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2-Day Painting Loose and Free Outdoors

With Doug Swinton

August 28, 2021 @ 10:00 am - August 29, 2021 @ 3:00 pm

Price: $225

Let’s go painting! For this workshop, you will experience two days of sunny outdoor painting and learn to simplify all that Mother Nature has to offer. Composition and colour mixing will be heavily emphasized, and a minimum of two paintings a day will be accomplished.

We will start each morning at the Leighton Schoolhouse, have a lesson there, and then proceed to the painting spot. Each location will be just a few minutes away from the centre itself.

Supplies are not included. Please bring your medium of choice – acrylic, oil and even watercolour supplies! View the printable supply list here: https://leightoncentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021Swinton_OutdoorSupplyList.pdf

Please note: Leighton Art Centre has a small selection of Plein Air Easals, metal portable Brush washers (for Oil) and folding chairs to lend out.

Audience: This workshop is suitable for intermediate and more experienced artists 

Weather: In case of rain, activities will be performed inside the museum or one of the art studios of the Leighton Art Centre. Extremely poor weather may result in cancellation. For our cancellation & refund policy, please see below.

Registration cost:  $225 (for 2 days) plus GST & Eventbrite Fees*  

* or register by phone: 403-931-3633, Tues-Sat, 10 am – 4 pm to avoid Eventbrite fees  

Did you know that Members of the Leighton Art Centre get 10% off the registration cost of all workshops and kids’ summer camps? Please visit  https://leightoncentre.org/join-us/become-a-member/

All participants must sign our Covid-19 Liability waiver prior to their participation in a workshop. You can view our Covid-19 liability waiver here: https://leightoncentre.org/workshop-covid-19-liability-release-waiver/

Cancellation and Refund Policy: Please note there is a NO REFUND policy on all Leighton Art Centre workshops. A refund will be only be issued to participants if the workshop is canceled by the workshop coordinator due to insufficient enrollment, extreme weather conditions, or Covid-19 restrictions. Workshops may be canceled prior to the start date and participants will be notified via email and/or phone, and a full refund will be processed.

Withdrawal from workshops for medical reasons must be accompanied by a doctor’s medical note and must be received by the Leighton workshop coordinator prior to the workshop start date to be qualified for a full refund.


I never really intended to make art a career it just keeps happening. Maybe it’s living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and being surrounded by the spectacular landscape. Maybe it’s that my mom was always in the kitchen painting wicker baskets of bright fruit with Chianti wine bottles, or may it was all the doodles and drawings that adorned each and every page of my math book. But somehow, art has now become my career. 

Since my childhood, drawing and painting have always played an important role in my life. A big part of me never really left kindergarten. I still live for the “Hey Mom, look what I made!” I think exhibiting in galleries is just a bit of an extension of that.

How do you describe my art? That’s like trying to hit a moving target. Just when I think it’s going in one direction, the ever-elusive leopard slips away and changes its spots. Slathering thick viscid paint on a freshly unwrapped canvas is sensual and venereal. For me, it’s always been more about the doing than the end product. It’s like being at a live concert. The energy that comes from doing is a highly powerful thing. I also get bored easily so I tend to flit from subject to subject. As J R Tolkien said, “not all that wander are lost”. No matter what the subject, it’s always the same, the most amount of information with the least amount of brushstrokes.

Canada couldn’t be a better place to live. But for me as an artist, the close proximity of the prairies, foothills, and mountains of Alberta makes my home province a never-ending dream. I’ve been lucky, and have painted in many countries, but to me, there is still nothing more beautiful than a cold beer and a hot Calgary summer sunset.   

Art is not about a living; it’s living the art. 

Visit Doug Swinton’s website at http://dougswinton.com/

Doug Swinton’s 2021 Outdoor Supply List

Becoming a good painter does not require lots of talent, just lots of practice and good equipment. If you want to cheap out on paint, brushes, and other essentials because this is just a hobby and you are not going to spend the money on the goods it takes to paint, I suggest macrame as a hobby. Cheap supplies will prevent you from achieving any sort of success and you will be frustrated. In the end, you will have wasted your money anyway. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but over the 25 years I have been teaching it’s the truth! XX OO


PAINTS (Oil or acrylic): Try to use artist grade paints (Gamblin or M Graham, etc.) Please no craft paints.

  • Cad yellow light
  • Yellow deep
  • Yellow ochre
  • Cad orange
  • Burnt sienna
  • Quinacridone rose or permanent rose
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Manganese blue hue
  • Viridian green
  • Chromatic black
  • Titanium white


PALETTE: The bigger the better. Strip-off palettes are great, or glass. Please NO egg cartons, Styrofoam trays or ice-cream pail lids. You need something stable that will not move around when you’re mixing


BRUSHES: Please bring good quality hog bristle brushes if you’re painting with oil (no dollar store brushes!). Hj Blue Handle are a great brand.

  • 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, flats.
  • #1 or #2 taklon liner brush
  • Synthetic brushes are ok for acrylics.


BRUSH WASHER: for Oil, A metal, leak-proof brush washer is a very good item to invest in (you will thank me for it!). If you are using acrylics, a yogurt container with a kitchen ‘scratchy’ thing in the bottom will work great.


CANVAS: Do not bring dollar store canvases or cheap three-for-one sale type canvases!!! You will be disappointed.

Bring any size you would like to try. Smaller canvases are easier to finish in class; large canvases will allow you less time to try things. Hardboard or Masonite surfaces are great as well.

Suggested sizes for outdoor:

  • 6×8”
  • 8×10”
  • 9×12”
  • 11×14” if you have painted outdoors before.


EASEL: You must have a good, sturdy outdoor plein air easel, studio easel, pochade box, or thumb box. If you don’t, I wouldn’t bother trying to paint outdoors. If your easel is too bulky or wobbly, you will spend all of your efforts holding or manipulating your easel and not concentrating on your painting. It will be a complete waste of time.


EXTRAS: Graham walnut alkyd medium, linseed oil or liquin, Eco house or Gamsol odourless non-toxic thinner, Sketchbook for thumbnails and taking notes, Vine charcoal, Blue shop towels (hardware store) or bounty garbage bags (Safeway bags)

EXTRA EXTRA’S: For outdoor classes, bring bug spray, sunscreen, a hat, bottled water, snacks/bagged lunch

EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA’S: Wine for the instructor.


That should do for now,


Ps, Remember, be kind, please rewind.


August 28, 2021 @ 10:00 am
August 29, 2021 @ 3:00 pm
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Leighton Art Centre
282027 144 Street West
Foothills, Alberta T1S 0Y4 Canada
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