A Painting Intensive With Pat Wheeler

I was invited to join six seasoned artists at Stacey’s fantastic studio in North Portland painting alongside Pat Wheeler. I thought about it for about 30 seconds before replying with a big juicy YES. Pat is the artist I learned the plaster process from at Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2010; I continued to take her five-day workshop for the opportunity to be in her presence and soak up her process and positive energy. When I stopped taking her workshop, I still visited Pat whenever she was teaching in Oregon, either at OCAC or at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and I view this lovely woman as one of my mentors.

The invited artists had all taken Pat’s class several times and we were all experienced working with the materials. The goal of this painting intensive was not only to work alongside Pat, but to also share our own techniques and how we had morphed the process to make it our own.

We started off by painting our boards. I like to activate my boards initially with writing and marks as a way to begin and to fight the blank canvas.



The next step is applying plaster, aka joint compound, or the fancy terminology: limestone clay. It is applied with putty knives and allows all kinds of marks, patterns, and texture to be incorporated as it is being applied.

Once the plaster is dry, it is time to sand.

And then the fun begins, applying washes of color. More drying. More sanding. More paint. GO.

And always more writing and mark making.

This was the process throughout the week, repeated again and again, everyone going at their own pace.

Of course, there was lots of sharing of ideas and techniques.

Here is one of the boards that was deemed completed, so I sealed it with a layer of cold wax, buffed it, and called it finished: “Cracks in the Sidewalk,” 30×30 inches. The beautiful little bundle in the niche was created as gift from Pat.


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