I searched hotels to stay at where it seemed the area was good once I found out the workshop was to be in Red Hook and not Williamsburg (his studio). Red Hook is right on the waterfront of Brooklyn (hello Statue of Liberty!), and while it is a very cool area, it is not easy to get to. One night Uber didn't even come to get me. And oh.... yes... night. The hours were noon til 7. You'd never guess he is a night owl. And it was still dark at 7 when we got out.
There were many more people in this workshop than promised, the only true complaint I have about it. When you sign up for a workshop that promises 14-15 people, that is what you are putting your money down on. Not 23 or more which as we all know drastically limits individual attention. It was the first workshop I've ever been to where there was no introduction of students, no nametags, no 'what is your name, where are you from', nothing. And there were people from South Africa, Spain, Italy, Canada and all over the US (we found out on our own as the week went on.) I thought about introducing myself to him as he worked on my painting a couple of times but in the end it just didn't seem to matter. We shared the workshop space with a very cool furniture making company, but it definitely added to the noise level.
So.... having said all that, was it worth it? Absolutely, unequivocally YES. For me, anyway.
Casey is a very good teacher and speaker. I videoed (with phone) virtually all the talks he gave plus a lot of his two demos. He gave very informational talks on the business side of art, magazines, social media, perception of your product, photography, photoshop, how he works a photo to then use as a painting. Really, really good stuff.
We painted from life one day and then from a photo the last two days really trying to bring one to as close to finished as possible. Which reminds me, one of my favorite quotes from him:
"Starting a painting is not going to teach you how to finish one."
So true and an issue I have. You get to a point on a painting and it's not fun and fresh any more, you're not sure what to do and it's so tempting to start another one and leave it.... no. Learn how to finish!
Anyway. He made us study our models for twenty minutes before picking up a brush. Patience, grasshopper. So hard to do. He taught me how he uses a sable round (not something I use much of), he mashed it onto my palette until it splayed out (!) and it became this lovely soft filbert that held a lot of paint. Soften, soften, soften. So much more than I ever have but the beauty was unquestionable. I have never blended much in my work, this is something new that will definitely find it's way in now.
He gave us his 'checklist' on how to find out what is not working in your painting. Look peripherally at your paintings, at your subject. Glance. He uses that instead of squinting as squinting affects the light.
"Learn to be confident and trust yourself. BE yourself. Create your own rulebook. Paint what excites YOU."
Refueled and ready to paint!