Narrative Abstraction: The Confluence of Imagery and Materials

Lisa Pressman
Lis Pressman
Lisa Pressman
Lisa Pressman
Lisa Pressman
Lisa Pressman


Narrative Abstraction: The Confluence of Imagery and Materials with Lisa Pressman

April 17 – 20, 2023 | Monday – Thursday

Mon: 10 am – 5 pm | Tues – Thurs: 9 am – 4 pm

Some painting experience is suggested.

All art is narrative.  Whether it is a rejection of contemporary culture or processing a personal life happening, we respond to these events and they appear in our artwork – consciously or unconsciously. In this workshop, life is our subject and abstraction is our expression.

This 4-day workshop will provide a series of experiments to manifest the realization of personal imagery.  Exercises will include drawing and markmaking sketches, using a viewfinder and an iPhone to discover compositional ideas. We will explore finding personal color, layering concepts and personal writing assignments.  Questions to discuss include:  “How do you start a painting?” – “What do you do when you are stuck?” – and “How do you know when a painting is finished?”

The material focus in this workshop is R&F Pigment Sticks, Oil Paint, Cold Wax, Drawing Materials and more. Each day, Lisa will provide demonstrations on techniques, including layering, excavating, monoprinting, glazing, color mixing, texture, markmaking, and editing. Students will receive individualized attention on their art process with the aim of expanding their own artistic practice. The class will focus on content, how to see, and how to move work forward. Some may find keeping a written journal useful during this workshop.  The journals will not be shared but you may find your words as touchstones to generating imagery.

We will have conversations and presentations around contemporary art during a formal presentation and during our class time.

Join me and let’s bring your work back to you.

In-Person Classes

COVID Health and Safety Protocols

The health and safety of our Patrons, Students, Volunteers, and Staff are a top priority. Since COVID-19 first surfaced, our staff continues to monitor the situation closely, taking every precaution to keep our Patrons, Students, Volunteers, Staff, and our community safe.

  • Masks inside our buildings are optional until further notice.

23 0417 LP

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman

Lisa Pressman’s career as an artist has been marked by exploration of the expressive potential of a variety of mediums, among them oil, encaustic, cold wax, and mixed-media collage. Her work is abstract, conceptually based, and process-driven, featuring marks, forms, colors and patterns that are evocative rather than descriptive.

A New Jersey native, Lisa developed rich visual imagination at an early age. Her father owned a lumberyard and her mother was an actress, artist, and antiques dealer. Lisa grew up surrounded by building materials and immersed in multiple forms of cultural expression that nurtured her curiosity and aesthetic sensibility. A trip to Israel when she was 12 revealed to her that the world is filled with a variety of visual images, textures and colors that contrasted sharply with her previous experiences. This recognition of her own visual acuity was the defining moment when she realized she was going to become an artist.

Lisa received her Bachelor of Arts degree in fine art from Douglass College at Rutgers University, with an emphasis in ceramics and sculpture, in 1979. As a graduate student she changed her emphasis to painting, and in 1981 was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Bard College. Since then she has exhibited regionally and nationally in solo and group exhibitions, and her work is held in numerous private and public collections. Her work is represented by Susan Eley Fine Arts in New York, Addington Gallery in Chicago, and The Gallery of Fine Arts in Telluride, Colorado. Most recently, Lisa has been awarded a solo exhibition at the Mulvane Art Museum in Topeka, Kansas.

A highly respected arts educator, Lisa maintains a vigorous teaching program. She’s been on the faculty at the former Art Institute of NY, a visiting professor at Pratt Institute and other universities, and has taught workshops in France, Mexico, Italy and the U.S. Especially renowned for her teaching of encaustic and cold wax processes, she is an annual presenter at the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, MA. She also is an instructor for R&F Handmade Paints and Gamblin Artists Colors. As a mentor, her focus is on the facilitation of each student’s voice − the awareness of the source of what they are doing and why, and the medium and visual language with which they can most effectively express their artistic vision.

Supply List


  • 1 pad of Arches oil paper 9” x 12” (recommended but the paper can be mixed media paper, water color paper gessoed) taped with a one inch border (painters tape) around the edges and also in half for painting exercise.
  • PLEASE TAPE BEFORE CLASS – Also if you don’t want to travel with panels bring extra Arches oil paper
  • box of latex or nitrile gloves
  • pack of unscented baby wipes


