Home Studio

Have you ever wanted to paint with a professional artist in their studio and learn secrets and techniques for painting ocean scenes, landscapes or still life? I am excited to be able to invite you to come to California and paint with me in my studio and stay in my 100-year-old Victorian farmhouse in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley.

Several times a year I invite a few students to come to California to paint with me in my studio and stay in my old Victorian farmhouse. This isn't a regular workshop with 10 - 20 people... This is very private art instruction designed to your level of experience to advance you several levels. The class will consist of 3 or 4 students and will be structured to achieve the maximum amount of painting and as much fun as possible. I will pick you up and deliver you back to the Santa Barbara airport. Santa Barbara is one of the top destination cities in the world, famous for its perfect weather, beautiful beaches and mountains, and home to the rich and famous, like Oprah Winfrey (Michael Jackson's ranch is only a few miles from my house).

If you arrive on a Tuesday (Tuesday is one of the cheapest days to fly), the flights generally come in around 1:00 or 1:30 which gives us the afternoon to have lunch at the beach in one of my favorite restaurants, take a quick tour of Santa Barbara and check out the Tuesday afternoon Farmers Market, with beautiful veggies, fruit, flowers, honey, etc. And if you're still up for it, we'll have a nice dinner before driving over the mountain pass to the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley where I live.

By the time you get unpacked, you'll probably be ready for a good night's rest. Wednesday morning you'll take the short walk to my studio/home for breakfast (let me know what you like and/or don't like to eat) We'll try to have your favorite things.

In a normal class, we usually begin painting around 9:00 am, take a lunch break - even a quick nap if you like - then paint until dinner.

My students always become like family, and many return time and time again. I would love to share my world with you and my more than 30 years of experience in many aspects of the art business. My desire is to help you achieve your artistic goals and frame a map to your success as an artist.

Most people come to paint seascapes with me, but many people come to learn to paint murals. Some combine the two, and do a seascape mural. For many years I had a very successful decorative arts business and did projects all over the world. The mural class is limited to only 2 people at a time and you take home a finished canvas 4 feet by 7 feet. Several students have sold these to pay for their class.

We usually paint Wednesday through Saturday, take a break on Sunday to rest, sightsee, go to the Beach Artwalk in Santa Barbara (if you like) and see work of more than 100 artists who sell there year-round. Another possibility is to drive 30 miles the other direction to Lompoc, called the city of arts and flowers. They have around 70 murals painted on the sides of the buildings. There are also fields of flowers grown for flower seeds. They are spectacular when they are in bloom. And it is on the ocean, as well. - so we also could take a walk on the beach. Except for eating out, all meals, lodging, paint, canvas, paint thinner, medium, paper towels and tuition are included in the price of just $1750 for this amazing week. There is an additional cost of $250 for painting murals.

Just pack your brushes and come enjoy a fabulous, truly unique painting experience. I can't wait to share it with you!


p.s. Email me your home address if you would like a brochure or to be put on my mailing list. I occasionally mail out cards, calendars, and special invitations with images of my work to my painting friends! Your personal information will NOT be shared.


After many years working in the fine art field, painting, exhibiting and teaching, Joyce Ortner began her career as a muralist by completing a two-year project, which was the creation of a fantasy hotel. Ortner painted six different theme rooms: Gypsy Forest, a 1950s Drive-in Theatre, an Egyptian room, Roman room, the stern Castle of a 17th century ship and an 18th century French artist's loft. The artwork received rave reviews when the hotel opened in 1988 and was featured in a one-and-a-half page article on the front page of The Los Angeles Times Travel Section. The front page of the Santa Barbara News Press had a full half page of color photos. The murals were featured in the centerfold of Country Inns Magazine and in Pacific Coast Magazine as well as many other national and foreign publications. This launched her successful decorative arts business "Artistic Atmospheres". Being represented in the Pacific Design Center on Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles gave Ortner national and international exposure.

