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Art Classes

The Santa Cruz Art League has a wide variety of classes at a variety of times. Is your week too hectic for our series classes? Consider taking one of our Weekend Workshops. Already have some skills and looking for a place to draw after work? Consider popping by our weekly, drop-in life drawing session (see description below).



2017 Art Classes

Please note: When you sign up for a class you will get a "receipt" from Presto Biz (that does not mean you are in the class.) PrestoBiz then sends the request to us and we process your payment here at the Art League if there is room in the class.

Drop-in Classes

Monday Night Figure Drawing
Drawing the human figure is acknowledged to be the best foundation for learning the process of really seeing small details and acquiring perspective and measurement skills to benefit all future artistic endeavours. Pop by our classroom every Monday night and sharpen your skills. Live model. Facilitated by Open Studio Artist Richard Bennett.

  • Levels: Previous drawing experience required. No instruction provided.
  • Date and Time: Drop-In, Monday Nights, 7:00 - 10:00pm
  • Location: in the SCAL classroom
  • Fee: $16 non-members, $14 members, $10 students
  • Facilitator: Richard Bennett

2nd Thursday Figure Drawing and Painting
Similar to our Monday Night Drawing class (above) except with longer poses and attendees may choose to either draw or paint. Live nude or draped model. Facilitated by Open Studio Artist Richard Bennett.

  • Levels: Previous drawing or painting experience required. No instruction provided.
  • Date and Time: 2nd Thursday of each month, 7:00 - 10:00pm
  • Location: in the SCAL classroom
  • Fee: $16 non-members, $14 members, $10 students
  • Facilitator: Richard Bennett



Series Art Classes

Introduction to Figure Drawing
This is a small group to begin a study of the human form from a live model. Immerse yourself in an intimate and comprehensive introduction to the art of REALLY seeing. This class is limited to 10 students per class so sign up today!

Instructor Susie Wilson has a BA in Fine Art Printmaking from the Norfolk Institute of Art and Design (UK), a degree in Illustration and an HNDBTEC degree in Education, also in the UK. . She taught Life Drawing at the Norfolk Institute and was a college lecturer in the subject at the Norwich School of Art. Since arriving in America she has taught private and group classes for approximately 20 years, and has participated in Open Studios.

  • Levels: Beginner
  • Offered: 6 Wednesdays beginning April 26
  • Time: 10am - 12:30pm
  • Class Fee: $155 / $135 members
  • Model Fee: $45 at 1st class
  • Instructor: Susie Wilson
  • Additional Instructions: Class is limited to 10 students.
Register online »
Click here to download the materials list (pdf, 59 kb)

Traditional Figure Drawing
Drawing can be described as an inquiring investigation into visible appearance, and the learned discipline should never exclude the potential for free and spontaneous input. Intuition, feelings and impulse are essential elements to the personal development of drawing skills. This class offers an opportunity to really look at the form, structure, spaces and surfaces of the nude figure and seek a unique and individual expression of making what we see visible. Increasing our knowledge and extending our ability is an ongoing and continuous process to which everyone is invited! Please join our quest for improvement and ways to make different or better drawings. This class is limited to 12 students per class so sign up today!

Instructor Susie Wilson has a BA in Fine Art Printmaking from the Norfolk Institute of Art and Design (UK), a degree in Illustration and an HNDBTEC degree in Education, also in the UK. . She taught Life Drawing at the Norfolk Institute and was a college lecturer in the subject at the Norwich School of Art. Since arriving in America she has taught private and group classes for approximately 20 years, and has participated in Open Studios.

  • Levels: All
  • Offered: 6 Wednesdays beginning April 26
  • Time: 1pm - 3:30pm
  • Class Fee: $155 / $135 members
  • Model Fee: $45 at 1st class
  • Instructor: Susie Wilson
  • Additional Instructions: Class is limited to 12 students.
Register online »
Click here to download the materials list (pdf, 59 kb)

Watercolor
This class is geared to facilitate those who have never painted and those who have advanced their skills. Most class sessions will include a demo and then time to work on the elements of the demo. Information on materials, including colors and "gimmicks",and tools is given throughout the six-week period. The goal of this class is to encourage the joy of painting, while improving skills and knowledge. This is a "fun" class, so bring a sense of humor and whatever materials you have and enjoy.

Instructor Linda Lord is a self-trained artist and illustrator with over 16 years teaching experience in her studio and via the SC Watercolor Society; an Open Studio artist whose exhibits include Cozumel, Mexico. Linda also publishes with a decorative art publisher.

