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Painting by Karen Sperling based on a photo by Don Ling.

Artistry Retreats: Corel Painter 2015 Workshops


Friday-Saturday, November 7-8, 2014


Sunday-Monday, November 9-10, 2014

The Artistry Retreats offer professional photographers and hobbyists art lessons and hands-on, step-by-step instructions for turning photos into paintings in Corel Painter X3/2015. Teaching the Artistry Retreat is Corel Painter Master Karen Sperling, the original Painter expert, who wrote the original Painter manuals and whose preface and art are featured in Painter Showcase. She is the author of the bestselling Painting for Photographers book, which covers painting people, pets and landscapes in both Painter and Photoshop, and the highly acclaimed Painting for Photographers book Volume 2, which shows how to paint children's portraits in Corel Painter. She also is the producer of the popular Painting for Photographers video tutorials for painting portraits, landscapes and children's portraits in Corel Painter and the highly regarded Artistry self-paced online classes. Karen also paints commissioned portraits directly for clients and for photographers for their clients.
Click here to write to Karen Sperling or call her at 818-941-9739 with questions.

At a Glance

Who: The Artistry Retreats are for professional photographers who would like to offer paintings based on their photos to their clients and for hobbyists who would like to paint photos of their kids, grandkids and travels. They are not for teachers who are interested in teaching Painter.

What: The Artistry Retreats show how to turn photos into paintings in Corel Painter.

Where: The Artistry Retreats take place in the Marriott Courtyard in Valencia, CA.

When: Beginners Artistry Retreat: Friday-Saturday, November 7-8, 2014
Intermediate Artistry Retreat: Sunday-Monday, November 9-10, 2014

Why: You may either attend the Beginners Artistry Retreat, the Intermediate Artistry Retreat, or both, to be able to turn your photos into paintings in Corel Painter.

Beginners Artistry Retreat: Is for you if you are new to Corel Painter or if you have some experience with it, but don't really understand it or haven't gotten very far with it. It is also for you if you have never studied art. In this class you will learn Painter basics that you will use all the time. You will also learn art theories and art history to help you with your painting. This class doesn't go over setting up things like workspaces. It cuts to the chase and shows you just the tools and art concepts that you need to paint with Painter, like brushes, Tracing Paper and layers. You don't need an art background or Painter experience to attend the Beginners Artistry Retreat--all the art theories and software steps you will use are covered in the class.

Intermediate Artistry Retreat: Is for you if you have worked with Painter and have a good idea of Painter's basics, including brushes, Tracing Paper and layers. If you don't, attend the Beginners class. This class includes some art theory, but if you have never studied art, attend the Beginners class. The intermediate class covers various painting styles and techniques and shows in-depth workflow procedures. For a jumpstart for turning photos into paintings in Corel Painter, attend all four days of the Artistry Retreat Painter classes!

Very important Prerequisite for Both Artistry Retreats: The Artistry Retreats are hands on and you will bring a laptop loaded with Painter X3/2015. You need complete knowledge of how to use your computer, including how to access and save files. Be sure if you borrow a laptop that you know how to use it!


Topics covered during the Artistry Retreats include:

The Right Stuff

Find out what makes a photo a good candidate for the basis of a painting and how to fix it if it's not.

A-list brushes

Learn which Painter brushes are star performers for turning photos into paintings.

Karen Sperling's custom brushes

Get in on Karen Sperling's personal collection of easy-to-use but powerful home-brewed brush creations.

A little art knowledge goes a long way

See how art concepts such as values, composition and colors, and the related Painter tools can vastly improve your paintings.

Painter Secrets

Learn Karen Sperling's secrets, developed over 20 years of painting with, writing about and teaching how to use digital tools.


The Artistry Retreats cover painting in Painter brushstroke by brushstroke and also Karen Sperling's methods for streamlining the process.

Nuts and Bolts Painter steps

Learn hands-on step-by-step procedures for turning photos into paintings.

Brush editing and customizing

Painter offers tools to fine-tune your brushes, and in the Artistry Retreats, you learn to master these handy features.

Course Outline

The following is a general course outline and can vary depending on the class attendees.


Day One

The Beginners Artistry Retreat starts with general art lessons covering art theories for photographers for turning photos into paintings. Topics include how to tell if a photo is a good candidate to be turned into a painting and how to choose colors.

