Academy Workshops


One-Day Workshops

Open Sketch

Public invited, all ages and levels

First Saturday of every month, next: March 4, 2017, 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm

This popular drawing session is monitored, but no instruction. A model (dressed) holds one pose for 4 hours with breaks. Bring your own supplies, we have easels, coffee, tea. 

Fee: $10. 

Intro to Bargue Drawing

with Eliza Moser

Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

Saturday, March 11, 2017, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

Whether you are a beginner or are continuing a Bargue Drawing, these one-day workshops offer an opportunity to be guided by a classically trained instructor. 

Fee per Sat: $95. members

Self Portrait Drawing

with Eliza Moser

Saturday, Feb.11, 2017, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

Saturday, March 4, 2017, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

Working with a mirror, learn from life and concepts about 3-dimensional form that is difficult to explore from a photo.

Fee per Sat.: $95. members

Multi-Day Workshops

Christina Mastrangelo

Portrait Master Copy in Oils Workshop

A Three Day Workshop, March 23-25, 2017, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Choose from selected Van Dyck, Velazquez, or Bouguereau portraits. We will transfer the image right onto the canvas and begin painting the first class. You will be guided through the process of discovering their palette, mixing and matching their flesh tones, seeing the structure of the eyes, nose, and lips through their eyes, mimicking their brushstrokes and edges, and recreating the image to better understand what it takes to paint a masterpiece. 

Fee: $295. members, $325. non-members

Materials List

Workshop Registration

Kathryn Engberg

Classical Art for Teens Workshop  

A New Offering with support from the Keane Foundation

In this workshop, teens will be introduced to classical drawing. These skill-based lessons will deepen their understanding and application of their visual language. By gradually building up the concepts in a very manageable and comprehensive way, each student will be guided through every step with demonstrations and in-depth personal critiques.

The first day will be spent copying Charles Bargue figure drawing plates. These learning tools were created in the 19th C to aid with academic drawing. The skills taught will include comparative measuring, shape finding, tilt matching and using a plumb line. The students will then move to a live model. They will use the same concepts, except now working in a 3D to 2 D method. Instructions on how to approach a longer block-in for a final long pose will shape the rest of the workshop. By the end of the workshop, students will have learned the fundamental skills for successful drawing and should be able to apply these to any other areas of their art making. Materials included. 

Four Day Workshop, April 10-13, 2017, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Fee: $200. members, $225. non-members

George O'Hanlon

Painting Best Practices Workshop

A Three Day Workshop, April 13-15, 2017, 9 am to 5 pm

Natural Pigments spent years developing a technical workshop to teach skills that are not taught in art school and universities - a thorough understanding of artist's materials and tools, what they are designed to do, when to chose them and how to provide considerable longevity to your finished work. This workshop covers the most important aspects of painting that have proven to be the best practices over the centures.

Read the reviews of this workshop on Natural Pigments website above. Best Practices day-by-day description of the workshop.

Fee: $395. members, $425. non-members

Workshop Registration

Justin Wood

17th Century Dutch Still Life Workshop

A Four Day Workshop, May 4-7, 2017, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

This workshop is inspired by the Dutch Breakfast Still Life (Ontbijtjes). This type of still life painting developed in the 17th century and while the word "ontbijtjes" is Dutch for breakfast, it was more thought of as "a light meal taken at any time of day". The Breakfast Still Life is characterized by the display of everything from common everyday foods and items to rare delicacies and luxury goods such as roemers (wine glasses), silver/gold goblets, and chinese porcelain bowls. Common themes in this genre included straight forward tributes to nature and finely crafted wares to moral and religious warnings against excess. 

 The paintings were created using very specific procedures. They first executed a careful and accurate line drawing of the scene. This drawing was transferred to canvas or a panel and then toned gray or brown. The artist then completed the dead coloring (dood-verf) which was a transparent underpainting that would establish the general tones and colors needed to describe each object. Some artists did their dead coloring with full color and some in monochrome. We will use the latter method and limit our palette to brown and white. Once this layer is dry, the process of "working up" (opwerken) began. In this stage, the artist precisely defined each form to completion. They were careful "not to apply paint too heavily, but thin and sparingly, elegantly laid, glowing and pure." If, when this layer dried, some revisions and final touches were needed, they would do it at this time. There were, of course, different interpretations and versions of this method, but generally, most of the still life artists of that time period worked in some variation of the previously described process.

 Due to the time limitations and the importance of experiencing the entire production process, everyone's still life should be simple. The recommended sizes of the painting are between 8x10 and 11x14.  I recommend you choose a few pieces of produce (lemons, oranges, grapes, olives, etc.) with a bowl, plate or cup, etc. Metal objects (steel, silver, pewter, copper) are great but avoid high polish. Bread works well too and comes in many varieties. You can also include a piece of fabric, such as a white napkin or tablecloth. If your fabric has a pattern, it should not be too complex. 