  • 4-6 Ampersand EncausticBord, Gesso or Birch panels prepared for oil: gessoed Instructor recommends the panels being the same size.
  • Arches oil paper is excellent and an easy solution if traveling.
  • Oil Paint:
1. large tube of Titanium white and plus a variety of colors: Choose colors that you like to paint with. I like Gamblin, Williamsburg paints. Small tubes are fine. Look for combination of transparent and opaque choices as seen on the tubes or color charts. Make sure you have warms and cools
  • 1 or two large cans of gamblin cold wax (not the gallon) and a tube of galkyd gel
  • Drawing materials: pencils, stabile black pencils, art graph
  • At least 4-6 of palette knives,
  • silicone bowl scraper (from amazon) or/ and large(worth the money )
  • SEVERAL soft rubber brayers speedball 4 inch, 6
  • disposable paper palette 12” x 16”  or  freezer paper
  • cheap sponge paint roller (from the dollar store or  michaels
  • blue painters tape
  • wax paper for layering between wet panels
  • cardboard (pizza boxes) for transporting wet work
  • newsprint
  • cheap tissue paper (wrapping tissue paper)
  • any specific stencils that you may want to use (we will have some stencils to choose from)
  • apron
  • notebook
  • rags or paper towels
  • straight edge razor blades

R&F Handmade Paints will sponsor the workshop with RF Pigment Sticks

Cancellation Policy


  • Each student must enroll individually
  • Students may register online or by calling the Sedona Arts Center’s Administrative Offices in the Art Barn, toll-free at 888-954-4442 or locally at 928-282-3809
  • Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express are accepted or student may pay with cash or check by registering in person during office hours at the Art Barn

In-Person and Online Workshops

  • Payment in full is due upon registration, or a payment plan can be put in place by the student upon check-out through Sezzle.
  • There is a $125 Cancellation Fee for any cancellations made before March 17, 2023. Remaining balance will be refunded.
  • There are no refunds after March 17, 2023.
  • If Sedona Arts Center cancels the workshop for any reason, all payments made will be refunded in full

Important Message

The Sedona Arts Center is not responsible for providing make-up sessions or issuing refunds, credits, or transfers for courses missed as a result of illness, emergencies, or other events beyond our control. There are absolutely no refunds after the cut-off date for any reason, unless the Sedona Arts Center has to cancel the workshop, then all fees paid will be refunded in full.

Covid-19 Update for In-Person Classes and Workshops: 

As long as SAC is able to provide an environment that adheres to the CDC guidelines for social gatherings, and assuming all other normal criteria are met and the workshop or class goes forward, the above cancellation policies are in effect.

Lisa Pressman is a model of what a teacher can bring to the table for students. I have seen her teach, and I’m in awe of her ability to bring out the best. It also says a great deal that other teachers take her workshops. No one–no one–who takes a few workshops and then turns around to teach could come close to what a seasoned, generous and brilliant teacher like Lisa has to offer. Why would any student want to settle for less? Joanne Mattera, painter, founder/director of theInternational Encaustic Conference

Since the workshop I hired Lisa for mentoring. She has helped me pull my art business together and put forth a more professional face to everything. Because of her and other people she has put me in touch with, my business has grown monumentally in a very short time. We also work on the painting aspect, but tying up the loose ends of the business side has been a big boost to my career. Joan Geary

Lisa Pressman is an accomplished artist and talented instructor. I’ve participated in several workshops with Lisa and also in her individual mentoring program. I’m amazed by her ebullient freedom with materials and techniques that I take away from her unique instruction, but also her ability to push me to the next level. She compels me to examine my work and myself as an artist, and has given me the perspective I’ve needed to strengthen my creative practice and growth as a painter. Lisa’s wealth of knowledge, critical eye and generous guidance has shown me my own potential. Sue Jachimiec

I came to Lisa Pressman with a specific set of goals in mind that I wanted to address in my art and my art career goals and she was a wonderful soundboard and guide. I really appreciated the way she looked at my work and my goals and helped me hone in on what is essential to my visual voice, as well as pushing me to really think and delve further. Months later, I am still referring to my notes I took during our sessions and our email exchanges. Doing the mentorship with Lisa was like being given a toolbox full of resources and reflections that I have taken with me and will keep with me for a long time. Bridgette Guerzon Mills

Mentoring with Lisa Pressman has done more for my art, and my art career than I had ever hoped for. Within months of beginning our work together I was being represented by two new galleries, had a website I was very proud of and had a more focused and deeper understanding of my work and my identity as an artist. She is a sage sounding board offering priceless wisdom garnered from her many years of experience. Working with her has been the best decision I ever could have made for the success of my journey as an artist. Sali Swalla

I have taken several workshops from Lisa Pressman and have always come away with a better understanding of the materials used as well as a fresh sense of where I’m going with my own art making. She is an intuitive instructor, adapting her lessons to meet the needs of her students. Individual attention is one of her strengths. She allows ample time for exploration as we discover new techniques and methods for approaching our work. As a mentor, Lisa has helped me take my studio practice to the next level. Her questions are thought-provoking and individualized; her answers to my questions are honest and reliable. She is a valuable resource whether I’m updating my website, preparing for an art show, or contemplating a new body of work. Her humorous yet straight-forward approach is exactly what I need.” Julie Snidle