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Course Description

Investigate still life painting with artist in residence Mia Bergeron and learn her process for turning this potentially predictable art form into one of poetry by adding the element of surprise. Mia begins this workshop with a slide presentation of still life painters working today and throughout art history who have bent the rules of reality to engage the imaginations of their audience. Each day will be divided into two parts and include demos and personal critiques. Mornings will be spent painting still lifes from observation as Mia discusses the basics of representational painting, including lighting, drawing, values, color, edges, chroma, composition. Focus then will switch in the afternoon to weaving facts with fiction and fantasy as you infuse personal narrative into your still life with the help of photo references (Mia will share her collection to inspire you, but you are welcome to bring your own images, as well). Delving into

the complex concept of imagination, Mia will also demonstrate how to make multiple images read cohesively, and how to set up believable lighting when working from photography, observation, and imagination in the same painting. Prior knowledge of drawing and oil painting is strongly suggested. Mia will teach in oils, but acrylic painters are welcome.

Cancellation Policy

Thank you for signing up for a class. Once your class is paid for, we cannot offer a refund or credit, unless we cancel class due to low registration. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact us BEFORE completing your payment.


The AAN Studio is equipped with glass top sliding carts that make perfect glass palettes. However, you will want to bring a large plastic bin or tray with palette paper and a lid. Because the studio is used for evening classes and storage room is at a minimum, students are asked to transport their supplies to and from the studio each day. We also supply vegetable oil, dawn soap, and Gamsol for clean up.

Recommended Paints: (Please do not re-buy a ton of paints. I find most people have plenty of colors, and we can work with what you have. As a general idea, my palette is a warm and a cool of primary and secondary colors, plus black and white. Any brand is fine, but I will put the brand I use next to colors that are more specific. Paints with * are optional)

Alkyd Titanium White (Graham)
Cadmium Yellow Lemon (hues are fine)
Indian yellow
Cadmium Orange (hues are fine)
Cadmium red Light (hues are fine)
Permanent Alizarin crimson (or Quinacridone Rose, or both)
Luminous Opera (Holbein Aqua duo. You can also look for a fluorescent pink)
Violet gray (Georgian)
Raw Sienna (or yellow ochre)
Transparent Oxide Red (or burnt Sienna)
Sap green
Permanent green light

Manganese Blue (or Cerulean)
Ultramarine Blue
Ivory Black

Galkyd or Galkyd Gel by Gamblin

Just a variety of shapes and sizes, including at least one flat-shaped brush for drawing. I recommend Rosemary Eclipse brushes as a good basic. Please also have a few rough bristle brushes.

Ampersand gesso board museum series. You may buy flat or cradled.
Please pick a panel between 11”x14” and 18”x24”- the size is up to you.

Solvent: Gamsol
Palette Knife:
Any metal knife that is flexible. I use an RGM brand knife #80. Please do not use plastic knives.

I strongly suggest bringing your phone and/ or a tablet if you own one. I will also provide printed photos to work form, but I have found having access to online images as we go to be more rewarding.

Other tools:
Feel free to bring a scraper, a squeegee, a soft brayer, old credit cards, etc.
I will provide several tools for students to try.
Hand held mirror
Sketchpad and pencil for notes and doodles

A cardboard box to transport your wet painting in after the last class.

Painting the Imaginative Still Life

Mia Bergeron

Mia Bergeron is an award winning painter who has shown her layered, imaginative painting across the United States for the past two decades. After studying art at Harvard Extension School and Rhode Island School of Design, Mia went on to study classical painting at the Charles H Cecil Studio in Florence, Italy. From this foundation, Mia has developed her painting style to explore imagery that oscillates between the fictitious and the observed. In January 2022, her painting “Tranquil Ghosts “ was the American Art Collector Magazine’s cover image. Her work is represented by Robert Lang Studios in Charleston, SC, and by Gallery 1261 in Denver, CO. Mia brings her 18 years of teaching experience at various universities, private schools, and ateliers to the AAN as a fully funded Artist in Residence with her husband John McCleod.
Full Artist Profile