 We will spend the first day setting up our compositions, drawing and transferring. The second day will be used to complete the grisailles. The remainder of time will be spent completing each part with color. I will work with everyone individually throughout the week and will paint alongside the artists on my own still life.

Fee: $455. members, $485. non-members

Supply List 

Workshop Registration

Bivenne Staiger

Watercolor Painting

A Three Day Workshop, June 8-10, 2017, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm

Learn to paint flowers and some landscapes, capturing light, beauty, bright color, and form through glazing, value and use of negative space painting in the exciting medium of watercolor. Bring out the essence of birds and other wildlife in their natural environment. You will learn how to achieve saturated darks, when to use loose brush strokes vs. controlled ones, how to achieve balance and how to design an overall pleasing composition, among other things.  This class will be lots of fun learning to manipulate this versatile, exciting and easy-to-correct water medium through demonstrated techniques and lots of individual attention!  Drawing skills and some previous watercolor experience are recommended.

Bivenne Staiger is an award-winning artist, well-known for her dynamic paintings, and who has taught the joy of watercolor painting for many years.  She is an elected member of Salmagundi Club, American Artists Professional League, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Club, Connecticut Watercolor Society, Academic Artists Association, and many other arts organizations.  A Supply List will be provided upon registration.

Fee: $270. members, $300. non-members

Workshop Registration

John MacDonald

The Dynamic Landscape  

A Three Day Workshop, August 7-9, 2017, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm  (please note: deposits for waiting list)

This three-day workshop will focus on the process of using photographs, sketches, and/or plein air studies executed on location to create dynamic paintings in the studio. We will explore the uses and limitations of photographs as reference material and methods of enlarging studies and sketches for larger studio paintings.

This class will take participants through the entire process of creating a strong landscape painting: from building an effective composition to working with value and color and, finally, to finishing with sensitively chosen details.  An emphasis will be placed on proper seeing–looking closely at the existing color and tonal relationships–and on understanding and manipulating what is seen. We will be working with the basic elements of painting, seeing them anew and in ways that can improve the craft of your painting. Each day will begin with a brief lecture and demo. The remainder of the day will be spent painting with one-on-one instruction.

Approach to instruction: I focus on the basics of painting and the principles and techniques of plein air landscape painting. I also encourage students to find their authentic voice and learn what it means to paint like them, rather than simply copying how I paint. I begin a daily session with a lecture, followed by a demo, then work individually with the participants as they work on their paintings, finishing each day with a brief critique.

Several weeks prior to the workshop, each participant will be emailed a pdf containing the material which we’ll be covering in the workshop and a complete description of my approach to painting landscapes. Participants will be expected to have read the pdf (35+ pages) before the workshop begins. A recommended list of materials will also be included.  Advanced beginners (basic drawing skills)

Fee: $345. members, $375. non-members

Workshop Registration


Richard Scott

Narrative Portrait Painting

A Five Day Workshop, September 12-16, 2017, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

This course will be a five day intensive portrait workshop, exploring indirect painting techniques of the old masters with a focus on narrative development. Richard will walk you through the stages of conceiving, composing, and beginning a portrait. There will be helpful information on how to analyze your work in order to improve both your skills and give yourself the tools to express your vision.

We will explore both symbolism and how to express ideas through the composition itself. We’ll cover adaptive methods for utilizing the movement of the model, compositional changes due to the decision of the painter, and enhancing both analytical and intuitive approaches to painting.

Emphasis will be on balancing the detailed and accurate observation of light, form and anatomy - with composition and expression.

Fee: $425. members, $455. non-members

Christina Mastrangelo

Still Life in Oils  

A Ten Day Workshop, October 23-27, Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2017, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Learn how to paint a realistic still-life in a supportive, academic, inspiring environment. 

The goal of the course is to introduce artists to the representational painting world, understand the observational painting process, and come away with a beautiful painting. Working from life in the sight-size method, students will learn how to overcome the challenges of painting a variety of objects, including cloth, metal, wood, glass, or perishables, and how to push past visual limits to extend the illusion of depth and realism.  We explore line, shape, form, color, texture, edges, composition, and a logical process that makes creating this type of work streamlined and obtainable. Relevant short demonstrations will be given each day, and as students work on their painting they will be guided and critiqued suited to their individual pace and needs.  Besides watching, painting, lectures, and critiques, Christina's much-loved handouts further enhance the learning experience. You will come away knowing how to confidently paint a still life from start to finish, including how to: use the sight-size method, draw and paint with accuracy, mix and match exact colors, use mediums in layers, deal with sinking-in, care for palettes and brushes, set up a still life, set up studio lighting, promote the archival nature of your painting, varnish, and more.  Gain confidence no matter your prior experience, and feel satisfied knowing that everything learned here will translate well into drawing or painting any subject from life.

Course outline available upon request.

Fee: $1200. members  ($30 member fee)