Student Testimonials


The Davenport, CA workshop was amazing. With a few suggestions and pitfalls to avoid Elio set us loose, spending the entire day lavishing individual attention and encouragement, without a break. Then, a two hour demonstration as the sun set, still answering questions and sharing his insight. Elio has a true gift as a teacher–an intelligent grasp of every facet of the art world, combined with rare talent and kind patience toward even those of us brand new to painting. Thank you, Elio!
Janet H.

Thank you. It was a great day surrounded with a great group of artists.

I cannot thank you enough for the incredible workshop you held here in our Lighthouse Art Center in Tequesta Florida. I had never attended a workshop where the teacher taught, talked, critiqued, and shared for eight hours straight and THEN demonstrated for another two hours. Who does that? In 30 years of taking art classes off and on, I learned more in 4 days than I learned in all 30 put together. You are AMAZING! Elio, your boundless energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to your students is touching and inspiring. My only regret is that you live on the other side of the world and I miss your assistance and advice. I look forward to the November workshop. Where do I sign?
ps: plan on staying a few extra days to go scouting for gators.

Thank you so much for the kind words. I enjoyed it sooo much and can’t wait till November. Final details are being put together and will be emailed this week.

You know me, I am all for gator scouting and was so happy to not only see an adult but a baby in one trip. See you soon!

I have been to a lot of workshops with wonderful artists, but I am not exaggerating when I say this has been the best. I have never had an instructor that involved, hands on and down to earth. Thank you, LAC, for inviting Elio Camacho to teach. And thank you, Elio, for an amazing experience, tons of information from an artist who can not just talk expertly about his own art but about many other artists, too, and for so much individual attention. Manon S.

Thank you and thank you for making the alligator sightings possible.

Hey Elio! The workshop this past weekend at Davenport was awesome! I learned so much about brush strokes, composition and color. The painting you did at sunset was really spectacular! But getting those whales to swim by so close was above and beyond the call!!! Students are responsible for scheduling lodging and transportation while at the workshop.

Thanks again!


Ha! Thank you. Was a great day!

I really had fun last Tuesday at the plein air workshop. I would love to do plein air more often as my initial intention was to learn how to paint landscapes. You are an incredible painter and most notably are able to use that gift to impart techniques, insights and instructions at a personal level. You are so positive and encouraging without being patronizing. You are the “Real Thing” Thank God! NOW that you know that we, your followers, have elevated you to a Rock Star status, of course I will follow you were ever you teach. I’m not sure I can survive all day, every week, but at least half a day at plein air!

Have a great week in Florida!
Marcia L.

Thank you so much.

Elio is simply the best! He is a talented painter and a wonderful teacher. Take a workshop from Elio and you will learn about color, design, composition, brushwork, and much much more. You will work hard, learn lots and have sooo much fun. Elio is knowledgeable, kind, patient, and generous with his time and expertise. It is truly a joy to take Elio’s Workshop and I hope he comes back to Indian Rocks Beach next year! Sara K.

Love the workshop! Thank you for all of the great things that you taught me!! Lori S.

‘ello elio…what a lovely week we all spent in Ojai… you were so helpful, generous and so knowledgeable and even though it felt a bit like take my clothes off in public ( at first), I soon got used to plein air painting as well as the group setting and am planning to make a habit of it -i will see you very soon i hope…meanwhile the lupins are still not quite ready to go on Hwy 46 – i’d say one more week or two at the most…(the poppies and sweet peas are already out on 46 west of paso robles though…i saw pink and crimson peas last weekend) happy trails, xox sharman

Good Day to You, Hi Elio. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy and appreciate your classes, and YOU. I am so lifted by your lessons and your gentle way of teaching. I doooo want to learn. And I have already learned sooo much. I can tell in my work that you have made such a difference. Even though it’s a wall that flows naturally in colors pleasing to the eye, or a cabinet with just the right highlights that glisten in the light, I know that I am serving my clients even better now. And no, this was not the purpose of studying under you. But, that is how you have spread into all aspects of my life.
I do have a complicated life style, but you have brought a calmness and a sense of joy that has set me free from my burdens. Now, I just need to take it another step and continue through each day giving myself the right to practice my painting.
I’m going to set up a space today. Creating a place in my home just for me.
Thank you for you do. In my case you cannot put any fault on yourself for me not practicing. You truly have inspired me all along. I promise to make time to practice between classes. You will notice a difference. Thanks and Have a GREAT DAY, Anne L. Deverell


I had to leave early and didn’t get a chance to thank you for a wonderful workshop. You gave me a lot of helpful ideas which I hope to put to good use very soon.

