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The Figure & Wax

with Jerry McLaughlin and melinda cootsona

July 10-14, 2019

Berkeley, CA


Jerry’s workshops, both introductory and advanced, have been described as 'enlightening’, ‘life-changing’, ‘transformational’, and more. With a deep passion for teaching and a certificate in adult education, Jerry gives his most to help artists develop to their fullest potential.

‘Jerry is mentor, friend, instructor, and teacher. Patient, intelligent, articulate and passionate about art and sharing his knowledge. By far the most beneficial workshop I have ever participated in.”
— Barbara S.

melinda cootsona and jerry mclaughlin team up for this intenstive 5-day workshop exploring abstraction, cold wax and the figure.

Learn about the power of pervasive contrast and how it can change your approach to abstraction.

Focus will be on looking at the painting as a whole and seeing the figure and ‘setting’ as equal and integrated. This workshop is for experienced students who are looking to bring more emotional content into their work as well as develop their skills of abstraction.

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Workshop topics include:

  • Ways to abstract the human figure

  • Pervasive contrast

  • Integration of figure, setting, and background

  • Understanding color and value

  • Working with transparency and opacity

  • Mastery of your cold wax surface

  • Complex layering

  • And MORE!

about the workshop

Melinda and Jerry are hosting this workshop in Jerry’s large, sunny, Berkeley, California studio. All tables are counter-height, and stools are provided. There is a refrigerator, microwave, and unlimited coffee and tea. There are many hotels, Airbnb, shops, and restaurants within walking distance or a short Uber/Lyft/taxi ride away. The SFMOMA, de Young Museum, Oakland Art Museum, BAMPFA, countless world-class art galleries, and some of the best food and wine in the world can be part of your experience.

It was well thought out and more giving of experience and talent than any other workshop I have taken.
— Dana G.
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To make travel more convenient, artists essentially need to bring only their tools, paints, creativity, and enthusiasm. We provide all the following supplies:

  • Gamblin cold wax medium

  • Gamsol odorless mineral spirits

  • Arches oil paper

  • Painting surfaces (Multimedia Artboard)

  • Gloves

  • Paper towels

  • Waxed, non-stick, and a variety of other papers

  • Texture materials, PanPastels, dry pigments, sand

  • Palette paper

  • Inks and other water-soluble media

  • and more!

I can’t imagine getting better, more inspired instruction anywhere.
— Lynn


Melinda Cootsona is a figurative painter in Northern California. Greatly influenced by the Bay Area artistic tradition, her paintings focus on the strength of the female figure. The paintings are created with layers of oil paint, applied and then scraped away revealing figures that fill the canvas in varying poses of contemplation or reflection in abstracted surroundings. Whether in a soft or harsh surrounding, the strength of the female figure is primary.

Having taught oil painting for almost 20 years to students around the globe, Melinda takes particular care to interact with each student individually to help them discover their own voice and work on their unique needs.

Melinda’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Bakersfield Museum of Art and the Triton Museum in California, The San Francisco Art Market, The Coos Bay Museum of Art in Oregon, and Art Basel Miami, as well as many group and solo shows throughout the U.S.


Jerry McLaughlin, MD, initially trained as a pediatric critical care physician. He began his artistic career as a fine art photographer, but realizing he had always wanted to be a painter, he abandoned photography and started painting. Although encaustic was his initial medium, once he discovered cold wax and oils, he quickly transitioned and has never gone back.

His work has been collected across the US and internationally and has appeared in many publications. He works with HG Contemporary Gallery in New York, DZINE Gallery in San Francisco, and ARTERRA in Seattle. In 2017, Jerry, with co-author Rebecca Crowell, published Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts & Conversations. It is the first ever comprehensive book exploring the myriad techniques and ways artists are using cold wax medium. Jerry is passionate about teaching, and he holds a certificate in adult education from the University of Washington. His strength lies in identifying and addressing the individual needs of his students and helping them analyze and develop solutions to the difficulties they are encountering. Jerry maintains an active artist mentoring and coaching practice, working with artists around the world. He lives in Oakland, CA with his husband Mike and their dog Bert.