Past Workshops

Introduction to Acrylics

Levels: All Levels

Instructor: Erin Hunter

Offered: Saturday Afternoon, 1/25/2020 12:00pm-5:00pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $99.00 one price for all

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. 

Paint Colorful Landscapes in the Studio.

Levels: All

Instructor: Maggie Renner Hellmann

Offered: 1 Sunday afternoon, 1/19/20 12:30pm-4:30pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $89.00

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.

A Day of Delft- Bring a Friend Promotion!

Levels: All

Instructor: Claire Mills

Offered: One Saturday Morning 01/18/20 9:30am-12:30pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $89.00 - one price for this class

Register you and a friend for $89.00! 

*Promotion does not include materials fee of $5.00*

How to redeem listed below


Bring a friend and 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.



How to redeem Bring a Friend for Free promotion:

1.)Register for the class through our website.

2.)Forward your emailed receipt to our education coordinator at with the name & email of the person you intend to bring by Wednesday 1/8/20 if possible.

3.) You will both be registered for the workshop! **Promotion does not include material fee of $5 person**

Please note: Instructors need an accurate head count so they can properly prepare for classes, please make sure to provide proper notice so the instructor can provide materials for them!




Discovering Water Soluble Oils & Introduction to Early California Impressionism

Levels: All Levels

Instructor: Anna Lee Steed

Offered: Saturday Afternoon, 01/11/20 10:00am-4:00pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $99

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:

Botanical Beauty of Winter

Levels: All, some drawing experience helpful

Instructor: Maria Cecilia "Cissy" Freeman

Offered: One Sunday 12/8/19 9:30am-3:30pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $99.00 - one price for this class

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:

Adire Elecko, African Textile Workshop

Levels: All

Instructor: Donna Thompson

Offered: 2 Saturdays, 12/7/19 & 12/14/19

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $99.00

With their own unique designs, students will make a resist patterned textile pillow, inspired by the artwork of the Yoruba people from Nigeria in West Africa.  Students will learn the dyeing technique of Adire Elecko (hand painted with indigo dye) to complete their Adire Oniko cloth (term for tie dyed fabric) on the back of their pillows.


The Adire Eleko cloth is a personal piece of art.  It represents the artist and their family through the creation of patterns using symbolic and geometric designs. In this workshop, we will be using a starch resist that is like Adire and also a contemporary dyeing agent instead of the traditional indigo. The class will be broken down into two days as follows:


Day one 12/7/19 (12pm-4pm): Design &  Apply resist

Day two 12/14/19 (12pm-2pm): Paint fabric, tie dye fabric, &  make pillow


Bring three ideas for your design.

For instance: fur babies, hobbies, sewing, skiing, surfing, bowling, gardening, cooking, music










Donna Thompson B.F.A, M.A. in Art Education.

 A professional art educator and practicing artist.

Retired Instructor, Art Education San Jose State University

Fulbright Faculty Exchange, Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt/San Jose State University.

Twenty five years teaching art with an emphasis on world culture.



Beginning Floral Oil Painting Workshop

Levels: All Levels

Instructor: Thalia Stratton

Offered: One Saturday Afternoon, 11/23/19 1:00pm-4:30pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $89.00

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 all materials needed needed students for a fee due at the beginning of class, students are free to just come to 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

Levels: All

Instructor: Laurel Bushman

Offered: One Sunday afternoon, 11/10/19 12pm-5:30pm

Location: Studio 199 @ Tannery Arts Center

Fee: $99.00

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.

Golden Age Portrait Masters Study (Studio 119 @ Tannery Arts Center)

Levels: All

Instructor: Hajra Meeks

Offered: One Sunday afternoon, 11/3/19 12:00pm-6:00pm, Including lunch break

Location: Studio 119 @ Tannery Arts Center

Fee: $99.00 one price for all

Learn how to capture the romantic realism and Film Noir style of a Coby Whitmore female portrait in this exciting Golden Age Masters Study! Painting techniques including how velvety Gouache can emulate the rich, opaque look of oils, layout deconstruction, color theory, and art history will all be covered in this info dense workshop. Gouache (opaque watercolor) or Watercolors accompanied by a tube of white gouache will both work for this study, so park your brushes here, and let the retro art adventures begin!


Detailed syllabus available via “Materials List” on SCAL’s website.

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 


*This class is being held at the Tannery Arts Center in Studio 119, NOT at the Art League*

Painting the Luminous Peace Rose

Levels: Some experience recommended

Instructor: Jo-Neal Graves

Offered: One Saturday morning, 10/26/19 9:30am-3:30pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $99.00

In this workshop we will learn the layering processes and colors used to create a beautiful luminous flower with depth and also an interesting background. We will be using the techniques of wet into wet as well as layering/glazing. There will be practice of hard and soft edges. Since this is a one day workshop, I will send students a variety of peace rose images to chose from and  ask that you have your drawing ready for class so we can get started immediately! We will be using a totally transparent color palette so please pay close attention to the materials list with regard to colors. Feel free to write to me with questions. I do suggest that you have some watercolor experience but it isn’t necessary to be advanced or even intermediate.

