Santa Fe-Randy Hale

Watercolor Painting Workshop in Santa Fe with Randy Hale, May 16-21, 2024

Workshop Description

You probably fell in love with making art before a painting holiday occurred to you. Classroom lessons, online sessions, or time in the studio are typically safe environments in which to learn.  But once we venture outdoors to paint, the light can be dramatic, the air is filled with sights, sounds, and smells of nature. While this can all be new, it enriches the painting experience even more.

When we arrive in Santa Fe, my job is to help you capture the nuances of our surroundings with confidence. 

Even before departure I’ll provide practical pointers on what to bring, what to leave behind. You’ll discover when we’re together my plein-air workshops are jam-packed with helpful tips. Painting outside sometimes presents a visual overload – so much beauty, so much information.  Because our group will be small (10-15 painters) I can show you exactly what to look for as well as how to SEE as an artist. You’ll discover how to filter out minutiae, edit and rearrange – in order to make powerful statements through your art.  You will:

  • Learn where and how to set up, what to look for, ways to be comfortable while painting.
  • Discover how useful sketchbooks can be as planning tools.
  • Become quicker and more comfortable drawing. I’ll provide tips on how to achieve accurate shapes, scale, and proportions.
  • Learn how make things more important with value contrast.
  • Learn key questions to ask yourself before beginning.
  • See how having a plan in place before you start ensures better results. 
  • Discover that planning SLOW allows you to paint FAST – and your brushwork becomes confident, bold, intuitive! 

During our5 days together I will show you how to emphasize only the most important elements, while abandoning less significant ones. You’ll practice creating strong abstract elements within your design that interlock shapes and values.  Above all, you’ll discover just how liberating it is to be freed from the need to duplicate exactly what you see…because instead, you’ll focus on creating IMPRESSIONS!  And most important, you’ll return home with a collection of paintings that capture the memories we make – a visual feast – of our week together painting in the magical light of Santa Fe!  

Randy Hale's Biography

Randy’s career as a professional designer, artist, juror, and workshop instructor found its footings when he discovered watercolor as an undergraduate student in college. He went on to receive advanced training at California’s prestigious Art Center College of Design. He credits much of his success in both commercial design and fine art to the rigorous discipline of this early training.  Much of his comfort in teaching and explaining concepts to painters found its roots in those decades spent presenting ideas to clients in sales and marketing.

Randy encourages his students and is energized by their successes. The tips he shares on brush handling, mixing, mark-making are fundamental to painting. But his approach of “less is more” rallies painters to simplify, suggest and imply, letting water do the work to prevent a composition from becoming overworked or too busy with unnecessary detail. 

Several decades back, Randy’s involvement with local art groups and societies occupied almost as much time as his career. His early success competing in exhibitions led to teaching a few classes. This soon evolved into a full-time occupation. It wasn’t long before he was traveling to far off locations conducting workshops for other organizations. The camaraderie of these workshops inspired Randy to organize his own painting trips, taking painters to amazing destinations to paint.  Over the past decade Randy has taken painters to Italy, Taos, Maine, up into the Rocky Mountains, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. His trips are popular, always sold out. And he’s always planning trips with new destinations. 

Randy has served on the Board of Directors for the National Watercolor Society. He has just co-written a book commemorating the legacy of one of the early California Watercolor School painters. He writes a regular blog with relevant commentary on painting.  His insightful critiques have led to being called upon to juror art exhibitions throughout the country. His online tutorial sessions these past few years have introduced Randy to a broad international following. If you’d like to know more, visit his website at www.halegallery.  And be sure to subscribe to his newsletter – every month he provides new and relevant content!

ARTIST’S STATEMENT – from Randy Hale

Dramatic use of light is perhaps the singular element that brings definition to my own work.  Good art can be executed in any medium and any style as long it provides a hook that engages the viewer, entertains the eye, suggests a bit of mystery, tells a story, or provokes thought!  Regardless of subject, my intent is to imbue it with adequate drama that will hold the viewer’s attention. 

Painters seem to find my workshops rewarding because I share so much information on how to produce a successful painting. Not only do I identify these tips, I show painters HOW to execute them.  Whether I’m in a studio setting, on camera, or out in the field — you’ll find me showing interested painters how to simplify and edit, what to consider in creating a stronger composition, how to keep things fresh and not overworked, how to vary shapes, soften edges, and when to provide dramatic value contrasts. With watercolor it’s all about achieving rich glowing transparencies. Helping painters realize these results quickly is what makes it all so much fun!  

More Samples of Randy Hale's Art

Click on any picture to enlarge.

