Founder + Instructor:  Michael Azgour, MFA |



Azgour Art Group provides a rich educational program of live, online lectures and discussions, original texts, and professionally edited demonstrations – together with open-ended projects and creative exercises – dynamic critiques and discussion groups – and just the right amount of structure.



·      To advance creative practice in painting by taking current practice to the next level

·      To thoughtfully address concepts of interest in painting

·      To apply a sound process in the development of paintings

·      To produce paintings which are visually compelling

·      To develop a unique voice in one’s own creative practice



Azgour Art Group is comprised of four parts which complement each other:


1. Class Meetings


We meet twice per month for 60-minute live Zoom sessions. The instructor presents concepts and processes and leads discussion on topics designed specifically for painters. Class Meetings are recorded so you can watch and re-watch them anytime.


2. Creative Work


·      Projects – The main focus of our group is to create strong and original paintings. A Project is a group of paintings defined by your own scope and pace. You are encouraged to work on these paintings and have the opportunity to receive instructor and peer feedback by posting them in a Discussion page and/or by scheduling a Critique.

Your project can be seen to have three parts:

1.   Proposal – you can propose a new project by posting text and sketches based on the reflection and goal-setting you do in Unit 1

2.   Paintings in Progress – you can post photos documenting the progress of your paintings; content aligned with this phase is in Units 2-5

3.   Completed Paintings – you can post photos of your finished paintings; content aligned with this phase is in Units 6-7


You are invited to post projects in the Project Discussion page for the current term – and/or in your Personal Discussion page – at any phase for peer and instructor feedback. Every project post will receive instructor feedback within 7 days.


·      Assignments – 7 optional assignments, one for every unit. Mainly focused on painting with experimentation on the current topic, these can be done on small canvases or heavyweight paper. They are designed for to take about 1 hour each. You are invited to post assignments in the Assignments Discussion page for the current term for peer feedback.

·      Sketchbook Exercises – 17 optional exercises, one for every topic. Mainly focused on drawing and planning exercises related to the current topic. These are designed to take about 30 minutes each and can be done in your sketchbook. These are not posted.


·      Class Exercises – Optional exercises are assigned shortly following every Class Meeting. Mainly focused on topics discussed during the sessions, these are designed to take about 30 minutes. You are invited to post these exercises in the Class Exercises Discussion page so we can discuss them as group during the next Class Meeting.


·      Challenges – Do you need some extra practice in one area? Are you at an impasse articulating or moving forward with your project? Do you want to challenge yourself with daily creative activity? Challenges might be right for you. Tailor your Challenge with monthly or weekly options.



3. Discussion & Critical Feedback


·      Discussion Pages – Members are invited to share their Projects and Assignments with the community by posting them in discussion pages. This is a wonderful space where community members can give feedback and exchange ideas with their peers.

·      Critiques – Sign up for Live Critiques and Private Critiques with the instructor. Live Critiques are 10-minutes in length and are scheduled immediately following every Live Class Meeting. All members are invited to attend. These can be recorded or not, your choice. Private Critiques are 30-minutes in length and are scheduled at your convenience directly with the instructor.



4. Content


Members have access to a large library of content which is continually growing. Content is divided between the 7 Units. Each unit has 1-3 topics with focused content on specific concepts. Topics contain the following:


·      Original article created by the instructor

·      Online Resources – external videos, articles, books, and other resources which you might find helpful or inspiring.