Next is an introduction to Painter's user interface and the brushes Karen Sperling uses most frequently. You will learn such basic Painter concepts as cloning and Tracing Paper. You will then start to turn a photo into a painting, implementing the tools you have just learned and finding out about additional Painter tools in the painting process.

Day Two

On day two you will learn more about painting with Corel Painter while turning photos into paintings. By the end of the second day, you will have a working knowledge of Painter and you will be able to turn a basic photo into a simple painting.


Day One

On day one of the intermediate class, you will get a broader picture of Painter, including some of its more advanced brushes and features, including Painter 2015's particle brushes. You will also learn what goes into developing your own style and some tips and examples for making your paintings your own.

Day Two

On day two you will see more of Painter's more advanced features and how to apply them to turning photos into paintings. By the end of day two you will have a deeper understanding of Painter and a useful tool set for painting unique paintings based on photos that you will either be able to sell to clients, paint for your own enjoyment or creaate to present as gifts.

Here's an example of the kind of information that's covered in the intermediate Artistry Retreat.


Here are some examples of the kinds of things you will learn to paint at the Artistry Retreat.


Painting in Corel Painter 2015 by Karen Sperling of Gloria Swanson based on a photo by James Abbe.

Impressionist-style paintings by Karen Sperling based on photos by Scott Stulberg and Mary Wynn-Ball.

Classic-style paintings by Karen Sperling based on photos by Jeff Lubin (top row), Don Ling (second row), Jeffrey Orr and Christy Peterson (l. to r., third row).



Paintings by Karen Sperling in Corel Painter based on photos by Don Ling.



Here's an example of why people enroll in the Artistry Retreats:

Has Enjoyed Artistry Online Classes

I have taken several online courses from Karen Sperling that I have enjoyed. I decided
I needed a hands-on Corel Painter workshop and maybe get me away from trying
to make things look perfect. Karen--looking forward to the class and meeting you.
Donna Kay Waggoner
Dimensions by DK Photography,Inc.

Here's what people are saying about the Artistry Retreat.

Karen Sperling's Teaching Style: Relaxed but Structured

I recently attended my second Artistry Retreat! It was a great refresher course in what
I learned the first time around, plus I appreciated all the one-on-one feedback on my
progress and additional pointers. Karen Sperling's teaching style is relaxed but
structured in a way to get anyone on their way to painting beautiful portraits.
If you are thinking about taking on Corel Painter, I highly recommend taking one of
Karen Sperling's Artistry Retreats to get you started down the right path!
Thank you Karen!
Kat Meezan
Focal Instincts Photography

Artistry Retreat Helps with Painting and Clients

I was thinking about your class that I had taken.
It truly has helped me to move on in painting.
I came to your class with a little knowledge and left with so much more.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful techniques and knowledge.
You showed things that I have not seen in any other books.
I can remember thinking more than once, when you gave a certain tip, that "this is worth the price of admission!"
I left with more confidence, more know how and the desire to paint my way to the top!
I have sold several paintings and enjoyed the look of satisfaction on my clients' faces.
Thanks for helping me get there.
Happy painting,
Austin, Texas

Photographer Sells First Portrait Following Artistry Retreat

I made back what I paid to attend an Artistry Retreat several times over with my first portrait. That's a great return on my investment!
I completely used everything that I learned from the Artistry Retreat and could never have done this without having been shown all of the basics (and much, much more) from Karen.
Grey Darrah

Photographer Painting Ever Since She Left Artistry Retreat

Dear Karen,
I am writing to thank you for the amazing Artistry Retreat this past week.
It is always difficult for professionals to take time out and learn something that they have been wanting to learn for a while, so I appreciate that it was time well spent.
In the past 4 years I have only taken 2 classes on Painter and after the first class I was unable to remember everything that I had been taught.
I am so excited to share with you that you not only taught me the most important techniques that I could incorporate into my photography, but you also did it with patience and professionalism.
The way you teach is fantastic.
You made sure we understood everything before we went on to something else and you shared your many talents with us.
It was a blessing to be a student in your classroom.
I have been painting ever since I left the Retreat and I have been commissioned by two families to do portraits.
I am forever grateful for your teachings and your talents that you shared with us.
Kim Lemaire

