plein air painting landscape workshops in Sedona Arizona

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(Didn't see a date that works for you? Visit Plein Air Painting Maine for summer workshops or see Michael's full workshop schedule.) 

Frequently-Asked Questions for Private Painting Intensive Study at Michael's Studio in New Mexico

1. What's the Private Painting Intensive Like?

Based in northern New Mexico at Michael's winter studio, this program is for experienced painters only. After a preliminary consultation with Michael to create a custom program, you'll work with him side-by-side, one-on-on, both in the field and in the studio. Includes six nights' lodging at the studio and three meals a day, with private bed and bath plus consultations after the program for three months. (We also offer a tuition-only option for $700. You will, of course, be responsible for your own meals and lodging. See below for lodging options.)

2. Can I bring a friend or spouse?

The live-in workshop option is intended for only one person. However, if you'd like to bring a friend or spouse, you are more than welcome to sign up for the tuition-only version and stay at one of the nearby lodging options noted below. Please use your judgement regarding bringing a friend or spouse, as Michael will be focused on working with you privately.

3. Do I need a car?

Yes, we highly recommend a car, as you may wish to explore on your own, especially with the optional assignments. The studio is a little over 2 hours by car from the Albuquerque Sunport (ABQ.) Another option is to take the train from ABQ to Gallup; for an additional fee, we can pick you up there. However, we encourage you to drive from Albuquerque, as there are many things to see, and you may want to explore the area. (If you take the tuition-only option and are lodging elsewhere, you must have a car.)

4. What about travelling with paints?

Oil paints you can either ship ahead or put in your checked luggage. You shouldn't have any problem with them, since they are "artist's oil colors" made with vegetable oil and have a very high flash point. However, don't take mediums (e.g. Galkyd) or solvents (e.g. Gamsol), all of which are highly flammable. These you will need to ship ahead. There are no art supply stores nearby. The closest is in Albuquerque. (I will try to have some Gamsol on hand for those of flying.) For details on traveling with paint, see Robert Gamblin's Studio Note #14.

Pastels you should take in your carry-on luggage. Put them in a container that will be easy for security to open, such as the Heilman Pastel Box. Make sure the container can be easily secured again so your pastels don't go spilling down the aisle.

If you need to ship your materials ahead, you are welcome to - just let us know.

5. What's the weather like?

The studio sits at 7000 feet. Nighttime temperatures will be cold, but in the daytime in the sun it will most likely be comfortable with layers. A warm hat and gloves are advised. We do have a studio if it is too cold, but we will aim to get out to at least gather reference material. Do understand that 7000 feet is considered high elevation. Most people have no trouble with the elevation other than being a little short of breath when hiking. This soon passes after a day or two.

Av. High Av.Low Av. Snow
Jan 43°F 13°F 12 in
Feb 46°F 18°F 9 in
Mar 53°F 22°F 7 in
Apr 62°F 27°F 4 in
May 72°F 34°F 1 in
Jun 81°F 42°F 0 in
Jul 83°F 50°F 0 in
Aug 80°F 50°F 0 in
Sep 75°F 42°F 0 in
Oct 65°F 30°F 2 in
Nov 52°F 20°F 5 in
Dec 43°F 14°F 8 in

6. What if I'm not doing oil or pastel but using some other medium?

Michael works in oil and pastel. Because of the nature of the workshop, these are recommended.

7. What about lodging and meals?

Lodging (6 nights) is included (private bed and bath) as well as three simple but nourishing meals a day. If you decide to take the tuition-only option, here are some lodging suggestions:

The Inn at Halona - - In the center of Zuni Pueblo and 23 miles from the studio

Cimarron Rose B&B - - Near the Continental Dive and about 29 miles from the studio

El Morro RV Park - - RV as well as cute cabins, near El Morro National Monument and 13 miles from the studio

And AirBnB - - Search for places in or close to Ramah, New Mexico. Studio is near the center of town. We have stayed at and like:

Here are some photos of the house and the private bed:

Private Room (on 2nd floor)

Private Bath (on 2nd floor)

Common Space

Common Space





8. What's the daily schedule?

Each day will consist of a half-day working with Michael one-on-one plus appropriate assignments on your own for the rest of the day (you would have access to Michael during the non-program time for consultation); depending on the situation, some days may be full days as field trips to more distant locations.

9. Can I get wi-fi access?

Yes! The studio and lodging have wi-fi. Also, there is cell service and 2G cell data service. (You can't do much with 2G, alas.)

10. What should I expect?

Read the workshop description carefully, and if you have specific questions or concerns, please ask Michael.

11. Where can I get more information about the New Mexico area?

Nearby are the Zuni Pueblo, El Morro and El Malpais National Monuments, Ancient Way Cafe, the Old School Gallery and the Bandera Ice Caves.

12. Can I see photos of the area?

Here are photos of the lodging, studio and grounds, plus some images of local scenery.

13. What's a good way to prepare for the program?

Michael will customize the one-on-one private intensive with you and give you recommendations to prepare. Best, of course, is to keep painting! And to think about what you would like to accomplish in your week.

14. What about bad weather days?

We have a great studio to work in.

15. What are the post-program consultations like?

Michael offers three months of consultation following the program. This will be customized to fit your needs, but generally, it includes critiques of paintings done after the program and consultation for further advancement.

16. Can I get a supply list?

Michael will be working in oil or pastel, depending on your needs. Here is a general supply list. After the initial consultation, Michael may recommend something different.

I highly recommend that you check out my books and videos. All the books are available through Amazon; the videos are available through Artist's Network TV for download, streaming or as DVD. Here are the items I recommend:


  • Backpacker Painting: Outdoors with Oil & Pastel (the basics guide to working outdoors)
  • Outdoor Study to Studio: Take Your Plein Air Paintings to the Next Level (a supplement to Backpacker Painting)
  • A Painter's Brush: Paint the Southwest


Get them at:


  • The Secret to Oil Painting with Light and Color
  • The Secret to Oil Painting Wet-into-Wet
  • The Secret to Pastel Painting En Plein Air

Get them at:

Also, check out my online courses for beginning plein air painters at