Lewis Arthur Williams: Earth, Art and the Creative Act – February 12 – 14, 2024


This 3 day workshop will combine discussions on the themes of why you create what you create in plein air. Feeling an urge to respond to the grace and elegance you sense in the world WITH your art is what I want to encourage with supportive direction as we explore plein air in the spectacular environs of Tubac, AZ! Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm

Out of stock

Lewis Art Williams’s purpose has found fulfilment in the act of creating art for over 40 years. He works in a wide variety of mediums, including oil and acrylic paints, and pastels. A move to the Desert Southwest in his teens was life changing and he continues to be overwhelmed with the beauty he encounters in nature. The presentation of earth’s cycle of wonder and his souls response in awe, wonder, surprise and gratefulness has asked of him only one act in response; honor the gift! That summarizes the purpose and motivation behind all his art.

To honor the subject of his inspiration, he seeks the truth of the place, filtered through his art sense. Atmosphere, color and composition are vital to this, as are energy and capture of that sense of place. An underpainting is rapidly applied, then, a subtractive wiping out with multiple tools, creating an innovative sub-structure upon which the painting develops. Near the end, he re-establishes a linear focus (drawing back into the painting) to describe edges, increasing contrast and detail that he believes ‘cleans up his world!”

He is experienced in teaching art to a broad spectrum of students, including very young and elderly, and those with special needs. He spent 4.5 years developing and teaching Fine Arts Programs to Senior Citizens at 3 separate PACE facilities. He has received numerous awards at many Plein Air events since beginning competition in 2011. He also has much experience teaching workshops and demonstrating painting techniques at these events. The year 2004-05, he taught art at St Michaels Indian School outside Window Rock, Capitol of the Navajo Reservation. He co-taught, “The Science and Art Behind Fall Colors,’ class at Walking Mountains Science Center, Near Vail, Co., October, 2021. He has had much success at being awarded multiple Artist in Residence Programs: 2013 at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado; 2015 Black Rock Desert\Immigrant Trails National Monument in Nevada; 2016 Re-Imagine Montana Event- Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Montana; 2018 Escalante\Grand Staircase National Monument, Utah and Zion National Park Plein Air Invitational, Utah. His work has been featured in “Illuminations,” Artist Spotlights in Western Art and Architecture Magazine; Western Art Collector Magazine (State Of Art: Utah); Plein Air Magazine and an assortment of others.

He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Northern Arizona University 1983 and a Master of Fine Arts degree, Utah State University, 1991. He experienced a 4 yr. apprenticeship (1999-2003) with world renowned iconographer Br. Robert Lentz, O.F.M.

On the eve of his 60th birthday, a powerful idea came to him as he re-evaluated his life and the status of his art career. This became the 4700 mile, “Paint My Way ‘Cross The USA-By Bike!” epic, where he decided to ‘rattle his cage,’ to see what fell out for his ‘second half’ of life! He and his wife (who he somehow convinced to join him!) left San Diego, Ca. March 1, 2021, following the Old Spanish Trail to Santa Fe, NM, then The Santa Fe Trail, on its’ Bicentennial, to its origin in Franklin, Missouri, creating art daily as they cycled the country. The route from there was more free-form, across the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, up to Wisconsin, but blocked by Covid from entering Canada, along the bottom rung of the Great Lakes from Michigan to Ontario, Niagara Falls and the Adirondacks, Vermont and New Hampshire till its completion in Bar Harbor, Maine August 1, 2021. The short film of this journey, “Art of the Spirit,” has been accepted into 3 International Film Festivals, with a second place People’s Choice at Ridgway, Co. Pretty awesome adventure!

Visit Lewis’s website.


