Pushing the Color!!

Pushing the Color, painting workshop, acrylic painting, acrylic class


Yes! It is time for another painting workshop retreat! 

We had such a good time in Manteo back in October that Chris, the director of DCAC, invited us to return with another class. Because October was a month of nail-biting with so many hurricanes swirling around in the nearby sea, we decided to try April. 

I would love for you to come paint with me. This time we will focus on Pushing the Color. 

We all know that there are hundreds of quite capable and downright talented artists out there. It’s not about how well you paint, it’s about your style and your voice. One way to make your painting noticed is color.

Of course, you all know that I paint blue dogs and green horses and just about anything else in any way that speaks to me. Color switching is my specialty, but that doesn’t mean you have to paint like me. No! The best way to have your art stand out on the wall is to paint like you and only you – and I’m going to help you find how to push the color palettes you prefer to the limits. You will learn more about color families and combinations, value and intensity and some fun tidbits about color history along the way. Believe it or not, the more focused on color you are, the more options you will see open up to you. 

For more information, do go to my workshop page, which you can find either at the top of this page or by clicking here: Pushing the Color Workshop (yes it does have Capture the Color in the heading) 

You can always contact me if you have any questions. I can create an invoice or we can discuss a payment plan if you need. Please use the form here on my Classes Page. 

Deadline to sign up is Feb. 3, 2018. 


art class, art workshop, acrylic painting, acrylic class

Adele is ready for the 2017 Capture Your Style retreat to begin!


Gifts of Art

Why didn’t I think of this before?

Gift Ideas for the Artist in your life.

I often receive requests from my student’s families looking for gift ideas during the holiday. I tend to respond with a list of items based on that student’s needs. Then I thought – Why not share some general ideas here with all of you? 

Following is a list of items any acrylic painter could use.  If you are one of my students or a painter, send your personal Santa to this page to help them begin their shopping journey. I’ve included links so the non-artist can see the item and the cost. I am not partial to any art supplier, so randomly picked a variety of sources. Most items can be purchased at sale prices, either with an online or a local coupon. Happy shopping and may your stockings be filled with creative cheer.

Palette Pad – Palette pads come in many sizes and two colors. I use both the white and the gray. Sneak a peek into your art friend’s stash to see which they prefer. Or purchase the one with the best price. I suggest 9 x 12 or 12 x 16.  Here’s a Strathmore pad from Jerry’s Art A Rama  and a Grey Matters pad from Plaza Art 

White Paint – We never have enough white paint! Most brands work nicely, as Titanium White is relatively inexpensive, but do stay away from the really cheap stuff. I highly recommend a 5 ounce tube of heavy body acrylic.  This is Golden brand from The Merri Artist in Oregon. Some brands to look for include Golden, Liquitex, M. Graham, Utrecht, Winsor and Newton. Galleria is a quality student grade acrylic, but generally professional grade paints are recommended for their generous pigment load. Do make sure you are ordering acrylic paint, as some brands also make oil paint.

Palette Knives – These are needed for mixing color and for some of us, applying paint. Lots of options are out there. This is one of the more pricey items, but it is a gift set from Jerry’s Art A Rama, of a very nice palette knife, making a lovely present for your artist.

Masterson Palette Box and refillable papers – A must-have for those who paint with acrylics on a regular basis. This keeps acrylic paint from drying out – a bad habit acrylics have, frustrating even seasoned painters. Make it a gift duo – order a pack of the palette paper to fit the box and your artist will love you. (plus the box works best with the matching absorbent paper. The sponge? Not necessary.)  The entire array of Masterson Sta-Wet palettes and accessories from Jerry’s Art A Rama. 

Tote Bag on Wheels – This one is not a must, but sure makes life easier for art students and artists who paint in various locations. Among the pricier suggestions, but worth, worth, worth it. Now that you see the examples, check locally for scrap book totes to compare sizes and prices. It’s all about the wheels and mobility with this gift. From Staples  and From Michael’s Arts and Crafts.

All Media sketch book – I can’t convince all of my students these are needed, but once they have one, they understand why. A great place to sketch, keep mixed color samples, notes, etc. My fave is a Canson XL mixed media sketchbook, but there are other brands available. Key words to look for – Mixed Media – meaning the paper can handle acrylic. This one is from Dick Blick. 

Miscellaneous – Here’s where you can have some fun. Purchase some odd brushes, a few tubes of unusual paint colors, tiny canvases, willow charcoal sticks, even several rolls of paper towels as stocking stuffers (ok, that’s a HUGE stocking, I admit.) An art magazine subscription is fun and appreciated.

