Eric Wiegardt – A Workshop

A short time ago I attended a 4 day workshop presented by Eric Wiegardt (pronounced like ‘Whygardt’). I have to start off by saying this was an outstanding class for me. Eric paints in what he described as ‘Expressionistic’ style. He uses strong and often brilliant hues with strong, sweeping strokes. But what was most important in this workshop was Eric is an excellent teacher.

Like most workshops, we started off with a description of his materials and tools.  He likes Arches paper (140 lb. rough) and Sennelier paint. Grays and blacks are noticeably absent from his palette (no Neutral Tint or Payne’s Grey). Eric also uses lots of water when he paints, so there are numerous squirrel mops in his collection of brushes. For fine work, he has a Kolinsky.

Many of Eric’s materials can be purchased through his website located at  This site offers an excellent tour of his work, his workshop schedule, a watercolor store and much more.

During our 4 days, Eric painted demos everyday and discussed techniques.  Then the class jumped into their own paintings following a set of goals laid out by Eric as he provided individual help.

What benefited me so much in this class was the way that Eric so clearly simplified his message and some very simple steps to improve my painting. When approaching a painting Eric identified 3 critical aspects of the painting that should be present:

  1. Catch the eye at a distance (large shapes help)
  2. Carry the eye through the picture plane
  3. Bring the eye to the area of interest and hold it there as long as possible.

Other valuable suggestions included paint with intense color then gray outside the center of interest.  Make sure your center of interest (dominance) retains the strongest tones.

The same thing goes for edges.  We laid down our first washes with lots of water and color, leaving soft edges everywhere.  As we developed our painting, we used thicker paint and stronger strokes on drier paper….hence more hard edges and contrast, particularly around the area of interest.  We also were encouraged to emphasize details around the area of interest.  All these things work in concert to bring the viewer to the focus point in the painting.

If you are ever travelling in the southwestern part of Washington state, it would be worth your time to visit Eric’s gallery at:

Wiegardt Studio Gallery

P.O. Box 1114 2607 Bay Avenue Ocean Park, WA 98640 360.665.5976

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