“Lewis is a very good teacher and a real pleasure to work with. I think I learned more from him than I did from any other art class. In those classes, the teacher would just pick up the brush and paint on my work to ‘fix it’ without asking. Lewis never did that, but would suggest other approaches on a separate surface and I re-worked mine myself!” – Sharon

“Lewis is a fabulous artist and teacher. He offered great techniques to help me improve my art. He was able to assist students of varied levels and those working in different mediums and still take time and patience with beginners. I think he could help anyone learn and excel in art! – Vickie

I did a lot of art when I was younger, but an ex-husband ruined art for me, and I never thought I would return. When I started classes with Lewis, he was able to rekindle my art back to life. His teaching style is wonderful, going to each student without missing a step! His suggestions were always positive, helping us choose options for more success. As we improved, he got us to the point we were confident to enter shows and we were winners! – Pamela

I thought I’d never return to the art I used to love so much. I took a chance on Lewis’s class and with his support I got my love back! He was always honest with the feedback, but very positive so that we felt we could work on things to make them better. I got such confidence, I started trying all kinds of new things, winning contest and even getting to the point I could teach Pour Art to others. My art is such a big part of my life now! – Ellen

EARTH, ART AND THE CREATIVE ACT (A Plein Air Painting Workshop)
The Plein Air Convention 2022 was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What made this event extra special was that after 3 consecutive cancellations as a result of the Covid Pandemic, it was finally, “a Go!” My wife and I were very excited as we were booked to be onstage for opening night to premier our short film, “Art Of The Spirit.” A year back, in 2021, my wife and I were engaged in a huge project bicycling our way 4700 miles across the country, San Diego to Bar Harbor, Maine, as I plein air painted daily along the way.
Our decision to create a film of our voyage was rewarding. The 800 convention attendees were incredibly enthusiastic in their response to the film. Their potent feedback focused on the message underlying WHY I make art, and this found fertile turf in why THEY make art.
The impetus behind this new class I am offering at the Tubac School Of Fine Arts is a result of our experience with the film. The workshop will be different than most classes. My goal is simply to offer a diverse choice in the plein air world, not to say it is a choice for everyone. My focus is still to assist you in your artistic journey, encouraging your confidence as you improve your skills. I will teach and offer the class new experiences gathered in the 40 plus years I have made my art.
What makes this a little different is the emphasis on what your motivation is to make YOUR art! I am not suggesting there is a right or wrong answer to this question. I know why I make art, and with age and ‘wisdom’, this has become much clearer, and I want you to have this as your strong base as you move forward in Plein Air Painting. The passionate commentary we have received has led me to the why and how of what I want to share in this workshop with you.
The cork we pulled out of the bottle was that I shared a spiritual (NOT a religious) source underlying why I make art, and said it out loud. People said they had not heard this expressed in the Plein Air world before. I love being outdoors amongst the wonders abounding all around us, which I hear speaking powerfully to my soul. I am immensely thankful for all this abundance I see as an unearned gift to all! To acknowledge such a gift, I sought to offer a thankful response and THAT is what I seek to do and is WHY I paint plein air! I am thankful for the gift!
I am not promoting any ideology or theology, be it Buddhist, Muslim, Christian or Secular, but I am saying it is okay to have a stance of Awe and WONDER in response to creation, and that this might make the world a better place. To offer this gift to others through our art an incredible and awesome tool! I hope this strikes an existing or a new chord with you. Feeling an urge to respond to the grace and elegance you sense in the world WITH your art is what I want to encourage with supportive direction as we explore plein air in the spectacular environs of Tubac, AZ!

This 3 day workshop will combine discussions on the themes of why you create what you create in plein air. We will utilize the studio to start each day. Resources, inspirations, and practices will be shared each morning to begin the day. The purpose is to ‘fill’ our tank early, to have a ‘reserve’ to draw from to accomplish our goals in the outside world we paint. The second part of the daily schedule, I will demonstrate an artistic technique that the group will practice. We will then pack up our gear and head out to the plein air site for the day, exploring the incredible historical and environmental settings proximal to Tubac. Our plan is to attempt 2 – 3 paintings daily with an hour lunch sandwiched in between. We will finish each day at the plein air site with a group discussion of our experiences in creating and meeting goals in the work. We will then return to the school to end the day.
As stated, your experience in the workshop will be different than most you have attended. Although each morning our day will begin in the studio with a demonstration by me, I do not require you to attempt this in the field. I hope some will see something they may attempt to integrate into their work but it is not required! My goal is to meet you on your artistic journey RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE NOW! I want to honor that journey. In the field, as we talk and you paint, I will suggest options and demonstrate, if needed, to help you reach breakthroughs to your next step or two. I want you to feel you have gone deeper on the path to the thankful, successful artist you want to be! I will always strive to give positive, honest encouragement to you in my feedback, but I am not going to be soft on what I expect from you, striving to be your best! You have to be willing to take feedback, try something new and risk failure to make gains. I believe my strength lies in offering insights and suggestions to assist you in moving forward!