Artistry Retreat Educational and Motivating

After attending your Artistry Retreat,
I just had to write and tell you what a wonderful experience it was.
Meeting and being taught by you was so educational and motivating.
I have been home a week and have already started implementing many theories I learned.
I have taken other classes in painting that were taught by people
well known in the world of professional photography and although
I did gain knowledge from every class I have taken, I feel your method
of teaching and deep understanding of the nuts and bolts of the program
mixed with your true artistic talent gave me more than I have gotten
from any other class.
There is much to be gained by spending 3 days in a class with you for
invested photographers and artists of all levels.
Last but in no way least, I am so excited to have been there to see
you and your work represented for the first time in a New York gallery.
Congratulations, Karen Sperling!
Thanks so much...and watch me grow!
Marsha Cairo, photographer and artist, Chicago

Karen Sperling Marvelous and Patient Teacher

Dear Karen,
It was a pleasure for me to meet you and be a participant in your Artistry Retreat. I thank you for allowing me to attend and for the foundation that I have acquired in Painter. You were a marvelous and patient teacher who I thought presented a complex program in a way that made getting started that much easier. As I alluded to in the beginning, I have had Painter for awhile, but have not really ever gotten into it in a meaningful way. Now, I think, I can move on and actually put it to use. When I get there, hopefully soon, I will forward you one of my 'masterpieces'.
I wish you the best of wishes for a successful showing at your gallery show in April. From what you showed, I think, you have some unusual and creative pieces that should show well. If you have the time and remember, let me know how it all turns out.
Again, thank you for getting me started in Painter. Your Retreat was well worth the time and effort in all respects, as you have an incredible knowledge of a complex program that you present in a very understandable way.
Gary McLaughlin

Karen Sperling is an Amazing Teacher

I attended an Artistry Retreat taught by Karen Sperling and she is an
amazing teacher. Her class was organized, relaxed and thorough. I went from
a total novice to being able to create wonderful paintings from my photographs.
However, when my granddaughters were to be flower girls at my son's wedding, I
knew I had to go to the Master to get stunning results. Karen Sperling has surpassed all
expectations! She sorted through all of the wedding photos and chose two. We
discussed (via email) which to use and the basic look I was hoping for. The
result is a treasured portrait that will make me smile for the rest of my life.
i have a picture of the portrait on my cell phone and share it with everybody I
see! I highly recommend Karen's work--you will not be disappointed. In addition
to being a very talented painter, she is also a very nice lady.
Carolyn Johnson

Artistry Retreat: Thoughtful and Challenging

Thank you for a thoughtful and challenging workshop.
As a non-artist in the sense I don't draw or paint,
but as a photographer and lover of art, I have longed
to be able to make a stab at doing painting with
photography as the background and inspiration.
I feel at last I am "getting it," thanks to your
patience, encouragement, and step-by-step approach.
Indeed, I have taken a painting class from another instructor,
but this time the approach was, I think, more simplified
to get me jump-started.
Your concept of starting the first day's session to be
the most difficult, and later on in the afternoon,
when the mind is brain dead, to do something fun and
easy was really helpful when my blood sugar ran low.
For example, your Karen's Fireworks idea was fun to play with.
And each day the lessons were progressively easier and also we
continued to review the way to accomplish our tasks in Painter
so it would become more and more familiar.
The concept of light and dark may be second nature to a painter or
illustrator, but for me it made it a great guide for beginning
the process.
And it was so much fun making "image hoses" and custom brushes.
Of course, nothing will progress without practice, but I have
the tools now so no excuses.
Your notes and book will help keep me on track!
Beverly Hanson

Enjoyed Artistry Retreat

Because Karen wrote the early manuals for Corel Painter, she is an expert in this program.
I enjoyed the Artistry Retreat immensely. Karen's comprehensive class covered
many of the fundamentals of art in addition to the skills needed for
digital painting using Corel Painter.
I look forward to more of her patiently taught lessons in the future.
Candy Groat

