plein air painting landscape workshops in Sedona Arizona
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(Didn't see a date that works for you? Visit Plein Air Painting Maine for summer workshops or see Michael's full workshop schedule.) 

Frequently-Asked Questions for All-Level Group Plein Air Painting Workshops in Sedona, Arizona

1. What's are All-Level Group Plein Air Painting Workshops Like?

The original "Paint Sedona" program! Michael will teach small groups (typically no more than 10) the important fundamentals of plein air painting. Any level of student is welcome and in any medium. Workshops will be based in the Sedona, Arizona, area and elsewhere in the Southwest. Includes four half-days of tuition.

2. Do I need a car?

Yes, you will need a car. Due to liability insurance, students can't ride with Michael; we also can't guarantee that you can get a ride with a student. For plein air workshops, we will be driving up to 15 minutes from the studio (30 minutes if we go farther afield to Jerome). Besides, the area offers so much to see and do, why wouldn't you want a car?

Sedona is 2 hours (121 miles) by car from the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport (PHX). It's an easy drive, mostly in Interstate 17. Here's the map from Google:

Click for Larger Map and to View Complete Directions

By the way, if you are renting a car, know that it is expensive to rent a car at the Phoenix airport. It is much cheaper to rent one in Sedona or Cottonwood. You can take a shuttle from Phoenix to Sedona or Cottonwood to pick up a car. There are two shuttle companies:

3. What about travelling with paints?

Oil paints you can either ship ahead or put in your checked luggage. You shouldn't have any problem with them, since they are "artist's oil colors" made with vegetable oil and have a very high flash point. However, don't take mediums (e.g. Liquin) or solvents (e.g. Turpenoid), all of which are highly flammable. These you will need to ship ahead. Please note that there is no longer an art supply store in Sedona. Flagstaff has the closest (Visible Difference), and Prescott has the next closest (the Art Store); both are about an hour away. If you are coming through Phoenix, stop by the Dick Blick Store in Tempe. (I will try to have some Gamsol on hand for those of flying.) For details on traveling with paint, see Robert Gamblin's Studio Note #14.

Pastels you should take in your carry-on luggage. Put them in a container that will be easy for security to open, such as the Heilman Pastel Box. Make sure the container can be easily secured again so your pastels don't go spilling down the aisle.

If you need to ship your materials ahead, you are welcome to - just let us know.

4. What's the weather like?

Sedona sits in a valley at 4,300 feet, halfway in elevation between the Colorado Plateau to the north and the Sonoran Desert to the south. It has a generally mild climate. Nighttime temperatures may dip below freezing in winter with occasional snowfall on the surrounding mountains. Days are often bright, sunny and not too cold. It makes for great hiking and painting weather! We may have a cool start to the morning, so you should bring layers, plus a warm hat and gloves you can paint with.

Av. High Av.Low Av. Rainfall Av. Sun
Nov 65°F 37°F 1.3 in 76%
Dec 56°F 31°F 1.7 in 74%
Jan 55°F 30°F 1.7 in 77%
Feb 59°F 32°F 1.5 in 73%
Mar 63°F 35°F 1.7 in 76%
Apr 72°F 42°F 1.2 in 83%

5. What if I'm not doing oil or pastel but using some other medium?

You may work in any medium. Michael will use oil or pastel, but you may use acrylic or gouache. Michael teaches painting principles that apply to all media, except watercolor.

Special Note for Acrylic Painters Working Outdoors: Acrylics dry fast outdoors. Make sure you are prepared to deal with fast-drying conditions. Consider using a Sta-Wet Palette, retarder and mister. Or, try the new, slower-drying acrylics such as Golden Open or Atelier Interactive.

6. Do you have lodging suggestions? What about pet-friendly lodging?

We'll be meeting in the mornings in West Sedona. Our studio is at Gandolfo Studio, 220 Goodrow Lane, Sedona, Arizona 86336. DO NOT SEND MAIL THERE. Mail is not received at the studio.

Now offering a lodging/tuition package! For $650, you get the workshop plus five nights' lodging at Gandolfo Studios. You will arrive on Monday and depart on Saturday. ($70/night for lodging + $300 for the workshop.) ** LODGING FILLS QUICKLY AS THERE ARE ONLY THREE BEDROOMS**

Gandolfo Studios has three private bedrooms. The bedroom on the East side of the studio has a private bath and door to patio. On the West side of the studio, there are two bedrooms. The smaller room has a queen bed and sitting area. The larger room has a fireplace, two twin beds, a sitting area and an outside area. The outside area is fenced in. Both bedrooms share a small bathroom with a shower. The larger room has a door to the small bathroom. Outside the studio and adjacent to the carport is another small room that can serve as a fourth bedroom. It has a trundle bed, but bathroom facilities are in the studio. The washer and dryer are in the outside room. This room is more appropriate for a man, due to bathroom issues. The kitchen has a large refrigerator, microwave, stove top and oven. There is also a brand new dishwasher.

