My name is Gary Blackwell and my students call me Mr. Blackwell. I teach Outdoor Landscape Painting and in a normal semester I take my VA students into the local charming old neighborhoods of Santa Ana and teach onsite Plein Aire Painting using a limited palette. During the pandemic we have modified the class into a Landscape/Portrait Painting class. I've always known I would be a visual artist. Ever since I was five I have had a passion to draw and paint. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. After my required stint in the army where I served as an illustrator, I finally settled in Southern California. I worked in advertising for 23 years as a Creative Director for a large corporation. During this time I never lost my focus on art. I continued painting and taking workshops to stay active. In the 90's I became involved with pastels and joined a number of pastel organizations. I soon became a signature member of the Pastel Society of the West Coast. Within the absolute minimum three years the PSWC honored me with the coveted Distinguished Pastelist award. Today I am a full-time painter enjoying both studio and Plein Air painting. I have been an OCSA instructor for 12 years.
I currently live in Signal Hill CA and have for over 30 years.
Can you share some of your favorite class projects for the Fall 2020 semester?
One of my favorite class projects in 2020 was the "10 Quick Brush Strokes". It was an assignment that encourage the students to create a painting study in 10 brush strokes or maybe few more. The results were amazing.
The other class favorite of mine was a portrait painting created with a limited palette. In this case it was the Zorn palette which consisted of white, black, red, and yellow ochre. The results were very successful.