Best, Patricia Connolly

Thank You! I was wondering what happened to you. 🙂


The 5-day Ventura workshop with Elio was an amazing experience! He was so encouraging and supportive. He went from easel to easel letting us know what worked and what didn’t work and why. And how to fix it! This experience will help me grow extensively as an artist. I know it. Thank you so much, Elio.

Donna “the princess”

wanted to thank you once again for a fantastic workshop…I am seeing color in an exciting new way, and am not feeling stagnant and stuck as I did before the workshop. Your balance of professionalism and down-to earth energy made it so easy to understand the valuable information and demos. I can’t wait to take another workshop soon….maybe Mendocino in September? I will be happy to be on a waiting list. You are the BEST!…what a wonderful time we all had. Maria

Elio, There just isn’t a book that can express the passion you have for your art or your willingness to share your knowledge. Once again after my third workshop with you I’ve left with information to help me as an artist. Your demonstrations are most valuable and you conduct them within the needs and desires of the group. Your critiques are most beneficial and done with an approach that all of us can learn from what you point out in each piece of art. I always feel invigorated after your workshop. Now my challenge is to find that “star” quickly and keep the minor players in place.

I’m looking forward to your workshop in NH.

Continued success to you in your journey. Flo

Thank You!



Read about my workshops on WetCanvas.

I was inspired to take your plein air class after viewing your magnificent still life demonstration. The more I view your paintings, the more impressed I am with your ability to convey the sense of light, atmosphere, time and place when viewing your paintings from a distance, while retaining thoroughly abstract characteristics when viewed close-up. It is a remarkable skill which reflects your mastery of oil painting.

Though I have taken a number of oil painting classes and workshops, including a few from nationally recognized instructors, I found your hands-on instruction approach more helpful than any of the other classes or workshops I have taken. Not only do you generously share your knowledge, but your critiques are incisive, yet sensitive. In addition, your knowledge of color temperature, and ability to convey that knowledge, has greatly improved my paintings and is sincerely appreciated.

Keene W
Alameda, California
I appreciate Elio Camachos boundless enthusiasm for art and teaching. From day one, he began gently correcting my lifetime of bad painting habits, but in a gracious way, so that I never felt criticized. He is generous with his time and demonstrations, and his students return for the warm, friendly atmosphere that fosters growth. I feel what I am learning from Elio will make me a better artist no matter what media I chose to explore.

Susan S
Burlingame, California
“I joined Elio’s classes as a beginning art/painting student. Thanks to his competence in teaching, he has kept me inspired in my efforts and instilled confidence in me for my future as a painter. We are learning technique and most importantly for our long term development, he is teaching us, as painters, how to see the world around us.

Elio is fun and his enthusiasm for painting is contagious! ”

Peggy A
Berkeley, California
“Why isn’t this painting working?”
“I know, I’ll try adding some warm tones near the base of the trees.”
“No, that’s not it. How about a different blue? Manganese, Cobalt?
“I am totally confused as to what is needed here. No matter what I try, it doesn’t seem to give the effect I”m after.
“Elio, would you look at this painting and tell me how to fix it”
Elio comes over to my canvas, in about 3 seconds, mixes just exactly the right mixture of blue and red and yellow ochre on the palette. And with his simple quick analysis shows me what I couldn’t see at first.
That’s what Elio does best. He teaches his students to “see.”
He knows painting, especially color, and is great at communicating that knowledge to his students.

-Dennis M
Oakland, CA
Hi Elio,

Sunday was a real encouraging day! I am surprised at how the paintings turned out since I had no idea how they would. The small one didn’t look like much from up close, but the way it tightens up from ten feet back into an image is just very cool. I’m still pretty surprised that I was able to make that happen!

Again, it was a real help to watch your demo. Hey, for the past four years I’ve been seeing paintings in my head while traveling and have just been frustrated as hell from the lack of not knowing how to proceed. I’m so excited to have found someone whose work I am drawn to and who also teaches so well – thanks for doing these classes!


Artist Mike Baily was kind enough to drop in one of my classes. He wrote the following about his experience.
Today is September 1. I celebrated that fact with a few other artists, but one in particular was none other then Elio Camacho . . . .in the flesh.

