Fine Arts Workshop has its historical precedent in the Black Mountain School of Arts—the groundbreaking school for the arts in North Carolina that operated from 1931 to 1957. It is a philosophy based on experimentation, risk taking, self-discovery, and the value of artists teaching artists.

The desire to work and to express one’s self matter more than any preconceived labels or limits of talent that you may be carrying with you. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner, a lapsed practitioner, a student, a part-timer, or a professional—what does matter is your desire to have a deeper understanding of yourself, and to be open to learning how to express that more honestly and clearly.

As artists, the most significant limitations are those we place on ourselves.

Too often, artists have a preconceived image in mind before they start to work. Having a clear image takes years and is really is best when it comes from the struggle of trying to figure out the “damn thing.” It is that struggle and investment in oneself that allows for the creation of work that is distinct and authentic. Some of us are fast and aggressive, while some of us are slow and meticulous. Painting and drawing is about, rhythm, freedom and being honest with one’s own self.

We focus on the use of materials, and the process of discovering an image through the use of materials. Finding a material and scale that best address your personal metabolism and physicality will enable you to become more involved in the process of discovery and real creativity. There is no none way—our goal is to help you find materials that best express your own way—whatever that is.

One of the eight canons of Chinese Painting states: “Imitate your master so closely until you can tell what is specifically different between you and your master—that difference is what you paint.” We will work with you to understand who you are and what you do, and then immerse you and expose you to the works of great artists who have worked in similar ways to you and have similar strategies. This practice will help you look at what you are doing, making you more mindful about your work and deepening your relationship to your work and process.

Our workshops and classes are fast paced, high energy, creative, fun, and provocative. We feed off the energy of others and cross-pollinate ideas and techniques. We supplement our workshops with Powerpoint presentations, lectures, critiques, all of which touch upon culture both high and low—everything from the history of film to the Cern Super Collider to the relationship of Buddhism to Abstract Painting. Our Sunday mornings might start with a Tai Chi or Yoga class. We are as much about the connection of mind and body as we are about the soul of the artist; as much about the life of an artist as we are about techniques.

Painting can be a lonely pursuit. The studio a solitary place. Responsibilities to work and family often can get in the way. We offer an ongoing individual and group environment to help, expose, inspire and support you to develop and strengthen your work.

Founding Directors

Michael David’s first one-man show was in 1981 at the historic Sidney Janis Gallery. That year he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, at the time the youngest artist ever to do so, and in 1982 was awarded an American Academy of Arts and Letters prize. He went on to exhibit at galleries worldwide and was represented by Knoedler & Co. for the next 25 years. David is best known for using the encaustic technique of painting, which uses pigment combined with heated beeswax. David built his early career on abstraction and religious iconography, which formed the bulk of his output until 1999. Since then he has also experimented with representational painting and traditional photography. His work is included in the permanent public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Jewish Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.  He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Edward Albee Foundations, and The American Academy of Arts and Letters. Michael David writes: “Through my own experiences and those of my students I have seen art make a difference – opening minds and hearts, raising spirits, and making us feel we are a part of something larger than ourselves, providing providing great meaning to our lives  After years of isolation in the studio, I also found that collaboration and teaching enriched and deepened my own artistic practice ways I never imagined possible.  I discovered that the most enriching expression of this experience was to be found in cross-disciplinary teaching and learning methodologies. Fine Arts Workshop’s philosophy has evolved from this pedagogical approach.” David holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design.