Kai Lun Qu

Palette Project at Scottsdale Artist School w/ Daniel Keys & Michelle Dunaway

I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the Palette Project, which is a mentoring system under Daniel Keys and Michelle Dunaway at the Scottsdale Artist School for the weekend, painting the portrait under their instructions while observing demos done by them as well as other artists like Timothy Rees, Josh Clare and Tyler Murphy! A weekend well spent!

Day 1

Arrived Arizona after a 6 hour flight from Baltimore. Dan Caprario the executive director of Scottsdale Artist School was kind enough to pick me up late at night to bring me to my hotel. I rested for the night and set out to the school in the morning, which was just a four minute walk away from the hotel.

The skys were clear and it was clearly the mark of the start of a good weekend!

Scottsdale Artist School, the school is a beautiful old building that is actually one of the oldest buildings in Arizona.

There was a four way demo scheduled later at night and the Palette Project wont start until saturday the next day. So to pass the time I joined one of the open model sessions at the school and warmed up a bit with charcoal.

The finished portrait sketch, 18"x24" vine charcoal on sketchpaper. David was a fantastic model and it was a blast drawing him!

Later that night I got to meet some of the Palette Project recipients as well as witness a splendid demo featuring Michelle Dunaway, Tyler Murphy, Josh Clare, and Tim Rees painting none other than the executive director Dan Caprario.

Josh Clare's Painting

Tim Rees's Painting

Michelle Dunaway's Painting

Tyler Murphy's Painting

Was a wonderful demo night, great to see the different takes and style each artists works in. Each of the artists also took turns and talked about how they got started in the beginning of their careers, which was inspiring to listen to.

I was a great experience. and the Demo ended with a bang. I got home to the hotel tired from a long day but excited to finally start painting the next day.

Day 2

The day started with Daniel Key's giving us a slideshow lecture for one hour discussing the principles of painting. Afterwards he set up his Strada easel and started doing his demo.

Daniel Key's short painting demo.

Afterwards, they gave us what came as a surprise to me, Rosemary and Co Brushes on the behalf of the company themselves who are helping Daniel out by donating their brushes to the Palette Project recipients. I found myself smiling like a idiot the entire time holding the brushes I always dreamed and wanted to use but never quite had enough fundings for it. Cheap Blick Brushes you have been very well replaced!

With my new Rosemarys at hand and with the model sitting in place the Palette Project students began working. I took a picture of my painting every break. This is what I came up with at the end. Was a amazing experience!

After the workshop was over I went back to the hotel to call it a night anticipating for the next day!

Day 3

The morning began with yet ag ain another demo, this time with the talented Michelle Dunaway at the easel. It was really informative and she really went into details about her process and how to find the correct shapes within the facial form as well as color mixing and composition.

Michelle's Short Painting Demo

I got to work on my second and final portrait, upon finishing I laid both paintings I have done out on my easel. I like parts and dislike parts from both paintings but its all a learning process. Overall I was happy with my finished results.

I took the time after the event was over to walk around the school hallway for one last time before departing back to Baltimore. Taking pictures of the paintings and drawings that really caught my eye especially this Robert Liberace drawing.

Spotted this Richard Schmid painting hanging in Dan's office. Was my first time ever seeing a Schmid in person and was hugely impressed with the quality and delicate precise nature of his brushstroke and color. A true masters painting.

Spotted this Tim Rees Work in Progess painting of Dan in Dan's office still propped up on a Easel waiting to be finished.

I remember watching a video of Casey Baugh painting this portrait sketch of Dan's girlfriend when I first got into fine arts years ago. never would I thought I would see the actual piece in person. Truly beautiful.

Beautful Cast and huge book collection in the lobby of the School.

A picture with Daniel and Michelle, two truly wonderful and talented painters and teachers. It was a blast learning from them during the weekend!

Overall, it was perhaps one of my best weekends I have had in the past years. Truly a honor to be in a school filled with paintings and drawings of my art idols as well as learning from two of them in the process. Special Thank You to Dan Caprario, Daniel Keys, Michelle Dunaway and Scottsdale Artist School for giving me this amazing opportunity. Hope to see you guys soon and I definitely will be back for more next year!

- Kai Lun Qu