Color and Composition


Aaron Schuerr


March 28–30, 2018


For All Levels
Workshop meets 9 am to 4 pm
daily wtih a 1 hour lunch break



After filming instructional videos for F+W Media, I have new ideas that I'd like to share! This workshop is designed to help step back and take a deeper look at composition and color. Through exercises and demos you'll learn to how to make confident color choices and create bold compositions.

We'll relate the principals of color and composition to the landscape, and see how seemingly lofty concepts are really very practical. Color and composition are the tools to express yourself in a more personal, distinct, and clear way. We'll examine color temperature, color and light, basic compositional types, understanding the initial sensation, common errors in composition and color, color layering, cropping, and many more topics.

Finally, we'll dive into understanding how to take this new knowledge and make it your own. This workshop is not just about learning some 'rules' of color and composition. It is about exploring possibilities of personal expression. The class will be able work on compositions in the studio and painting plein air from the beautiful Sedona Arts Center campus.

TUITION: $475.00


Payment Options: Students may pay in full or choose the payment-plan option during registration. The payment plan requires a non-refundable $125 deposit with the balance due 30 days before the first day of the workshop.

Materials to Bring: Aaron Schuerr - Pastel Materials List

Bring some of your own good landscape photos. We will be painting part of the time outside, so hopefully you will be able to gather studies and photos on site, but it’s good to have some backup images. No magazine photos please! Working from a laptop or iPad is fine.

The most important thing is to have a good lightweight setup for working in the field with pastels. (I have modified a Strada Easel for pastel- if you are interested in how to do it, contact me.) Other good setups include The Edgemon Easel and Heilman Pastel box.

Bring as many pastels as you can reasonably use in the field, bearing in mind that you need to store them safely and carry them into the field. I break mine in half, so that I can fit more colors into my field kit. I use a variety of brands, Terry Ludwig, Diane Townsend, and Blue Earth being some of my favorites. Best to get out there and get working with your pastels so that you can figure out what works for you.

NOTE: I’m hoping to put together a workshop set that you can order, but I haven’t done so yet! Feel free to check in with me at some point before the workshop, and I’ll let you know what I’ve put together.

Recently I’ve switched to using Pastelmat paper, and I love it! It comes in 12x16 and 9x12 packs- I’ve experimented with the colored papers, and I really like them. I also use UART (500 grit) and Ampersand Pastelboard. (Just avoid dark colored papers!) You can purchase either the Pastelmat or the UART mounted to board from Dakota Art Pastels

I’ve been using a new sketchbox design created by Joshua Bean. If you are interested check out the link: It’s a great setup for doing notans (value sketches.) Cost is $75 with the markers/paper included, so I’m not requiring it- just something to consider!

• Paper sizes from 8x10 and 12x16. If you want to work larger in the studio, up to 16x20 is fine.
• A sepia tone conte crayon or equivalent hard pastel for blocking in
• A lightweight board to tape the paper to.
• Willow or Vine Charcoal (comes in bunches and in different diameters. Get at least one fat stick!)
• Medium Stump
• Chamois
• Kneaded eraser, gum eraser
• Artist tape or masking tape
• Sketch Book and pencil
• A wide brim hat
• Sunscreen
• A water bottle

If you have any questions about materials, (easel brands, pastels, paper etc.) please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me! or (406) 539-8393

About Aaron Schuerr:

St. Andrews, a medieval Scottish city built on headlands overlooking the North Sea, makes a dramatic profile when seen from sweep of beach to the south. It was the subject of Aaron Schuerr’s first landscape, a simple charcoal drawing done during his studies at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, Scotland. That day changed everything. Without even knowing what a “plein air painter” was, Schuerr had become one.

Aaron lives in Livingston, Montana with his wife and three sons. He is a signature member of The Pastel Society of America and The American Impressionist Society. He has taught at the Plein Air Convention in California and the IAPS Convention. He is a regular contributor to The Pastel Journal and has four instructional videos to his credit. He has painted in remote villages in The Atlas Mountains of Morocco, participated in plein air festivals in Ireland, The Grand Canyon, Maui, California, and Grand Teton National Park, and continues to explore his favorite sites in Montana and Yellowstone National Park.

His paintings can be seen at The Legacy Gallery in Bozeman, Jackson Hole, and Scottsdale, and The Mission Gallery in St. George, or online at







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