·      Sketchbook Exercise – explained above




Unit Title and Topics

Project Alignment

Unit 1:

Looking Back and Setting Goals

1.     Setup and Materials

2.     Reflecting on Your Work

3.     Setting Goals

Project Proposal

Unit 2:

Foundations and Art History

1.     Formal Elements and Principles of Art

2.     Depth in Art History

Sources + Drawings

Unit 3:

Concept and Composition

1.     Color Theory

2.     Concept Development

3.     Combining Imagery

25% Completion

Unit 4:

Painting Process – Part 1

1.     Expressive Painting

2.     Representational Painting

50% Completion

Unit 5:

Painting Process – Part 2

1.     Conflict and Harmony

2.     Layers and Surface

75% Completion

Unit 6:

Thoughtful Completion

1.     Realigning with the Concept

2.     Bringing it all Together

100% Completion

Unit 7:

Evaluating and Moving Forward

1.     Evaluating the Work and Starting Anew

2.     Professional Practices

3.     Closing Notes and Resources

Starting Anew



·      Video Demonstrations – A growing number of professionally produced video demonstrations provide a deep dive into concepts and process. New videos are added every few weeks. These are divided among the 7 Unit pages. A compilation of all video demonstrations is located in the Video Demonstrations page.


·      Short Lectures – Important segments from previous Class Meetings are compiled into compact short lectures. These are located in the Short Lectures page.

·      Additional Resources – A growing library with links of interesting articles and videos, artist spotlight websites and videos, books, and tailored topics in art.


Since this group is open to students working in the style and medium of their choice, specific needs will vary.


I recommend purchasing a moderate quantity of mid to high quality paint. Student grade paint will adversely impact the quality of the resulting paintings. For example, choose the professional grade Winsor & Newton over their student grade, Winton. All professional grade paints are sufficient for this course. Selecting between the professional brands is a personal choice.


The above is also true of brushes. Mid to high quality brushes will yield better results and will also last longer, as long as they are properly cleaned after use.



·      Paint — medium to high quality paints in your chosen medium. I recommend a warm and cool version of each primary, plus black, white, and a few browns. A basic list of paints might include: cadmium red, alizarin crimson/naphthol red, cadmium yellow, lemon/zinc yellow, ultramarine blue, pthalo/prussian blue, ivory black, titanium white, van dych brown, burnt sienna, yellow ochre. Additional colors might include: cerulean blue, emerald green, magenta, and any others you are drawn to. Different brands might have similar colors with different names, which is fine. If you are using watercolor, I recommend buying a large tube of white gouache to practice additive techniques.

·      Paint Mediums — for acrylics I recommend matte medium and clear gesso; for oils I recommend linseed oil and mineral spirits (such as Gamsol)

·      Brushes — mid to high quality brushes suitable for your chosen medium; a variety of shapes and sizes.

·      Palette — I recommend disposable palette paper pad (50 sheets, 16x20”), but use what you’re most comfortable with

·      Canvas for final project (for students using acrylics and oils) — three canvases in your choice of size and quality — size will depend on your individual project; I recommend medium to larger surfaces (min 18x24”)

·      Canvas boards for assignments (for students using acrylics and oils) — at least four in your choice of size and quality; I recommend small to medium surfaces (max 20x24”)

·      Watercolor paper for final project and assignments (for students using watercolors) — at least eight sheets in your choice of size and quality; I recommend medium to high quality

·      Sketchbook (spiral, min 8x10”)

·      Tracing Paper (sheets, min 8x10”)

·      Graphite Pencils (variety)

·      Pencil Sharpener

·      Eraser

·      Spray Bottle (for acrylics and watercolors only)

·      Other Optional Materials — cups/jars, paper towels, scissors, x-acto knife, cutting mat, glue stick, drafting or watercolor tape, masking tape, double-stick tape, magazine(s) from which pages can be cut; with photos of people, buildings, and/or landscape


About the Founder + Instructor

Michael Azgour, MFA  |

Michael Azgour is a contemporary figurative artist whose paintings contemplate the space between perception and reality. A Native of California, he is known for large, expressive compositions which combine multi-layered and divergent painting styles, such as painterly figuration and geometric abstraction. Azgour’s award-winning paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, and Asia, such as solo shows at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, CA and Hohmann Fine Art in Palm Desert, CA. He has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Fresno Art Museum. His work is part of prestigious collections around the world.


Michael regularly delivers lectures, workshops, and artist presentations. Michael teaches drawing and painting courses at Stanford University’s Architectural Design and Continuing Studies programs. His work can be viewed at