*Please have your prepared drawing completed for class on 10/26/19 so we can start painting immediately the day of workshop*













“Jo-Neal was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and has taught for more than 40 years. She attended what is now called Cal State University East Bay. Although retired from teaching high school in Santa Cruz, California, she is still teaching…adults. She studied fresco painting and restoration as well as oil painting and restoration in Florence, Italy as part of her preparation for teaching art. Teaching at the secondary level encouraged her to add to her repertoire a variety of media. She remains the eternal student! 

One-Minute Drawing Class

Levels: All Levels

Instructor: Robert Dvorak

Offered: One Saturday, 10/12/19 10am - 4pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $99.00


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.

Sketching with Watercolor, Pen & Ink

Levels: All Levels

Instructor: Bonni Carver

Offered: One Saturday, 09/28/19 10am - 4pm

Location: The Castro Adobe State Historic Park,   Address: 184 Old Adobe Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076

Fee: $99.00

Join us at the Castro Adobe in Watsonville for a day full of plein air painting and instruction. Since the adobe has been reserved for our September 28 class, the garden and grounds will be our classroom for the whole day. Watercolor and pen and ink are the perfect portable media through which any place or setting can become a springboard for a creative sketch. Bonni will demonstrate her facility with different approaches to sketching by melding water soluble ink with watercolor paint and producing dynamic results. Discover the power of the imperfect line and how a simple blush of color can convey so much! All levels are welcome. Bring a brown bag lunch. Go to for directions from your house.













The Art of Selling Art

Levels: All

Instructor: Robert Dvorak

Offered: One Sunday Afternoon, 09/22/19 10:00am-4:00pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $120, one price for all




This is a comprehensive sales program oriented to the individual artist, art representative, or art gallery personnel.  Be prepared for a fun-filled day of lively lecture and in-class games.  You will learn how to sell art to individual clients, collectors, and corporations.  Robert Dvořák, a successful California artist, will demonstrate what works and what doesn’t work so that by the end of the workshop, you can begin selling–and prospering–immediately with confidence and self-assurance. A comprehensive handout is included in the price of the class. The book, Selling Art 101 will be available. 

Important:  Remember to bring one artwork, which is framed or mounted and available for sale.  Frequently sales take place in this class.


This workshop will cover:

prospecting for clients                      referrals

developing rapport                            planning sales meetings and phone calls

telephone techniques                        emotions–how to use them

what not to say or do                        closing secrets

what questions to ask                       what words to use

portfolios on phone or pad              artist’s statements

presentations                                     pricing the art

goal setting                                        art gallery selling

internet selling                                  showing work on internet sites

open studio selling                            planning a web site that works


About Robert Regis Dvorák  is the author of the new book, Selling Art 101.  He has been teaching The Art of Selling Art to artists, art representatives, and art gallery sales people for 35 years.  His paintings and prints and films are part of many individual, corporate, and institutional collections. His films are in the collections of The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Smithsonian Institute, The New York Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Institute, his paintings are in the collections of The Bank of America, Del Monte Corporation, and ICON of California and many private collections including the Vanderbuilts, the Boyds, the Kwei collection and many others.  Phone and Fax:  916.391.5051  Web site:  email:


“Aloha Robert, I love your book! If I had written a book like this I would be helping artists reach their highest level. It is simply the best art sales manual I have ever read. It is a bible for me now. I am a moderately successful artist in Kauai. I make over $150,000.00 a year. My sales were really down due to a bump in the road. The first day I perused your book I sold $1400, the second day $1200, and the third day $1440 at an outdoor show. Thank you so much.” Dawn Lundquist 

The Magic of Monet

Levels: All Levels

Instructor: Carrie Clayden

Offered: Saturday Afternoon, Saturday 9/14/19 11:00am-4:00pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $120.00

Come loosen up and have fun with Carrie Clayden in this one day workshop. Carrie has been to Monet’s house and gardens and will bring inspiration pictures for us to paint. She has students of all levels, even beginners, so if you are wanting to give painting a try, she is your teacher. We will use multiple canvases, lots of fun warm ups, and dance to Carrie’s amazing play list. We can enjoy a potluck lunch in the Art League Gallery, while chatting about our art. This one day workshop is a rare gem, so mark your calendars. You will leave with many finished paintings to keep or give to family and friends.


“I’m so grateful for Carrie’s class, and I can’t wait to take it again. Her class was not only fun but it helped me connect to my soul. She reignited my love affair with paint by encouraging me and pushing me to get past my creative block and doubts. Her class is personally rewarding, Carrie fosters a community of supportive artists that cheer each other on.” -Illana Ingber


“I learned how to splash, drip, push and pull paint, we had so much fun! I mostly learned that there is zero pressure in class! In fact, “Mistakes” turned out to be happy accidents! I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn, have fun and let go in Carrie’s classes! My paintings are so much better and most of all I am having fun!” -Kari Schratz


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 in 1995.


Palette Knife Painting in Oil or Acrylic

Levels: All

Instructor: Barbara Bailey Porter

Offered: One Sunday afternoon, 9/8/19 10:00am-2:00pm

Location: Santa Cruz Art League

Fee: $89.00

In this workshop brushes are set aside, and palette knives are used to make a complete small, slightly abstracted landscape painting. Instructor will demonstrate and discuss paint application, color, value, perspective, palette organization, and so much more.  This is a casual and fun class and students often say their palette knife painting is their favorite painting.


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.