dates to be announced for 2018
Laurie St. Albin's, westside, Orcas Islan

Registration Form

Come for three days high on the west side of Orcas, painting madronas at the invitation of Laurie St. Albin and her husband Eric. The location and home are breathtaking and boasts the most beautiful groupings I have seen of  these iconic trees of the Pacific Northwest.

painting sunlight

We will start out drawing the madronas on watercolor paper, looking to capture their unique shape. And, with direct painting, we will discover how to capture the color of sunlight on the trees, how to best show off the warm oranges and yellows, and how to paint the deep rich colors toward the base of the trees.

A grouping of madronas at Laurie and Eric’s

detail – madrona’s rich color


After several of these quicker studies, we will try painting  a close-up branches focusing on the bark.

a detail of bark










On Sunday we will plan a more complete painting, showing a favorite madrona grouping against a deep forest background. Monday will involve some free choice inspired by the setting and the previous two

Cliff Madronas – an earlier painting of madronas

day’s work.

Some may want to try madronas against the water view. Or they use some of Laurie’s lovely lilies or other flowers as part of their composition.  Even three days will seem too short a time.

You may choose to combine this workshop with the following Friday-Sunday one: putting it all together.  Tuesday-Thursday afford time for some island hopping, whale watching or painting on your own.


To get to our painting spot, take a left from the ferry and continue until you see a large white barn off to the left and the main road is turning right.

  • Turn left onto Nordstrom’s Rd, a short road across to Crow Valley Road.
  • Turn right on Crow Valley  and stay on it until a 3-way stop by Island Hardware.
  • Turn left onto West Beach Road. As West Beach Rd. makes a 90˙trun to the right,
  • Continue straight on to Red Cross Quarry Rd (dirt) for one mile, stay right at a possible fort and go up several switchbacks following the road for about 1 mile
  • Stay left as it turns into Lover’s Cove Rd.
  • 339 Lover’s Cove, first left driveway. You are there!

We will have it marked or contact me if you want to meet and follow me there. Bring your lunch as well as your art supplies. Class is from 9:30/10:00 to 3:30/4:00. We may need to adjust the times to accomodate the summer ferry schedule.  If you can be there for 9:30 the first day you can wander and choose a place to start to draw.

For those who cannot take Monday off, it is possible to come for just the weekend.

Lodging information

go to Links on this site.

Highway I-5 to exit 230, route 20. Turn west and follow the road through Anacortes to the ferry (obeying the 30 mph speed limit!) – drive is a half hour from I-5. This takes about 1/2 hour from exit 230.

the garden behind the house

Ferry: from Anacortes. For schedule information, see the Washington State Ferries Web site or call 1-888-808-7977. The workshops are planned, where possible, to take advantage of off-peak travel times. You need to get a reservation and must be through the toll booth 31 minutes before the published sailing time. Arrive the afternoon or early evening before the workshop, if possible.   You may leave on the late afternoon sailing on the last day. You

another detail

will need reservations for both coming and going.

Because of the cost of ferry tickets, I will purchase a bulk book of fares.  If you wish, a month before the class you may send me a check for the ticket (price is about $30 as of this writing), half that of an individual ticket.  I will mail you an e-ticket  ticket for car and driver. Let me know if your car is under 14 ft, the rate is less.  The tickets are round trip but you need 2 reservations.



Read the equipment suggestions under Watercolor Sketching. It is wise to be a compact as possible but you may want an easel for some of the work this weekend.  If you have questions, be contact me by email or phone (360-376-5509)


  • a board and bulldog clips  to hold your painting.
  • Six 1/2 sheets of Arches cold press paper.
  • a 1 inch flat Taklon bristle brush is my favorite
  • a #10 or #12 white sable round and/or other favorite brushes of yours
  • several pencils, #2 are fine, + an erase
  • a palette with clear (prism colors) such as:
    • yellow (Hansa light or medium,  Quinophthalone yellow, lemon yellow)
    • perinone orange
    • red or pyrrol or another clear one
    • quinacridone violet
    • pthalo blue
    • pthalo green
  • in addition I like  quinacridone burnt orange and gold
    You may have some favorites you like to include.

A stool, pad or light pad on which to sit. Camera. Hat. Sunscreen. Warm jacket in case a cool breeze come up.  There are enough covered spaces to paint if it rains.