Pastels for the Enthusiastic Beginner: Getting Started with Soft Pastels

Come get immersed in the world of soft pastels. In this one day intensive class you will learn the basics of working with this vibrant, forgiving and addictive medium. We’ll discuss choosing pastels, pastel surfaces, color mixing, layering, mark making, using pastels safely, underpainting, value and color harmony. We’ll do a variety of short exercises and some longer studies, preparing you to paint on your own. No previous pastel experience necessary.


Erika Perloff is a Santa Cruz based landscape painter working primarily in pastels. A life long painter, she has been working with pastels for many years and continually works on pushing what she can do with the medium. Erika’s work is regularly exhibited in galleries, solo shows, museums and other venues. She has been honored as an artist in residence in schools and national parks and loves sharing the joy of painting with others. Her teaching style encourages experimentation, process and learning from both successes and failures.

Introduction to Acrylics

Acrylic paint is a fast-drying, versatile medium that can be used to create a wide range of techniques—it can be used for thick, textured effects, or thinned down and painted in transparent layers like watercolor. Acrylic paint can be used on substrates ranging from wood paneling to canvas to watercolor paper, and mixed with other media such as pencil, ink, and watercolor. In this class, we’ll experiment with opacity—using thin, transparent layers, and thicker, opaque layers—as well as painting different papers (white watercolor paper, illustration board, and black gessoed paper). If you’ve always wanted to experiment with acrylics, this is the class for you! All skill levels welcome.


Erin Hunter is a trained science illustrator with a background in graphic design. She splits her work between fine art paintings depicting the natural world, and technical illustrations for an academic science journal (Annual Reviews). Her personal work focuses on the interactions between plants and animals, with a special interest in plant-pollinator relationships. She also teaches weekend workshops, giving classes in natural history, drawing, and painting. 

A Day of Delft with Claire Mills

Come join me in exploring the history and world of Delftware and this unique and beautiful shade of blue – Delft Blue. Painting with just one color invites us to examine the range and tones we can achieve using just water and paint. The 17th Century Dutch  Delftware artists were masters of this, but their techniques and observations of human life and its depiction can still be applied to the art we create today. Using the Schminke Horadam Delft Blue Watercolor paint we will study and learn depth, range and tones of color. After a brief lecture and discussion about the origins of this unique art form, we will jump straight into creating our own Delft Blue color-wheel and replica Delftware artwork, adding a 21st century twist too. Please bring your favorite watercolor brushes (small to medium size) and a small, clean palette. A $5 materials fee will include Arches watercolor paper templates (color wheel, tiles, windmill, plate and grids) and the Schminke Horadam Delft Blue Watercolor paint, all provided by the teacher.


Claire is a self-taught artist who discovered painting after attending watercolor classes with Linda Lord at the Santa Cruz Art League. She paints every day, dividing her time between watercolor & acrylic mediums and considers herself a permanent student of art learning and employing new techniques and methods when creating her artwork. She recently started a small fabric & paper design company.


Paint Colorful Landscapes in the Studio.

In this Landscape painting class, Learn how to keep colors clean and fresh, and also learn about focal points, composition, value, perspective, shapes and volumes, color, edges, and how to use various contrasts to push and pull compositional elements within a painting. We will paint using personal or teacher supplied photos as reference. Maggie will guide you through the painting process step by step with demos and assist you in creating one painting during the class. For a detailed materials list for both acrylic or solvent free oil paint is available by clicking the blue “Download Materials List” link below!


Solvent-free oil or acrylic welcomed to join the class!


MAGGIE RENNER HELLMANN appeared in international publications such as ‘The Artist’s Magazine’ and has won numerous Best of Show and International awards for her Seascapes and Landscapes. Maggie won a painting competition scholarship and received her Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Illustration at SJSU, Advanced fine art studies at ‘Lorenzo de Medici’ Art Institute, Florence, Italy and studies with Ovanes Berberian, Calvin Liang and Ray Roberts. Maggie is a well known painting teacher who teaches locally and in Tuscany, Italy regularly. A long time Open Studios Artists and Gallery Represented Painter, Maggie’s work is collected internationally.