  • Levels: All
  • Offered: 6 Thursdays beginning April 27
  • Time: 1pm - 4pm
  • Class Fee: $155 / $135 members
  • Instructor: Linda Lord
Register online »
Click here to download the materials list (pdf, 457 kb)

Pastel Studio
Loosen up and have fun with pastels! Using expressive marks and color we will paint vibrant landscapes and still life. The essentials of pastel painting will be covered including approaches and methods of application, pastels from hard to soft, surface possibilities, color theory and underpainting. Demos, problem solving, and lots of individual instruction are included. This class is appropriate for both beginners in pastel and those who are experienced with the medium. Just bring whatever pastels you may have and explore the possibilities of this versatile medium!

Instructor Joan Hellenthal, BA Fine Art Brown University, MA Fine Art SJSU; CA credentialed art instructor, painter and mixed media artist who exhibits in many private and corporate collections inc. MAH, UCSC and Open Studios. joanhellenthal.com

  • Levels: All but some drawing experience is recommended
  • Offered: 6 Fridays beginning April 28
  • Time: 9:30am - 12noon
  • Class Fee: $155 / $135 members
  • Instructor: Joan Hellenthal
  • Additional Instructions: Reference materials provided but bringing your own is encouraged. (see details above)
Register online »
Click here to download the materials list (pdf, 201 kb)

Botanical Art in Graphite, Watercolor and Colored Pencil
Traditional botanical art involves accuracy as well as artistic technique and creativity. It brings out the beauty in detail and leads to a new perception of our plant subjects. But you don't need to be a botanist, and artists at all levels are welcome (some drawing experience helps). We'll work with graphite pencil, watercolor and colored pencil. You'll get plenty of individual attention as you draw and paint, to challenge and encourage you at your own level of skill. You may bring plant subjects of your choice or you may choose to work with botanical specimens that will be provided.

Instructor Maria Cecilia Freeman is a professional artist with over 25 years of experience bridging scientific illustration and botanical fine art. Her award-winning drawings and paintings have appeared in solo and juried exhibitions across the U.S. and in Europe. You can see her work at her website: mcf-art.com

  • Level: All but some drawing experience is recommended
  • Offered: 6 Mondays, class dates to be announced in June
  • Time: 9am - 12noon
  • Class Fee: $155 / $135 members
  • Instructor: Maria Cecilia Freeman
  • Additional Instructions: Reference materials provided but you may also bring your own (see details above)
Register online »
Click here to download the materials list (pdf, 322 kb)

Loosen Up and Have Fun with Acrylics
Painting from the heart and loosening up are fundamentals of this class. We work fast and loose,layering our canvas with color, blocking in shapes, and adding definition to create a beautiful masterpieces. I want to introduce you to the fun of paint, we will use spray bottles and drip, splat, brush,even use our hands to create magic. We work on several canvases at a time, producing much work. The more you make, the better the results. Themes change every session. Many students repeat the class as it gives them a valuable critique of their work, and time and space to commit to a regular art practice.

Instructor Carrie Clayden is a professional artist and teacher. Carrie graduated from UCSC in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts in Women's Studies and Fine Art. Her studio is at 17th Avenue and her work can be found on her website www.carrieclayden.com

  • Levels: All
  • Offered: 6 Mondays beginning April 17
  • Time: 1pm - 3:30pm
  • Class Fee: $155 / $135 members
  • Instructor: Carrie Clayden
  • Additional Instructions: Reference photos are encouraged
Register online »
Click here to download the materials list (pdf, 115 kb)

Loose and Painterly Landscapes
Barbara will demonstrate the process of landscape painting from photographs (mostly local scenes). Students can paint along with the demo or do their own thing with their own photographs. Topics covered: preparing canvas to paint, two difference approaches to painting, abstracting the landscape, color, perspective, brush control, value, edge quality, and much more. Bring your own photos, and lots of questions to ask.

Instructor Barbara Bailey-Porter holds a Masters of Fine Art, has been an Open Studio artist and has maintained a professional painting studio for well over 20 years. She has taught at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, through Cabrillo and DeAnza Colleges, and in the elementary schools in the past. She works in her studio as well as en plein air. Barbara's work is in various private and corporate collections in the US and abroad.

  • Levels: All
  • Offered: 4 Tuesdays beginning April 4th
  • Time: 9:30pm - 12noon
  • Class Fee: $175 / $160 members
  • Instructor: Barbara Bailey-Porter
  • Additional Instructions: Bring your own reference photos.
Register online »
Click here to download the materials list (pdf, 254 kb)

Drawing From the Right Side of the Brain
Using the time honored book by acclaimed author/artist Betty Edwards, we will focus on practicing the skills needed to draw. This basic beginners class is held in a fun supportive atmosphere which provides an opportunity to produce satisfying results and promote artistic confidence.

