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Well, my journey to Monterey was successful. I made it just after sundown. For the next 5 days, I'd be joining about 13 other artists from all over, to paint in a 5 day workshop with Ovanes Berberian. We were all there because of our love for Ovanes's juicy, colorful and impressionistic style of painting. He is a true master of his craft! I'll never forget the day my parents and I were visiting art galleries in Santa Fe, when my dad took me into a gallery to show me Ovanes's paintings. My jaw dropped as I stood in awe of his work. His juicy brushstrokes, vibrating color harmonies, thick handling and movement of paint- all moved me in a way that inspired me to be more passionate, bold and colorful with my painting style. He is a traditional landscape painter, but his masterful technique and bold expression dances between the line of realism and abstraction.

The days painting were intense and long! Eight hours or more per day of color-mixing, sketching, and wind-blown art-making. ​​

At the end of every day, my hands and clothes were covered in paint. My face, even my hair bore the marks of profound creativity.

Ovanes challenged us to see and paint the seascape and the colors in a whole new way. One of my biggest challenges when I'm painting outdoors is trying to replicate the scene exactly as I see it. In his soft-spoken, thick accent, Ovanes reminded us over and over, "We are painters. If we wanted to copy things exactly as we see them, we should be photographers. Create a painting that has beautiful pure color, juicy brushstrokes. Be bold." The obvious things that make a painting successful like value, and composition need to be right, and these are things that I will always be working on. But I also know that often, when I'm painting outdoors, fear holds me back from expressing what I'm seeing in a more bold and artistic way.

Every day was so much fun, endlessly playing with color and thick, juicy oil paint and brushstrokes! I painted small, I painted large- All while standing witness to the gorgeous Monterey Seascape. The waves crashed against the craggy rocks, the Humpbacks cruised back and forth like cruiseliners. They blowed their spouts, slapped their tails, while the cry of the seagulls filled the air.

It was an unforgettable week. Thank you, Ovanes, for the invigorating and masterful lessons. Thank you, Monterey, for being our muse. For letting us be inspired by your pristine and wild coast. I have a whole new series of paintings to share and passion to fuel me.

Stay tuned for more stories, photos, and paintings!

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