At my latest painting workshop this weekend, we had a couple of special guests - a baby gray squirrel (compliments of Steve and Marion Harrison) and a rescued yellow-bellied slider turtle (brought by Kathy Simms.) I think it is important for students to have an "up close and personal" experience sometimes to really observe the details that make an outstanding painting. Like so many things in life, the "devil's in the details." This type of reference is crucial, because being able to study a living creature intimately takes the guess work away, and leaves you more confident in your knowledge of your subject. I try to encourage and council my students about the types of paintings and subjects that they take on. Having insufficient reference materials, such as real-life observations, painting and especially photographs will all be road blocks to creating something really special. I try to encourage my students to stay within their reach when selecting things to paint, knowing they will have success and then paint more. Check out the upcoming workshop schedule for the fall . I hope to see you there!