Charles Muench Workshop

by Armand Cabrera

                                Bend in the River            12 x 16                   Oil on Linen

I wanted to share a great opportunity with everyone. My friend Charles Muench is teaching a workshop in the Sierras this June and there are a couple of spots still available.  Charles is a highly collected and award winning artist. His solo shows have been sellouts for the last few years and he lives in the Sierras and paints in all four seasons outdoors there.

                                     Mount Ritter            36 x 30                Oil on Linen

Charles awards include an Award of Excellence from the Oil Painters of America in 1999, the Gold Medal at the San Louis Obispo Plein Air competition in 2002, Artist Choice in 2003 at Telluride Plein Air, Best of Show at Telluride Plein Air in 2006, Best of Show at the Crystal Cove Invitational in 2007,  First Place at the Joan Irvine Smith Heritage Exhibition 2008, The Collectors Choice Award at Maynard Dixon Country Show in 2005 and 2008, The Edgar Payne Award for best landscape at the California Art Club Gold Medal Show in 2010, and the Southwest Art Magazine Award of Excellence at the California Art Club Gold Medal Show in 2011, and the Irvine Museum Purchase Award at the California Gold Medal Exhibition 2012.

Hope Valley Spring Workshop

Four Day Workshop Painting the Eastern Sierra

Spring time in Hope Valley.
June 9th – June 12th


Not only is Hope Valley one of the most beautiful places in all of the Sierra, it is also one of the most accessible. Easy walking to great scenery!

Wildflowers, snow capped peaks, and the meandering West Carson River.

Accommodations are available in Markleeville, Hope Valley, and Woodfords.

Charles will make the most of each day- demonstrations, painting, critique, and taking in the gestalt of a group of artists painting together.

E-mail Charles for deposit and reservation information, materials list, accommodations, and any questions you might have.

For more information, click here to visit Charles’ website:


Spring Wildflowers in Hope Valley.

Spring snow-melt demonstration.

If you are looking for a chance to study painting with a contemporary master in a spectacular setting I highly recommend this workshop.  

Round Valley Spring   20 x 30   Oil on Linen

Texas Hill Country Demo

Armand Cabrera

I’m back from my Texas trip painting for a week out in the hill country. The flowers were a little past peak in some areas but still spectacular.Here is a demo from one of my sketches.

My process is to mass in the averages for the big shapes and work towards the smaller shapes and more detail in the later stages of the painting. Complete painting time in a little over an hour.

  Here is a photo of the scene when I started to paint. I’m actually a little to the left of where I set up.

I wanted to lock in the shadows first to preserve the light effects

The ground plane was my largest shape so I started there and then re-established the correct values for the trees after seeing it against the color I laid down for the grass

I worked the colors of the wild flowers into the grass colors and started modeling the two foreground trees.
The sky started to cloud up at this point so I designed my clouds into the scene.

I model the background trees and refined the sky a little more.

At this point I work all over the painting developing any unfinished elements and work to unify everything.

The finished painting 9×12 oil on linen

Maine Workshop Sept 17 – 21 2012


Armand Cabrera

I have a workshop coming this year in Bernard, Maine on beautiful Mount Desert Island. Last time I was up there at Acadia Workshops I had so much fun I signed up to do it again. We had a great time and the weather was perfect. If you are interested in painting in one of the most stunning coastal areas of the country I hope you’ll consider signing up. The dates are September 17th through 21st Please contact Gail Ribas at AcadiaWorkshops.

These are some of the paintings I did of the area.

Training as an Artist

Armand Cabrera


All artists are influenced by other artists and to become an artist we need some form of training to get to where we want to go. People who claim to be self-taught usually mean their study was self-guided using museums and books and formulating their opinions and ideas without the direct influence of a teacher.


Most artists are trained by a teacher or teachers over the course of their careers. This could be at a generalized school taking art classes or a more focused approach through a trade school, academy or atelier, concentrated specifically on art. Either way the outcome depends on the student, there are far more students that graduate and have no career in art than students that are successful.


With the rise and renewed interest in realism I see a disturbing trend happening in art schools. Schools no longer train in the just fundamentals but indoctrinate students into thinking that their method is the only path to success. These schools engage in a sort of brainwashing equivalent to EST and all the other quack zealotry that happens in fringe religious groups.


 A lot of schools these days prey on artists seeking knowledge, trying to convince them they must endlessly study under a school or teachers guidance to achieve success. In these situations the teachers and school are giving them only enough information and encouragement to continue forking over their hard earned money. When you feel someone is holding back information from you, find other instruction or take some time for absorption and practice of what has been learned and self-guided discovery.

Remember most academic artists at the turn of the century only studied fulltime for a year or two. Even then summers were spent painting with other students away from the instructor and school. Most of the artists of that time we revere today never completed their studies. This idea now by some institutions and teachers that you need 5 to 10 years or more of study to learn to draw is ridiculous. All a student needs is the fundamentals and some time putting them into practice on their own. Any honest teacher will tell you this.

Another Bluebell Demo

I painted this with my friend Jack at Riverbend Park here in Northern VA back when the Bluebells were peaking.

Same approach although I forgot to take pictures of the drawing portion of this demo. To busy talking with Jack and painting. Luckily he reminded me and I made sure to take pictures from that point on. The sun was in and out of cloud cover that morning which made it a little more challenging than usual. When things like that happen I just wait for the suns return and if it doesn’t I wipe the canvas and start over. Luckily the sun came out and stayed eventually.