Santa Fe is one of America’s most historic, artistic, and fascinating cities.

Known as “The City Different,” the nation’s oldest state capital city is a place unlike in other in the world. 

There are scores of art galleries, restaurants, places to shop as well as a dozen museums featuring culture, history and traditions of this region and the world.

Santa Fe feels like a giant art museum, given how much amazing creativity is all around the city

Day 1: Orientation Meeting and Welcome Dinner

5 pm: Meet your fellow travelers, your instructor Randy Hale and your tour leader, Heather, at our selected hotel in Santa Fe for our orientation meeting.

We will  go over the schedule for the workshop and treat you for a welcome dinner to celebrate the beginning of a week full of laughter, painting and new friendships.

Days 2 to 5: Painting in Santa Fe

Here is a list of some emblematic spots of Santa Fe but not necessary our painting sites.

The charm of the adobe-constructed buildings.

Native American Culture

Colored doors striking on adobe buildings

One of the most striking churches in the Southwest

Mexican tile design on stair cases, Andalusian inspiration

Dried red chilies and spices everywhere

A day in Ghost Ranch, Georgia O'Keefe's home

The landscape of Ghost Ranch is colorful and dramatic due to the red and yellow cliffs. It encompasses 21,000 acres of towering rock walls, vivid colors and vast skies. It was the home and studio of Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as the subject of many of her paintings. Although we can’t visit Georgia’s home, painting the same dramatic sceneries will be a unique experience.

Magnificent red rock formations

Little wood hut at the entrance of the park

Our treat in a hidden garden

We would like to share with you a secluded hidden gem, an outdoor garden located in the heart of Santa Fe.

One day, at the end of the painting session, we will treat you to appetizers and drinks in this peaceful desert oasis garden, surrounded with works of art.

End of Day 5: Show and Tell and Farewell Dinner


It is time to finish up some of the paintings started this week. The sketching workshop will end with a little “Show and Tell”.

We will then treat you for the farewell dinner before saying goodbye.

Day 6: Departure

You can leave at your convenience or extend your stay to enjoy this wonderful place. If you live close to Santa Fe, you can leave the night before after the farewell dinner.

We have selected a very charming hotel located only 2 blocks from the main plaza.

The tour leaders as well as the art instructor will stay there. We recommend you stay with the group so you can benefit from the studio.

We have booked some rooms for the group at a discounted price. Email us  to get the code and the hotel info. You need to call the hotel directly in order together the discounted price. The hotel will not charge your card. They offer free cancellation until 5 days prior to the workshop. However, because of the limited number of rooms we were able to secure, please do not book a room if you are unsure you will stay there.

The air-conditioned rooms are designed with Spanish art work and include amenities such as free Wi-FI, bathrobes and refrigerators. Cable TVs, coffee makers and ironing facilities are provided.

They also offer free full breakfast and free parking.

Price varies with the dates and type of rooms:  it starts at $199 + tax for a traditional room.

Dates and Rates

May 16-21, 2024 –Wait List

Price: $1,690

The hotel is not included, see below

What is included in the price


  • A welcome reception
  • 2 dinners: one welcome dinner on day 1 and one farewell dinner on day 5
  • All art classes (daily demos, one-on-one support and instructions)
  • Transportation and entrance to Ghost Ranch
  • Complementary snacks brought to the painting sites
  • A tour leader throughout the week
  • The use of a studio


  • Your hotel. We have booked some rooms for the participants interested in staying at the hotel where the teacher and the tour leaders are staying. Check the hotel info here. Email us to get the hotel name and discount code.
  • Some meals (the ones not listed as included)
  • Painting supplies

How to Book

1Fill out the reservation form below. You will receive an email with information on how to pay your deposit. You can pay either by check, ZELLE, credit card (using paypal) or bank transfer.

2Send us a $600 deposit within one week . The deposit is not refundable but $300 is transferrable to a future trip. See our Cancelation Policy below.

3The remaining balance is due 3 months before departure.

Reservation Form for US Workshops

This workshop is sold out but we often get some cancelations so email us at to be placed on the wait list.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel a US workshop:Cancellation Fee per Person
More than 90 days before departureThe $600 deposit is forfeited
(however $300 can be transferred to another trip with a departure date within 1 year of cancelation date)
61-90 days before departure50% of total cost forfeited
31-60 days before departure75% of total cost forfeited
0-30 days before departure100% of total cost forfeited
If French Escapade cancels You get a full refund
French Escapade LLC | 2389 Blackpool Place | San Leandro, CA 94577 | 510-483-5713 |
California Seller of Travel Licence-CST #: 2091909-40
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