Duane Wakeham, the mild-mannered painter, is firm in his ideas—the outcome of a decades-long career in the classroom and in front of an easel. It’s this wealth of information that draws students from across the country to his workshops, which he offers once or twice a year. I had the opportunity last fall to participate in one, and found that the artist shared generously from his storehouse of knowledge and expertise.
Wakeham shares this breakthrough in his workshops, explaining to students that if they’ll do only 10-minute paintings the entire time, they’ll learn more about painting than if they do one painting each day. “Doing quick studies keeps you thinking about painting,” he says, “and it sharpens your skill in summarizing what you see. You develop your ability to say as much as possible with the minimum amount of time and effort, forcing yourself to see and think in terms of large shapes and simplified patterns of light and dark, instead of getting bogged down by details.”