Participant Feedback

I ask my participants to give me feedback on all my workshops. Here are some of the comments with initials where given . . . I thank them for their time in giving feedback:

2013 Feedback

I have learned more in one week with you than I have with all the courses I have done in the past.  I loved your simplicity and encouragement. I have got my confidence back and I am not afraid to try it on my own.   AF

I had to push myself to attend but was energised from the start – so delighted to have found direction and stimulus so badly needed.

Having always been interested and dabbling in art I have finally found a clear organised system for organising my own art work and got huge insight and stimulus from your clear teaching.

Your mix of theory and practice, encouragement and guidance of everyone in the group at their own level and interest kept a great dynamic of work and creativity going all week – no one wanted to go home in the evenings!

Huge value for money – learning through seeing and doing.

Thank you for a wonderful week and such generous sharing of your expertise and insights. MCH

Thanks’ for sending on the notes, reading them again now I realise I had forgotten vital information.

I really enjoyed the workshop you're a natural teacher, it's a rare skill, and you are also very generous with your time and information.

The practical help for me was brilliant; I haven't gone back into any of the pictures as I like to see the improvements I made from day one to day four.

I would love to do another workshop in 2014 perhaps in beautiful Cong, if you are planning any please let me know.  MMcD

Gosh, you do give value for money, thanks!!!  JH

Thanks again for a brilliant 3 days.  If someone said to me I can have 2 weeks in the sun or a 3 day course again I would pick the course hands down.  Absolutely Magic!  TL  2013

What a weekend John. Wow it was mind blowing.  Couldn,t get over the theory and particularly the technicalities attached to painting a picture!
You have certainly opened my eyes not only to art but also to 'the world' around me. C SL

Yes, we had a fantastic time and I feel we learnt so much over the three days .  It was all delivered with great structure and clarity and with such ease and to top it off in such nice and relaxed surroundings.  We had great fun too and we came home with a smile we still can,t take off our faces!!!   Thanks to Sheila for the great lunches too : -)  oh and for the petrol too – we got to the petrol station !   LH

I have never been to an art workshop before – this was great and much better than I anticipated or even thought.

It helped me with the ‘how’ and process of painting, I learned more in one day than twenty years of book reading.

I loved everything about the workshop and you personally with your very good sense of fun and humour, you are a wonderful teacher.   MC.

Some Previous Feedback from earlier years

"I was never taught in such a clear, systematic way about painting" MD

"Well prepared, clearly delivered and most informative, Great atmosphere, genuine and caring for all" SW

"Forced me to think about what I was about to paint, instead of rushing in without a plan - I found it great" RT

"It recharged my interest, great revision" JD

"Excellent, your attention to detail, dedication, enthusiasm and kindness were second to none" PC

"I see colour where I never saw it before" ES

"As a person who evaluated teachers for over 20 years, your method, presentation and delivery is 'off the charts' "BC

"Fantastic - I have learned more in one week than I have with ten years of art classes" AD

Drawing Workshop

"I too had a brilliant week and after doing many art classes over the last 15 years or so I have never been on one as good as Johns. I hope to do one of his painting workshops next year all going well." P.C.

"None of the other courses I've been on could hold a candle to John's workshop" L.C.

"This drawing workshop has been an extremely positive experience for  me. I took art classes in school back in the ‘70s but was taught  almost no technique at all. Instead, I was instructed to “create  whatever I felt like doing.” I had an idea of what I wanted to create,but I had no idea how to translate the image in my head onto the page.

In this drawing workshop I finally learned some of the tools to do it.  I see with different eyes now: lights and darks, shapes and negative  spaces, light and shadow. I have learned how to suggest the details so  I do not feel obligated to draw every leaf on the tree and every stone in the wall; how to use thumbnail sketches to decide how I am going to  frame my picture and what the shape of the lights and darks will be;  how to squint so I can see the broad shapes of light and dark; the  importance of gesture drawings to bring energy and life to my  drawings; how to draw with charcoal, something I have always wanted to  do; and the magic of perspective, so I can now draw a house that looks  real and a road that actually seems to disappear into the distance.

John is an excellent teacher whose love of and enthusiasm for drawing  and painting is infectious. He skillfully imparts a tremendous amount  of information in such simple terms that he is able to do it without  overwhelming his students. He balances his theory teaching with a generous amount of practical application not only in the studio but also in the field whenever weather permits. While his students are practicing their newly learned drawing skills he spends generous amounts of time with each student in turn, gently correcting them and showing how they can improve their work. He helps in such a positive, subtle way that the students never feel criticized but rather come away feeling they have accomplished it all themselves.

