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

Watercolor Studio [5]

Mon, Sep 11–Nov 27, 9:30 am–12:30 pm (12 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Dawn Flores

Learn a wide variety of watercolor techniques while using related drawing mediums in this course for beginning and experienced watercolor artists. Students work directly from the still life, landscape, and other subject matter, with discussions of color and watercolor masterworks offering inspiration. Individual and group critiques provided. Prerequisites: basic drawing skills.

$250 (VMFA members $230)

Developing a Sketchbook [11]

Tue, Sep 12 - Oct 17, 10 am - 1 pm ( 6 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor

Randy Toy

This class will explore ways of creating and maintaining a sketchbook practice. Sketchbooks can be used for drawing from observation, playful experimentation, collecting paper ephemera, developing new ideas or as a visual journal. Sketchbooks like journals help keep us connected to our drawing practice and our creative lives. Find a sketchbook practice that is personal and useful to you. All skins levels are welcome. Students may work in pencil, pen, colored pencils, watercolors or anything else you desire. Please provide a sketchbook that is easy to carry around with you. Prerequisite: basic drawing.

$175 (members $155)

Introduction to Collage [12]

Tue, Oct 24–Nov 28, 10 am1 pm (6 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Diana Detamore

Using found materials, create unique images that range from abstract and dynamic to representational and poetic. The instructor will discuss materials, techniques, mounting, and presentation. Explore one of the most satisfying forms of visual play. Experienced students are also welcome.

$175 (VMFA members $155)

Composition in Painting NEW! [14]

Thu, Oct 5–Nov 30, 10 am1 pm (8 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Kathy Calhoun

This class will explore how to create compelling compositions that promote a variety of focal points for your painting. Beginning with some simple cardstock collage work to quickly understand and manipulate different compositional models, students will then transition to painting their own subject matter. Exercises will include setting up your own still–life along with a photo reference of an arrangement

of interior space designed by you. Students will also learn how existing compositional references can be manipulated to create new focal points and eye travel paths. Students should be familiar with the painting medium they plan to work with. Prerequisites: basic drawing&painting skills.

$195 (VMFA members $175)

Introduction to Collage [22]

Sat, Oct 7, 10 am–4 pm (1 session) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Martha Prideaux

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 [23]

Sat & Sun, Oct 7 & 8, 10 am–4 pm (2 Sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Dawn Flores

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)

Pour a Painting [24]

Sat, Oct 14, 10 am–4 pm (1 Session) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Kendra Wadsworth

Explore several methods for making acrylic pour paintings. These paintings are characterized by unpredictable swirls of colorful paint with a glossy finish. Prerequisites: basic drawing and painting skills.

Please bring as many painting canvases or panels as you can safely transport – not to exceed 24” x 24”, one quart of white semigloss house paint, and four to six acrylic colors of your choice. Miscellaneous supplies will be provided by the instructor for a $5 fee, payable at the beginning of the workshop.

$90 (VMFA members $75)

Figure Drawing Workshop [25]

Sat, Oct 14, 10 am–4pm (1 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Amy Smith

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)

Encaustic Painting and Mixed Media Lab [26]

Sat, Oct 21, 10 am–4 pm (1 session) | Studio School, 1st floor
Karen Eide

Encaustic painting is an ancient process using molten, pigmented beeswax to create layered and luminous art. Designed for both new and experienced painters, the instructor teaches classic encaustic techniques and ways to combine them with contemporary painting techniques and mixed media. Discover collage, incising, texturizing, surface embellishment, and relief work, as well as how to combine oil paint, pastels, inks, watercolors, and gouache with the encaustic. Some materials included.

$105 (VMFA members $90)

Painting with Cold Wax Medium [27]

Sat & Sun, Oct 21 & 22, 10 am–4 pm (2 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Martha Prideaux

This workshop will teach students how to build beautiful textured surfaces using cold wax medium and oil paint. Experienced and beginner painters are welcome. The workshop will consist of demonstrations and hands-on practice. With guidance from the instructor, students will create small-scale studies and paintings using various techniques and leave with an understanding of how to use the wax medium to build gorgeous, layered surfaces in future paintings. Prerequisites: basic drawing and painting skills. 

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Drawing Flowers in Color with Oil Pastels Workshop [28]

Sat & Sun, Oct 28 & 29, 10 am–4 pm (2 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Diana Detamore

This workshop introduces oil pastels and paint sticks for painterly approaches to drawing flowers and plants. Students explore colored grounds, glazes, and various methods of layering color as well as color mixing and interaction. Prerequisites: basic drawing skills.

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Mixing it up with Frottage [29]

Sat & Sun, Oct 28 & 29, 10 am–4 pm (2 Sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Mary Scurlock

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)

Value to Color in Painting [30]

Sat & Sun, Nov 4 & 5, 10 am–4 pm (2 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Kathy Calhoun

Learn how value and color are related so that you can make them work for your benefit to give your paintings the impact or subtlety that you want them to have. The strategies taught create a stronger awareness of presence, eye travel and illusionary space in your work. Instead of focusing on one or two finished pieces, several studies will be created. This technique driven workshop is not media sensitive, watercolor, acrylic, and oils are all welcome. Please use a medium that you are familiar working with. Prerequisites: basic drawing and painting skills.

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Painting Animals in Any Medium Workshop [31]

Sat & Sun, Nov 18 & 19, 10 am4 pm (2 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Maria Reardon

Students will learn to paint or draw various animals within a landscape in the studio. From cows and horses in pastures, waterfowl in coastal settings, or a pet in the backyard, this class will focus on the special challenges in capturing the likeness and personality of animals in a landscape setting. The instructor will demonstrate painting animals in their surroundings. Students may choose to work in paint or any drawing medium of their choice. Prerequisites: basic drawing and painting skills. 

$145 (VMFA members $130)