Lecture & Discussion Series: What Happens In the Studio

Alyssa confronts the often paralyzing hurdles we struggle with in the studio and the best ways to overcome them, find our inspiration, and enter our highest creative and productive state so we can manifest – and even exceed – our creative visions. Topics include: Finding Flow, Healing & Managing Burnout, and Transforming Your Inner Critic to Your Inner Mentor.

Available on Alyssa’s Vimeo Page.



By application only. Email 5 JPEGS OF YOUR WORK to <studio (at)>  with ONE-on-ONE in the subject line, and let’s set up your private session. $150 for 30 minutes or $300 for 60 minutes via zoom.


In person WORKSHOP: Transcending the Photo-Reference

This workshop is designed to guide the students toward creating a painting from a photo reference, using both indirect and direct traditional painting techniques. It aims to instruct painters on how to use the photograph to create a painting that surpasses the look of the photograph, not simply imitates a photograph.

The workshop will explain how to create a useful photo reference, covering topics such as ideal lighting, camera settings, lenses, Photoshop, and printing. Students will learn to create color relationships that portray the space and volume, creating the illusion. Emphasis is then placed on paint application and ways of activating the surface.

By focusing on deliberate brush stroke and maintaining accurate color relationships rather than rendering, the application of paint to describes the form. We will accentuate the structural volumes of the form over the contour, concentrating on relating all parts of the picture to each other with an organized palette. From there, students will be guided towards deciding what information is useful to look for and what usual pitfalls to avoid when interpreting a photograph. Deciding when and how to invent and experiment is perhaps the most crucial part of the process.

Students will be encouraged to look more at the painting itself than the photographic source, using it only for initial reference. We will explore ways of seeing the picture objectively, how to imply detail without overstating, and what level of finish works best for the particular painting or style. The painting will develop through indirect layers of opaque and transparent painting to achieve the delicate nuances of flesh and other surfaces. Methods of Glazing and Scumbling will be discussed.

The final result can be a painting that captures the essence of your subject (and your connection with that subject) and contains the intimacy of the human touch that transcends a smooth photo-realistic image. There are a variety of results varying from abstraction/improvisation to a more illusionistic representation. All will be discussed and the challenges and rewards of each will be explored.

A maximum of 15 students per workshop, (20 online). Students may work only in Oil paint (no alkyd or water soluble substitutes). Students must have some knowledge of working with oil paints, and be familiar with basic supplies and clean up procedures. Beginners are welcome. All students are required to submit 5 jpegs of their oil paintings (no larger than 1000K) to the venue prior to registration so Alyssa can guage the level of experience among the class and adjust appropriately. No film or audio recording is permitted. A detailed materials list, with notes, will be distributed upon registration up to 3 weeks prior to the class to ensure time to prepare. Students are required to be prepared for class on the first day. Alyssa will provide photo references for the students to use for the workshop, they are not encouraged to work from their own photographs.


San Luis Obispo, CA
Willow Pond
September 8 – 11, 2023
Register Here

Past Workshops

New York Academy of Art, NY, 2022
The Compass Atelier, Rockville, MD 2021 (workshop)
The Compass Atelier, Rockville, MD 2019 (workshop)
Kara Bullock Art Studio, Tustin, CA, 2019 (workshop)
Townsend Atelier, Chattanooga, TN, 2019 (workshop)
Sunbury Shores, St Andrew’s, NB, Canada, 2019 (workshop)
New York Academy of Art, NY, 2019 x2 (workshop)
Donna Downey Studio, Lincolnton, NC 2019 (workshop)
The Compass Atelier, Rockville, MD 2018 (workshop)
Clases de Pintura Artistica en La Condesa, Mexico City, 2018 (workshop and lecture)
Warehouse 521, Nashville, TN, 2018 (workshop and lecture)
Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY, 2018 (workshop and lecture)
Flemish Classical Atelier, Brugge, Belgium, 2018 (workshop)
NYAA, NY, 2018 (workshop)
Warehouse 521, Nashville, TN, 2018 (workshop and lecture)
Art Students League, NY, 2017 (workshop)
Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Wasusau, WI, 2017 (workshop)
La Galería Rojaj, Sevilla, Spain, 2017 (workshop)
La Farinera, Vic, Spain, 2017 (workshop/lecture)
New York Academy of Art, Palmerino, Florence, 2017 (CE workshop)
New York Academy of Art, NY, 2017 x2 (CE workshop)
The Bo Bartlett Center, Columbus, GA 2016 (workshop and lecture)
Townsend Atelier, Chatanooga, TN 2016 (workshop and lecture)
Artensity Workshops, Ann Arbor, MI, 2016 (workshop)
Community Arts Association, Allendale NJ, 2016 (lecture and workshop)
La Galería Rojaj, Sevilla, Spain, 2016 (workshop)
Rome Art Workshops, Rome, Italy, 2016 (workshop
Eyes on the Stars, Feet on the Ground , TEDx Indiana,November 13, 2015, Bloomington, IN
The Compass Atelier, Rockville, MD 2015 (workshop)
Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne, WY 2015 (lecture and critiques)
University of Akron, Akron, OH, 2015 (lecture and critiques)
New York Academy of Art, NY, 2015 (MFA class, 1 semester)
New York Academy of Art, NY, 2015 x2 (CE workshop)


New York Academy of Art, NY, 2014 x2 (CE workshop)
University of Tampa, FL 2013 (undergrad workshop)
Capital Arts Network, Rockville, MD 2013 (workshop)
California State University Summer Arts program, CA 2013 (5 day workshop)
University of Louisville, KY, 2012 (undergrad workshop)
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, 2011 (lecture and undergrad critiques)
University of Tampa, FL, 2011 (undergrad workshop)
Weekend with the Masters Intensive, American Artist, NY, 2011 (workshop)
Washington Art Association, CT, 2011 (workshop)
The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster, NJ, 2011 (workshop)
Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts, Bethlehem, PA, 2011 (high school workshop)
New York Academy of Art, NY, 2011 (CE)
New York Academy of Art, NY, 2010 (CE)
Bowling Green University, Bowling Green OH, 2010 (undergrad workshop, lecture, critiques)
New York Academy of the Arts, NY, 2009 (CE)
Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 2009 (workshop, lecture)
Landscape painting course, Carrara, Italy, 2009 (2 weeks)
Bowling Green University, Bowling Green, OH, 2008 (workshop, lecture)
Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, 2008 (undergrad class, 3 semesters)
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, 2008 (workshop, lecture)
Lyme Academy, Old Lyme, CT, 2007 (undergrad class, 3 semesters)
Landscape painting course, Serre di Rapolano, Italy, 2007 (3 weeks)
University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Fayetteville, AR, 2006 (workshop, lecture)
Fullerton College, Fullerton, CA, 2006 (residency, demonstration, lecture)