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Outdoor Painting

"Sam Payne has clear insight into art and the process of making art. In his enjoyable classes, one learns easily. A very rewarding experience in art."
Spring 2023 Student

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Syllabus PDF

Class Description : Outdoor Painting is a fun loose space where we explore painting and the landscape for 3 hours a week. Every week we meet up at a different location within Monterey County. As everyone is at a different level and using various media, I will provide loose in class and optional hw assignments based on skill set. In each semester I try to include a visit to a  contemporary local artist studio, a painting demonstration by an artist or a visit to an exhibition. I would also like to try to have a showing of some sort at least one time a year of work made in the class.  If you have a suggestion of an artist or studio you would like to visit or a space where we can have our "pop-up" show let me know.

10 Classes 

9:30-12:30 PM Wednesdays

Important Spring 2024 Session Dates: March 25th to June 8th (10 Weeks Total)

March 13th (Wednesday) - Registration Begins

March 25th (Monday) - Spring Session Begins

April 8th -13th - Spring Break (no classes)

May 27th (Monday) -  Memorial Day Holiday (no classes)

Pacific Grove Adult School

1025 Lighthouse Ave.

Pacific Grove, CA 93950


Sam's Cell 914-318-4838

Bring appropriate clothing - Weather link below.


Next Class:


George Washington Park

 Meet on Sinex St Corner of 700 Alder Ave. Pacific Grove 93950

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Photos from Class


Sam's Teaching Feed


4/12/23: Make a copy of a painting. This is a classic assignment and there are many ways to go about it. I suggest for this rendition that we choose a painting that is in a form that we would like to emulate. Sometimes there are paintings we love but they are not something we would imagine ourselves making! I also suggest taking a moment to pinpoint what it is about the painting you are copying that you would like to learn about. Is it the way the grass is painted? Is it the composition? Is it the color? It is important to break down the learning process into pieces. 

For the purpose of this assignment each student should assess for themselves a definitio
n of copy. This can be a loose rendition of the model or it can be a monochromatic version of the model. You could think about it as an improvisation on a melody. It should be a healthy dose of fun and pushing your boundaries. 



3/22/23: Try a smaller piece ( a study) or larger piece if feeling brave where every mark is the same size.
This project is in response to the issue of drawing verse painting.
If the student is wishing to make something that speaks paint this exercise is very helpful.
​ There is a propensity to fall back on drawing sometimes to distinguish forms and space especially in the complications of the landscape and with a medium such as water color where the preliminary is often sketched and the follow up with paint ends up far too often being a scenario of filling in. 
The type of mark you choose to repeat can be a simple 1/2 inch drag of the brush or it can be a shape like a  half circle.
Keep patient and slowly build the painting with these moves.
 This is similar to pointalism painting and artists such as Seurat. But the marks should be larger than these examples so as not to lose steam. 


Next Class:

05/08/24 +05/15/24
Next Class

Walers Cove

Next Class:

04/24/24 +05/01/24
Next Class

Carmel River State Beach

Next Class:

04/03/24 +04/17/24
Next Class

Oak Newton Park.

Next Class:


Bird Rock Vista Point

Bird Rock Rd. 
Pebble Beach CA 93953

Give name and Address Given in email for access at gates. 

Next Class: 3/6/24 + 3/13/24
Location: Toro Park, 501 Monterey-Salinas Highway 68, Salinas, CA 93908
Next Class: 3/6/24

See official map of park here: After entry kiosk pull right at second parking lot and we will meet there! Map calls it Lot 5 Sycamore Picnic area.  Call me if any questions though I have had issues with reception before !!:)

I have drawn the location in purple below and the pdf is available for download also. Please take some time to look at the file at a desktop computer before driving - if you have one 😊


Next Class:

Next Class


Meet in Art room dur to rain prediction.

Students who want to paint outside can paint outside and inside students can paint from a still life or other information. 

Next Class:

Final Class


Meet in Art room

Please bring a collection of work from the semester that we can all discuss together.


Next Class:


Earthbound Farm Stand

7250 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

Next Class:


George Washington Park

 Meet on Sinex St Corner of 700 Alder Ave. Pacific Grove 93950

Next Class:


Earthbound Farm Stand

7250 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

Next Class:


Casa Del Oro
210 Oliver St. 
Montery CA 93940

Meet in gardens and courtyards. Corner of Scott and Pacific St. 

Next Class

Next Class


Restroom, Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

36.636746433433444, -121.93383432521824


Schedule : Subject to change - 

Next Class: 9/27/23

Location: PGAS Meet in Art Room

Next Class: 10/4/23
Location: Toro Park, 501 Monterey-Salinas Highway 68, Salinas, CA 93908

See map of park here: After entry kiosk pull right at second parking lot and we will meet there! Map calls it Lot 5 Sycamore Picnic area. Call me if any questions:)


George Washington Park             

Meet on Sinex St Corner of 700 Alder Ave.   

Pacific Grove 93950



Lovers Point Park
631 Ocean View Blvd Pacific Grove 9395


Meet at upper grass picnic area

36.62599862537744, -121.91675733558242


Casa Del Oro

210 Oliver St. 

Montery CA 93940


Meet in gardens and courtyards. Corner of Scott and Pacific St. 


25937 Colt Lane Carmel Valley, CA 93924

Please take note of specific directions that will be sent by email as the turn  off can be missed off of Laureles Grade.


Earthbound Farm : Meet Under Pavilion               

 750 W.  Carmel Valley Rd. 93923       


No Class, PGAS Closed.