Elio and I have become sort of blog-buds in the last few months . . .he and I both being neophytes at this blogging stuff, but also we have found each other to be strong minded and informed painters who don’t mind a punch to the gut now and then. We both know syrupy crits are just that: sweetness and light. But they don’t do much to help one really look at what they are doing and attempt to grow above that. For that reason I have always welcomed his straightness . . .even when I don’t agree. The best painters I know look for peers or superior painters to help them sort out what they are doing.

When you just don’t know ‘what for’ or ‘how to’ or ‘why,’ its best to do the wise thing; grow by someone else’s experience and mistakes rather than your own.

So, today I drove a little more than an hour and spent the day with Elio teaching his workshop. If anyone out there has the chance to take from Elio . . .any instruction at all . . . grab it with gusto and hold on for the ride. He is a high energy guy who NEVER sits down. After his demos, he is at every painter’s side coaching and critiquing. And today we had killer heat! He never faded the whole time. Believe me; this guy gives all he’s got and then some. High energy and totally in it for the improvement of the painters who come to his sessions.

Mind you, I am the sort of guy who likes someone who has a little mischievousness behind their eyes! That is the sort of person I relate to the most. What I dug about Elio was I could confront him and he would take me on! And, he was most always right. I really enjoyed the twinkle in his eye, his energetic, all business ‘let’s paint’ attitude and his well earned painting wisdom.

He is like I am/was. He wants this stuff! And he wants it baaaaad! That means his whole life is about painting. Man! Is it ever nice to meet someone who cares that much! I don’t get to meet them often, but when I do, it is a complete connection.

So, I took as much as I could get from him today and tried to do all that he was attempting to show us. I am sure you can see him in both these pieces, but frankly, I needed to be shaken up and shown a way around the obvious. I will fool around with his style for a few paintings until I really understand the theme of what he teaches (color harmony, stroke energy and rhythm and mood) (Boy do I ever know about MOOD!)

Thanks, Elio, for a terrific day. It was strong, directed teaching with challenge and coaching. I say “Way to go!; . . .I’ll be back at the first chance I get.
One of my students Artist Jana Bouc wrote the following about her first day in class.

Sunday was my first plein air oil painting workshop with Elio Camacho and it was fabulous! Elio is not only a wonderful painter, but he’s a fantastic teacher so energetic, enthusiastic and generous in sharing everything he knows (which is a lot!).

Although Elio covered a huge amount of artistic territory in his conversations with us, what really sunk in for me at this session was the importance of temperature (warm vs cool colors) and value (dark vs light) and how to use those relationships to paint the effects of light in the landscape.

To better understand this concept and practice seeing color temperature, he suggested doing a still life of all yellow objects as homework so I painted these dahlias from my garden (after scrubbing all the nasty aphids and ants off them). Yellow is a good color to practice with because there are many yellow pigments from cool to warm and dark to light and you can successfully lighten it with white, unlike red which turns pastel pink when white is added.

Since I started this journey to learn oil painting, I’ve read many books, watched a dozen oil painting videos, and received wonderful support from my online painting mentor, Nel. There were so many concepts, rules, and techniques that I understood intellectually but in class they came to life! Seeing the process demonstrated and being able to ask questions each step of the way was great.

And even better was having Elio checking on me every 15 minutes or so during the three hours I was painting. He demonstrated what he meant when I didn’t understand; he recommended I quit dabbling put down a stroke and leave it; he showed me how to hold my brush correctly and at what angle, so I was putting paint down without scraping it off at the same time (hold the tip of the brush and keep it at a low angle to the canvas, not perpendicular as I was doing). So many things just clicked.

The painting I did in class isn’t worth posting, though it had some nice moments along the way. Now that I know how to hold my brush properly and understand the importance of the direction of the brush stroke, and am learning to see color temperature and value better, I’m can’t wait to start my next painting!

10 comments for “Student Testimonials

  1. Kathy Falcon
    April 29, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Thanks for the workshop March 15 at Dunedin fine Art’s . I was motivated by the interest you showed and the color studies. It was a great workshop. Looking forward to next fall. Kathy F

  2. Bill taldone
    March 31, 2017 at 11:37 am

    I took the workshop on color intensity in Florida. Elio is a modest but yet very talented, and passionate painter and these qualities are displayed in his workshop. He is very accessible and not dogmatic. Also I enjoyed learning from a successful working artist who though trial and error found out what qualities in his paintings work for him and what attracts the client or viewer,.
    I enjoyed learning the loose. expressive yet very planned and precise style – not so easy to execute as i the finished product looks. His workshop is a very good start.. I recommend it and would take it again.