Here are bedroom pictures. (Click for bigger version.)

The kitchen and dining area will be available for those using the bedroom. No pets, no wi-fi access (but there are many coffee shops in the area where you can get that.) **NOTE: Lodging arrangements, both registration and cancellation, are ultimately the responsibility of the student.** Once you've signed up for your workshop, let me know that you are interested in the studio lodging and I will give you contact information for them so you can book your lodging.

Closest to the studio are the Andante Inn and Best Western Plus. There are many other fine options, however.

Although Sedona isn't very big, avoid staying in the Village of Oak Creek (VOC.) VOC, on Route 179 and near I-17, is considered part of Sedona, but it's about 5 miles out and can be a very slow drive.

Craigslist for Sedona vacation rentals:
You can screen for number of bedrooms, pets etc.

Weekly rentals are available in time share places through this link. Just choose location and dates.

B&Bs such as the Sedona Bed & Breakfast Guild:

Come with a friend, spend some time, and rent a house through a Sedona Property Manager such as:
These are mostly furnished monthly rentals, but they do have some weekly rentals.

Then there are traditional hotels and motels and all other types of accomodations listed through the Chamber: This list is very comprehensive!

Sedona also has plenty of pet-friendly lodging. Check out the Trip Advisor page on Sedona Pet-Friendly Hotels.

If you have particular lodging needs, we'll be happy to discuss options with you.

7. What's the daily schedule for the class?

The workshop consists of four half-days (Tuesday-Friday unless otherwise noted) that run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. By agreement, we may meet at other times.

We recommend that you take advantage of your stay in Sedona and fly in on Saturday or Sunday to give you a couple days in which to explore the area before the workshop. Not only will this give you time to become acclimated to the somewhat higher altitude, it will give you time to become familiar with the "motifs" of the area - the beautiful red rocks, the cottonwoods and sycamores, and the rushing waters of Oak Creek.

8. Can I get wi-fi access?

Yes! Sedona is a full-service community, and you'll find that many locations have wi-fi. Certain restaurants, most coffee shops and the public library have it.

9. What should I expect?

Read the workshop descriptions carefully, and if you have specific questions or concerns, please ask Michael.

10. Where can I get more information about the Sedona area?

You might check out the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the Sedona Tourism Bureau and the Sedona Gallery Association.

11. Can I see more pictures of the area?

Click on image for larger view

See our video on plein air painting in Sedona

12. What's a good way to prepare for the workshop?

One of the best ways, of course, is to simply - paint! William F. Reese said, "If you paint 3 days a week, you stay the same; if you paint 4, you will improve." I also recommending reading some good books on plein air painting. If you've not painted en plein air or outdoors before, check out my online courses for beginning plein air painters at

13. What about rainy days?

Our studio is Gandolfo Studios, 220 Goodrow Lane, Sedona, Arizona 86336. Please keep in mind that this is a working studio, and that you may be exposed to solvents and other materials commonly found in art studios.

14. Can I get a supply list?

I will be demonstrating in oil and/or pastel, depending on workshop needs. You may work in whatever medium you wish - however, I have decided to advise students to *not* work in oil pastel. (Soft or "chalk" pastel is fine.) Oil pastels, in my experience, simply don't allow for layering and adjustments as one can do with oil and pastel. Unless you are an expert in oil pastel, please don't bring them. I also advise against working in watercolor; it is just too different from the opaque media. Other media are fine - acrylic, gouache and, of course, pastel or oil.

We have two supply lists, one for oil and one for pastel. If you are working a different medium, just bring whatever you usually use for outdoor painting, unless you're taking the optional advanced option in a paint-along/retreat workshop. You also might just look at the supply lists to get an idea of what else you might bring. Click here for the General Landscape Supply List.

Michael's book on painting in Sedona!
available both as paperback and Kindle edition
For more information, click here.

Also, for lots of information about Sedona, visit

I highly recommend that you check out my books and videos. All the books are available through Amazon; the videos are available through Artist's Network TV for download, streaming or as DVD. Here are the items I recommend:


  • Backpacker Painting: Outdoors with Oil & Pastel (the basics guide to working outdoors)
  • Outdoor Study to Studio: Take Your Plein Air Paintings to the Next Level (a supplement to Backpacker Painting)


Get them at:


  • The Secret to Oil Painting with Light and Color
  • The Secret to Oil Painting Wet-into-Wet
  • The Secret to Pastel Painting En Plein Air

Get them at:

Also, check out my online courses for beginning plein air painters at