8/16/23: Larkin House, 464 Calle Principal, Monterey, CA 93940

Larkin House Garden464 Calle Principal Monterey, CA 93940

8/23/23: Visiting Artist : Walk through of exhibition with artist in gallery show. Seaside/Sand City. 


Red Woods. Santa Lucia Preserve.

Meet at gate as group at 9:45 and we will drive together. We will have drive-in access so that we will not have to walk far from vehicles. . 


Caledonia Park

141 Caledonia Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Meet Near Basketball Court.
Be there or be square :)

9/13/23  LAST CLASS

(Last Class - Register For FALL Session on 9/13/23 - First Class of FALL on  9/27/23 :

I also teach Color and Collage Workshop and Mexican Art History and Introduction  to Painting

Class Notes

4/12/23: What a windy time! There are a couple topics I would like to mention.
The concept of detail and the particular:
There was a class member today who asked about detail and mentioned smaller brushes and wanting to create a realistic photo like painting. I suggest we think about detail not as something small but rather as something particular. In this kind of painting if we pay  attention to a subtle and specific  shift in color or the way the curve of a tree meets the sky rather than a detail such as a blade of grass we will often be surprised at the sense of detail the painting can convey.
To make a painting  it is helpful to say to yourself, "this edge of this tree branch next to this edge of this hill" rather than simply, " I am painting this tree." The force of the reality of an image in this type of painting is contextual. 

Volume and shadow: 
A shadow can help tell a story about volume and form. As a painter you can use it as a means for solving the situation in your painting. A shadow can be used to act as a horizontal band across the picture plane beneath some row of trees and in this wat be used to set up a series of layers of one thing behind another  that create space. Or it can be used as a puzzle piece where it describes volume of a thing or a place with other pieces of color and value. A painter can push a shadow in both these directions at the same time and can become aware of sliding it one way or the other. 




Outdoor Painting Syllabus PDF

Outdoor Painting                                                                                                                      Instructor: Sam Payne

Email:                                                                                                     Class Website: Outdoor Painting


Class Description:


The goal of this class is to spend 3 hours a week at unique locations making art/painting outside. The course is designed for all levels and media though it is predominantly geared towards Acrylic, watercolor and oil paint. The class content is based on the idea of the impression or sketch performed in nature. There is an emphasis on personal exploration with chosen media as well as working in a group setting to flex a vocabulary pertaining to art. This class emphasizes each students’ particular goals and does not aim for all students to make similar looking work. Locations are provided on the class website and through email. Each semester there is an artist studio visit or gallery visit. When raining we meet in a museum to sketch. All locations are near bathrooms and require less than several hundred feet of walking from vehicles.


Class schedule (All is optional/ the goal is to inspire each other to work outside each week)


9:30- 9:45AM Discussion with historical references/books and occasional demonstration.

9:45 to 10 AM Sketch/thumbnails and set up.

10-12 PM Make Art/Paint

12-12:30 Group Share.


Outdoor Painting Materials List


Invariably the student of art finds materials they prefer by experimentation.

Students with more experience are encouraged to continue their processes and materials.

For students who are new to the idea of painting outdoors I provide the list below.


General Supplies List

  • Clothing for the weather. Sun Screen.

  • Paint, brushes and surfaces.

  • Easel Setup including chair if needed and bags for carrying. We are usually a short distance from our vehicles. There are many possible Easel Setups which I will go over briefly during the first class.

  • Some way to attach painting surface (canvas paper, canvases. Paper etc ) to  your easel i.e. a board with clips or blue tape.

  • View finder.

  • Sketch book, with mixed media paper for paint sketches/ thumbnails and gesture studies.

  • Snacks and water. 3 hours can take time to build up stamina to be outside and a snack and hydration helps.


Specific to Acrylic Supplies List (In the Summer and warmer days in direct sun it is imperative with acrylic to arrange your set up in shade or face your easel appropriately or use umbrella. It can also be useful to use a retarder. This is a product that lengthens drying time and can be added to your spray bottle or squeezed into the paints).

There are convenient kits of paint and brush sets available I have linked below.


The quality of paint varies greatly. To start, I suggest an artist level paint such as Golden, Winsor Newton or Liquitex but if this is cost prohibitive there are many alternatives.


  1. Tubes of Acrylic “Heavy Bodied” Paint such as the Golden brand.

  2. Any of the 3 sets linked below will work well. 2 fl. Oz is a good volume for each tube to start. If you cannot purchase these sets, you can buy the tubes individually or find sets from other brands that include similar colors.





  1. Golden Classic Set (Amazon)


  1. Surfaces to paint on such as a pad of “pre-primed” canvas paper measuring around 9”x 12” (Approximately 14 sheets)



  1. Sketchbook with “mixed-Media” style paper.



  1. Brushes. I suggest an assortment of round and flat brushes. Brushes are categorized for sale depending on paint medium. Since we are using acrylic paint in this class, I suggest using brushes, flat and round, in the acrylic category. Sizes ranging from 5 to 10.



  1. Rags/ paper towels

  2. 2 water containers/ cups (can be paper cups). These are for dipping brush in water when

  3. painting.

  4. A Water container with water for filling the above cups.  

  5. Palette. Acrylic dries quickly. Students need convenient ways to store paint in a relatively airtight container. I present 2 options. Either the palette paper and the larger artist palette box where all mixing and storing takes place or the smaller palette box in combination with palette paper.






  1. Palette knives



  1. Spray bottle



  1. A convenient way to carry everything (a bag or box of some kind)

  2. Curiosity and compassion!

  3. Optional Retarder for warmer season.

Suggested Easel from a student in class:

Misc. Resources:

Rackstraw Downes Article and Movie

Secret Gardens of Monterey

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