plein air painting workshops with Michael Chesley Johnson in Sedona Arizona

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Sign Up for the Private Painting Intensive Study at Michael's Studio in New Mexico

Are you looking for an intense, one-on-one, learning experience? Then this program is for you! You'll have exclusive access to Michael as you join him in beautiful northern New Mexico where you will paint the high desert. In addition to guided trips to his favorite painting locations, you'll work side-by-side with him in his private studio, taking your art to the next level in this custom workshop. What's more, all your needs will be taken care of with private bed and bath and three meals a day plus consultation for three months after the program. Workshops don't get any better than this!

For only $1400, you get five days with Michael plus six nights' lodging and all meals. (Tuition-only option is available for $700.) Plus, you'll be in a quiet home near some of the best plein air painting spots that include lakes, mountains and more. And if you get tired of painting, you can visit historic Zuni Pueblo, hike up El Morro National Monument and Inscription Rock, wander the lava field trails of El Malpais National Monument or visit the Bandera Ice Caves. On your drive from the Albuquerque airport (only a little over two hours away), you can also visit Santa Fe galleries, the mesa-top Sky City at Acoma Pueblo and other tourist stops.

Click here to read an important FAQ about the Private Painting Intensive Study.

To read about past Private Painting Intensive Study weeks on the blog, click here.

Private Painting Intensive Study
Fall 2018 / Spring 2019

November 5-9, 2018

[November 13-16, 2018, All-Level Group Sedona]

November 19-23, 2018

November 26-30, 2018

December 17-21, 2018

March 4-8, 2019

March 11-15, 2019

March 18-22, 2019

March 25-29, 2019

[April 2-5, 2019, All-Level Group Sedona]

April 8-12, 2019

April 15-19, 2019

April 22-26, 2019
(No lodging this week, $700)

Ready to sign up? Here's what you need to do:

  1. Look at the schedule and find a week that works for you
  2. Send Michael four images of recent plein air paintings plus a short bio (<500 words) and an essay (<500 words) on what you would like to accomplish in the workshop to help him determine if the program is a fit for you
  3. Once you have the OK from Michael, send a $700 deposit (checks only)
  4. Then Michael will consult with you, either by phone or e-mail, to help customize an action plan for the week

Below are some important details about the "Private Intensive Workshop" in the Paint the Southwest program. (Also make sure you read this important FAQ.)

Who This Program is For

Experienced painters. (Beginners are encouraged to take one of Michael's regular, all-level workshops.) You will need to be comfortable both with your medium of choice and your outdoor gear. Oil or pastel painters only.

What This Program Includes

  • Initial consultation via e-mail or phone to create a custom program
  • Five half-days working alongside Michael plus appropriate assignments for working on your own the rest of the day
  • Six nights' lodging (private bed and bath) and three (simple but nourishing) meals a day (bag lunch can be provided if having a field day)
  • Three months of consultation (critiques or advice for advancement) after program completion via e-mail or phone

What Each Day is Like

  • Each day will consist generally 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
  • Painting locations will be in the Ramah/Zuni Mountain area with field trips further afield

Workshop Options

  • All plein air painting
  • Outdoor study to studio (especially suitable for colder months)
  • A workshop customized to your needs


Price: $1400 (50% deposit with balance paid 30 days in advance) (Tuition-only option, $700, same terms)
**Deposit is non-refundable unless a suitable person can be found to take your place.**

More Information

  • You will need to either drive or rent a car from the airport (ABQ is 2 hours); or take the train to Gallup, where we could pick you up for an additional fee. (If you take the tuition-only option and are lodging elsewhere, you must have a car.)
  • Because this is an intense, one-on-one experience, it may not be suitable to bring spouses or significant others. Please use your judgement.
  • Quiet environment (headphones only for music, cell phone conversations outdoors only)
  • Non-smoking, no pets
  • Travel Insurance is recommended
  • Deposit is non-refundable unless your reserved place can be filled by another student. View the cancellation policy here.