Classes – Yes, my shameless plug. I will gladly print and mail a gift certificate for classes. Contact me for payment arrangements. You want to do this asap – so I have time to get it done and in the mail. You decide how much you wish to spend. Any amount is appreciated by your artist. Classes are $25 each (when an entire month is paid up) or $32 for a drop in or one time visit. Paint Along classes are $75 per person.

Want to splurge? I have painting retreat coming up in April if you think your artist might enjoy a week of painting in Manteo, NC. $745 per student for the class. You can even tag along and enjoy the area while we create. Pop an email to me here – adele@adelecastillo.com  or call me at 804-550-7201 – I’ll gladly share more information with you about payment options and answer all your questions. I will have my workshop website page updated in the very near future, so you can also check that soon for all the details.

I hope this makes shopping for the artist in your life a little easier. 



Student Exhibit and Upcoming Classes

My Annual Student Exhibit is up for you to see. AND, it’s Calorie-Free! 

Student Exhibit 2017
Crossroads Art Center
Richmond, VA

It’s that time of year – my annual student exhibit opened Friday November 17 to a packed house at Crossroads Art Center. I say it every year and it is true – my students are fantastic. You can see for yourself what they have achieved this year by coming in for a visit.

CAC is always busy during the holidays and the exhibits throughout the galleries this November are stunning. Come find a holiday gift, as inexpensive as a set of notecards or as pricey as a $10,000 painting…Crossroads has it all. (No, it is not my gallery. Jenni Kirby has that honor, but it is my art home!) These exhibits and more will be on display until just after the New Year. 

art, student, exhibit

Adele’s Students Exhibit Opening @ Crossroads Art Center November 2017


Coming in 2018:

Paint Alongs are scheduled for January 20, February 17 and March 17. All are Saturday Paint Alongs  held in my studio at Crossroads Art Center, from 10 – 5. We generally work on the same topic and photo reference while I guide you through lessons in getting an image to canvas, setting up a palette, blocking in color, color mixing, color choices and more. Cost for a Paint Along is $75. Contact me – click on this link for my email – for more information or to register for one class or for all. 

art, acrylic, art workshop, paint along, art student

Participants in November 2017 Paint Along

Weekly Classes 

Of course I continue to teach weekly Open Studio classes, also held in my studio at Crossroads. You may choose from Monday or Wednesday nights from 6-9 p.m. or Wednesday or Thursday afternoons, from 1-4 p.m. Cost is still a low $25 per class when you pay for an entire month at a time. This reserves your seat in the class. A pay per visit option is available for you to attend if space is available. Certain days tend to stay full so don’t hesitate to inquire or get on a wait list if your preferred time is currently full. Contact me by email or by calling 805.550.7201 for more information or to register. 

Richmond Animal League 

Each year many of my students and I participate in the RAL auction Small Art, Big Heart portion of their Sugar and Spice fundraiser in February. We are doing so again this year, too. You can find information on their website RAL.org and on their Facebook page and look for the auction items sometime in January. In addition and to try something new, I have volunteered to lead a Whimsical Paint Along for their benefit. It will be held at Crossroads Art Center on January 13. This class has already filled! Thank you to everyone who has decided to join us…I’m really looking forward to this fun afternoon of painting with you for the Richmond Animal League. Come watch us paint (quietly, please) and see what creations emerge. Noon – 5 p.m. January 13. 

An Art-Sea Retreat returns!

Pushing the Color.” 

April 15 – 20, 2018 – Another weeklong retreat is coming to Manteo, NC! Art students mark your calendars and stay tuned – details will be out shortly. 

art workshop, acrylic, painting, student art,

Marilyn enjoys a quiet moment in the Dare County Arts Council in Manteo at the Capture Your Style Art-Sea retreat.


To keep up with news from Adele Castillo Art, be sure to sign up for my periodic newsletter. You can do that here by clicking on this link, or you can go to the homepage on this website. 










beach, acrylic, acrylic art, ocean, Nags Head, water, waves, surf, adele castillo art

acrylic mixed media
private collection

I’ve been experimenting with new materials and techniques for the last 10 years and I have struggled to NOT let it influence the style my customers tend to love. I want to explore, yet stay true to who I am as an artist. My solution has been to let it happen organically. However, that doesn’t mean I’ve been randomly painting all over the place. Instead, I paint in series, exploring with specific goals in mind. As it turns out, my work has improved because of my willingness to branch out, and I’ve found new fans with some of my different series of paintings.

beach, surf, ocean, Nags Head, water, acrylic, acrylic painting, fine art, adele castillo art

“Wave Pull”
acrylic mixed media
private collection

One series was based on exploring materials with texture. While the playtime results will remain in the closet, I learned much that led me to create a series of tiny seascapes that really turned out well. These are nothing like my usual, so they have appealed to a whole new set of collectors. I’ve also used some of the discoveries in my recent dog portraits and my Behind the Face selfies series.