Instructor Laura Shepardson’s passion for creativity and travel is the catalyst for her variety of vibrant artwork. Often inspired by the diverse settings in her life, Laura expresses her imaginative voice through a wide assortment of mediums. With over 25 years of experience in creating art, Laura's has various means of expression.

  • Levels: Beginner
  • Offered: 6 Thursdays beginning April 6
  • Time: 9:30pm - 12noon
  • Class Fee: $155 / $135 members
  • Instructor: Laura Shepardson
Register online »
Click here to download the materials list (pdf, 171 kb)

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Weekend Workshops

Painting the Figure Simply & Beautifully in Watercolor
This class will be directed to the spontaneous representation of the female figure in watercolor.  There will be a strong emphasis on the use of color, white space and composition.  Color mixing from a limited palette, light, shade, shadow, brush techniques, graded washes, foreshortening, facial details, lost and found edges, and proportion will be demonstrated and practiced.  We will work from professional models.  No matter how much previous instruction you have had, this class will have you seeing and painting the figure in a new way.  Have had some experience with watercolor, drawing the figure? You will learn easy techniques for painting the figure quickly, loose and free. You will build more confidence and skill painting figures. Robert will demonstrate, work with the class and give individual instruction.

Instructor Robert R. Dvorak, FAAR, presents workshops and lectures on creativity, drawing, and painting for colleges, universities and art centers.  He is the author of The Magic of Drawing, Drawing Without Fear, and Experiential Drawing, The Practice of Drawing as Meditation, Travel Drawing and Painting and The Pocket Drawing Book.  He is the author of “Twenty Minutes to a Beautiful Figure” featured in WATERCOLOR An American Artist Publication.   He has presented this workshop many times for the University of California Santa Cruz, Foothill and De Anza Colleges, The University of Hawaii, Hui No’eau Visual Art Center in Maui, the Palo Alto Art Center and others.  For more information email: robert@youcreate.com

  • Level: All
  • Offered: Saturday, March 25th
  • Time: 10am - 4pm
  • Class Fee: $89
  • Instructor: Robert Regis Dvořák
  • Additional Instructions: Bring a lunch
Register online »

Intermediate Watercolor
This intermediate level class will include a variety of skills instruction and practice. How do you create the fold of a leaf or flower petal, the fold of fabric or the surface texture of wood? Can you paint a convincing water drop or effectively paint reflections on water. How do you paint a windowpane that looks real? How about the waves out on West Cliff? Do you know how to paint a tree using the technique of negative space painting? We will focus primarily on creating the illusion of form, painting reflections/reflective surface and negative space painting through a series of exercises. Come and join in on the fun!!!!

Instructor Jo-Neal Boic has been a teacher for more than 40 years and she has been painting and teaching watercolor for 29 of those. She loves to teach and believes that all students are capable of learning to draw and paint in whatever medium they choose. She fancies a variety of subjects but is particularly drawn to nature.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Offered: April 1st and 2nd
  • Time: 9am - 3:30pm
  • Class Fee: $160 / $140 members
  • Instructor: Jo-Neal Boic
  • Additional Instructions: Bring a lunch.
Register online »

Basic Encaustic Painting
Encaustic painting is an exciting, ancient and cutting-edge art form. Painting with molten beeswax is very forgiving and extremely versatile. The possibilities are endless using: collage, stencils, stamps, ink, oil paints, watercolors, photography and so much more. Explore through demonstrations how to mix paint, fuse layers of wax, apply oil and chalk pastels, embed photos, and apply image transfers. Artist of all media and skill level will enjoy the limitless possibilities and fascination that encaustic has to offer. No drawing skills necessary.

Instructor Terry Dowell is a mixed media artist specializing in encaustic work. Her work can be seen in private collections nationwide and in juried shows in Northern California. Other than encaustic, Terry has worked in wheel thrown and hand built pottery, photography, oil painting, watercolors, plein aire painting, and drawing for the last 50 years.

  • Level: Beginner
  • Offered: April 8th and 9th
  • Time: 10am - 3:30pm
  • Class Fee: $165
  • Materials Fee: $60
  • Instructor: Terry Dowell
  • Additional Instructions: All materials are provided. This workshop is taught at the instructor’s studio in Aptos. This class is limited to 6 students so register early!
Register online »

Introduction to Plein Air Pastel
This class is an introduction to Plein Air painting with pastels, geared toward the beginning artist. Class begins in the classroom with a pastel demonstration, which will go over composition, color use and application techniques. Students will create their own landscape painting in the studio. Class will then head outside to paint on location. The outdoor painting session will last typically 3 hours. Returning to the classroom we will view all the paintings and discuss the results.

