Jim McVicker’s 8th Annual “Plein Air Oil Painting at the Lake” Workshop

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the McVicker Retreat will not be held this year.

August 28, 29 and 30, 2020
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

The Lake Fog, oil painting by Jim McVicker photographed by Joseph Wilhelm, www.meridianphoto.com
The Lake Fog, oil painting by Jim McVicker photographed by Joseph Wilhelm www.meridianphoto.com

The Morris Graves Foundation is extremely honored to have special guest artist Jim McVicker return to the Lake for his 8th annual painting workshop retreat for 3 full days of intensive instruction.  Jim’s role as a painting instructor began in 2013 here at the Lake.  Since, he has not only acheived Plein Air Magazines’s “Plein Air Salon Competition Grand Prize,” in 2015, he has become a well-respected and sought-after instructor.  His kind, thorough, and thoughtful demeanor is a gift to students; each learns specific paintings methods, and receives technique guidance.  Students are fully encouraged and supported, and take home practical, specific approaches to achieving their paintings goals.

The workshop is held at the MORRIS GRAVES FOUNDATION private retreat estate where 150 acres of forested pristine land encompass a 300-year old lake – see Jim’s painting above – surrounded by a myriad of evocative natural settings. Pond lilies, natural bonsai islands, mysterious inlets, and reflected light offer dynamic, beguiling subjects for study.

Workshop Features:

  • Multiple Painting Demos, in the studio and locations around the Lake
  • Individual Instruction, on location around the estate
  • Daily full hot luncheon, snacks, and beverages
  • Optional Slide Presentation, by Robert Yarber:  The Life and Art of Morris Graves, on Sunday afternoon
  • An extremely beneficial group gathering at the end of the weekend hosted by Jim, with critique opportunities (optional)

Workshop Schedule

Friday, August 28
Arrive at 8:30 a.m.
12:00 Lunch Served
Departure 6:00 pm
All Day Formal, Intensive Instruction and Demonstrations

Saturday, August 29
Arrive as early as 9:00 am
12:30 Lunch Served
Departure 6:00 pm
All Day Formal, Intensive Instruction and Demonstrations

Sunday, August 30
Arrive 9:00 am
Informal Painting & Demos
12:30 Lunch Served
1:30   Slide Presentation: The Life and Art of Morris Graves(optional)      
2:30 – 5:30 Demo, Informal Painting, In-Studio Critique with Jim (optional)


Cost and Registration Information

Cost: $450

Registration opens March 1, 2020 – Please send non-refundable $50 check payable to:

MORRIS GRAVES FOUNDATION
PO Box 608
Fortuna, CA 95540

Balance payment is due postmarked on or before July 20, 2020.

Specific workshop details, itinerary, and materials list will be sent to registered students.  Driving instructions will be sent, as needed, after balance is paid.  After July 20, the balance of workshop fee will be refunded only if the Morris Graves Foundation or Jim McVicker cancels the workshop.

For general painting workshop questions, please email Jim McVicker at mcvickerpaints@gmail.com

Device Policy: According to Mr. Graves’ personal views, this private and intimate retreat has been established without allowing the use of cell phones, cameras, iPods, or any recording or electronic devices.

Thank you so much. We look forward to meeting you!


Where to stay:

  • Overnight group accommodations are unavailable at the retreat.
  • A list of local hotels and motels is available by request.
  • All amenities are available in Eureka, 20 minutes north.
  • Most amenities are available in Ferndale, 15 minutes west.
  • Limited amenities are available elsewhere – please inquire.

About Jim McVicker

Plein Air Self Portrait by Jim McViker; photo by Joseph Wilhelm, www.meridianphoto.com
Plein Air Self Portrait by Jim McViker; photo by Joseph Wilhelm, www.meridianphoto.com

Jim McVicker’s reputation for realism, capturing light, and personal interpretation precede him. As an experienced instructor, he is a natural: he is thorough, encouraging, and thoughtful. He spends copious amounts of quality time demonstrating techniques live on the canvas, within a variety of settings. He visits and coaches each participant on-site around the estate with techniques as each painter prefers.

Contact Jim McVicker for more workshop details: mcvickerpaints@gmail.com

In his words, his passion…

“Upon seeing 19th century French landscape paintings, I had an awakening to art. The beauty and sensitivity I saw in those works changed my perception of the world.

At the age of 21, I started studying art history as well as painted copies of French impressionist landscapes, and enrolled in life drawing and painting classes at Chaffey Community College.

In 1975, at the age of 24, I decided to become a full-time painter.

I moved from Onario, in southern California where I was raised, to the northern part of the state, settling in to Eureka after a year. I was drawn to the natural beauty, the art community, and the chance to live a quieter and more rural life. I met several very accomplished artists, and worked with them on location painting landscapes, or in the studio, always painting from live models or still-life set ups.

I learned to paint from directly observing nature, by studying great art from the past, and from working alongside artists more developed than myself.

In 1984, I met my wife and fellow artist, Terry Oats. We live a wonderful life in Loleta, California, a small rural town just south of Eureka. We have our studios on our property, and continue to paint daily in the studio, or on location.

I follow my passion painting from observing life: capturing the light, atmosphere, and the spaces surrounding the mysterious beauty all around us.”