• Seattle, WA


We all cast shadows

We all cast shadows

Gillian is hopping the pond to teach two workshops in the Pacific Northwest. In the first workshop in Seattle, Gillian will explore expressive narrative compositions.

To Gillian, faces and figures are endlessly fascinating and incorporating them into compositions inspired by all that is around us can bring new and exciting narratives to our artwork. Drawing from sketches that we will create in and out of the studio, we will be discovering new ways of placing the figure in atmospheric space in order to create connection between people and the environment in which they find themselves.

Color notes and images of shape, pattern, light and dark that are gathered from our time outside will allow us to experiment with creating exciting compositions. We will discover various ways of drawing the figure through exercises that will encourage a more energetic way of representing the figure on paper, building towards more finished mixed media pieces that play with scale, lost and found edges, and representing figures that are between places, both physically and in terms of narrative. 




This Escape includes

  • Five days of instruction from Gillian
  • Reception
  • Five lunches
  • Farewell Dinner
  • Some art supplies
  • Beautiful studio to create in the SoDo District
  • New Art Tribe

This trip starts and ends in Seattle, WA. 

Price is $1,550 and is limited to 12

Final payment is due October 7, 2016

This workshop is full - waiting list only

Price does not include airfare or hotel accommodations. There are many nearby hotels and AirBnbs

Airport - Seattle International Airport (SEATAC)


Day One - Friday April 7

6-8:00 pm We will gather at the studio for introductions and a small reception. You will have a chance to set up your station with your art supplies. 

Day Two - Saturday April 8

9:30 am Our day will begin with Gillian sharing her sketchbook pages and mixed media work that incorporate the figure and place. A few quick demos on ways of using your sketchbook before we venture out to explore the area with sketchbooks and cameras in hand to gather information and imagery for further exploration. Because it is Seattle, rain or shine we will go outside to the waterfront and surrounding area. Lunch will be on the waterfront. 

We will further explore with our sketchbooks and camera before returning to the studio to go through and gather our day's work. Class is over at 4:30.

Day Three - Sunday April 9

9:30 am Gillian will give an introduction to working with the figure using simple drawing materials – demonstrations and quick exercises to encourage descriptive drawing and mark making. (Even if you have never drawn the figure before!) 

We will have lunch around 12:30 and at 1:30 we will further explore the figure playing with lost and found edges, reworking drawings from the morning with gesso and drawing materials, as well as creating new ones and experimenting with layers, atmosphere, and the back and forth process of losing and rediscovering layers over and over. Class is over at 4:30 and the evening is free.

Day Four - Monday April 10

9:30 am Exploring placing the figure in a composition – combining ideas from our sketches from day one and our figure drawing from day two and experimenting with scale, composition and proportion to create exciting ways of placing the figure in relation to place and environment in order to create narrative. Lunch will be provided and class will be over at 4:30 with the evening on your own. 

Day Five  - Tuesday April 11

9:30 a.m. We will consolidate our sketches, exercises and explorative work to create compositions using mixed media. Working on editing our ideas, creating atmosphere and fully realized works of art. Lunch will be provided and our final dinner together will be that evening. 

Day Six - Wednesday April 12

9:30 a.m. Work will continue with lunch around 1:00. Following lunch we will share our projects, then clean up. Class will be over at 4:00 p.m. If anyone wants to go out to dinner that evening, it will be on your own. 

Student Supply List

  • Charcoal sticks and pencils, white pastel, graphite pencils and sticks, erasers, marks all pencils.
  • Oil pastels (just a very few in your favorite colors)
  • Conte sticks and pencils (your favorite colors plus black and sepia colors)
  • Sennelier inks – suggested colors are burnt umber and burnt sienna, white plus any other colors of your own choosing (go with what feels right and appeals to you!)
  • White Golden fluid acrylic paint
  • Various dip pens (handles and nibs), bamboo dip pens
  • Embossing tool (found in cardmaking supplies stores – just something with a fine metal rounded point)
  • Paint brushes in any sizes. A hardback sketchbook measuring at least 21 x 30 cms
  • (We will provide paper – I will order large sheets of drawing paper and watercolour paper – this will be charged as a materials kit cost per person)
  • We will also provide carbon paper, tracing paper and gesso 

Gillian Lee Smith is a Scottish artist living in the beautiful, historic North-East coast of England. Inspiration and connection comes from individuals and communities and the marks they make on the landscape in which they reside. Coastal villages that cling to the space between land and sea. Communities of people that are forever between that place of hope and loss. And the way our own personal narratives in turn become etched on our faces and in our character.

As a teacher, Gillian is inspired to bring her love of people and place to each workshop using a wealth of techniques to make new discoveries along with her students. The author of two highly successful online courses - Unearth Gather Create and Drawn to Expression which explore the fundamentals of art while encouraging exploration and progression.