Discovering Water Soluble Oils & Introduction to Early California Impressionism

A great opportunity to try a new medium without having to invest!  All paint and mediums will be provided for a $10.00 material fee.  Water soluble oils work exactly like traditional oils…they stay wet on the palette, are great for a wet-in-wet approach and can be cleaned up with soap and water.  No solvents are used in the paint, the mediums or in the clean up!  Perfect for oil painters that are tired of breathing solvents.  They are used by many leading plein air painters today.

**Materials list link located below**

 We will explore the beautiful landscape paintings of the Early California Impressionist painters (1890-1930) and see the impact they still have on plein air painters today.  We will examine how they were influenced by the French Impressionists and how they were different.  Anna Lee will demonstrate the process she uses to paint with water soluble oils.  Participants may paint from stunning prints of the Impressionist’s landscape and seascape paintings or from their own landscape photos.




Anna Lee Steed has been painting in oil for over twenty years and has shown her work in many galleries and exhibits.  A five-year apprenticeship with noted colorist painter, the late Michael Linstrom has led her into a ten-year teaching career specializing in color mixing, color composition and the many diverse approaches to handling color effectively in paintings. 

 You may view her work at  or if you have questions please email Anna Lee Steed at:

Painted Holiday Ornaments & Cards!

*The location of this class has been moved from the Tannery to the Santa Cruz Art League classroom*

Whether it’s for a holiday, special occasion, or just to proudly showcase your work, painting and decoupaging onto wood or metal surfaces is a fabulous way to add your (watercolor, gouache, or ink) art to diverse objects like ornaments, jewelry, tins, or purses. In this workshop, students will paint, mount, and finish an ornament on a 6” wood blank, and also do a secondary project for a matching card—choose from 2 festive floral subject options, appropriate for any holiday! So, get in on this unique art form, park your brushes here, and let the epic art adventures begin! (Instructor will provide project materials–paints, paper, wood blanks, ribbons, cards, glue, varnish, etc.–students will be charged an $8 cash materials fee at the start of class. Students need only bring pencils, erasers, a 0.5 mm waterproof black/brown marker for line work, and a few small paintbrushes suitable for water-media!)

Detailed syllabus available via blue “Materials List” link below 











Hajra Meeks is an Author-Illustrator, fine artist, and Lecturer from the Bay Area. She has a BSc in Physics from the Univ. of San Francisco, an MSc in International History from the London School of Economics & Political Science, and a Picture Book Certificate from the MA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was a Lecturer in Art History, International History, and Calculus at UC Merced for 4 years, and has taught watercolor, gouache, and ink in-person and online for a decade. Her Youtube channel currently has 1.5 million views, her art has been in exhibitions in Union City, Mariposa, Vermont, Santa Clara, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Merced (where it was viewed by First Lady Michelle Obama), and she had a successfully funded online Kickstarter campaign for an environmentalist picture book about the real wolf OR-7. She also collaborates on digital, interactive Data Visualization projects that combine art and information. Currently, she’s teaching at SCAL, SCMNH, and via Patreon. You can learn more about her artwork and instruction at 



Botanical Beauty of Winter

Evergreen leaves, berries, nuts, seed pods and more – winter offers many beautiful plant subjects to paint.  Traditional Botanical Art strives for a beautiful portrayal of its subject that is both artistic and accurate in detail. In this watercolor workshop we’ll begin with close observation of our live plant specimens (to be provided) and draw a small composition. We’ll work on approaches to color mixing, and practice techniques of watercolor brushwork particular to botanical art – layering colors and small moist-brush work that allows us to capture fine details of our subjects. You’ll get plenty of individual attention as you draw and paint, to challenge and encourage you at your own level of skill.

**Materials list available for download below**






Instructor: Maria Cecilia Freeman is a professional artist with 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, and in the Filoli Florilegium. You can see her work at her website:

Beginning Floral Oil Painting Workshop

Working with the accomplished artist Thalia Stratton, students will be learning valuable fundamentals in the beautiful art of floral oil painting. She will cover important processes and techniques to help students in their understanding of crucial subjects such as, canvas preparation and composition of floral design and back ground. Thalia will also focus on educating students in the portrayal of light sources, defining values, color mixing, use of materials, and framing of their artwork. No drawing experience is required for this workshop. Thalia will be providing an oil kit to students for a fee due at the beginning of class.



