Everyone needs to find inspiration from their influences, just never be overcome by them. If you have ever wondered who are some of my main influences check out my board “other artists” on Pinterst!

Teen Workshops


This summer I will be teaching Plein Air classes for both teens and adults. Students will be going beyond the local color to express the “light key” or the effect the time of day and atmospheric conditions have upon the local color. We will also discuss composition and design elements and drawing.


Summer Workshops

DSC_0072 This summer I will be teaching Plein Air classes for both teens and adults. Students will be going beyond the local color to express the “light key” or the effect the time of day and atmospheric conditions have upon the local color. We will also discuss composition and design elements and drawing. Continue

A Time not Forgotten

Monet - Lady with a Parasol

Monet – Lady with a Parasol

Maybe it’s simply a romanticism of a time past where men wore top hats and women still carried around parasols; the time of the great impressionist painters. Or maybe it’s a burning desire to have been part of one of the most prominent American Artist colonies; to be a part of something, a movement, with a common problem to solve: “the key of light.”

Did Hassam, Sargent, Chase, Hawthorne, or Hensche hold some sort of untold truth that was guarded like the covenant only to be revealed to a select group of privileged disciples, and how come it seemed like only they could see these certain colors in nature translated into spots of colored paint in a way that let the viewer know what exactly the weather was like and what time of day it was, though they had never noticed those colors in nature before?

The truth is that there is no better connection to the subject then when seen under the brilliance of the sun’s rays or under the thick milky skies of an overcast day; at one with nature as you attempt to make sense of it all, one spot of color at a time.  Heightened color perception is only achieved with countless hours dissecting colors down to their bare essence, fragments of light coming together to create a particular hue.  There seems to be something lost, a disconnection from working from photographs, even though they may be your own. It is unfortunate that most schools and universities do not take their students outside of the studio, only working from artificial light, or at best the light fighting its way in through the window panes.

Since spending last summer (summer 2013) painting with the Cape School of Art, I have found that even when the cold locks me up into the studio, my paintings have shown a certain vibrancy and truth to their color that I had never achieved beforehand. It is my goal to continuously better understand and infuse the light key into both my Plein Air studies as well as my studio works with the hopes to show the viewer the beauty of even the dreariest of days.

I have discovered it is not a time that I have fallen in love with, but a sense of freedom, to set up and paint where ever and whenever the muse may arise. To capture the majesty that we sometimes forget is all around us.

-Aaron Souza

Setting up your Workflow


Of course there are countless ways that you can set up your studio and you have to take in all of your personal needs first and foremost, for me though, having an area that enhances your workflow and while limiting distractions is key. Ultimately there are many types of painters, each with their own problems and concerns, and there is no blanket wrong way, I will simply explain how I set up my work area and explain how it works for me and why.

First and foremost, you will need a sturdy adjustable easel. I have multiple easels in my studio, sometimes working on more than one at any given time, but my favorite is a custom handmade steal easel. Next you will need a pallet for your paint. I prefer not to hold my pallet the entire time I am painting, so I use a steal role-away cart that has a storage draw for my paints. I have also customized it to hold my mineral spirits and brushes around the outer edges. I prefer glass (I use an old mirror) over wooden pallets because they can be easel scrapped clean using a razor paint scraper.

Next you will need a subject. Ultimately I wish that I had more time to spend painting in plein air, or from northern light windows, but let’s face it, most of us do not have the ideal conditions all of the time, and have to make the best of what we have. I have a couple of different tables for still lives, with white balanced photography light bulbs for lighting still lives or models, but more often than not I am working from photo references that I have taken myself. For this, I have to recommend setting up a computer monitor right next to your canvas (or other painting surface) as in my opinion, it is the absolute next best thing to painting from life. Not only will you save money in the long run from multiple photo reference prints at different views and zoom levels, but your colors will be insurmountably easier to see. One can easily scroll in and out of the references view multiple photos on one screen or crop as needed. I use a small Asus netbook to power a 20” monitor and it still looks great.  I like to keep my monitor to the left of my painting that way that I do not need to look over my painting arm at my reference and my pallet a set over behind me to the left so that I am forced to constantly take a step back from my painting.

I hope that this has given you some food for thought, and I recommend experimenting and adjusting your work area for something that best suits your purposes, but if you are working from reference photos at all, I can’t recommend switching to painting directly from a monitor enough if you have not switched over already!

In the next topic, I will be discussing the colors that I use on my pallet and try to explain why I have chosen the colors that I do.

“Waiting for a Bite” in progress


First I start out with a full scale sketch. I then cover the back of the drawing with softpastels, tape it over an already primed vanvas and begin to trace: transferring a line drawing onto the canvas.

Reflecting on my Cape School of Art experience

There was something magical about plein air painting on Cape Cod and being a part of America’s first artist colony. There is just something so warm and inviting about the summer in Provincetown. ART is embedded in the culture, whether in Artists, Art Collectors, Art Lovers, Galleries, Sculptures, or Museums, ART is EVREYWHERE. There is so much to paint there, from the ocean, wharfs, and dunes, to the store fronts, beautiful gardens and marshland; it is an endless muse for the artists that live there or come back to visit time and time again.



The Cape School of Art; End of Summer Recap

Firetly I’d like to appologize to anyone that has been following my blog for taking so long to catch you up with my journey with the Cape School. I had a lot going on at the end of the summer; I had to buy a new car, as well as moving out of our Cape apartment and into a new one, school starting and getting my classroom back in order.

Next I would just really like to thank all the instructors at the Cape School of Art and the board members for allowing me to have this amazing experience. There is just something about being a part of this historic art colony that just feeds the soul. Everything is just so beautiful, the weather was gorgeous, the people were all SO kind and there is art EVERYWHERE! I was able to see how a variety of working artists made their living; I listened to their stories of how they got there, and made new friends along the way.


A Week With John Clayton



This past week I spent studying under John Clayton. t was a small class so we got a lot of one on one time. The first day we started off working with block studies. Henry Henche had developed a system of teaching using colored blocks so that the artist could see large color relationships. The color of the blocks are easily seen, and one can easily see how the reflective light of on block will affect the ones nearest. John started out doing a demo for us, and then we painted our own. We took a lunch break and met back at the school to work on a combination of blocks and still life objects. Continue

a Priceless Hensche video

For those of you that don’t really know what the Cape School of Art is all about, or those that are interested in knowing more. I stumbled across this video earlier today, it’s a video of Hensche from 1975 discussing the techniques and approaches developed by Charles Hawthorne and himself.

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