• Manzanita, OR


Gillian has found a deep connection with the land and sea where she lives and she believes each of us can find an affinity with our surroundings where-ever we may go. Since she started creating work inspired by her surroundings, she has discovered a greater understanding of her place in the world and the way we are each a part of the landscape around us.

She finds the edge between land and sea to be particularly inspiring and is excited to be able to discover a connection with this magical border in a new-to-her place.

There are themes that resonate deeply – the way the weather has shaped the land, the ebb and flow of the tide, the wildness and unpredictability of nature or the mark of humanity on the landscape for good or bad. The colours and textures of a place can be a starting point for creating work that is truly a story of our own unique connection with our surroundings. One that can be explored in an intuitive way and echo our own unique nature as much as the nature and landscape that we see.

During this week, we will be exploring the landscapes in our sketchbooks focusing on colour and composition before working more intuitively on larger compositions in mixed media that portray our own unique response to the land and sea.

Each day will begin with a group gathering and a talk about how other artists have responded to their own chosen landscapes and echoed their surroundings in their work.

Please note that this is only one of the two workshops Gillian will be offering in the US in 2018. 


Day One, April 15. 3:00 We will meet at our beautiful home on the Oregon Coast, the Historic Reed House. We will settle in and have our first meal together. All meals will be provided this week. 

Day Two, April 16. We will explore, gather and sketch as we observe the landscape, creating many sketches and colour studies in our sketchbooks. You can bring a camera of course (or phone) but our primary focus will be on responding to the landscape in our sketchbooks and taking time to really look and observe. 


Day Three, April 17  We will go out again today to gather more resource material in the morning before returning to our base to look through our imagery and work on some exploratory studies in colour from our sketches and photographs.

Day Four, April 18 Today we will focus on colour, mark making and texture – beginning to build the foundation layers of several paintings which will be worked up over the remainder of the workshop.

Days Five and Six, April 19-20 – For the remaining two days, we will focus on building layers, working intuitively, working and reworking our paintings over and over. We will be editing, destroying what has gone before and taking steps to create interesting compositions and fully resolved paintings that echo our own unique personal response to the landscape that surrounds us. This afternoon we will clean up, have a show'n tell and tonight will be our farewell dinner together.

Day Seven, April 21. This morning we will pack up and leave our beautiful home on the coast. 

Historic Reed House View and access to the beach

Historic Reed House View and access to the beach

This itinerary may change due to weather, new opportunities or the whim of the group. 


This Escape Includes

  • Welcome celebration
  • Accommodations at The Historic Reed House along the Oregon Coast
  • Five days of painting with Gillian
  • Delicious and healthy meals prepared by Kathie Vezzani
  • Some materials
  • Private Facebook Page
  • New Art Tribe!

The price of this workshop is $1600. A non-refundable deposit of $800 is due upon registering. The balance of $800 is due November 30, 2017. 

Price is based on double occupancy (there are some bunk beds and King beds that will be shared). There are 2 single rooms for an additional price of $400. SINGLE ROOMS HAVE BEEN TAKEN.

NOTE:  This trip has sold out and a waiting list has been started. 

The price does not include transportation to/from the workshop site. The closest airport is Portland (PDX) which is 98 miles from Manzanita. You can share arrival times (if flying) and transportation through our Facebook group. 

Historic Reed House

Historic Reed House

Accommodations:  The Historic Reed House, Manzanita Beach, OR. One of the few remaining original area turn-of-the-century beach houses

Situated right on the beautiful coastline in Manzanita, OR, this house will be our gathering place. Walks along the beach will be our opportunity to gather information for our paintings. It will also be a place to seek time for yourself as you head out to enjoy time alone, listening to the soothing sounds of the Pacific Ocean as it provides a symphony to your thoughts and soul searching. And since this is the PNW, it could also be stormy which is my favorite time at the shore. 

Historic Reed House

Historic Reed House

We will provide

  • Newsprint and drawing paper for studies
  • Table easels will be provided.
  • Sheets of watercolour paper for our paint studies.

Student Supply List

  • A sketchbook – I recommend 8.5 x 11 inches or an 8 x 8 inch sketchbook. Please make sure it is a sewn binding rather than ring bound as we will be working across pages.
  • Graphite/lead pencils – either wood bound or lead in a holder – various such as 4b, 6b, 8b
  • Either – oil pastels in a range of colours OR water-soluble colour sticks and a water brush in your choice of colours.
  • Willow charcoal (Gillian likes Coates willow charcoal)
  • Erasers (white plastic eraser, putty eraser)
  • Painting rags
  • Painters tape
  • Paint brushes in various sizes. Please do not bring cheap craft brushes – they are frustrating to work with! Gillian likes Rosemary & Co Ivory brushes or Princeton eclipse brushes. But whatever you have – bring a range of sizes that you like to work with. Filberts, flats and/or rounds. Plus a couple of 1 or 1 ½ inch bristle brushes.
  • Embossing tool or something with a dull point – you can find these in card making or craft shops.
  • Palette knives
  • Some mark making tools – such as old credit cards, or the Princeton shapers.
  • Dip pens for inks
  • Spray bottle
  • Water container
  • Liquitex or Golden Heavy Body Acrylic paints. We are working with a very limited palette to encourage us to mix our colours! But if there are a couple of colours that you would like to add this list then please do so. Also, please bring enough paint! You will need the larger tubes or tubs not small tubes. This is why Gillian has suggested only a small amount of colours if you are travelling. Best to bring 4 or 5 larger pots than tiny tubes in lots of colours.
  • titanium white
  • a yellow (your choice)
  • a red (your choice)
  • a blue (your choice)
  • burnt umber
  • Golden high flow acrylics – your choice of colours
  • Acrylic inks – Liquitex – your choice of colours
  • Paper palette – tear off paper palette
  • You can also bring a stay wet palette for storing paint overnight if you wish. Masterson makes a travel stay wet palette which is small enough and light enough for travel.
  • Something to wrap and protect your paintings in for travel home. Plastic bags or glassine paper or non-stick baking parchment. You will be rolling your paintings up so ensure you have enough room to take them home. We will be working on full sheets of watercolour paper.



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 three highly successful online courses - Unearth Gather CreateDrawn to Expression and Portraits, Your Art Your Way which explore the fundamentals of art while encouraging exploration and progression.