Paul Fortis graduated from U C Santa Cruz, receiving a BFA in 1978. He studied Printmaking, and began painting from nature. He studied under Don Weygandt for studio painting, and began painting outdoors under the tutelage of Peter Loftus. Loftus was a major painting influence, and taught the technique of "plein air" painting. Paul's primary expertise are chalk pastels. Paul renders fantastic landscapes full of color and spacious skies. His images depict the natural beauty of this region, and other locations he is fortunate enough to visit. Paul also does printmaking, monotypes. His work is in galleries in Santa Cruz and Atherton, CA. He has been an Open Studio Artist since 1988. www.paulfortis.com

  • Level: Beginner
  • Offered: April 8th and 9th
  • Time: 10am - 4pm
  • Class Fee: $160 / $140 members
  • Instructor: Paul Fortis
  • Additional Instructions: Bring a Lunch.
Register online »

Painting Abstract Watercolors
Have fun creating rich, colorful, abstract paintings. In this creative workshop you will learn the most important criteria for any successful painting. It will make you see all your painting endeavors as abstract compositions, full of energy, drama, light, and color. Using a variety of creative watercolor techniques you will paint beautiful abstract paintings. You will learn: a variety of composition secrets, how to exaggerate your colors and create drama, masking, brush techniques, and alternatives to the brush, the correct use of sprays and spatters to create colorful textures.

Instructor Robert R. Dvorak, FAAR is a watercolor artist and public speaker on creativity. His books include: The Practice of Drawing as Meditation, Travel Drawing and Painting, Drawing Without Fear, Experiential Drawing, The Pocket Drawing Book, Selling Art 101. He has been a featured artist in American Artist Magazine and Watercolor Magazine. For more information: robert@youcreate.com

  • Level: All
  • Offered: Saturday, April 22nd (1 day only)
  • Time: 10am - 4pm
  • Class Fee: $89
  • Materials Fee: $15 (paid to instructor)
  • Instructor: Robert Dvorak
  • Additional Instructions: Bring a Lunch.
Register online »

Watercolor Collage on Canvas with Soup
Using a technique that I've been developing and loving for years, we'll collaborate to create our materials by painting tissue paper with watercolor in a very free, loose and expressive way. Each sheet of tissue is then like a piece of stained glass, ready to be torn, cut, layered and collated to create images of pure color and texture that are unique and beautiful.You will learn a new technique, create one beautiful piece of artwork, enjoy a simple and delicious lunch, meet some other artists, and it's really fun.

Instructor Seana Mallen, MA, is happy to be back to Santa Cruz after 40 years overseas. She's exhibited her work internationally, in the US, England and Bahrain, and has an MA in Drawing from Kingston University, UK. She has over 25 years experience teaching painting and drawing at university and adult education level, and she loves to share her enthusiasm for painting. This is her first workshop in Santa Cruz. www.seanamallen.com

  • Level: All
  • Offered: Saturday, April 29 and again on May 13 (A one day workshop offered on two different dates)
  • Time: 10am - 4pm
  • Class Fee: $89
  • Materials Fee: $10 (paid to instructor)
  • Instructor: Seana Mallen, MA
  • Additional Instructions: All materials and lunch are provided.
Register online »

Impressionistic Landscapes - Oil & Acrylic
Donna is coming from Texas again due to the popularity of her class at SCAL. Donna Bland’s style of teaching in Oil & Acrylic is a step by step process. She will illustrate four different processes to complete a painting. After each process she will help each artist to understand and complete the process. Sketch In, Color Mixing, Mass in Local Color, and Finishing. Interpreting your landscape photo into a beautiful painting using color and light. (Painting finished each day) Color value, design/composition and color relationships will be discussed. Individual help at each easel. Demo by Donna on color mixing first day, and Demo on shadow and value second day.

Instructor Donna Bland lives and paints in the Austin, Texas area. She formally studied art at The Student Art League of New York, Scottsdale School of Art, University of Georgia and Tyler Jr. College in Texas. Donna teaches in several cities in Texas, Missouri and North Carolina. Donna is a member of the Oil Painters of America, American Impressionist Society, the American Women in Art (AWA), The Artists of Texas and the Austin Plein AirPainters. Check out her website at www.donnabland.com

  • Level: Beginner and Intermediate
  • Offered: May 20 and 21
  • Time: 9am - 3:30pm
  • Class Fee: $160 / $140 members
  • Instructor: Donna Bland
  • Additional Instructions: Bring a bag lunch.
Register online »
Click here to download the materials list (pdf, 62 kb)

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