Karen Sperling: Articulate, Creative, Knowledgable and Patient

Karen Sperling is an expert who shares her knowledge in a fresh and creative fashion.
Not only does Karen know the technical aspects of Corel Painter, but she also teaches creative concepts as well.
I have taken her class at WPPI and also a one-on-one class; she is articulate, creative, knowledgable and patient!
I highly recommend Karen as a teacher if you want to master this multi-faceted program and give your work a creative edge!
Felicia Tausig
WPPI Member
Former President, Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association (SCVPA)
Creative Photography, Photos by Felicia

Artistry Retreat Takes Photography Business to Next Level

Karen's Artistry Retreat has helped me take my photography business to the next level.
Karen's workshop was interesting, fun and easy to keep up the pace.
I can now offer fine art painterly portraits as a deluxe product, and my customers love it!
Robin Swanson
Treasurer, Professional Photographers of California
Robin Swanson photography

Artistry Retreat Excellent Value

Karen's Artistry Retreat was an excellent value
for learning art as well as Corel Painter.
You might ask - who is the class for?
For the beginner, Karen provides an essential foundation for art including
understanding essential design concepts, identifying effective focal points,
and choosing effective pictures for painting. She guides you step-by-step
through the foundation of painting in Corel Painter.
For the intermediate to advanced digital artist, Karen continues to add to
our depth of learning by challenging our vision, our understanding of color
harmony and our awareness of good contrast. She also teaches advanced
Corel Painter concepts such as digital watercolor painting and image nozzle
brush creation. I thought I was at least at an intermediate level when I
took her class, but I learned many new concepts of effective design and
composition, which have inspired me to new levels.
Karen's book, Painting for Photographers, is an excellent resource to use in
conjunction with this course as her lessons bring further depth and understanding
to the book she has written. I found it useful to bring my book with me as she
demonstrated concepts in class that I could review and reference along with her
in class materials.
Karen's class opened my vision to what can be and how to make an impact with
my art. I am excited about where my art journey will take me...
Dr. Cynde Herman

Karen Sperling Vibrant Instructor

Karen Sperling is one of the most vibrant instructors I have had in Painter.
She approaches teaching from a fine arts background which translates into
paintings of beautifully balanced color and detail.
In Karen's workshop, I was able to layer her clear and artistic instruction
with my background knowledge of photography to produce a very
pleasing and salable picture.
I can't wait to take another course from her.
Shirley Miers
Ocala, Florida

Artistry Retreat: Best Place to Learn Corel Painter

The best place for photographers to learn how an artist would
approach using Painter is the 3-day Artistry Painting for Photographers Retreat.
Karen Sperling, with care and discipline, guided us 'artists-in-training'
through the migration from digital photography to digital painting, to creating
delicate and powerful artwork using Painter.
The experience goes beyond words of praise.
It's a gift.
I learned to think artistically before I acted artistically.
And the results showed up on my digital canvas...exactly
what I wanted to learn how to create.
The Artistry Painter Retreat is truly a
foundation experience for photographers
interested in learning Painter.
Gregory R. Ballerino

MARS PPA Affiliate Reviews

Karen Sperling taught at MARS, the PPA affiliate school in Cape May, NJ. Here are some reviews of her MARS Painter class.

Karen Sperling Wonderful Instructor

I attended Karen's class at the PPA affiliate schools
(MARS) in Cape May, NJ this year.
Karen is a wonderful instructor.
She knows her work, and conveys her
instructions in a manner that is
is structured but not overwhelming.
My very first "painting" that I created to show
at a bridal show received rave reviews
from potential brides.
In fact - I told the subjects of that print
that I had a surprise for them when they
picked up their previews from their wedding.
When they walked in the studio, their first
response was WOW - that's cool - WOW that's us!!
They bought a framed 16x20 on the spot!!
I think that Karen Sperling would be a fine
addition to the list of PPA instructors, and I
would highly recommend her talents.
Theresa Terilli
PPA Certified

Karen Sperling Excellent Artist;
Outstanding Communicator

To whom it may concern;
I am writing this letter on behalf of Karen Sperling
who was the instructor for the Painter workshop at
the recent MARS workshop in Cape May, New Jersey.
I am a photographer of over 30 years who, two years
ago switched to a digital workflow with the intention
of producing archival giclees of my library of photographs.
At that time I had no computer savy and knew nothing of
Photoshop, Painter, software rips, color management,
Raw files or any other aspects of a digital workflow.
I embarked on an extensive 18 month series of studies
at various centers around the country.
In my opinion Karen Sperlling exhibits the wonderful
trait of being more than an excellent artist, but is an
outstanding communicator as well. She is both patient
and informative to whatever depth required by the individuals
in her class. She can see the individual needs and attend
to them while keeping the group moving at a pace that is
exciting to everyone.
In my opinion, another of her best qualities is an engaging
personality and a great sense of humor that is liberally
appliied through the workshop.
I would highly recommend Karen to any group or individual
that is considering taking advantage of her multi faceted talents.
Sincerely yours,
Bruce Keyes

