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Learn to “See as an Artist” With Cultural Arts Centre Instructor Daniel Fishback

March 16, 2018
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Daniel Fishback exited the corporate world in 2008 to pursue his art career full-time, just eight years after her learned how to paint. Ten years later, now an award-winning artist, Dan has decided to give back to the arts through teaching. You can find him teaching oil painting classes at St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre on Wednesday evenings. He also teaches workshops on his favorite way to paint: “en plein air,” which, in French means “in open air.”


“My greatest love is to paint outdoors,” Dan said. He loves it so much you can find him painting “en plein air” year-round, even in the winter. “I’ve painted in February in Wisconsin when the wind chill got to about 15 below zero, but it didn’t deter me,” he continued. “I’m dedicated, I love what I do.”


Each class is 2 1/2 hours and Dan will do demonstrations, as well as work one-on-one with each student in the class. Participants are encouraged to paint whatever they like. Dan tends to paint more landscapes, as well as some cityscapes, still life and the occasional portrait. His favorite medium is oil painting because he believes it’s the most beautiful art form. Oil painting is also the most “forgiving” medium, making it ideal for students who are fairly new to painting.


“What makes oil painting so beautiful is being able to see the brush strokes or the pallet knife marks, I personally like that a lot,” he said. “I’m kind of inspired by the impressionists, and you can certainly see lots of brush strokes in their paintings.” 


But it was actually in watercolor classes 20 years ago where Dan first learned how to paint. 


"I was taught to take a photograph, put a grid down on it, put a grid on the canvas and basically draw everything exactly and copy the photograph exactly, which I did," he said. "But duplicating a photograph exactly as it is, you might as well just frame the photograph. I've learned since then it's actually more important to interpret the photograph than to copy it."


And that's exactly what Dan teaches his students, using the principles of design, value relationships and color so they can "see as an artist." 


"Interpretation is so much more meaningful," he said. "That's what I teach here at the Cultural Arts Centre."  


After 18 years of painting, Dan is excited to give back to the arts, a community he has received so much from.
"I've been helped along the way from a lot of artists I've gotten to know over the years from plein air painting competitions and workshops I've attended," he said. "Plus, I know from a selfish standpoint that I'll probably learn as much from them as they're learning from me."


CLICK HERE to sign up or learn more about Dan's Wednesday evening oil painting classes at the Cultural Arts Centre.