davidpcurtis.com.

* Please note the instructor retains the right to alter locations according to weather conditions. Although these are meant to be plein air oil painting workshops, the class may be held indoors if necessary.


Everything that is painted directly and on the spot has always a strength, a power, a vivacity of touch which one cannot recover in the studio... three strokes of a brush in front of nature are worth more than two days of work at the easel.

~ Eugene Boudin


David P. Curtis’ Cape Ann Summer Workshops 2018 Sign Up Sheet

Please sign me up for the following workshop(s): -


June 18-22                  Sight & Insight ‘Pictorial Quality’ - Composition                       $500.00 pp.  O

July 11-13                   Boats & Buildings                                                                          $300.00 pp.  O

October 10-13            Sight & Insight - ‘October Skies’                                                   $300.00 pp.  O


Name:             ____________________________________________________________________________________


Address:          ___________________________________________________________________________________



Phone:             __________________________________          Email:  ______________________________________


*   Cancellations/refunds prior to the workshop are handled on an individual basis. Cancellations during the workshop are at the student’s discretion and refunds cannot be given.

**  Please send this completed form, together with your check for the appropriate tuition, payable to David P. Curtis, and mail to: 30 Riverview Rd., Gloucester, MA 01930-1614