Self portrait, portrait, woman, face, selfie, acrylic, acrylic painting, fine art, adele castillo art

“Self Portrait Eight”
Behind the Face series
acrylic mixed media on canvas
18 x 24
Available for Purchase

detail of “Self Portrait Eight” Acrylic over a ground of micaceous iron oxide

Another thing I do when I hit a really dry spell is paint landscapes. I loathe painting landscapes (don’t hate, plein aire painters!) but it forces me to concentrate on color interaction, light and shapes in ways that I don’t usually connect to. I have to think differently and paint differently. It’s good practice and I often end up noting or being reminded of something that I can apply to my animal paintings and portraits.

Give it a try…challenge yourself to try one thing new and see where it leads you. It could be as simple as a new combination of colors or an entirely different subject, including something you really may not like. You might be surprised what you will learn from this exercise in changing it up.


A Simple Color Exercise

Choosing a Color Family

acrylic, acrylic art class, art class, color family, color, adele castillo art, dare county arts council, crossroads art center

Study using one design to explore 4 color options: monochromatic, analogous, split complementary and random colors

I am often asked if I plan the colors in my paintings. The answer is no. I plan my composition, but I let the color evolve. Acrylic dries so quickly, the underpainting gets covered up as the layers pile on. (Which is a separate lesson in depth and transparency.) What’s more important for me is to begin. So I grab the colors that are on my palette and get started. That doesn’t mean there is no thought at all to the process. I use light colors and dark colors accordingly, choosing what speaks to me. Once colors are blocked in, then I worry about where the painting needs to go with color.

Not everyone is comfortable working in such a random fashion. So for those artists, I recommend choosing a basic color family to start, but be open to the possibility of change. Using a color wheel, it’s fairly easy to find a basic color combination. Primary, Secondary, Complementary and Analagous colors all are great places to begin. Not sure how they will look? Try repeating a simple design sample and explore the colors you have in mind.

Personal Color


Boxer, Boxer pup, acrylic, art, animal art, pet painting, adele castillo art

“Get it Ocho”
Acrylic on Canvas
Private Collection
Prints available upon request

Do you have certain colors that you love? I know I do. Chances are you find yourself using the same 2 or 3 colors when decorating, buying clothing and in most of your paintings if you are an artist. My top go-to color is purple and another favorite is teal. I use them straight out of the tube plus I find them both quite flexible in mixing with my preferred palette choices. 

cat, tabby cat, acrylic painting, acrylic art, acrylic workshop

“Miss Sassy”
© Adele Castillo
(sold-private collection)

Purple is a low value color that can deepen other dark colors. Mixed with green, it creates a luscious black which can also become a gorgeous gray. I use this gray to create neutrals in my work, whether it be subtle or obvious. Lavender, which is purple plus white, has a softness that neutralizes every color. Purple also helps calm yellows that are intensely bright right out of the tube. 

Teal can behave as a neutral when mixed with pinks and purples, but on the lighter end of the value scale than purple. It mixes beautifully with most colors and alone is unlike any other color. Try and make teal, then compare it with cobalt teal single pigment…you will see what I mean. It’s green, but not exactly as it leans slightly blue.  

dog howl, dog, animal painting, pet painting, teal and purple, acrylic, art, adele castillo art

“Arina Sings”
Acrylic on Canvas
24 x 18
Available for Purchase

Wouldn’t you like to discover how certain colors help define your style? I’d love to help with that. Consider taking my 5 day retreat and workshop in Manteo, NC, this October 1-6. We will work together to identify your strengths, define your style and make a plan to reach the goals you wish to accomplish. All that AND you get to paint all day, following morning lessons. I can’t wait! If you haven’t signed up yet, deadline is JULY 1. I’m here if you have questions – don’t hesitate to contact me: email = adele@adelecastillo.com. 

For all the details, check out this page under workshops on my website.

Capture Your Style, Capture Your Color

Yes, a payment plan is available.