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

A Crash Course in Watercolor [24]

Sat & Sun, Mar 9 & 10, 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)

Pet Portrait Workshop [25]

Sat & Sun, Mar 16 & 17, 10 am–4 pm (2 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor
Kendra Wadsworth

Start by exploring a variety of dog and cat portraits by other artists. Then with guidance from the instructor and working from photographs you provide, learn to create accurate, detailed or expressive portraits of your own pet using drawing materials and oil or acrylic paint.

$145 (VMFA members $130)

Painting with Cold Wax Medium [26]

Sat & Sun, Mar 23 & 24, 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)

Pour a Painting [27]

Sat, Apr 6, 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)

Drawing Flowers in Color with Oil Pastels Workshop [28]

Sat & Sun, Apr 13 & 14, 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)

Color with Sargent [29]

Mon, Apr 29 -- May 20, 10:00 am – 1 pm (4 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor

Artist John Singer Sargent was a master of color. His blacks were textured, his whites were complex, and his side-by-side use of warm and cool colors gave his paintings vibrancy. In this intensive class, students will study Sargent’s artwork through slide presentations and catalogs. Working in either watercolor or acrylic paint, students will complete color exercises, copy Sargent’s work, and create their own compelling pieces inspired by Sargent’s use of color. Prerequisites: basic drawing and watercolor or acrylic painting skills.

$145 (VMFA members $125)

Plein Air Painting [30]

Wed, May 1  --  22, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm (4 Sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor and on location
Maria Reardon 

Explore drawing and painting the landscape from direct observation. With guidance from the instructor, students will develop a more fluid response to painting on location. Students need to provide their own plein air painting easel, stool and painting supplies. Prerequisite: basic drawing and painting skills. 

$145 (VMFA members $125)

Inspired by Paintings NEW! [31]

Fri, May 3–24, 10 am --1 pm (4 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd floor

This class combines visits to the VMFA galleries and studio work. Each session will start with a visit to a different painting. The instructor will lead a discussion about the meaning of the painting, the period in which it was created, and surrounding ideas, writings, and music of the time. Students will return to the painting studio, inspired by the painting and information, to create a work of art. Students may work in any drawing or painting medium that they are familiar with. Prerequisite: basic drawing & oil or acrylic painting skills.

$145 (VMFA members $125)

Composition in Painting [32]

Thu, May 2– 23, 10 am1 pm (4 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 should be familiar with the painting medium they plan to work with. Prerequisites: basic drawing&painting skills.

$145 (VMFA members $125)

Experimental Drawing [33]

Tue, Apr 30–May 21, 10 am1 pm (4 sessions) | Studio School, 2nd Floor 

In this class, students will work with traditional and non-traditional materials, techniques, and tools while exploring and expanding their definition of drawing and its limitless possibilities. By experimenting with different rendering techniques, students will discover a personalized vocabulary of mark making. They will create a series of experimental drawings, participate in group discussions, demonstrations, and critiques. Prerequisites: basic drawing skills. 

$145 (VMFA members $125)