Karen Sperling Well-Organized

I took Karen's class at MARS.
She was very easy to listen to for a
week, was well organized, humorous and
kept us on track (not an easy thing to do).
I felt everything she reviewed that week
was helpful in learning Painter.
Barbara Glaeser
Certified Professional Photographer

Click here to read testimonials from Artistry Retreat alumni.

Click here to see examples of Artistry alumni artwork.

Click here to see more examples of Artistry alumni artwork.

Click here for a FAQ (frequently asked questions).

Artistry Retreat Enrollment Details

The Artistry Retreats are held are held at the Marriott Courtyard in Santa Clarita, CA, served by LAX and Burbank airports. The hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with 1 hour for lunch.

The Marriott is offering a discounted room rate to Artistry Retreat attendees, which includes parking.

Write to Karen Sperling or call her at 818-941-9739 with questions about the Artistry Retreats. The hotel won't have information about the Artistry Retreats.

Classes are kept small to ensure a positive, personalized learning experience. Due to the small class sizes, there are no cancellations, refunds, reschedules or credits for missed classes.

Tuition fees are subject to change without notice and seating is limited. Book now to lock in these low rates and to guarantee a seat!

Enroll online in an Artistry Retreat with a credit card through Paypal using the Add to Cart button below, or you may transfer funds via email, or you may enroll by check or by sending your card information through email or over the phone--see the details below.

Yes! I'd like to attend an Artistry Retreat!


Friday-Saturday, November 7-8, 2014


Sunday-Monday, November 9-10, 2014


Either the Beginners or Intermediate Artistry Retreat


Attend both Artistry Retreats and Save 10%

$1326 $1193

Tuition fee includes:

• Artistry Retreat tuition for art lessons and hands-on, step-by-step Corel Painter X3/2015 instruction
• Helpful class notes
• A CD with all the class images, including portrait art through the ages and Karen Sperling's custom brushes
• Notepad for class notes
• Pen for class notes
• Special Artistry Retreat discounts on Karen Sperling's books, video tutorials and brushes
• 1 hour free up to six months following the retreat and 25% off additional hours of follow-up one-on-one private lessons with Karen Sperling after the Artistry Retreat for questions or image feedback, either in person or by webinar.
• A great time learning how to turn photos into paintings in Corel Painter from Karen Sperling, the author of the original Painter manuals and several published Painter books--she has been writing about and teaching Painter longer than anyone!-- and meeting and working with great people who, like you, want to learn to paint their photos!

Choose your schedule:

Click here to email Karen Sperling or call her at 818-941-9739 with questions.

Enroll in an Artistry Retreat by bank transfer

Bank of America customers: Enroll in the Artistry Retreat by transferring the funds to via email.

Enroll in an Artistry Retreat by Credit Card through e-mail

To enroll in an Artistry Retreat by credit card through e-mail, send the card info split between 2 e-mails to Karen Sperling.

The credit card info needed is:
What class and dates you are signing up for (very important!)
Name associated with card
Address associated with card
Email address
Phone number
Card type
Card number
Expiration date
Verification number

Enroll in an Artistry Retreat by Check or Money Order

To enroll in an Artistry Retreat by check or money order made out to Artistry for the above amount that applies to you (International: U.S. funds from a U.S. bank, please), send to:

Karen Sperling
PO Box 2923
Canyon Country, CA 91386-2923

Be sure to include:
What class and dates you are signing up for (very important!)
Your name
Your address
E-mail address

Please write the e-mail address clearly.

Enroll in an Artistry Retreat by phone

To enroll in an Artistry Retreat by phone, call 818-941-9739.

Thank you for enrolling in the
Artistry Retreat!

Artistry is a Certified Corel Training Partner.

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