Painting + Drawing Classes

Drawing and Painting Classes at VMFA Studio SchoolDrawing + Painting is a very popular area of study and has the most offerings – over thirty each semester. Beginning students are encouraged to start with a Basic Drawing class then graduate to more advanced classes such as Drawing in Color: Pastel, Watercolor Studio, Introduction to Painting or many other courses or workshops.

Instructors Sally Bowring, Merenda Cecelia, Joan Elliott, Dawn Flores, Amy Smith, Marie Reardon, Catherine Southall, and Martha Prideaux teach most of the weekly classes.


Class Schedule

Introduction to Painting [5]

Wed, Jun 19– Jul 24, 9:30 am–12:30 pm (6 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor

Learn to use direct observation when painting from life. Through demonstrations, observation-based painting exercises, and instruction, beginning and intermediate artists strengthen their ability to see color and value relationships, and they learn how to mix colors accordingly. Students also learn to simplify any subject matter by identifying color masses from which to develop realistic paintings. Prerequisites: basic drawing skills.

$180 (VMFA members $160)

Introduction & Intermediate Painting [11]

Wed, Jun 19–Jul 24, 7–10 pm (6 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor

This is a good painting class for beginning or intermediate level oil painters who want to develop their own personal painting style and approach to imagery. Through individual guidance, students explore painting strategies and working methods. Prerequisite: basic drawing skills.

$180 (VMFA members $160)

Drawing Fundamentals [13]

Sat & Sun, Jun 22 & 23, 10 am–4 pm (2 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor

Beginning artists and those wanting to brush up on their skills will discover the basics of drawing, including pattern and composition, light and shade, proportion, three-dimensional form, and perspective. Learning through demonstrations, discussions, and individual instruction, students complete multiple drawings working from the still life and landscape images. Soft vine charcoal (assorted sizes), 18" × 24" sketchpad and a kneadable eraser required.

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Experimental Mixed Media Workshop NEW! [17]

Sat & Sun, Jun 22 & 23, 10 am – 4 pm (2 session) | Studio School, 2nd floor

Experiment with various painting and drawing media. Explore new ideas, techniques, and imagery. Students will work on individual projects with demonstrations from the instructor. A brief overview of Artificial Intelligence basics to enhance learning will be presented. Prerequisite: basic drawing and painting skills. 

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Figure Drawing Workshop [18]

Sat, Jun 29, 10 am–4pm (1 session) | Studio School, 2nd floor

Start by exploring a variety of drawings of the human form by other artists. Then with guidance from the instructor and working from a live model, learn to create expressive portraits in charcoal and pencil. Prerequisites: basic drawing skills. 

$90 (VMFA members $75)

Pet Portrait Workshop [19]

Sat & Sun, Jul 6 & 7, 10 am–4 pm (2 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor

Learn how to capture the unique personality of your favorite furry friend. Start by studying the anatomy and features of different animals, focusing on the artistic process of making detailed studies. Then with guidance from the instructor and working from photograph, create accurate and expressive portraits of your own pet using drawing materials and oil or acrylic paint. Prerequisite: basic drawing skills

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Mixing it up with Frottage [20]

Sat & Sun, Jul 6 & 7, 10 am–4 pm (2 Sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor

In art, term frottage (from French frotter, "to rub", rubbing) is a surrealist and "automatic" method of creative production developed by the artist Max Ernst. Students will learn to work intuitively while creating rich surfaces using a variety of media on paper or wooden panels. Using the frottage process, students will make impressions and rubbings from places, and/or objects that have personal relevance to incorporate into their artwork. Through instructive demonstrations, students will learn a variety of mark-making and layering techniques using collage materials, paints, charcoal, and/or graphite. Prerequisite: basic drawing skills.

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Painting on Photographs: The Extended Image [21]

Sat & Sun, Jul 13 & 14, 10 am–4 pm (2 sessions) | Studio School, 1st floor

This workshop explores the use of photography with mixed-media applications. Students combine photographic materials (digital or traditional prints, photocopies, found imagery or old photographs) with oil paint to produce new and exciting imagery. The instructor demonstrates a variety of approaches, including surface supports and preparation, gluing techniques, surface alterations, paint application, varnishing, cold wax, and other surface treatments. Open to all levels of experience.

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Introduction to Painting with Gouache Workshop [22]

Sat & Sun, Jul 13 & 14, 10 am–4 pm (2 session) | Studio School, 2nd floor

This workshop is an introduction to painting with gouache, an opaque water-soluble medium that is like watercolor. Gouache, which is applied in layers like acrylics or oils, offers highly saturated colors, flexibility, and spontaneity. The medium is great to use as a sketching medium to plan larger paintings or for finished artwork. Students will learn to use gouache to make studies, to plan compositions and color themes that they may use for larger works. Prerequisites: basic drawing and painting skills.

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Introduction to Collage [23]

Sat, Jul 13, 10 am–4 pm (1 session) | Studio School, 2nd floor

Experiment with new techniques, materials, and more to make innovative collages. The teacher will demonstrate ways to design, mount, and present your artwork in this workshop designed for all levels of experience.
$90 (VMFA members $75)

A Crash Course in Watercolor [24]

Sat & Sun, Jul 20 & 21, 10 am–4 pm (2 Sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor

This workshop provides step-by-step instruction on a variety of watercolor techniques, including special effects, glazing, wet on wet, washes, and more. Working from colorful photographs or still lifes of flora and fauna, students explore the full range of watercolor painting. Prerequisite: basic drawing skills.

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Sketchbook as Travelling Companion & Visual Memoir NEW! [25]

Sat & Sun, Jul 20 & 21, 10 am - 4 pm (2 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor


Do you want to capture a moment and place, whether traveling or just hanging out? Record the little and big things in your life by creating a visual record. Participants will learn several easy and successful strategies for drawing, painting, collage, and writing to turn their adventures into handheld works of art. Mini field trips within and outside VMFA will also offer source material and inspiration. 

$145 (VMFA members $130)