In short, John is a master of that very delicate process of coaxing artistic expression out of even the most timid of students. Probably the biggest thing I came away with is a newfound confidence in my ability to “put marks on a page,” which, as John pointed out, is all drawing really is. Thanks to him, I now have a little pocket sketch book which I am quickly filling with practice drawings. The most exciting part of it is that, just as he promised would happen if we practiced, my drawings are improving steadily the more time I spend on them. My only disappointment is that John’s painting workshops are already filled for the rest of the summer, so I will have to wait until the fall to take another class from him!" S.B.

Landscape Painting Workshop

"Excellent, it gave me the ability to critique my own work from a professional artist's perspective." J.S.

1        Overall, how do you rate the landscape painting workshop?

I found it absolutely terrific, John.   Totally professional from start to finish: carefully planned and organised (with fallback plan in place throughout to allow for vagaries of Irish weather); studio inputs most informative with very generous insights into your own approach, techniques, use of colour, etc. – and delivered in a highly, informal, interactive yet focussed way, with very effective use of flip-charts, overhead projector, etc;  hugely interesting sites chosen for the en plein air sessions – trips to the two Corrib islands and the riverside in Ashford Castle particularly appreciated; and, overall, a great atmosphere engendered amongst the group with real encouragement evident amongst the members for each others work by the end of the week.   The social side of the week – with optional evening meals together in various restaurants around Cross – also much appreciated:  one felt under no pressure to attend if what one wanted was just an exploratory drive through the local countryside or a quiet evening in one’s room.  I felt I learnt a huge amount in the week.  This is my second workshop and I’ll certainly be signing up again.

2        Has there been anything ‘different or better’ compared to other art classes you’ve previously attended?


3        How would you say it has helped you specifically?

It really built on what I had learnt in the first workshop.   Quite honestly, I learnt right across the board – from composition, perspective, colour…   as you know, I’m such a beginner but felt I did so much better this year than last…….  And intend to keep up the painting……. And couple of years from now, when I retire, I’ll be able to devote time to it throughout the year and not just the week in the summer.  Just love it…. Find it frustrating that I can’t reproduce on canvass what is in my eye………

4.       Please rate this workshop by value for money:  Please tick boxes:


Excellent………  when you break it down, you are talking €30 for a 3-hour session…….  Can’t think of any professional who would offer you that kind of value!!  Think Tribunal Lawyers!!!!

5        Any topic or issue you would have liked included?

No – like Ronseal – it does exactly what it says on the label – in all aspects of what one should address in painting landscapes

6        Any suggestions to improve future workshops of this kind?   No, not for this workshop…. But of course what I would love – and possibly people like Paulette – would be a series of possibly one-day workshops spread over a number of possibly Saturdays that would actually break down the whole process:  one day for trees……  their different shapes, leaves, colour mixes, in the distance and to the foreground;  another day for sea, another for rivers, meadows, etc…….   The baby, step-by-step approach………..  with the final culmination of putting them all together at the end……

8        Any comment on the locations we painted outdoors?

Oops, I’ve jumped the gun on this one.  But, as I said, I found them absolutely great – ALL OF THEM.   Also I think the boat trip to Insha Ghoill was the real icing on the cake… great combination of the boat trip, Pat’s interesting account of Corrib history, and absolutely magic of the island – so memorable.  But all had their own charm;  plus also appreciated the variety of landscape offered – the river and arched bridge at Cross, the small settlement of buildings at Inis Mac A Treir, the trees and monk’s house in Ashford Castle, and the monastery/church on Insha Ghoill (know I’m not spelling these correctly), and its dense vegetation.  Plus the real options given to each member of the group as to what they wished to paint at any location.

9        How did you find the art session(s) in my studio:

I’ve been telling everyone how interesting, appropriate, and challenging your content is, how you communicate it most effectively – pitched at just the right amount of intensity, how you use your resources (own paintings, etc), visual-aids (projector, flip chart, etc) to great effect;  how you allow for ample interaction with the group, welcome their own input without ever feeling threatened, etc.;  and how you get through a tremendous amount of material each session.   So, from a long-in-the-tooth ‘cigire’ (teaching inspector) the overall verdict is ‘excellent’.

10      Any other comments:

Maybe to lighten your own load…..  to build in a few 30-minute DVD sessions at some points in the week (possibly when the heavy rain showers hit…) showing some other landscape artists at work…..  Or indeed, that could constitute another workshop – maybe weekend – session;  landscape appreciation through the work of famous artists, etc…  dissecting their work, methods, use of colour, etc….

I’m only throwing this out as I don’t have any real original, improving note to add…  C.D.