Thalia Stratton graduated with Honors & Distinction from the University of San Francisco/Academy of Art University 1989 with a Bachelor’s of Fine Art Degree in Fashion Illustration. She received a Master’s of Fine Arts in Painting from the Academy of Art University in 2010. She has taught at the college level since her graduation . Professional projects include illustrating for Givenchy-Paris, Neiman Marcus, Playboy Enterprises, the San Francisco Ballet and I. Magnin and Co. She has also developed product lines for the Wine Industry of Sonoma and Napa Valley.

Thalia works have been sold throughout the U.S and have been published in Gentry Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, American Art Collector, Southwest Art and Fine Art Connoisseur. She has won numerous awards and published two books, The Art of Dining and The Art of Dining :Epicurean Delights. She is a current member of the California Art Club in Pasadena, California and the Salmagundi Club in New York City, where she has also exhibited, and is a member of Oil Painters of America, where she has exhibited in both the National and Western Regional Juried exhibitions.

Start to Finish Oil Painting Workshop

Join Laurel Bushman to create an alla prima oil painting. Alla prima painting is the art of painting wet on wet in oil to complete an artwork in one sitting. It literally means, “first attempt” in Italian. Working alla prima is a rewarding and fun process that helps artists develop their intuition about color, value and composition. Often first time painters surprise themselves from trusting their instincts in response to color and form. Students will learn the simple skills needed to use the palette to find the colors for each brush stroke. This thoughtful approach to organizing colors on the palette saves students years of confusion and helps build good practices. At the end of the workshop each student will have a beautiful painting to take home. Laurel is a well-practiced painter who enjoys  working with any skill level. Students will learn to paint solvent free, working oil-only and cleaning up with soap and water.














Laurel Bushman is a Santa Cruz based artist whose love for drawing began as a teenager when she first encountered figurative realism. As a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Laurel studied painting, drawing and art history. Using her understanding of foundational drawing techniques has allowed Laurel to express her ideas across multiple platforms, including painting, murals and more recently, caricaturing. Laurel’s teaching philosophy is one of openness to innovative ideas. Both she art and her teaching are fueled by inspiration from a broad spectrum of influences, while being fundamentally rooted in the fine art tradition.

One-Minute Drawing Class


Anyone can draw!  This enjoyable class is for you if you:

  • would like to be able to draw?
  • think that you don’t have any drawing talent?
  • haven’t drawn for years and would like to start again?
  • or want to brush up on your drawing skills

Drawing is easy when you discover one amazing secret. This class will provide a sequence of short exercises that will teach you how to draw and enjoy it, even with the most hectic schedule. You will learn to express your creativity drawing. The drawing exercises and instruction are fun and enjoyable.  During this day you will learn:

  • short drawing exercises
  • easy ways to practice drawing five minutes a day
  • the greatest drawing secret in the world
  • drawing fun for you, your friends and your children
  • simple yet impressive drawing techniques

A lot of choice material will be presented in this day of hands-on exercises designed for success.  No matter what your skill or background, this class will have you drawing and loving it in a matter of minutes.

** We recommend that students who plan on driving themselves arrive early for parking**


Instructor:  Robert Regis Dvorák has been making drawing and painting fun and easy to learn for the last 35 years. He is an artist and popular speaker on subjects of creativity in education and business.  He has authored and illustrated a number of books on drawing and watercolor painting subjects:  Travel Drawing and Painting, Drawing without Fear, Experiential Drawing, The Practice of Drawing as Meditation and The Pocket Drawing Book.

A materials fee of $15 includes:  Drawing paper, handouts and drawing materials.
















Instructor:  Robert Regis Dvorák has been making drawing and painting fun and easy to learn for the last 35 years. He is an artist and popular speaker on subjects of creativity in education and business.  He has authored and illustrated a number of books on drawing and watercolor painting subjects:  Travel Drawing and Painting, Drawing without Fear, Experiential Drawing, The Practice of Drawing as Meditation and The Pocket Drawing Book.