To that end, getting to know you before the workshop is important to me. It is also VERY important for you to question before hand if this workshop is a good fit for you. I encourage you to contact me with questions to determine if this feels right for you. If we decide to proceed, I am encouraging attendees to send a few digital images of your work and briefly describe to me why you work in plein air (in general) and what your thoughts are about your work. This will give me a groundwork to build on while you are here for the workshop.

The Daily Agenda, each of our 3 days together will be to start promptly at 9am. I will be in the studio at about 8am and you are welcome to join me. You may want to set up your plein air gear before class so it’s ready to go at for the Demo time at approximately 10am. At 8:30am I will have coffee (and such) and donuts (and the like) and a time to visit. At 9am, class will begin! I will share resources, practices and inspirations that will hopefully encourage you to open to the awe and wonder in our world, capture that in your art in the process of thankfulness! You may want to share your ideas and practices, and I am hopeful by Day 3 you will have grown considerably in this area, possibly working towards your own mission statement! Daily Plein Air sites will be nearby areas of unique environmental and historical significance that I am sure you can find something of interest to paint. We will drive the short distance in our own cars (or carpool) taking all supplies (and water) with us!

Day 1: Class starts in the Studio promptly at 9am! As I will be there by 8am, you are welcome to arrive between 8 and 9am. During ‘Coffee and Donuts’ (that I will provide by 8:30 or earlier) we’ll get to visit a bit before we get started. At 9am, we will review the week and begin discussing why we create! I will share resources, practices and inspirations that will hopefully connect with you, and discuss artist techniques that will lead into our Demo. The ‘Daily Demo’ will cover underpainting techniques in oil and acrylic, subtractive wiping out tools (removing paint) and why this can be exciting (in creating lights and darks {values}) and open new possibilities. You will work on this technique during this period. Depending on when we finish, lunch will occur at the studio or preferably at the plein air site (a picnic!). We will drive to our destination, work in plein air to make our art, have a constructive and helpful review of our work there and return to the studio by 4:30pm.

Day 2: The same basic daily schedule; 8:30am for social time and start class at 9am. We will discuss the days’ schedule and talk more about resources, practices and inspirations. We will look at an artist or two’s work. I will offer a demo building on the previous days underpainting, working on yesterday’s demo painting, as will you. We will talk better compositions, basic shape areas, focal point and brushwork. We will head out to our painting site by approximately 11am with lunch and painting to follow. We will end the day with a group review of our created art and how we have grown during this day. We will return to the school by 4:30pm.

Day3: Our Final Day! Social time at 8:30 am and start class at 9am. We will discuss the days’ agenda, review our resources, practices and inspirations. We will review our artist (or two) of the day. I will offer a demo on how to move towards a closure on our piece from the previous two days demo work. We’ll be reviewing how our values and color are working, and if our focal point (placement/use of line and shape/highest contrast/strongest color) is acting as a focal point! Then I will offer a technique I frequently use…re-introducing line drawing ‘at the end’ of the painting (we will talk!). I think it makes a painting pop! We will head out for our final day of plein air painting and lunch. By days end, the group will review the day’s work, and see if any of us have experienced the ‘WOW’ we want to share with others as we have painted this week. Are we working toward the ability to say ‘Thanks!’ in our art for the gift we receive as we stand in the wonder that astounds us? I am hopeful we will find much success! We will return to the school by 4:30pm.