  3. November 25, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Elio, even the second time around your workshop was wonderful. The workshop was full this time, but you managed quite effortlessly to get around frequently to each and everyone of us. Your constructive criticism sparks new ideas and the courage to try new things. I loved the large demo the afternoon before the workshop, couldn’t wait for class to start after that! I’m signed up for March. 🙂

  4. November 23, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I took a short two day workshop from Elio in Fernandina Beach last week and I have already signed up for his next one. Elio is the hardest working artist I have ever taken a workshop from, constantly working with students, giving demos and talks. I am trying to absorb all he taught me so that I am ready to go to the next level with his next workshop in Fernandina Bch. FL in 4 months.

  5. Peggy
    May 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Hi, Elio:
    I was in your workshop at Beach Art Center, Indian Rocks Beach, FL. Thank you so much for all the good information you gave us. It was the very best workshop I have ever attended. Let me know if you’ll come back to Florida. Thanks again, Peggy Accuosti

  6. Priya
    September 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Elio,
    Hope all is well. Wanted to thank you for the awesome Brookings,OR workshop. Had such an incredible time and feel I learnt so much! Will try to incorporate all that you taught into practice.
    You made the workshop so much fun and informative at the same time. I feel I have not only found an amazing teacher in you but also a true friend. Can’t wait to take another workshop with you. Hope to see you very soon. Stay in touch!

    Priya, It was my pleasure and I think I can speak for everyone that we LOVED having you there. We shared a lot of laughs and some gorgeous scenery and some memories I will enjoy for a long time. Take care and paint often.

  7. 'vicki Zimmerman
    July 26, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Elio,

    I hope all is well. My paintings are getting bolder, thanks to you. Your workshop in the Gorge was wonderful and inspiring! I know that if I keep painting (and, of course, I will) I will be ready to absorb even more from your next workshop. I appreciate that your are such an involved and energetic and enthusiatic teacher. Any one who takes a workshop with you is in for an exciting art experience!

    Elio, I have some photos of sites and of your demonstrations to send you. What address should I mail it to?


  8. Sharon Cole
    September 19, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Wow Elio I had a great time and learned so much at your workshop! Your enthusiasm was contagious and I came away from the workshop inspired!

    Sharon Cole

    Thank You.

  9. July 20, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    The very first day I had trouble with Elio trying to get me to see the sky as pink, the river as yellow and the tree as blue. I thought he must be from another planet. The last day of the five day workshop, I saw the river as pink!!! (in relation to the other colors around it of course) This was not too long after saying I never did and never will.

    After five days with Elio, I began to see the importance of having a plan, “choosing a focal point, eliminating what is unnecessary, simplifying and organizing the values, seeing all the new colors, and moving things forward and backward with temperature and brushstrokes. Watching him paint the sunsets at the end of the day was like watching a world class Olympian. “I’ve had lots of other teachers talk about all this stuff for years and years but I never saw anyone put it all together and embody all these things from the very first stroke and carry it through to a beautiful, complete, finished work in a matter of a few hours. His demonstrations were an absolute revelation. My life as a painter will never be the same.

    The next day after the class, in a nearby town, I and another student of Elio’s entered a plein air painting contest and we both won prizes! I have Elio to thank for this. I would never have put it all together fast enough otherwise. Thank you Elio . I told everyone who was interested about your workshop and how much I gained from it. All the colors I’m seeing now makes it seem like I am living in a strange new world.

    Thanks Mark! You were a joy to have in the workshop and always made sure I had plenty of coffee. 🙂

  10. Nellie jo Rainer
    June 22, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    The workshop was incredible. We saw your demonstrations and were ready to head out to the woods with our sweet tea to accomplish ours all the while we were carrying our gear and scratching red bugs in the strangest places! It kept us moving and I saw some of the best pictures ever! We love your joyous attitude and humor trying to help us Tennessee ladies and it is a challenge, but we can feed you well.
    You are welcomed back in Tennessee.
    Nellie Jo Rainer

    Thank you for the nice comments and yes I was fed well.

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