Ortner's client list has included Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, CA; Corporate offices of Johnson, Fain, Periera Associates-architects of the Trans America building in San Francisco, as well as Scott Johnson's personal residence, which was published in Architectural Digest ,and featured on HGTV's Extreme homes. Ortner's other projects include corporate offices of the Princess Cruise Lines in Valencia, California, the flagship of the Shangri-la Hotel chain; the Far Eastern Plaza in Taipei; as well as the Contempo Casual Store in Chicago, IL, and the Walking Stores in Sacramento, San Jose and Corte Madera, California.

Painting murals; doing custom plaster finishes; metal leafing in gold, copper and silver; antiquing; faux marble; faux bois; original wall finishes; glazing; ragging and sponging are techniques Ortner uses to turn a room into a work of art. Her versatility as an artist and skill in utilizing these techniques to create a rich patina of age bring elegance and luxury to pillars, fireplaces, walls and floors in homes, mansions, hotels, restaurants and businesses across the country. Hand-painted friezes, borders, ceiling-sky murals, cement and wood floors, and even furniture are all part of Joyce's repertoire.

Joyce creates fantastic environments in Children's rooms. She loves knowing her art is something a child can grow up with in the beautiful, safe place of their imagination, giving them fond memories of their childhood. She has probably painted a hundred childrens' rooms with as many different themes. Clients feel much freer to do incredible fabulous things in a child's room.

Three Design Showcase houses in Santa Barbara have had extensive mural work by Joyce Ortner. She has taught several mural and tromp l'oeil classes for the University of California at Santa Barbara for their decorative arts program. Ortner has designed and executed two murals in the lobby of the Historical Granada Theater for the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera, and a 15' x 61' outdoor mural "Humpback Whale and Baby" in Isla Vista, California.

Many years and many thousands of square feet of murals, painting and finishing ceilings, floors, walls and furniture have given Ortner first-hand experience of the techniques, tools and secrets of the decorative arts as well as insight in how to build a successful decorative arts business.



Karen (May 2008) - "Just returned from Santa Ynes after a week class with Joyce and two other students. For any of you sitting on the fence and wondering whether the investment is worthwhile, let me urge you to take the plunge now. Joyce and her husband are remarkably generous and genial hosts. The countryside is breathtaking. The Victorian home a charming step back in time and surprisingly comfortable. The personal instruction is exceptional. I soaked in the ambience of her atelier. The beauty of her seascapes surrounded me, inspiring me to trust the process of creation. Her vast collection of art books opened new doors. I went to sleep each night thinking about the movement of the waves, the colors of the sky and ocean, the differing kinds of oil pigments. I dreamed about being an artist. Though I left with three oil paintings, the experience is not about the painting studies--the products; it is about the process-- creating, taking risks, stretching oneself, seeing with a fresh eye. Joyce has a wealth of skill, knowledge, and information that she lovingly shares with her students. But you leave with so much more than the actual instruction. Through osmosis, you take home those intangibles that take your painting to another level. It's being in the presence of an artist who opens her world to you that makes this experience so rare. I left Santa Ynes with a profound gratitude for all that I had learned and all that I had yet to realize. Karen "

Angel (FL) - "Wow! What a week!"

Pat (GA) - "My seascapes really came alive! Thank you so much!"

Paul (Canada) - "It has been a wonderful week! I have learned so much painting with you and will display my "masterpiece" with much pride... My students will benefit from my sharing my new knowledge with them. Thank you, Joyce and Bobby, for wonderful meals, excellent teaching and company, and making us feel like part of your family. We are already planning to come back."

Bill (NJ) - "I can't believe how much I've learned. My paintings have improved 100%. I can't thank you enough."

Frank (OH) - "It was a wonderful adventure as well as a great learning experience about seascape painting... It went way beyond anything I could possibly have imagined!"

Mike and Sondra (CA) - "I can't tell you how much we enjoyed our painting experience with you. Thank you for your warm hospitality. We look forward to painting with you again - real soon!"

Ilean (TX) - "Thanks again! I can't wait to come again."

Sharonn (FL) - "Thank you for creating this event in my life, taking me into your Victorian dream and inspiring me. Thank you, and I hope to do this again."

Jan (AZ) - "Thanks for helping me with my dream."

Francis (CA) -"I would like to thank you for everything you have done for this special one-week painting experience... Now I have to take all the knowledge I have learned and practice, practice, practice, till next time."